et income for the three months ended April 30 rose to us$ 13.6 million, from us$ 5.5 million a year earlier, the London-based company said in a statement.
European bookmakers have reported increased revenue from sport and casino games even as the recession deepens in Europe. Customers in Spain and Greece are increasingly betting on soccer games during the match itself, CEO Andy McIver said in a telephone interview. A total of 51 % of all customers bet on matches during the game, up from 47 % in the previous quarter, he said.
“They are adding to their products with the likes of in- running betting, which is driving volumes and higher yields,” said Karl Burns, an analyst at Shore Capital Group in a telephone interview, who has a “buy” recommendation on the stock.
Net gaming revenue on sports betting grew by 7 % in constant currency terms, Sportingbet said. The company also increased its winnings on the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United. “We won on the game but lost on the championship,” McIver said, as customers backed Barcelona to win from the start, he said. Gross gaming revenue in May rose 19 % compared with a year earlier.
Revenue from people playing poker in Europe has declined by 15 % in constant currency, Sportingbet said today. “Poker undoubtedly had an element of fad about it,” McIver said. He said Web-based poker companies that continued to operate in the U.S. had a “massive liquidity advantage” over European-based bookmakers.
Sportingbet said there was “no further clarity” on its talks with the Department of Justice regarding online gaming in the U.S. Congress halted gambling payments to Internet gaming sites in September 2006 by banning payments to credit card companies.
The shares 3.1 % in London, giving the company a market value of us$ 490 million. The shares have risen 86 % so far this year.
The company said earnings were boosted by currency swings as the euro strengthened against the pound. “We have discussed with shareholders, who are U.K. shareholders and they want us to report in sterling,” McIver said. Sportingbet have hedged 40 % of their exposure to currency swings, “which leaves 60 % in the lap of the gods,” he said.