April 5, 2019 / 8:03 AM / 8 months ago

GVC quarterly net gaming revenue rises on solid online performance

(Reuters) - Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings Plc on Friday posted an 8 percent growth in quarterly net gaming revenue, as strong online performance in sports and gaming bets offset retail weakness in Britain.

A sign hangs outside a branch of Ladbrokes in London, Britain December 22, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The company reported flat like-for-like retail revenue in the UK for the first quarter ended March 31, but online net gaming revenue rose 17 percent.

The company, Britain’s largest high street bookmaker, has expanded through partnerships and of late has been focusing on the sports-betting and gaming opportunities in the United States.

GVC has weathered regulatory changes, including in the United States where the Justice Department had recently called for wider restrictions on gambling over the internet.

The company said it was confident of achieving its target of double-digit online growth in gaming revenue in 2019.

However, back home in Britain, restrictions on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals was expected to result in the closure of up to a 1,000 shops and impact GVC’s 2019 core profit by about 135 million pounds ($176.6 million).

Fixed odds betting terminals are electronic machines in betting shops, which contain a variety of games, including roulette.

The new regulations were implemented in April and maximum betting was limited to 2 pounds ($2.62) from a 100 pounds in an effort to keep a check on problem gambling.

“We expect it to be several weeks before we can start to assess the impact,” Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Alexander said in a statement.

However, the company, which offers sports betting, casino, poker and bingo and has licenses in over 20 countries, was confident of meeting the expectations for its overall full-year core and operating profit.

Shares of the former FTSE blue-chip component rose 1.9 percent to 594 pence in early trading.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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