Bwin.party to cut costs after sales decline

ONLINE gambling company Bwin.party has seen quarterly revenues fall to their lowest level in more than three years, as it has seen fewer customers than expected on its poker and casino games.

The firm said yesterday that sales had fallen 17 per cent in the first quarter of the year to €180m (£153m), its lowest quarterly performance since 2009, which sent shares down 2.86 per cent yesterday. As well as disappointing user numbers, bwin.party was hit by a five per cent German tax on sports betting.

It said yesterday it was planning €70m in cuts this year as it joins a host of other firms exiting markets where regulations are not clear cut.

Bwin.party, which offers sports betting, casino games, poker and bingo to online customers, has opted to focus on a core of around 10 European markets, rather than going after business in more than 30 countries. This strategy, which it set out earlier this year, is similar to one being followed by Betfair and sacrifices short-term revenues to try to produce a more stable business model.

Chief executive Norbert Teufelberger said revenues were unlikely to start improving until the second half of the year, but was confident the group would hit targets outlined in March.

“We guided the market that we expected revenues will decline this year by up to 10 per cent versus 2012,” he said. “Despite the first quarter revenue performance, we remain comfortable with our guidance,” he added.

Bwin.party and other gambling groups are also looking to expand in the US where Nevada and New Jersey have led the way in lifting some of the curbs on operators.

Teufelberger said Bwin.party was preparing to apply for a licence in New Jersey and the company said it was well placed to take a market-leading position as and when other states liberalise their markets