In the first quarter of the year, authorities of LatAm casino operator Enjoy managed to increase the company’s income by 330%, and in only six months they opened new facilities in Viña del Mar, Coquimbo, and Pucón, in addition to increasing their bet on online gaming, where they already have 43,000 users.
The red numbers in the balance sheets caused by the pandemic, which led to the restructuring of the whole company, were left behind after reporting last week a positive EBITDA of CLP 18,484 million ($21.6 million) by the end of March.
These results differ substantially from the losses of Ch$ 5,814 million ($6.8 million) recorded in the first three months of last year, when the pandemic and the confinements were still in full force. Revenues closed at CLP 86,207 million (almost $101 million), 330% higher than the first quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that the banking sector reopened its doors to Enjoy. The support of Euroamérica and Penta, which are today the main shareholders of the Chilean operator, and who own close to 30% of the property, was a key factor in this.
And in the market, there is general support for the merger between Enjoy and Dreams, owned by businessmen Claudio and Humberto Fischer. Next week is the deadline for the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office (FNE) to deliver the first response, after analyzing the background information provided by the companies, that announced in January that they were seeking to merge their operations to create Dreams-Enjoy S.A., where the Fischers would hold 64% of the property, and Enjoy’s partners, the remaining 36%.
There are two possible scenarios. The first one is that the entity approves the operation, paving the way for a new gaming giant. The other option is that the FNE decides to extend the investigation for 90 days, requesting more background information and statements. In either case, the antitrust prosecutor’s office can impose restrictive measures, such as forcing the sale of casinos in close proximity.
“To be able to undertake projects as big as Viña del Mar, Coquimbo, and Pucón in the middle of the pandemic is something remarkable we should highlight and acknowledge the work of our team. This is the best proof that when the public and private worlds come together, great goals are achieved,” said Henry Comber, president of the company, at the opening of the Pucón casino last week.
Also present at the inauguration were Eduardo Sboccia, head of Public Affairs of Enjoy; Eliseo Gracia, general manager; Gonzalo Grob, manager of Enjoy Pucón, Pier-Paolo Zaccarelli, director of the company, accompanied by the superintendent of Gaming Casinos, Vivien Villagrán.
“Today, in addition to focusing on the execution of the long-term plans for our casinos, we must prepare more strongly for the challenging online world. For that, we have been taking important steps so that our operation will be ready when online gaming is possible in Chile and in the markets in which we operate”, stated Comber in the company’s annual report.
The company has already enabled the EnjoyWin.net site, which is free and does not allow real money betting. At the end of last year, it had 43,280 users.
Behind all of Enjoy’s recovery, the market agrees, lies the duo of Henry Comber and Eliseo Gracia Martínez, the general manager who took over in June 2021, two months after the CEO of Euroamerica took over the presidency of the company.
Gracia Martínez is not new to Enjoy: he is the grandson of its founder, Antonio Martínez Ruiz, and began his journey in the 2000s at the Viña del Mar casino, working at night as head of gaming. Then he became an executive, passing through finance and operations, until he became CEO, replacing Rodrigo Larraín.
Those who have seen Comber and Gracia, who until a year ago did not know each other, work together say the chemistry is very good, and the president respects Gracia’s opinions and vision because of his years of experience in the industry.