What happened

Shares of International Game Technology (IGT -0.10%) have popped today, up by 11% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT, after the company reported first-quarter earnings. The results handily beat the market's expectations, thanks in part to cost savings.

So what

Revenue in the first quarter was $1.01 billion, well above the consensus estimate of $0.87 billion in sales. That resulted in net income of $92 million, or $0.38 per share. Wall Street analysts were modeling for a net loss per share of $0.01. The gambling technology company also completed the sale of its Italy B2C gaming business.

Sports betting on a tablet and TV

Image source: Getty Images.

"We delivered some of our strongest profit results ever during the first quarter, fueled by robust player demand and significant, structural cost savings," CEO Marco Sala said in a statement. "Our Global Lottery segment achieved record same-store sales levels on impressive increases around the world."

Now what

IGT CFO Max Chiara commented that the economic recovery is underway and that the company is now enjoying strong operating leverage. He also said cost discipline helped bolster cash flows during the quarter. IGT refinanced approximately $1 billion in debt during the period, which will translate into interest savings. The company expects the trend of legalized gambling to continue expanding in the U.S., which will drive growth for years.

"As we look out over the next three to five years, we see the potential for the number of U.S. jurisdictions authorizing the iLottery to double from current levels," Sala said on the conference call with analysts. "Today, our presence in the U.S. sports betting markets powers 16 states representing over 40 sportsbooks."