For Sportingbet, It's Less Turkey, More Greece

4 March 2009
Sportingbet, the online gambling operator, grew second-quarter net gaming revenue by 5.8 percent over 2007 on reduced exposure to Turkey and a strong performance in Greece.

Total net gaming revenue came in at £43.6 million, to which European sportsbetting contributed £23.3 million, casino and gaming, £10.9 million, and poker, £5.3 million. The Australian sportsbook, meanwhile, contributed £4.1 million.

The company's core markets, Spain and Greece, saw income grow 16 percent and 83 percent, respectively, against the prior-year period, while Turkish revenue fell from 44 percent of total revenue to 16 percent.

The European sportsbook achieved gross margins of 11.2 percent, up from 10.5 percent a year ago.

Akin to Unibet, the company has begun targeting higher value clients, with V.I.P.s "man-to-man marked" -- as the company likes to say -- by territory managers in each of the jurisdictions where it operates. And though the number of active sportsbetting customers has fallen as a result, the average bet size has increased, year over year, from £13.63 to £15.53.

Telephone high rollers in Australia, however, are betting less money -- and less frequently -- as a result of the economic downturn, the company said.

With regard to regulatory developments, its discussions with the United States Department of Justice remain "positive and amicable" but the company did not give any indication as to when they would be resolved.

And in Turkey, one employee who was jailed there, then had his travel restricted, was cleared to return to the United Kingdom in January. A further hearing in that case is not expected until 2010 at the earliest, it said.

From amounts wagered of £402.2 million, the company turned profits after tax of £7.9 million. It ended the first half with net cash of £27.3 million.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.