Sportingbet Reveals £210m in Charges
By James Mc
Embattled Paradise Poker owner Sportingbet has revealed it would write down £210 million following the disposal of its US business last week for the token sum of $1.

The company’s US facing facility, which accounted for two thirds of its overall revenue stream, was sold just prior to the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act by President Bush on Friday.

The company is now set to focus on its European and Australian online casino and sports websites, and embark on a £10 million restructuring programme aimed at keeping the group in profit despite the loss of its most profitable arm.

Incoming chief executive and former finance director Andrew McIver, who replaces former CEO Nigel Payne, said he was ‘dismayed’ by regulatory developments in the US.

'These (legislations) will have a significant impact on the group's trading results going forward. However, we retain strong European and Australian businesses along with the non US-facing element of Paradise Poker, and we will build on these.'

The charge for Sportingbet came as it reported a near doubling of annual pre-tax profits to £71.5 million for the 12 months to the end of July. Pre-tax profits for the previous year were £40.8 million.

Shares in Sportingbet closed yesterday at 50.25p, valuing the group at £211.8 million. Earlier in the year, the group was worth more than £1 billion.

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