The major European-focused online gambling group Unibet plc has released half year figures to end June 2009, showing a positive trend that it attributed largely to its live betting facilities.
 
The group notes highpoints of the half-year as:
 
* Gross Winnings Revenue for quarter 2 increased to GBP 30.0 million ( Q2 2008: GBP 27.9 million) and GBP 66.2 million (H1 2008: GBP 59.2 million) for the first half year of 2009.
 
* Profit from operations for the second quarter of 2009 amounted to GBP 1.9 million, a drop from the same period last year, when GBP 6.1 million was achieved. Profit from operations for the first half year 2009 amounted to GBP 12.8 million, down from H1 2008 which saw GBP 16.4 million recorded.
 
* Profit before tax for the second quarter of 2009 amounted to GBP 5.9 million, rising from the GBP 4.0 million in the same period in 2008. Profit before tax for the first half year 2009 amounted to GBP 16.6 million (H1 2008 : GBP 6.9 million).
 
* Profit after tax for the second quarter of 2009 amounted to GBP 5.4 million, an increase on Q2 2008's GBP 3.5 million. Profit after tax for the first half of year 2009 rose to GBP 15.3 million (H1 2008: GBP 5.7 million).
 
* Gross margin for sports betting (excluding live betting and before bonuses during the six month period) was 6.3 percent, lower than last year's 7 percent, and on a quarterly comparison basis was at  4.9 percent, down from 5.2 percent.
 
* Active customers at the end of the second quarter 2009 numbered 309 099, slipping from 316 780 in the sae period last year.
 
Management reported that the EBITDA for the second quarter included a foreign exchange loss of GBP 3.0 million, mainly on cash balances re-translated into British pounds, and the finance net included a re-translation gain on the  Maria Bond of GBP 5.3 million.
 
Live betting was highlighted as one of the group's success stories, with CEO Petter Nylander commenting: “Continued strong development for live betting combined with a weak quarterly margin on traditional sportsbetting made live betting account for 37.3 percent (23.2 percent last time) of gross winnings from sports betting."
 
This year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament was a good example of the company's live betting expertise, where Unibet offered live odds on all men’s and ladies singles matches and streamed live action from six courts simultaneously throughout the tournament.
 
“We have been very active with marketing and thereby investing for the future in establishing Unibet in our emerging markets with attractive terms given the current economic climate," Nylander revealed. “Unibet continues to be on the forefront driving the convergence between online gambling and broadcasting with more than 1 800 streamed sports events during the second quarter and the launch of Live Dealer Casino for our customers,” he concluded.
 
Operational achievements saw the company sign up sponsorship agreements with Belgian football club Bruges FC and Hungary's Ferencvaros, and Unibet will be the main sponsor of Spain's Valencia CF through the 2010-2011 season.
 
Unibet also internationally launched Maria Poker.com, focused on the female demographic and complementing the group's Maria Bingo.com venture.