Date: Wednesday 30 May 2012
The online sports betting and gaming group Sportingbet continued to go great guns in its core Australian market in its fiscal third quarter, but Europe proved more challenging.
Amounts wagered during the three months to the end of April climbed significantly from £507.3m to £555.9m year-on-year (y/y), extending increases seen in the previous two quarters and resulting in total amounts wagered during the nine months of £1,822,1m (2011: £1,576.5m).
Total amounts wagered in Australia shot up 78% to £369.1m, helped by the integration of recent acquisition Centrebet. In contrast, amounts wagered in Europe were down 38% (or down 4% on a like-for-like basis) to £186.6m.
Net gaming revenue (NGR) - essentially how much the bookie retains after paying out winners - across the group dropped from £54.1m to £42.3m y/y, and from £160.9m to £151.7m for the nine months to the end of April, with the firm partly blaming the seasonality of its business.
The company also blamed the declines on the imposition of new regulatory taxes, the general economic conditions, and the suspension of its Spanish website following an injunction, but emphasised that the results are not necessarily indicative of operating results for the entire year, nor of future performance.
Australia's NGR soared 116% to £18.1m and was up 46% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis to £12.3,), but Europe was again the party pooper, with NGR down 47% to £24.2m from £45.7m the year before; on a LFL basis, European NGR was down 7%.
Total revenue for the quarter fell from £54.7m to £43.4m, and dropped from £154.3m to £162.6m in the nine month period.
For the nine month period the company made a loss of £6.9m compared to a profit of £31.7m in the same period the previous year. In the three months to the end of April profit fell to £0.3m, from £12.1m the same period the previous year.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation during the quarter fell from £16.1m to £10.8m.
In a statement the company said: "The group remains well placed to drive value through its strong brand presence in its regulated and newly regulating markets.
"Spain is a significant part of the group's European operations and the closure of the website has significantly affected the results. We expect Spanish licences to be issued in early June 2012 which will allow the group to request the court lift the injunction. There is no certainty around the timing of any court consideration of the matter as it is subject to Spanish legal process.
"Results in May to date have been in line with our expectations and we remain confident of the outcome for the year."
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