|UKbetting, the online sports betting operator of Team Talk and Sporting Life has reported worse-than-expected pre-tax losses, but remained optimistic about its outlook.|
With more than 204,000 gamblers on its network, the company said its outlook for 2004 remained encouraging, with turnover in the first quarter soaring 61 percent to £18.8 million. Gross win margin, meanwhile, was up from 6.7 to 9.7 percent.
‘We are pleased with the way the year has begun and, after two years and the turn-around of nine predominantly loss-making businesses, we are well placed to benefit from the attractive growth prospects in each of its markets and should deliver an EBITDA profit in 2004,’ said Vice chairman Peter Dubens.
UKbetting also announced plans to re-launch Sports.co.uk, a mobile ring tones provider, and reposition the site as a portal for the upcoming Euro 2004 games. A second site, Mobilelounge.co.uk, due to be launched by June, will offer various mobile phone accessories.
The London-based group said the introduction of online poker; casino games and fixed odd betting had helped boost the number of registered users to its site. Revenue from third party sales of content services to Orange, the mobile service provider and in-store broadcast services in Asda, Allsports and Moto also reported an increase.
The site posted pre-tax losses before one-off items, interest and goodwill of £3.2 million, while bottom line pre-tax losses came in at £5.7 million, attributing losses to the acquisition of sports content operator Rivals, which includes Team Talk Football365 and Sportinglife and Oddschecker – a live price comparison service in its portfolio, for a total of £6.75 million last year boosted its user base, but ate into profits.