South African horseracing and betting operator Phumelela Gaming & Leisure Ltd. saw revenue rise 8% to R492m (US $55.2m) in the six months ending January 31. The boost was largely due to Phumelela’s football betting operations, which saw net income rise 77% over the same period last year. Meanwhile, revenue from Tote horseracing fell 5% to R229m ($25.7m), thanks to 10 lost race meetings due to inclement weather and the J&B Met occurring in February rather than January. Phumelela’s local revenue rose 8%, while international revenue was up 16%. Headline earnings per share rose 17% to 52.26c and the company declared an interim dividend of 28c per share.
Phumelela CEO Rian du Plessis told MoneyWeb that revenue from fixed-odds betting through its Betting World operations was up 24% and du Plessis is convinced that sports betting “will outgrow and outpace” its flagship horseracing operations. Plans are afoot to add other betting options like Formula One and motorcycle sports and du Plessis says he’d be surprised if Tote betting on non-football sports “is not more or at least equal” to horseracing handle in five years’ time. Du Plessis indicated that the number of sports betting wagers had risen 250% yet turnover had risen only 30%, which du Plessis suggested was “indicative of the economy.”
Phumelela’s new online betting software is set to go live on May 1 and Du Plessis says the principal benefit will be the ability to offer fixed odds alongside Tote bets, which previously required customers to hold two accounts. Du Plessis said Phumelela was “focusing very hard on the cheapest form of taking the bet, which is online,” but the company isn’t neglecting its retail footprint. Phumelela opened four new Betting World outlets over the past six months, bringing the total to 52, and the company has applied for 28 more licenses, 16 of which have already been granted. The company also added five new tote branches over the past six months.
TOTE IRELAND ADDS SOUTH AFRICAN RACING
Horse racing may increasingly play second fiddle in the Phumelela band, but Tote Ireland has eagerly added South African racing to its list of wagering options. Tote Ireland CEO Tim Higgins said he was “delighted” to be able to offer punters “more choice and access to larger pools.” South Africa has 364 racing days per year (thanks for nothing, Christmas) and 444 meetings, 100 of which are graded races.
TSOGO SUN GOES ON EXPANSION KICK
Casino and hotel operator Tsogo Sun Holdings has embarked on an ambitious expansion program for its Silverstar, Gold Reef City and Montecasino operations in the South African province of Gauteng. The process is expected to take two years and cost a minimum of R750m ($84.2m), R480m of which will go into expanding the Silverstar. Tsogo Sun, which operates 14 casinos in South Africa, has also extended its partnership with Western Province Rugby by another three years, adding its Caledon Casino Hotel & Spa and Mykonos Casino properties to the list of official hotel and casino partners of WP Rugby.