Bwin Ends Growth Year in the Red

16 April 2009
While the Austrian operator Bwin Interactive Entertainment A.G. reported annual losses of 12.3 million euros, strong growth in sports betting drove gains at the top line.

Net sports betting revenue -- which accounted for 55 percent of the company's total net gaming revenue -- rose 20.3 percent to 202.7 million euros over 2007.

Sports margins for the year fell to 8 percent from 8.7 percent a year ago, which Bwin attributed to the growing popularity of its live-betting services.

Net income from poker, meanwhile, rose 8.6 percent to 81 million euros.

In a Webcast Thursday, Norbert Teufelberger, the company's co-chief executive, said the company's choice to invest heavily in its poker technology, in recent years, is helping it capture market share at greater rates than its listed competitors.

"In a new and more regulated Europe, poker is going to be a significant technology, and the technology we have developed internally will be a great advantage," he said.

The company's real-money Italian poker offering has fared well. As of January 2009, it controlled approximately 8.4 percent of the country's market share, having turned over 11.6 million euros that month.

Bwin's casino generated net income of 61.6 million euros, up 10.7 percent, while games delivered 19.3 million euros, up 38.4 percent.

On current trading, Mr. Teufelberger said average daily gross gaming revenue is up 12 percent over the same quarter last year and "stable" compared the previous quarter.

He said the company still intends to trim 40 million euros off the cost line this year, and reiterated guidance for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of at least 100 million euros.

The company plans to pay its maiden dividend on its 2009 annual results.

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