How is the Aristocrat (ASX:ALL) share price hitting record highs during lockdowns?

Let's find out.

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The Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) share price has bolted to a record high in today's session.

Shares in the gaming technology giant have shrugged off COVID-19 induced lockdowns and restrictions.  

Since the start of the year, shares in Aristocrat have surged more than 54% higher.

In comparison, the broader S&P/ASX200 (ASX: XJO) Index has only managed to gain 12.5% in 2021.

So, what's been propelling the Aristocrat share price higher?

Digital gaming fuelling Aristocrat share price

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic weighing heavily on traditional gaming machines, the Aristocrat share price has continued to soar.

Shares in the gaming machine giant have been buoyed by growth in its digital gaming business.

Earlier this year, Aristocrat reported its half-year report for FY21.

For the 6 months ending 31 March 2021, operating revenues fell 1% to $2.23 billion and gross profit decreased 3.5% to $1.13 billion.

However, the company declared an 18.4% increase in net profit after tax (NPAT) of $362.2 million.

Aristocrat attributed the increase in profits to substantial growth in its digital segment.

For the first half, 54% of group revenue was generated from the company's digital gaming arm.

Overall, revenue for Aristocrat's digital segment surged more than 28% for the period.

On a booking basis, the company highlighted that it ranks in the top 5 mobile game players across Tier 1 western markets.

The outlook for Aristocrat

Aristocrat's management noted plans for strong growth over the full year to 30 September 2021.

Despite no dollar figure guidance, the company expects to enhance its market-leading position in casino gaming operations and drive further growth in its digital games business.

The gaming giant expects further growth in digital bookings. As a result, Aristocrat expects user acquisition investment to be modestly above the historic range of 25% and 28% of overall digital revenues.  

Aristocrat's growth outlook has also been supported by numerous brokers and analysts.

Recently, leading broker Citi released a bullish outlook on the company, initiating a buy rating of a $46 share price target.

Analysts noted that Aristocrat's digital business and traditional gaming segments are pulling together.

At the time of writing, shares in Aristocrat are up more than 2% for the day at a record high of $47.75.

Motley Fool contributor Nikhil Gangaram has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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