Wednesday December 4, 2013 :  BETFAIR INVESTING SUBSTANTIALLY IN NEW JERSEY AND ITALY
 
Investment could top GBP 10 million
 
In its post-results  press conference Tuesday the UK online gambling group Betfair revealed that it is preparing to make substantial investments in the New Jersey and Italian internet and mobile gambling sectors.
 
Between GBP 5 and 10 million has been earmarked for setting up facilities in the two geographically disparate centres, company spokesmen revealed, noting that the effects will be felt in the second half of 2014.
 
However, chief executive Breon Corcoran says the company will still turn in good results.
 
"Notwithstanding this incremental investment, the progress we have made in the first six months means we expect underlying EBITDA for the full year to be between GBP 82 and 87 million," Corcoran said.
 
In New Jersey, Betfair has partnered with Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City
 
The company said that the initial signs have been promising, but warned that it is still very early stages in the new market.
 
In Italy, regulation has been finalised and Betfair is now in the “final stages of a rigorous testing process” for its product.
 
“Although we cannot control the timing of this process, we currently anticipate being able to launch an Italian Exchange in Q4,” the company revealed.
 
The group additionally disclosed that it expects a licensing system for sports betting to be in place in Ireland by the end of the 2015 financial year.
 
The Reuters news agency reports that Betfair's focus on the US and Italian markets follows its exit from a number of countries due to unfavourable regulations and tax rates.
 
Betfair has been slimming down its operations and cutting costs under chief executive Corcoran, seeking to focus on fewer markets where returns are more secure.
 
Reflecting a retreat from markets including Germany and Greece, revenues fell six percent to 188 million pounds ($308 million) in the six months to the end of October, the company said on Tuesday.
 
However, underlying earnings before EBITDA rose 16 percent to GBP 48.9 million.
 
The company has built a cash pile of around GBP 200 million, and increased its interim dividend by 50 percent to 6 pence per share.
 
Under Corcoran, Betfair has also begun to expand its more conventional sports book betting, where the bookmaker sets the odds. That broadens its appeal to mainstream gamblers but brings it into more direct competition with William Hill and Paddy Power.