Andrew McIver, chief executive of the online gambling group Sportingbet.com said this week that he was "cautiously optimistic" following the release of positive full year results for the company which included a rise in net gaming revenues of 23 percent to an impressive GBP 147 million over the last six months of the year. The company – which offers online sports betting, gambling and poker – reported that sports betting performance in Europe (43 percent up) and Australia (54 percent up) in particular had made a major contribution to the successful year. Sports betting represented 61 percent of the group's income, up from 52 percent last year.
Performance in the emerging Eastern European markets, with the key regions Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria saw growth increase by an aggregate of 79 percent year-on-year, to generate 13 percent of group NGR. Investment in the Latin American market also saw Sportingbet expand business in the region, with Brazil as the focal point.
McIver told investors that Sportingbet has now completed its restructuring, resulting in an improved operating profit margin of 15.4 percent, and although it still made a loss in total of GBP 1.2 million, this is radically less than last year, when the firm lost GBP 33.6 million as it struggled with the loss of the American market through the UIGEA.
The completion of the group's restructuring had resulted in a more than three-fold increase in adjusted operating profit which left it well positioned to capitalise on the strong position it had made in its markets, McIver said.
He added: "The new financial year has started well with net gaming revenue growth in excess of 30 percent in the first two months."
Sportingbet expects the imminent launch of its new live sports streaming on its websites, together with other new product launches to drive further customer yields and retention throughout the year. The company also revealed that the second of its two employees detained by the Turkish authorities earlier this year has been released, although he will have to return to Turkey for trial, provisionally set for 26 January 2009, on charges yet to be itemised. The other vacationing Sportingbet employee who was detained by the Turks was released in July without charge and allowed return to the UK.
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