rench authorities have requested interviews with executives from an estimated 20 online gaming firms over the legality of their marketing activities in France.
But Sportingbet’s chief executive Andrew McIver said French authorities had not requested a meeting and stressed that less than 2% of the group’s business comes from France. "We’ve never really targeted France," he said.
A French clampdown would deal a further blow to the online gaming industry after the US tightened anti-gambling laws last October, forcing firms to pull out of the lucrative market.
Meanwhile, Sportingbet’s operating profits rose to 2 million pounds from 1.3 million pounds in the three months to January 31, excluding the group’s former US operations which it sold for us$ 1 after last October’s ban.
Including the former US business, it posted a pre-tax loss of 1.1 million pounds in the quarter. Over the last six months, it made an operating loss of £243.9m, against a profit of 43.1 million pounds a year earlier.
Sportingbet announced it would buy the assets of its Turkish marketing partner Maslin Properties for 3.5 million pounds, plus Sportingbet shares depending on performance. It has also raised its investment in its Italian joint venture, taking its holding from 50% to 90%.