Sportingbet revenues fall in 'challenging' conditions
Online gambling firm Sportingbet has reported a fall in first quarter revenues citing "challenging" conditions."
European online poker revenue collapsed nearly 50% reflecting "continued structural decline" of the game, the company said.
The total amount wagered in the three months to 31 October fell to £594.3m, compared with £693.7m for the same quarter last year.
Group revenue fell £21m to £38.8m.
Group chief executive Andrew McIver said: "It was a challenging first quarter but a very strong November".
Sports margins in Australia had been "particularly strong", the company said, after a 29% increase in active customers and rapid growth in the amount being wagered via smartphones and other hand-held devices.
The rise and fall of online poker
- The US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 effectively banned US citizens from gambling online, forcing many poker firms to quit the lucrative US market
- The biggest beneficiaries of UIGEA were PokerStars and FullTilt, who continued to accept US players and rapidly became the biggest poker sites in the world
- On 15 April 2011 - now known in the industry as Black Friday - the US Department of Justice pressed charges against three of the biggest online poker operators for breach of UIGEA. US players were banned again.
- PokerStars has over 50% of the global market, with nearly 300,000 players online during peak periods
Online poker, which accounts for about 6% of Sportingbet's total gaming revenues, has suffered globally over the last five years thanks to heavy regulation in some jurisdictions, the difficulty and cost of processing payments, and the recent rise of instant sports betting via mobile devices.
The company remains confident that full-year results "will meet its current expectations".
Sportingbet is still waiting for a formal takeover bid to be tabled by William Hill and GVC Holdings, reportedly worth £530m.
Talks are still continuing with a new "put up or shut up" deadline of 4 December.