The UK football pool group Sportech has reported positive H.1 2008 results, highlighting a healthy 50 percent rise in pre-tax profits to GBP 7.8 million, and an increase in gross win revenues to GBP 36.6 million – up 28 percent.
Online gambling interests delivered an overall operating profit unchanged at GBP1.4 million – GBP1.2 million of this from online casino activities, but online poker operations were disappointing, with a further drop in revenues, and customer numbers down 7 percent. Revenues per player also declined by 17 percent. Management indicated that it is confident this downward trend will be reversed once the poker activities have been migrated to 888’s technology platform.
Most recent acquisition Vernon's Pools contributed GBP8.1 million to football revenues, a significant percentage of
the GBP8.3 million increase in this area to GBP 30.3million over the first six months of this year. The acquisition also contributed all of the GBP2.4 million increase in operating profit over the six-month period from GBP7.0 million to GBP9.4 million.
Hopes are high for the new football pools brand "New Football Pools" launched during the reporting period and timed for the start of the new football season this month. The enhanced product range is designed to attract a younger customer base and could benefit from international marketing agreements signed with 888.com. Distribution deals with the Daily Mirror newspaper and football magazines are also expected to bring good results.
Ian Penrose, the CEO at Sportech, said: "The rebranding initiative for the New Football Pools is on schedule and we have developed new products and enhanced existing products. Importantly, having signed a deal with 888, we have the opportunity to deliver global marketing and distribution opportunities for both our football pools businesses as well as our other egaming businesses."
Penrose also revealed that the group is to investigate opportunities in international markets, and that the Littlewoods-branded venues offering casino, poker and bingo gambling action will be the subject of na rebranding initiative early in Q1, 2009.
“We have made significant strategic, operational and financial progress during the first half of 2008," said Penrose. "Although there is still change to be delivered, we look forward to continuing the transition of the company into a growth orientated sports, leisure and gaming business with international reach."
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