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European Sports Betting Leads Sportingbet to Q1 Growth

25th November 2009 9:03 am GMT

Continuing its solid performance from the last financial year, Sportingbet plc has reported a 26% increase in net gaming revenues to £48.6 million for its first financial quarter ended October 31st, with strong revenue growth from its European sports betting business helping to offset a decline in Australia.

The company's European sports betting business saw net gaming revenues (NGR) increase by 56% to £27.2 million with amounts wagered up 38% to £263.8 million. In-play betting accounted for 58% of the value of bets placed during the quarter with amounts wagered on live betting increasing 68% year-on-year, generating an NGR of £15.2 million.

Australian sports betting NGR fell 12% to £6.1 million however, as the business continued to be affected by the increase in state taxes introduced in the prior financial year and the favourable sports results for customers during August and September.

The company's casino and games offering accounted for a further 23% of total NGR at £11.1 million, up 12% year-on-year following an expansion in the casino and games product range, while poker NGR fell 5% to £4.2 million.

Total administrative expenses increased by 27% to £42.3 million, resulting in a profit for the period of £6.1 million, an increase of 42% on the corresponding period last year.

In terms of geographic spread, Europe now accounts for 85% of Sportingbet's total NGR compared to 80% in Q1 2008, with Australia contributing 12.5% and emerging markets the remaining 2.5%.

"I am pleased to report a solid performance for the seasonally quieter first quarter of the new financial year," said Andrew McIver, Chief Executive of Sportingbet. "Group performance continues to be driven by the European Sports betting business which has seen strong growth in all its key metrics including amounts wagered, NGR and active customer numbers.

"The Australian business continues to benefit from deregulation with the internet business driving amounts wagered up strongly. As previously reported, the business suffered from poor horse racing margins through August and September which have since recovered to more normal levels."

Sportingbet said that trading since the start of the second quarter had remained robust with the additional benefit of Australian margins returning to more normal levels. The performance to date gives the company's Board confidence with regard to the remainder of the financial year.

As at October 31st the company held cash and cash equivalents of £48.6 million versus £41.8 million a year ago.

Shares in Sportingbet plc (Co. Profile) (LSE:SBT) have gained 3.19% to 72.75 pence per share in London this morning following the release of the company's financials.

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