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Net Ent warns; Lottomatica earns; Sportsbet dislikes courts; Betfair has hiccups

TAGs: Betfair, levy, Lottomatica Group, Net Entertainment, Sportsbet

Net Entertainment has issued a warning that it expects to report lower earnings in Q1 2011 when it releases its quarterly filing on April 28. Blame for the downturn goes to “delayed revenues from regulated markets in combination with increased product development and the strengthened Swedish currency.” Worse, Net Ent expects the negative trend will persist throughout the first half of the year. The news sent Net Ent’s stock sharply down on Friday’s trading, losing 8.7% on the day.

net-ent-lottomatica-sportsbet-betfairLottomatica has tallied its 2010 numbers, reporting revenues of €2.3b (+6.3% over 2009) and EBITDA of €812m (+3.6%). The numbers were even better in Q4, with revenues up 9.9% and EBITDA up 14.9%. Q4 revenues from Italian operations were up 13.6%, based on a hefty boost in VLT wagers, although sports betting hold was half that of the same period in 2009. Subsidiary GTech G2 revenues were up 10% in Q4, and while you might think the launch of the Canadian online poker network played a role, the company claims the increase was “primarily due to fluctuations in foreign currency.” Still, CEO Marco Sala expects “new additional customers” will sign on to the Canadian network in 2011. Just a suggestion, but I hear Nevada might be open to hooking up with ‘other jurisdictions’.

Betfair and Sportsbet may have won the right to challenge the Federal Court ruling that Racing NSW can charge each company a 1.5% turnover tax, but Sportsbet would prefer to settle the matter out of court. Rationalizing that there’s a limit to “how much more money should be wasted on legal fees,” founder Matthew Tripp is urging Racing NSW’s board to “review the situation.” In response, Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys told the Sydney Morning Herald that the racing industry needed “certainty,” which they wouldn’t get from the gross profit taxation model desired by Betfair and Sportsbet. As far as Betfair’s Andrew Twaits is concerned, Racing NSW should prepare to enter Thunderdome. “We’re … looking forward to getting some finality in the High Court.”

Speaking of finality, some Betfair customers are hoping for an end to the betting exchange’s recent site outages, the latest of which occurred Friday morning. A spokesperson told The Register that the hiccups have been caused by the company shifting its data centers to Ireland. Let’s hope things get squared away before St. Paddy’s, because you wouldn’t want hordes of irate, green-beer-fueled punters getting stuck with open positions they can’t close, then going looking to ‘exchange’ words with those responsible.

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