Sportingbet Reports Huge Online Gambling Losses - Castigates UK

30 November 2006

Newspaper

BBC NEWS
Sportingbet has reported quarterly losses of £241.4m ($470.6m), after selling its US business for £1.

The online gambling firm took a charge of £252m on exiting the US in October, shortly before new laws outlawing internet gaming came into force there.

But it saw gross profit from its other gambling operations rise 48% to £31.7m, in the three months to 31 October.

Sportingbet slammed the UK government for its “lack of support” for the online gaming industry.

It accused Britain of doing little to support the industry ahead of the US legislation, and said it had made “little real progress” in defining a “regulatory and fiscal framework” that would encourage online gaming firms to base themselves in the UK.

Sportingbet said it was looking forward to a “harmonisation” of gaming rules across the European Union.

The exceptional charge taken by Sportingbet included a £132.7m write-down of investments, a £106.3m “loss on disposal of investment” and a restructuring charge of £13.4m.

It said the sale of its US operation had enabled it to transfer over 450 employees, without incurring severance and closure costs.

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