November 19, 2009

Sports betting sees Bwin profit surge 75% at Q3

Bwin's profit is up 75% on the previous year, the company’s third quarter results have revealed.

The business recorded a 75% year-on-year (YoY) increase in third-quarter EBITDA to €16.8m, from €9.6m for equivalent period last year, on the back of a strong sports betting and gaming performance in the traditionally slower third quarter.

Bwin, which topped the Power 50 ranking of the globe’s leading egaming companies this year, saw gross gaming revenues up 5.3% YoY to €101m, from €95.9m, underpinned by a 3.4% rise in sports betting gross revenues to €52.7m, from €51m.

Poker revenues grew just 1.3% to €23.1m, while casino experienced a healthier rise of 7% to €18.1m, and the company’s smaller games division experneced a boom of 36.5% to €7.0m.

Net gaming revenues (NGR) for the quarter, however, remained broadly stable at €83.3m, from €83.7m last year, which the company said reflected the cost of new acquisition and retention measures associated with the launch of its new P5 poker platform and increased betting duties due to the growth of online gaming in Italy.

Betting turnover from betting, poker, casino and games in the third quarter was up 8.2% to €790.9m, from €730.8m last year, in the main accounted for by an 8.3% rise in sports betting turnover to €742.6m, from the €685.9m recorded for the same period last year.

The Austrian operator concluded that “the growing popularity of live betting is also resulting in a shift in the proportion of turnover away from conventional sports betting (pre-match) to live betting,” revealing that live betting’s share of the gross gaming revenues from sports betting rose to 57% for the last quarter, from 55% last year.

However, bonus-led reactivation measures after the soccer summer break saw the operator only report moderate growth of 1.1% in NGR from sports betting to €44.9m for the third quarter of 2009, from €44.4.

The company added that Bwin’s acquisition of Gioco Digitale, Italy’s largest poker provider, in September left Bwin “optimally positioned to take full advantage of the booming Italian online gaming market, which is governed by modern, proactive regulations.”

Trading in the fourth quarter had also started strongly, with gross gaming revenues during the first six weeks, excluding Gioco Digitale, of €1.45m, nearly a third more than the €1.1m recorded in the last quarter. Including Gioco Digitale, this figure rose to €1.63m, 48% above the figure achieved at this point in the last quarter.

Poker NGR also fell 10.7% to €17.7m, from €19.8m, due to expenses for bonuses in the third quarter resulting from the changeover to its new P5 poker platform.

Casino NGR for the quarter also fell 2.7% to €14.4m from €14.8m, which the company put down to a planned reduction in marketing activities.

Games NGR however achieved two-digit growth, growing 35.7% €6.3m from €4.7m last year, driven by the development of mini-games and by the launch of the backgammon platform on the Greek Betoto label at the tail end of July.

Active customers grew 18.7% to 1.1 million, from 892,000, with new active customer numbers growing 39.1% to 258,000, from 185,000.

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