he operator posted NGR of us$ 80 million for the three months ended 30 April 2010, compared to us$ 61.7 million in the same period last year, while operating profit rose by a healthy 18% to us$ 17.2 million, from us$ 14.6 million.
Sportingbet chief executive Andy McIver said the profit increase was particularly pleasing not only given “the recessionary backdrop, in particular in two of our four biggest markets” but also due to the run of favourites winning in Spanish football. “Spain has also been impacted by the run of results. If you wanted free money this year, betting on Real Madrid or Barcelona in every game was a sure way to get it”, he said.
In Australia, NGR soared 167% from us$ 5.6 million to us$ 14.9 million, although 23% of that is attributable to favourable foreign exchange movements. Favourable horse racing results also lifted the sports margin well above the long term average in the quarter to 5.9%, compared to 2.9% the previous year.
The other strong performer was the group’s European sports and casino business, the former achieving 21% year-on-year growth in NGR to us$ 42 million, from us$ 34.6 million. Boosted by European markets, group NGR from casino and gaming contributed a further 17% of growth to us$ 16.6 million, from us$ 14.2 million. In common with most other non-US facing operators, NGR from poker was down, dropping 10% to us$ 6.4 million, from us$ 7.1 million.
On the imminent re-regulation of the French online sports betting and poker market, McIver stated it was it was “currently our intention to apply for a French licence”, but revealed “it is going to take us longer to get the IT compliant site that we hitherto expected based on the unofficial conversations with French authorities. We are estimating it will take us months to produce an IT system that is compliant.”