Sportingbet in first-half loss

ONLINE gaming firm Sportingbet posted a first-half loss hurt by a drop in sports betting in its European segment yesterday, but said its third quarter had started well.

The company, which operates in sports betting, casino gaming and poker, said pre-tax loss for its first half to 31 January was £7.2m, compared with a profit before tax of £19.6m a year ago.

In Europe, the company’s business was hit by the disposal of its Turkish language website -- which accounted for 29 per cent of European and emerging markets gaming revenue – as well as by the ongoing recessionary environment in the region.

Sportingbet, which has more than 2m customers in 30 markets across Europe, Australia, Canada, South America and South Africa, said first-half revenue grew two per cent to £109.4m.

Amounts wagered grew about 18 per cent to about £1.27bn, backed by an 86 per cent surge in Australian sports betting that included benefits of its Centrebet acquisition, which was completed in August.