|Shares in online bookmaker Sportingbet rose late last week, after the company announced its European business became profitable for the first time, in the fourth quarter of last year. The profit was mainly due to the acquisition last year of Sporting Odds. Sportingbet also recently ended takeover talks with an unnamed bidder, and has paid a multi-million dollar sum to the former owners of Sportsbook, which Sportingbet bought in 2001.|
Published pre-tax profits fell to £1.4 million ($2.26 million), against £5.0 million ($8.1 million) last year. Turnover rose to £1.15 billion ($1.86 billion) against £992 million ($1.6 billion) a year ago.
The figures were hit by a 30% rise in the cost of processing payments, as a result of US banks’ suspending the use of credit cards in online betting transactions. The company does most of its business in the US- it has North American 644,000 customers, but Sportingbet is concerned over the precarious legal situation in the US regarding anti-gambling legislation.
Having integrated the acquired operations Sportsbook and Sporting Odds, all of its units are now trading profitably. The company said it wants to focus on building the business organically and reducing debt, and 'looks to the future with confidence.'