Friday November 2,  2012 : BWIN.PARTY Q3-2012 FAILS TO EXCITE
 
Revenues dip at major online gambling group
 
Bwin.Party digital entertainment plc's Q3-2012 results released Friday have failed to excite, with year-on-year revenue 5 percent down to Euro184.4 million (Q3-2011: Euro 201.1 million) in the period July to end September.
 
Other performance indicators included:
 
* Average daily revenue for Q3 down 8 percent versus the prior year.
 
* Total revenue for the nine month period to 30 September of Euro 594.5 million, down 1 percent (2011: Euro 599.1 million)
 
* Q3 revenue was adversely impacted by German sports betting tax, a poor run of sporting results in European football, a decline in poker and a challenging macroeconomic climate in southern Europe
 
* Strong current trading since 30 September in all verticals with average net daily revenue up 19 percent compared with Q3 2012
 
* Agreement signed with Zynga to supply real money poker and casino in the UK
 
* Sale of Ongame to Amaya Gaming completed
 
* Real money poker signups declined 34 percent to 282,700 (Q3-2011: 430,400)
 
* Net revenue slipped to Euro 175.7 million (Q3-2011: Euro 195.7 million)
 
* As at 30 September 2012, the Group had cash (and cash equivalents) plus short-term investments of Euro 204.6 million and processor receivables of Euro 63.5 million.
 
* Bank borrowings of Euro 27 million and client liabilities (including progressive prize pools) of Euro 138.2 million resulted in net company cash of Euro 102.9 million, slightly down from the Euro 117.1 million available at the end of June 2012.
 
* During the period, the final instalment of $15 million was paid in accordance with the Group’s Non-Prosecution Agreement and the sale of Ongame to Amaya Gaming was completed.
 
Co-chief executives Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger commented:
 
“The introduction of a 5 percent turnover tax on sports betting in Germany, revenue decline in poker and continued pressure on consumer spending, particularly in parts of southern Europe, held back our performance in the third quarter.
 
“An unfavourable run of football results in our core markets in September together with the previously announced delay to the start of the Bundesliga were also contributing factors.  "However, we are encouraged by a marked recovery in trading across all products since 30 September.
 
“The macroeconomic outlook in most of Europe remains fragile, with consumer spending under pressure, particularly in southern European markets.  While the headwinds associated with the transition to regulated markets and the impact of gaming taxes can be expected to continue, given the completion of our technology integration and the next evolution of each of our core products due in 2013, the Board remains confident about the full year result.”
 
Bwin.Party numbers indicate that other revenue increased by 61 percent year-on-year and by 12 percent quarter-on-quarter, reflecting a strong performance from World Poker Tour, InterTrader and network services customers.
 
Total average net daily revenue, including other revenue, fell by 8 percent year-on-year and by 6 percent quarter-on-quarter to Euro 2,004,300 (2011:  Euro 2,185,900) principally due to declines in poker and casino, which were partially offset by growth in sports and bingo.
 
In the casino and gaming sector net revenue was down 5 percent year-on-year to Euro 65.2 million (2011: Euro 68.6 million), impacted by closures in Spain and ISP blocking in Belgium.
 
Wagering was flat year-on-year at Euro 1,957.8 million (2011: Euro 1,959.6 million), with Bwin casino outperforming Party Casino. Daily average customer numbers were down 16 percent year-on-year although the impact on revenue was mostly offset by a 13 percent increase in average yield per active player to Euro 31.0 (2011: Euro 27.4).  Consequently, average daily revenue slipped 5 percent to Euro 708,700 (2011: Euro 745,700).
 
Poker continued to disappoint, with Q3 net revenue down 29 percent year-on-year to Euro 37 million (2011: Euro 52.3 million), although trading since the period end showed a marked improvement.  Management hopes that the integration of the group's dotcom poker networks in Q4 will be the first major catalyst to return group poker business to growth.  There are also plans to launch PartyPoker on mobile and completely reposition and relaunch PartyPoker in the first half of 2013.
 
Bingo operations showed a slight improvement in revenue, up 1 percent to Euro 14.8 million (2011: Euro 14.6 million). The number of daily average players declined by 15 percent to 18,500 but was offset by a 19 percent increase in player yield to Euro 8.7 per day (2011: Euro 7.3).  Average net daily revenues therefore increased marginally to Euro 160,900 (2011: Euro 158,700). 
 
Group sports betting revenues was down by 2 percent year-on-year reflecting the late start to the Bundesliga in Germany and the impact of a 5 percent turnover tax on all sports betting in Germany.  The amount wagered in sports betting fell by 8 percent to Euro 828.3 million (2011: Euro 903.5 million).
 
Marketing spend reductions in the live betting offer influenced new player sign-ups in the period, with active player days falling 8 percent year-on-year, but there was a compensating increase in gross win margin as German customers switched to placing bets on events with higher odds as well as the impact of the partial recovery of the turnover tax from winning German customers.
 
However, an unfavourable run of results in major European leagues in September meant that the overall gross win margin in sports betting increased by less than expected to 7.8 percent (2011: 7.6 percent).  The net result was that average daily revenue in sports betting was down 2 percent year-on-year at Euro 638,000 (2011: Euro 654,300).
 
Management reports that since the end of September 2012 there has been a marked improvement in trading performance, with average daily net revenue in October up 19 percent versus the previous quarter at Euro 2,276,400 (Q3 12: Euro 1,909,800), driven by a strong recovery in sports betting and to a lesser extent poker and bingo.
 
In the four weeks to 28 October, the average gross win margin in sports betting was 10.2 percent (Q3 12: 7.8 percent) as a result of a favourable set of sporting results and an uplift in Germany. Average daily net revenue for sports betting was up 44 percent to Euro 921,700 (Q3 12: Euro 638,000).
 
Seasonality and an improved player mix has helped poker rise 9 percent quarter-on-quarter to Euro 437,800 (Q3 12: Euro 402,200), and casino and other games are up 5 percent to Euro 741,700 (Q3 12: Euro 708,700). Bingo has also improved in the fourth quarter – up 9 percent to Euro 175,200 (Q3 12: Euro 160,900).