02/29/2012 :  AUSTRALIA BOOSTS SPORTINGBET HY1 RESULTS
 
Positive outlook for next half following a transformational past six months
 
British online gambling firm Sportingbet Plc released its first half results for the six months ending January 31, 2012 reporting a decline in European revenues that were bolstered by an especially strong performance from the Australian market.
 
Group Performance Highlights over the period include:
 
–     Amounts wagered GBP 1.266 billion (HY1/2010: GBP 1.069 billion), an increase of 18 percent
 
–     Net gaming revenue GBP 109.4 million (HY1/2010: GBP 106.8 million)
 
–     EBITDA GBP 25.2 million (HY1/2010: GBP 25.8 million)
 
–     45 percent of revenues from regulated territories and 18 percent from territories in a transitionary phase where the company is paying tax ahead of licence issuance.
 
The Australian territory showed particularly strong growth with amounts wagered up 86 percent (like for like up 12 percent).  Five months worth of results were derived from Sportingbet's acquisition in August last year of Centrebet and the surge in growth attributed to the firms move to online betting and mobile take-up.
 
–     Amounts wagered on Australian sports betting amounted to GBP 756.1 million (HY1/2010-11: GBP 406.5 million)
 
–     Post Betting Tax NGR of GBP 45.3 million (HY1-2010/11: GBP 19.4 million) up 134 percent. Excluding Centrebet's contribution, NGR was up 28 percent on a like for like basis.
 
–     The Australian market now accounts for 54 percent of the Group's sports NGR.
 
–     Amounts wagered on mobile up a huge 395 percent
 
Europe and Emerging Markets results were impacted by the disposal of Sportingbet's Turkish language website Superbahis.com which accounted for 29 percent of the region's NGR, tax payments in Spain and Greece as the firm awaits licencing approval and the ongoing recessionary environment.
 
–     Amounts wagered down 23 percent (like for like down 9 percent)
 
–     NGR down 27 percent (like for like down 18 percent)
 
–     New betting taxes of GBP 7.9 Million
 
–     Emerging Markets division growing fast, NGR up 23 percent
 
–     In:play continues to produce industry leading margins of 10.1 percent
 
 
Andrew McIver, Group Chief Executive, commented:
 
"This has been a transformational six months for Sportingbet. We have acquired additional regulated businesses in Australia and Denmark and disposed of our Turkish language website. These, together with the movement towards regulation in our second and third biggest markets, of Spain and Greece, mean that by the end of our year we expect to derive over 75 percent of our revenues from regulated markets on an annualised basis. Following regulation in September 2008, our experience with Sportingbet Australia has demonstrated to us the long term growth potential for market leading brands in regulated markets. Our European business is being currently restructured to ensure it too is best placed to capitalise on the move towards regulation.
 
The third quarter has started well and in particular, we have seen a rebound in the softer European sports margin experienced in the first half of the year."
 
The group’s outlook is bullish based on its acquisition of Scandic Bookmakers and Danbook in Denmark (see previous InfoPowa report) along with awaited licencing awards from Greece and Spain following regulation and the anticipated major sporting events of the year – the Summer Olympics in London and Euro 2012 to be hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
 
"I think we can safely say that the Euro 2012 underpins our second-half forecast, rather than being additional to it," McIver told Reuters.  "I reckon we'll take more on any match in Euro 2012 championships than the whole of the Olympics."