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Seminole Hard Rock Promotes Keith Sheldon to President of Entertainment and Brand Management

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Seminole Hard Rock has promoted Keith Sheldon to President of Entertainment and Brand Management for Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock International. In this new and expanded role, Sheldon will be responsible for oversight of brand management, consumer marketing, brand partnerships, and sponsorship revenue generation. He will continue to oversee all facets of entertainment including programming, talent buying, nightlife, and industry relations. Sheldon will continue to report to Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming.

“Since Keith joined our team in 2020 to lead our entertainment efforts, he has played an integral role in elevating Hard Rock and Seminole Hard Rock brands through strategic partnerships and once-in-a-lifetime events for our guests. We’re excited for Keith to continually build upon those incredible entertainment experiences with new partners and bolster our brands in new and exciting ways in his expanded role,” Allen said.

For the last four years as President of Entertainment at Seminole Hard Rock, Sheldon has booked numerous world-class entertainment, sports, and lifestyle events for the brand. These include performances by The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Maluma, Wu-Tang Clan, The Chainsmokers, Tiësto, Dave Chappelle, Post Malone, and many others. Additionally, Sheldon led Seminole Hard Rock’s groundbreaking partnerships with Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix and Las Vegas Grand Prix, Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Audacy, Horizon Media, and Lionsgate Pictures for John Wick: Chapter 4.

“I am honored to work with incredible performers, partners, and Team Members at Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming and look forward to growing our unique brand offerings for entertainment lovers and guests around the world,” Sheldon said.

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MGM Resorts & BetMGM Strengthen Relationship with Kindbridge

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MGM Resorts International and BetMGM announced new groundbreaking initiatives in collaboration with Kindbridge designed to support problem gambling research and mental health services. Kindbridge Research Institute and Kindbridge Behavioral Health are organizations that aim to better understand the problems that exist within at-risk communities, delivering evidence-based treatment for gambling disorder.

The partnerships and collaborations break down as follows:

MGM Resorts & Kindbridge Research Institute

As part of its commitment to responsible gaming research, MGM Resorts has donated $100,000 to Kindbridge Research Institute in support of a voluntary medication trial for veterans experiencing gambling addiction in Las Vegas. This first-of-its-kind treatment aims to reduce gambling urges and symptom severity among veterans with gambling disorder.

“This contribution will help explore and identify innovative treatment for a population our company cares deeply about. We have a longstanding commitment to supporting military members and their families year-round and are privileged to invest in research that benefits this important community.”

Research will be completed by treatment providers at the Las Vegas Veterans Affairs Residential Recovery and Renewal Center (LVR3) in partnership with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The study is part of Kindbridge Research Institute’s 50x4vets program, a multi-year research initiative aimed at increasing research on gambling disorder in veterans by fifty times in four years.

“This is such a promising intervention. We are so grateful for MGM Resorts’ support of this research to improve the lives of veterans and extend the work of the many great scientists, treatment providers, and donors of the 50x4vets program,” Nathan D. Smith, Executive Director of Kindbridge Research Institute, said.

BetMGM & Kindbridge Behavioral Health

BetMGM has announced it will expand its relationship with Kindbridge Behavioral Health to offer problem gambling referrals in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ontario. This comes as BetMGM reaches its sixth month in the Kindbridge Colorado Pilot Program.

“We are proud to lead the way in providing individuals with this potentially life-changing support and are pleased with how the program has performed so far. This expanded investment underscores our dedication to ensuring those who need care can receive it. As access to sports betting and online gaming continues to grow, so should access to problem gambling treatment and care,” Rhea Loney, Chief Compliance Officer at BetMGM, said.

This unprecedented collaboration between an online operator and a treatment provider offers direct access to comprehensive mental health assessments, treatment, and group support services. As a result, a number of Colorado residents who have opted to be banned from gambling through the state’s self-exclusion program are now actively receiving referrals for voluntary treatment from BetMGM.

“We welcome BetMGM’s decision to extend mental health services to players in distress across multiple jurisdictions. This initiative is a positive step toward supporting individuals facing challenges with gambling. It underscores the importance of accessible help and the role we all play in fostering safer gaming environments,” Daniel Umfleet, CEO of Kindbridge Behavioral Health, said.

This news comes as MGM Resorts and BetMGM join the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) in recognizing March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). Throughout the month, new GameSense messaging will be displayed prominently throughout MGM Resorts properties nationwide, as well as in the BetMGM app. GameSense is an industry-leading responsible gaming program first developed and licensed to MGM Resorts in 2017 by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). The program focuses on positive, transparent, and proactive interactions with guests and customers about how to gamble responsibly.

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Ainsworth Primed to Progress After 17% Revenue Rise

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AGT chairman Danny Gladstone said a 17% rise in full-year revenue to $284.9m will allow the company to “release new and innovative products to further improve the group’s financial results.”

Underlying EBITDA was $57.8m compared to $55.8m a year ago, with profit before tax, excluding currency effects and one-off items, rising 10.4%. International revenues, which now account for 86% of AGT’s total revenue, rose 24%.

