Friday August 17, 2012 : UNIBET AND RANK GROUP PARTNER UP IN BELGIUM
 
Two experienced groups plan a third quarter launch for online casino and poker action
 
The publicly listed online and land gambling groups Unibet and Rank are teaming up to launch online casino and poker action in the regulated Belgian market, Unibet management revealed as part of the company’s Q2-2012 financial reportage this week.
 
The joint enterprise is scheduled for launch in the third quarter of 2012, once licensing from the Belgian Gaming Commission has been achieved. The requirement that online gambling operators hold an existing land licence will be met through Rank, which has two land casinos in the EU nation. Unibet already holds an online sportsbook licence.
 
Unibet CEO Henrik Tjärnström says the venture has good prospects, claiming that independent analysts have estimated the size of the market at around Euro 140 million in 2013, and that a wide range of gaming is permitted, with taxes more reasonable than those pertaining elsewhere in Europe.
 
Belgium has imposed a tax on GGR of 11 percent.
 
Taxation will certainly be a management concern at Unibet, which reported that its activities in several European regulated countries had meant tax payments have soared from Euro 600,000 to almost Euro 6 million in the first half of 2012.
 
Unibet reported H1-2012 highlights as:
 
* Revenues up 34 percent year-on-year to GBP 96.5 million, comprising GBP43.7 million on betting (up 58 percent); online casino revenue up 27 percent to GBP 37.7 million and online poker at GBP 7.7 million (up 11.5 percent)
 
* Pre-tax profit of GBP 18.1 million, a GBP 100,000 increase on the H1-2011 result.
 
* Three corporate acquisitions in Bet24 (Denmark), Betchoice (Australia) and Solfive (France)
 
* Outstanding performance on sportsbetting, with GBP 32.6 million in turnover on Euro2012 football, with a margin of 11.1 percent.