Mobile Gambling Revenues Rocket at Betfair

LONDON --Betfair Group (LSE: BET.L  ) -- the world's biggest online betting community -- is currently down over 2%, despite good figures in an interim management statement for the first quarter of FY13, released this morning.

The statement announced that core Betfair revenue was up 13% to 91.6 million pounds, with the main growth coming from sports betting, where revenue was up 21%, with a strong performance from the U.K. market, where revenue was up some 23%. The growth in mobile betting continues apace, with half of all customers in the U.K. and Ireland placing a mobile bet in the first quarter, driving the volume of bets up 114% and generating a 98% increase in revenue.

But regulatory changes in Italy, Cyprus, and Spain resulted in revenues in Betfair's games and poker divisions falling 7% and 4%, respectively, with concerns that comparable changes in Germany may have a similarly negative effect.

Stephen Morana, Betfair's chief financial officer, commented:

Revenue growth in the first quarter was primarily driven by euro 2012, improved monetisation of exchange activity, continued mobile growth and a recovery in risk-sports margins. The resulting growth was partially offset by the impact of regulation. …The U.K., our largest market, was our strongest performing region, driven by the continued success of the "Don't Settle for Less" advertising campaign and a great summer of sport.

Morana also announced his decision to leave Betfair: "Finally, I have informed the Board that I intend to step down once a successor in the CFO role has been identified. It's been a very difficult decision to make but I feel the time is now right, for both me and the company, to move on."

Betfair will be moving on under the leadership of new CEO Breon Corcoran, who joined from rival Paddy Power at the start of August. Corcoran faces something of an uphill struggle to more than double Betfair's value, if he's to return the share price to the heights of over 1,600 pence, seen back October 2010, from its current base camp of 731 pence.

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