|Sportingbet, the online bookmaker which revealed that takings last month had been hit by an 'unusually high number of unfavourable results', has announced widening losses thanks in no small part to opposition by the anti-gambling lobby in the US. Anti-gambling organisations have put unprecedented pressure on US bankers to prevent them processing bets placed with Sportingbet and have also pressed some states to pass legislation to make it illegal for banks to handle money for online gambling. |
The blow comes hard on the heels of Sportingbet's profit warning earlier this month, which was caused by punters correctly calling the results of European domestic soccer matches and NFL American football games.
Between them the gamblers and anti gamblers pushed Sportingbet's pre-tax losses to £5.7m in the six months to August, from £3.8m in the year-earlier period. Sportingbet shares fell 2p to 26 1/2p today.
The number of bets placed by US customers last month fell by 454,000 to 5.8m.This is in contrast to European operations which made 'strong progress', with the number of customers surging 77 per cent to 289,000 year on year, with the number of sports bets soaring by 2.1m to 3.5m.The Australian and Asian unit saw client numbers rise by 14 per cent. Chairman Peter Dicks said each region within the group's global spread was profitable at operating level.
Sportingbet could face more difficulties in the US as gambling opponent Senator Kyl tries to push through an internet Bill in the US House of Representatives.