evenues in the first quarter reached 253.7 million euros, a 4.2% increase over the same year-earlier period. Gross operating profit (EBITDA) for the period totaled 55.4 million euros, which was 11.9% lower than in the first quarter of 2008 and exceded its expectations for the quarter.
Its business portfolio also continued to grow: 54,412 gaming machines (1,996 more than at the close of first quarter 2008), 146 sports betting shops (88 new), 138 bingo halls (8 new), 6 casinos (one new) and 3 racetracks.
Net profit in the first three months of 2009 totalled 1.7 million euros, up 54.5% from the 1.1 million euros recorded in the first quarter of 2008. With these results, the firm returned to profit in 2009 after closing 2008 with a loss.
Argentina and Mexico continued to be the main driving force thanks to the expansion of its line-up of gaming options and the increase in the average daily net win per machine. This growth offset the weakness in the Spanish market resulting from the current macroeconomic situation as well as the depreciation of the Mexican peso.
In Argentina, first-quarter revenues rose 16% over the year-earlier figure to 93.4 million euros. The strong increase in the net win per slot seat per day, which expanded by 20.3% to 202.7 euros, and the growth in the total number of installed machines (4,479) were the main factors behind this performance. EBITDA for the first quarter totalled 20 million euros, representing a 2.9% increase over the same year-earlier period.
First-quarter revenues in Mexico reached 51.9 million euros, a 3.2% gain over the yearearlier period. This increase was due primarily to the growth in the number of electronic bingo machines installed, which increased 12.2% over the first quarter 2008 close to a total of 20,599 units, and the increase in the sales to the local partner. On the operating level, EBITDA declined 21.1% in the first quarter to 16.8 million euros.
In Spain, AWP revenues in the first quarter 2009 declined 16.3% over the year-earlier period to 44.7 million euros. This decline was in response to the decline in the average daily net box per AWP machine and the lower number of terminals sold and installed. On the operating level, EBITDA declined 35.8% to close the first quarter at 12 million euros.
Regarding the rest of the businesses in other countries, we would highlight the improvement in operations in Panama thanks to the increase in the number of terminals installed, the increase in the average daily net win per machine recorded by AWP Italy, and the increases in average daily net win per terminal and revenue from racetrack betting in Uruguay.