Bwin.party digital entertainment are very much “in-line” with their own expectations after a pre-close trading update release was dominated by a regulatory update. Trading in the final three months of the year has been “in-line” with expectations as gross win margins in sports betting returned to “more normalised levels” in November after a very strong run of results in October. The company remains on track to deliver poker fans a new version of PartyPoker in H1 2013 that will see the bwin poker platform integrated for the first time. Italian slots are another part of the business that has performed “in-line with expectations”.
The 21st century’s version of the “Schleswig-Holstein question” dominates bwin.party’s update and they sound as unsure as the rest of us about what those crazy Germans are playing at. Yesterday we reported the news that S-H had made the decision to join its fellow German states and adopt the state treaty and put those with licences in the state in the S-H-I-T.
Bwin.party sounds hopeful that S-H’s original regime can coexist with the system proposed by the other states – something that certain esteemed industry observers don’t believe can be the case. Law firm DLA Piper admitted late last year that, as a result of licences already been issued, the two laws “can’t be made compatible” and to that end the two are still a way apart. It’s also the case that S-H’s original Act is compatible with EU law whereas the German State Treaty, limited to sports betting and with a punitive 5 percent turnover tax rate, isn’t.
Another country in which bwin.party once had problems was Belgium and the firm reported that land-based partner Belcasinos is “in the process of securing the requisite operating licences to operate all online products”. As for the United States, they remain “well-placed”, by their own admission, to take advantage of any legislation that becomes law in any number of jurisdictions across the country.
They, like many of their counterparts, will, for now, be waiting to see whatever Germany ends up doing and how it shapes the firm’s future strategy in the EU.