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Financial statements for online casinos (with examples), part 1

February 20, 2023
13 min
2714

Like any other business, online casinos and sportsbooks need to track their performance. Which financial statements do they need, and what do those statements contain? Keep reading for a full introduction to the financial statements your betting or gaming business needs.

Online casinos and sportsbooks, like every other kind of enterprise, need to keep careful track of their performance, and financial statements are the way to do it. Recording money coming in, money going out, assets, liabilities, and equity allows operators to see where they’re turning a profit and where their margins are too thin — not to mention being an absolute necessity when tax season rolls around.

But at first glance, financial statements for online casinos look like the worst day of your least favorite math class — columns of numbers and a list of mystifying terms. It’s easy to get overwhelmed; what’s the difference between cash flow and income, or depreciation and amortization? Do you recognize expenses when you receive the bill or when you actually pay them?

This article will lay out the most common financial statements and what kind of information is recorded on each one.

Which financial statements do online casinos need?

There are 3 main types of financial statements. They each offer their own perspective on your business’ performance, and are often analyzed in tandem to yield in-depth analysis (which we’ll cover more in part 2). The three types of financial statement are:

  1. Balance sheet
  2. Income statement
  3. Cash flow statement

A balance sheet assesses your casino business’s overall financial situation by summing up your assets, liabilities, and equity on a given day. An income statement charts overall revenue and expenses over a period of time, while a cash flow statement details every time liquid cash moves into or out of your business during a set time period.

At first, it may seem as if income and cash flow statements describe the same thing. However, there are small but important differences in accounting practices that make them quite different — we’ll cover that later. Let’s start with the balance sheet.

Balance Sheet

Typically produced on a monthly or quarterly basis, balance sheets display a company’s financial position at one point in time. Also commonly referred to as a statement of financial position, balance sheets are essential for assessing a company’s financial health, both for the company’s executives and any potential investors.

At heart, balance sheets are based on a simple equation:

Assets = liabilities + equity

And no matter how you rearrange it, the equation should balance.

Equity = assets - liabilities

Liabilities = assets - equity

If the statement is imbalanced, this most likely indicates that there was a mistake at some point during preparation.

So what are an online casino’s assets, liabilities, and equity?

Assets are anything the company owns that has value, either tangible or intangible, including the casino platform, cash reserves, hardware, goodwill (the difference between a company’s book value and purchase price) and branding/trademarks. They’re divided into current and non-current assets — or, more understandably, short-term and long-term assets.

Current or short-term assets are cash or anything the company expects to convert into cash in under twelve months, such as accounts receivable or debts owed to the company. Non-current or long-term assets are those that won’t be converted into cash in the next year, such as equipment, real estate, patents, or intellectual property.

Liabilities are anything the company owes to another party. Like assets, liabilities are either current or non-current. While assets are recorded as a positive number, liabilities are negative, which is usually indicated through the use of parentheses ().

For an online casino or sportsbook, current liabilities — debts due within a year — can include accounts payable (goods or services received but not yet paid for, such as the revenue share owed to game developers or other suppliers), employee salaries, player winnings, taxes, fees, legal costs, loan repayments, and other expenses.

Equity is what belongs to the owners of the business after all of the liabilities have been accounted for. Equity is largely composed of shares (part or full ownership of the company) and retained earnings, which is calculated by subtracting all expenses from revenues. Retained earnings — ideally — accumulate over time.

Analyzing the balance sheet can help business owners calculate important accounting ratios, such as gross profit margin, net profit margin, and debt-to-equity ratio, which we’ll look at in part 2.

Balance sheets are usually arranged in three columns. The left-hand column displays the category for each item, the middle column shows the current figure, and the right-hand column shows the same figure for the previous year.

Balance sheet: visual

20222021
$ 000$ 000
Assets
Non-current assets

Goodwill and other intangible assets

Right-of-use assets

Property, plant, and equipment

Non-currency prepayments

Deferred tax assets

167

25

12

8

3

164

28

15

1

3

Subtotal (non-current assets)215211
Current assets

Cash and cash equivalent

Trade and other receivables

255

68

222

52

Subtotal (current assets)323274
Total assets538485

Equity and liabilities

Equity attributable to equity holders of the present

Share capital

Share premium

Foreign currency translation reserve

Treasury shares

Retained earnings

3

4

(1)

(1)

162

3

4

(1)

(1)

145

Total equity attributable to equity holders of the parent167150
Non-controlling interests1-
168150

Liabilities

Non-Current liabilities

Severance pay liability

Deferred tax liability

Lease liabilities

5

2

24

7

3

26

3136
Current liabilities

Trade and other payables

Provisions

Income tax payable

Lease liabilities

Customer deposits

196

25

30

6

81

177

19

20

7

74

338297
Total equity and liabilities537483

By enumerating what a company owns and owes, balance sheets offer an all-encompassing, top-down view of a business

However, to find more detailed information or satisfy any inquiries as to where exactly the money is coming from or going, you need to take a look at income and cash flow statements. At first glance, they sound and seem quite similar, but in reality they offer different perspectives on how the business is faring.

