Sportech starts 2016 off on right foot but Queen refuses to let VAT court fight die

sportech-vat-fight-not-overUK-listed online gambling operator Sportech says it started 2016 off on the right foot while confirming that Her Majesty’s tax bloodhounds have no intention of giving up their VAT chase any time soon.

On Tuesday, Sportech released a trading update covering the year through May 16, with results in line with management expectations thanks to technological upgrades and the signing of some new customers.

On the latter front, Sportech Racing & Digital division inked a new wagering technology deal with the Macau Jockey Club, joining recent regional signings in Malaysia and Vietnam and the opening of Sportech’s new office in Singapore, which the company claims has “started to deliver results.” Sportech also delivered 400 new wagering terminals to Australian betting operator Tabcorp.

In the UK, Sportech broke new ground by doing business at this year’s Cheltenham Festival for the first time. Stateside, Sportech launched pari-mutuel wagering operations at two new tracks – Lone Star Park in Texas and Remington Park in Oklahoma – operated by the Chickasaw Nation’s Global Gaming Solutions.

The nascent Bump 50:50 in-stadia electronic lotteries business is on target to deliver its first profits in 2016 thanks to seven new customers, including the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, the NHL’s Dallas Stars and MLB’s San Diego Padres.

The Sportech Venues division reported business up 17% at its internet wagering site, while the division also got a bump from the launch of its first California operation in San Diego, which the company said was growing following a “slow but steady start in establishing the new concept.”

As for the Football Pools business, Sportech says its modernization project is on track to be completed within the next six weeks. The Football Pools App made its debut in March and the company expects the division to start reaping the benefits of its transition from a paper-based business to a marketing and technology-driven mindset.

Finally, Sportech’s interminable VAT dispute with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) carries on, despite the company’s unanimous victory with the Court of Appeal on May 4. Instead of finally cutting the company that long-awaited £97m check, Sportech says HMRC has asked the court to let it appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, and Sportech expects a decision on that request within the next two weeks.