Sportingbet revenues fall in 'challenging' conditions

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Image caption Sportingbet is focusing on sports betting rather than online gaming

Online gambling firm Sportingbet has reported a fall in first quarter revenues citing "challenging" conditions."

European online poker revenue collapsed nearly 50% reflecting "continued structural decline" of the game, the company said.

The total amount wagered in the three months to 31 October fell to £594.3m, compared with £693.7m for the same quarter last year.

Group revenue fell £21m to £38.8m.

Group chief executive Andrew McIver said: "It was a challenging first quarter but a very strong November".

Sports margins in Australia had been "particularly strong", the company said, after a 29% increase in active customers and rapid growth in the amount being wagered via smartphones and other hand-held devices.

Online poker, which accounts for about 6% of Sportingbet's total gaming revenues, has suffered globally over the last five years thanks to heavy regulation in some jurisdictions, the difficulty and cost of processing payments, and the recent rise of instant sports betting via mobile devices.

The company remains confident that full-year results "will meet its current expectations".

Sportingbet is still waiting for a formal takeover bid to be tabled by William Hill and GVC Holdings, reportedly worth £530m.

Talks are still continuing with a new "put up or shut up" deadline of 4 December.

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