North America revenue in the current period was $140.4m, a 17% increase, while revenues of $80.1m were achieved in Latin America and Europe, climbing 26%.

“This momentum was driven by continued demand in Argentina and a return in venue re-openings within Mexico and Peru. In the current period unit sales in Mexico represented 25 per cent of total unit sales compared to 10% in the PCP,” AGT said.

Gladstone said: “Following the announcement made in November 2023 where the company advised on the engagement of Macquarie Capital as the company’s financial advisor, a strategic review of all potential opportunities has progressed in the period.

“This strategic review encompasses a number of potential alternatives to maximise shareholder value. While there is no assurance that any transaction will result from this strategic review, we will continue to keep the market updated.”

AGT CEO Harald Neumann said the company is “well advanced to capitalize on opportunities and progress to further establish the Ainsworth name as a leading provider within the gaming industry sector.”

“Progress made in the current period further exemplifies the confidence in the strategies implemented which are expected to ensure progressive improvements in the company’s earnings in coming periods.

“The investments we have made have enabled us to upgrade our technology, hardware and improve game performance which are expected to deliver further improvements in our financial results and ensure our long term sustained success.”

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Inspired Reports Third Quarter 2023 Results

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Inspired Entertainment, a leading B2B provider of gaming content, technology, hardware and services, reported financial results for the three-month period ended September 30, 2023.

Lorne Weil, Executive Chairman of Inspired, said: “We have completed the financial restatement process and as of today, all amended filings are complete. For the first half of 2023, the net impact to Adjusted EBITDA from the restatement was effectively zero, with a $1 million decrease in previously reported results in Q1 offset by a $1 million increase in Q2. The impact to our Adjusted EBITDA for the full year 2022, was a decrease of $0.6 million, from $99.6 million to $99.0 million, or less than 1%. Adjusted EBITDA margin for the third quarter was 27%, but excluding Low Margin Gaming Hardware sales, the margin was 36%, compared to 37% in the prior year quarter.”

Weil continued: “For the quarter, our aggregate digital business, which includes our Virtual Sports and Interactive segments, grew Adjusted EBITDA 9% to $16.4 million from $15.0 million. Year to date, our digital business generated 58% of Adjusted EBITDA contribution compared to 50% in the prior year period. This performance reinforces the shift in our strategic focus towards our higher margin, scalable digital business and we continue to invest in premium content creation for these segments. At the same time, our Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter was impacted by the timing of several one-time sales moving into the fourth quarter. Excluding one-time product sales, Adjusted EBITDA grew 4% year-over-year during the third quarter. As we look forward, we expect our fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA to be in-line with consensus. Additionally, our fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA would have been nearly $2 million higher if not for the ransomware attack on our IT systems impacting results.”

Weil added: “Our digital business third quarter results were led by the Interactive segment where revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increased 28% and 55% year-over-year on a constant currency basis, respectively, underscoring both the growth and scalability of the business. Interactive results reflect another quarterly record as we continue to benefit from an increased footprint through new customer launches, the consistent deployment of new content and increased promotional activity through exclusive deals with tier-one customers as well as revenue growth from existing customers. In our Virtual Sports segment, we generated $13.4 million of revenue during the quarter compared to $14.4 million during the prior year. The year-over-year decline was driven by a major customer’s optimizing of their customer base, with a partial offset due to increased retail revenue. In the last two to three years, we’ve seen extraordinary growth in our Virtual Sports business, driven by new products and market expansions. We believe we are heading into another strong growth phase, driven by our exciting new content partnerships with the NFL and NBA. We have two major markets with substantial growth opportunity, North America and Latin America. In addition, we’ve recently launched Hybrid Dealer, a revolutionary new iGaming product. We are proud to have partnered with BetMGM to launch this innovative new product. With all of this recent progress, we are more convinced than ever that we are in the early stages of an expanding global opportunity with our digital business that will continue to exhibit a high margin and low capital intensity profile.”

Weil continued: “In our land-based operations, which includes our Gaming and Leisure segments, we’ve completed the deployment of our new ‘Vantage’ cabinet across two of our largest licensed betting shop customers, recording another $22.7 million of low margin terminal sales in Q3. We continue to see approximately 11% year-over-year revenue per machine increases with these new terminal deployments. In our pubs business, we’ve deployed ‘Vantage’ across approximately 20% of our customer estate and have experienced approximately 20% year-over-year growth in revenue per machine. This gives us confidence that we are seeing a reacceleration across our land-based businesses.”

Weil concluded: “Fundamentally, our business remains very strong, which was reflected in our repurchase of $1.5 million of our stock during the third quarter. We are optimistic about the compelling digital growth dynamics of the business, as a wider audience engages with online betting and gaming while new jurisdictions continue to launch. Combined with a resilient land-based business, our diversification and expansion ability reinforce our omni-channel strategy combining our high-margin, capital efficient digital businesses with our steady land-based businesses.”

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