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Sportingbet sees Australian growth as overall group profits take a hit

2nd December 2012 / lee

Online betting site Sportingbet, despite suffering a fall in revenues between August and October, received some more positive news from their Australian arm. Sportingbet, who are the target of a takeover from Britain’s largest bookmaker William Hill, who are aware the immense value of trade in Australia that the takeover would bring, again saw growth Down Under. The Australian online betting market accounts for the high majority of group profits and customer growth was up 29 percent, while amounts wagered over the financial quarter went up 3.5%.

The Australian market was boosted by the interest in the Melbourne Cup, the biggest annual horse race in the country. On November’s Melbourne Cup Day, Sportingbet recorded an 8 percent rise in clients along with a 21 percent rise in number of bets placed.

The Sportingbet group though saw their overall revenues across all of their operations fall by 35 percent, with revenues dropping to around £40 million between August and October. There were several factors contributing to this loss from across Europe, as weakening markets in Spain and Greece in particular, where new gambling regulations and recessions are causing operators headaches, hit the Sportingbet group hard. Sportingbet saw a massive 57% drop in wagers from Spain over the period. A decline in online poker interest as well was factored in to the losses.

William Hill, who made a joint takeover proposal with gaming company GVC for Sportingbet, agreed to a provisional takeover share price of 61.1p. Sportingbet had already turned down an initial approach at a much lower 52.2p per share from William, but in November, the second approach met with approval, the new share price being one which the Sportingbet board would accept. William Hill have until December 4th to make an official offer for the Sportingbet Group. The Australian branch would go to Sportingbet while all the areas of the operations that exist in legislative “grey areas” would be handled by GVC.

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