Sportingbet Enters Greece And Spain

It is official. Sportingbet applied for licences in Greece and Spain aiming to hang on to its position within these respective markets. Many see it as a smart move towards a business model.

Following the operator’s first half and Q2 results for the three months to 31 January publication earlier today, Andy McIver told said that Sportingbet aims to maintain its position as market leader in those markets the moment regulatory processes are concluded later this year. In spite of the two European countries struggling economically they are among the listed company’s core markets in tandem with Australia. Greece is responsible for 15% of Sportingbet’s net gaming revenue.

“We have not exited the Australian market since it regulation in 2008. We have always been the market leader and we will certainly still be in future,” he said. “Regulation in Greece and Spain is on the cards within a very short space of time, we’ll be applying for licences there too.”

Advisors Peel Hunt said the economic situations in Greece and Spain necessitated lowered sports margins for the internet casino, notwithstanding that European sports NGR still increased by 4%. “Management estimates that under current Greek legislation, net profits in the first year could be £4m”, it said.

Sportingbet’s top- performing market was Australia with amounts wagered up 5% and NGR up 73% during the second quarter. Sports margin in Q2 was 5.4%, compared with 3.3% in 2010. Its up and coming markets division performed well, especially in South America with NGR up 67%.

During the last year Sportingbet has also exited the French and Norwegian markets, the former as a result of its excessive tax rate and the latter since it’s unlawful to operate the country, however McIver is happy that the absence from these markets won’t impact the operator’s revenue in the long run. “In France the taxation rate makes it difficult for us to establish office there,” McIver, said. “Norway was responsible for less than 1% of our net gaming revenue and of course it’s illegal, hence the reason we’ve pulled out.”

In total, Sportingbet experienced a 36% drop in amounts wagered on poker in Q2 offset by an increased sports betting take, leaving total amounts gambled up £53m compared to the same period last year from £502.3m to £555.3m. 6% of Sportingbet’s business accounts for poker only.

The internet casino’s mobile platform caused a spike in its sports betting which was only introduced in a number of gambling jurisdictions 9 months ago. A 27% growth in in-play betting, contributes 67% of European sports revenue and Sportingbet’s mobile phone products presently accounts for 10% of its active players.

“Our main aim during the course of four years was to entice players to wager every hour of every day and our yield per active sports player has increased every quarter,” said McIver. “Football remains the most popular sport, but basketball has grown significantly as well; especially in countries like Russia and Eastern Europe.”

He said Sportingbet is still bang on target in Russia, since its joint venture with Liga Stavok was confirmed last November.“ McIver added presently there aren’t any mergers on the table or acquisitions in Europe in view of the fact that discussion with Unibet weren’t successful last year, hence the reason we’ve approached no one recently.



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