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Income Statement

The income statement displays a company’s financial performance during a period of time, comparing revenues and expenses to determine whether the company made a profit or a loss. Also known as profit and loss statements, they typically cover a month, a quarter, or a year.

Income statements start with the company’s revenues and account for various costs as you work your way down, ending on earnings per share — total profit divided among all shareholders.

There are a few items most commonly found on an income statement.

The costs of goods sold or cost of sales are the direct costs that come with making a product or providing a service. The most obvious example of cost of sales for an online casino would be a gaming duty, a fee paid to the government in exchange for the right to organize games of chance. Cost of sales does not include things like marketing (a massive expenditure for iGaming brands). Sales minus cost of goods sold yields a number known as gross profit.

Then there’s the indirect costs, often called overhead — rent, salaries, insurance, administrative costs, legal costs, accounting costs, marketing costs, depreciation, and amortization. These costs are independent of sales — e.g., renting office space for your player support team costs the same each month whether you have 100 players or 1,000, unless you expand to handle the extra workload. Subtracting your overhead costs from your gross profit leaves you with your operating profit.

Income statements will often feature the term EBITDA. Some investors argue that it doesn’t provide a full picture of a company’s financial situation, but it’s not meant to; EBITDA, which stands for Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization, is a measure of a company’s ability to generate revenue.

While investors and entrepreneurs in some corners are dismissive of EBITDA, it is routinely found on the balance sheets of online casinos. Looking at earnings without all the other considerations might seem a little unrealistic — ignoring them doesn’t mean they don’t exist — but it does give an unadulterated measure of the company’s performance.

Depreciation and Amortization appear similar at first — they describe changes over time in an asset’s worth. The differences are subtle, but crucial; depreciation describes the reduction of a tangible asset’s worth, while amortization spreads the cost of intangible assets over an extended period of time.

While this matters quite a lot when it comes to total equity — the overall value of the business — it doesn’t really reflect on your casino’s ability to generate revenue. If you buy a new server when you first set up your business, that hardware will lose some of its value each year, putting a dent in your total assets. But that doesn’t mean that the players whose accounts are stored on those servers are spending any less money on your platform. Similarly, spreading the cost of rebranding for your casino over the course of a year or more doesn’t affect player’s betting.

As success in the iGaming industry starts with a project’s ability to generate cash, EBITDA is one of the most commonly used figures in annual reports; it’s also the clearest method of comparing your casino to your competitors.

Income Statement: visual

20212020
US$ millionUS$ million
Revenue980850
Gaming duties(185)(152)
Other costs of sales(159)(135)
Costs of sales(344)(287)
Gross profit636563
Marketing expenses(306)(237)
Operating expenses(220)(214)
Exceptional items(24)(78)
Operating profit8634
Adjusted EBITDA164156
Exceptional items(24)(78)
Foreign exchange differences(9)-
Share benefit charge(8)(11)
Depreciation and amortization(36)(33)
Operating profit8634
Finance income11
Finance expenses(5)(6)
Share of post-tax loss of equity accounted associate-(1)
Profit before tax8228
Taxation(14)(9)
Net profit for the year attributable to equity holders6819

Cash flow statement

A cash flow statement accounts for all the cash that passed through a business during the stated time period — and how much stayed.

The simplest way to make sense of a cash flow statement is to start at the bottom, where the amount of cash the business had in its possession at the beginning and end of the time period covered will be recorded. Usually, the figures for the previous, comparable time period will be in the adjacent column, to the right.

A cash flow statement has 3 sections: the operating section, the investing section, and the financing section.

Operating activities are your company’s core business — in this case, the cash generated through betting on casino games and sports betting. Cash inflow comes from customer deposits and losses, and cash outflow comes from customer wins and withdrawals.

Cash flows from operating activities are the simplest to understand. This is the amount of cash generated by normal business operations, taking both revenues and expenses into account.

Investing activities are outside your company’s core business, such as investing in stocks, buying new equipment, and the sale or purchase of non-current assets that are not directly related to core operations. Cash flows out with the purchase of non-current assets and flows back in when they are sold (a key difference between cash flow statements and income statements).

