Australian wagering and lottery operator Tatts Group boosted its profits by over 5% in the first half of its fiscal year thanks to “exceptionally strong online traction.”
In the six months ending Dec. 31, Tatts revenue was up 6.5% to A$1.6b while net profit after tax gained 5.2% to $147m. Tatts credited the uptick to an online performance that was “nothing short of outstanding.”
Tatts’ mainstay lottery operations posted record revenue of $1.11b, up 9.6% year-on-year, thanks in part to 24 jackpots over the psychological $15m barrier, six more than the same period a year earlier. Online lottery sales were up nearly 35%, accounting for 13.2% of all lottery sales, compared to just 10.8% a year ago.
Tatts’ wagering division reported turnover up 3% to $2.14b but revenue fell 4% to $326m thanks to a string of favorites living up to their reputations. Here too, online wagering enjoyed significant gains, with turnover up 20.2% to an all-time high. Digital wagers accounted for 28.8% of overall turnover, up from 24.8% a year ago.
Tatts says its repositioned UBET wagering brand is performing above expectations. Tatts upgraded 54 wagering outlets to the new UBET format during H1, and these operations achieved double-digit turnover growth compared to their non-refurbished peers in surrounding locales.
Tatts’ three gaming operations all showed “pleasing momentum,” with the Maxgaming electronic gaming services division reporting revenue up 1.5% to $59.8m although earnings were flat at $32.5m. The UK-based Talarius slots business saw revenue rise 30% to $77.1m and earnings improve 31% to $11m, while the Bytecraft technical support services unit reported revenue up 1% to $51.8m and earnings more than doubled to $3m following the termination of some unprofitable contracts.
Tatts said trading in the first six weeks of H2 was “trending strongly,” with lotteries benefiting from still more large jackpots while UBET turnover was up 4%. Tatts plans to further bolster UBET with a cash-out feature for multi-bets, the rollout of next generation self-service betting terminals as well as new virtual sports and racing games.
Tatts CEO Robbie Cooke said the momentum the company was experiencing from its digital initiatives was “truly exciting.” The company’s websites are averaging 3.5m visits per month, while Tatts apps have been downloaded to over 1m mobile devices, double the sum from the previous year. Cooke claims the company will continue to unlock “significant value” from its digital connections in the years to come.