Posted on: February 8, 2021, 08:11h. Last updated on: February 8, 2021, 08:43h. Golden Nugget Online Gaming (NASDAQ:GNOG) is previewing its 2020 financial results today and the newly public company’s numbers look sturdy. Golden Nugget boss Tilman Fertitta, seen here. Golden Nugget Online says 2020 GGR topped $100 million. (Image: Bloomberg)The iGaming firm is forecasting 2020 gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $101 million to $102 million, up approximately 67 percent from $60.9 million in 2019. Total 2020 revenue is expected to be $90 million to $91 million, a 63 percent increase from 2019. Houston-based GNOG notes the 2020 results are currently unaudited.The online casino company estimates 2020 operating income will be $23 million to $24 million, or $28 million to $29 million when excluding $4 million to $5 million of costs related to the merger with Landcadia Holdings II. Stripping out those transaction costs, GNOG’s operating income surged approximately 62 percent from $17.6 million in 2019.Last June, Landcadia, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) co-owned by Fertitta and investment bank Jefferies, announced plans to merge with GNOG. That transaction paved the way for the iGaming entity to become a publicly traded company.GNOG Strong Start in MichiganGolden Nugget online hasn’t yet set a date for its fourth-quarter earnings report, which will also include full-year 2020 numbers. That will be the company’s first profit update following its Dec. 30, 2020 debut as a standalone public entity.Last year, there was ample investor enthusiasm for GNOG. Not only did it come to market via a deal with a blank-check company, but it offers more tangible benefits to investors. These include its status as a profitable company, a rarity among emerging growth companies. Additionally, Fertitta’s firm is the dominant name among online casino operators in New Jersey.Procuring access to new states is integral to the investment theses for iGaming equities such as GNOG. On that note, the operator, like some of its rivals, is enjoying a strong start in Michigan. Sports betting and iGaming went live in that state late last month and President Tom Winter says GNOG is already notching $2 million in daily internet casino wagers.“Michigan is embracing online gaming at a rapid pace and we anticipate that our business in the Great Lakes State will exceed our earlier expectations,” he said.State OutlookIn addition to Michigan and New Jersey, GNOG is live in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Last November, Fertitta’s Golden Nugget reached a deal with Wilmot Gaming to build a casino in Danville, Ill., giving GNOG market access to the fifth-largest state.Golden Nugget, which is also in the midst of a merger with a SPAC, operates five land-based casinos in Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and New Jersey.As for new market access, Lousiana and Mississippi are sensible locations for the expansion of GNOG’s online sportsbook. Mississippi already allows sports wagering, but it hasn’t yet signed off on truly mobile betting. Louisiana voters approved sports betting last November, but the first legal wagers there likely won’t be placed until 2022.In late morning trading, GNOG shares are slightly lower despite the upbeat financial preview.
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