If your casino purchases a non-current asset such as a new bank of servers, this is recorded as a negative number on the cash flow statement. However, if you were to look at the same item on a balance sheet, you’d find the positive value of the asset, as if it were to be sold off, it would still render some value to the shareholders.

Financing activities cover cash inflow and outflow from loans and changes in share capital related to funding the business. This section of the cash flow statement records whether your company took out any loans (cash influx) or paid any back (cash outflow). This is also where you’ll see if the company sold any shares (cash inflow) or bought any shares back from investors (cash outflow), as well as paying dividends to shareholders.

Once you account for all the activity in the operating, investing, and financing section, you’ll see exactly how the total amount of cash changed from the beginning to the end of the period covered.

A net influx of cash does not necessarily indicate profit, as the cash flow statement does not account for non-cash liabilities, such as payments made on long-term debt.

Direct v. indirect methods

The direct method of calculating cash flow is as straightforward as its name implies. Cash outflow is deducted from cash inflow, and the resulting number, negative or positive, is the total cash flow.

The indirect method, however, is often viewed as easier to produce. When taking this approach, the report begins with net income and then makes adjustments to eliminate non-cash elements from the financial picture. Comparatively, the direct method requires the inclusion of a line item for every instance of cash flow — a tremendous amount of labor.

Cash flow statement: visual

20222021
Cash flows from operating activities30,22931,749
Cash flows from investing activities26,884(9046)
Cash flows from financing activities-15,790(4211)
Net cash from operating, investing, and financing activities41,32318,492
Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year48,77930,287
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year90,10248,779

Cash flow statement vs. income statement

The income statement and the cash flow statement seem, at first, nearly identical. If an income statement records revenue (money coming in) and expenses (money going out), why is there also a cash flow statement, which records cash inflow (money coming in) and cash outflow (money going out)?

The reason businesses have both is due to the fact that there are different methods of recording the information. Using the cash method, revenue is recognized when cash is received, and expenses are recorded when cash is paid out. An income statement prepared under the cash method is equivalent to a cash flow statement. However, according to international financial reporting standards (IFRS), accountants must use the accrual method, where revenue is recognized as it’s earned and expenses are recorded when they’re incurred.

The accrual method makes it easy to prepare cash flow statements by using figures from the balance sheet and income statement.

Glossary

  • Asset: Anything a company owns, tangible or intangible, that has value.
  • Liabilities: Anything a company owes to third parties.
  • Equity: What belongs to the shareholders after liabilities have been deducted from assets.
  • Expenses: The costs of running a business.
  • Revenue: Money generated by a business.
  • Costs of goods sold: Direct costs of producing a good or providing a service.
  • Gross profit: Sales minus the cost of goods sold.
  • Operating profit: A business’s profit after operating expenses like wages, depreciation, and the cost of goods sold have been deducted.
  • Net income: Total sales minus all expenses, depreciation, amortization, interest, and taxes.
  • Earnings per share: A company’s net profit divided among all outstanding common shares.
  • Depreciation: The accounting practice of spreading the cost of an asset over its useful life.
  • Amortization: The accounting practice of writing down a loan by spreading repayments over a period of time.
  • EBITDA: represents a company’s ability to generate cash before accounting for interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Discontinued operations: Parts of a business that are no longer in operation. These are recorded separately on financial statements to show which sources of revenue have been cut off.
  • Profit: Income minus expenses.
  • Cash method: An accounting practice where revenue is recorded when cash is received and expenses are recorded when cash is paid out.
  • Accrual method: An accounting practice where revenue is recorded as it is earned and expenses are recorded as they’re incurred.
  • Deferred revenue: Payment a company receives for a good or service to be provided in the future.
  • Retained earnings: A company’s leftover earnings from an earlier period, after expenses have been accounted for dividends have been paid to shareholders.
  • Consolidated balance sheet: A balance sheet for a group of companies, presented as if they were a single firm.
  • Goodwill: the difference between the business's purchase price and fair market value; this intangible asset includes reputation, branding, customer base, and intellectual property.

Conclusion

Perhaps the most important lesson here is the importance of a good accountant — but hopefully you’re more at home in the world of accounting than you were at the top of the page. In part 2, we’ll look at how you can use these financial statements to analyze your business, so keep checking back.

Tracking your financial performance is essential, but there are plenty of other statistics online casino operators need to keep track of; unique players, average bet, gross gaming revenue, and more. Luckily, the Business Intelligence module in our new and improved turnkey online casino platform tracks and sorts the vast amount of data generated by online casino platforms — and it’s just one of the platform’s unbelievably useful modules.

Find out more about our turnkey product and other solutions — or get your online casino business started today — by clicking the button below.

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