The West

Online betting rises strongly
Online betting rises strongly

Gambling firm Tabcorp Holdings says 20 per cent of its online wagering turnover is being placed through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Tabcorp on Thursday reported a fall in net profit to $340 million in the year to June 30, 2012, from $534.8 million in the 2010/11 financial year, largely as the result of the demerger of its casinos business in 2011.

But, based on continuing operations, profit was 12.7 per cent higher than the $301.6 million recorded in 2011/12, due to underlying earnings growth and lower interest expenses following the casinos demerger.

Tabcorp chief executive David Attenborough said Tabcorp's continuing businesses had started 2012/13 with good momentum, and they would benefit from a number of valuable growth opportunities, such as the new Victorian Keno business and Tabcorp Gaming Solutions, which will help clubs and pubs manage their poker machine operations.

In 2011/12, Tabcorp's online wagering operations generated $2.16 billion in turnover, growing by 14.5 per cent compared to the prior year.

Betting turnover via call centres was down 6.8 per cent, and on-course betting was down 6.3 per cent.

Mr Attenborough said online growth was a natural progression as customers migrated away from using traditional call centres.

On-course betting was falling despite good attendances at race meetings because many punters preferred to watch and bet on races with their friends at their local TAB outlet.

"Over 20 per cent of online turnover is now being placed through mobile devices," Mr Attenborough said.

He said betting via mobile phone was being embraced by customers of all description.

Mr Attenborough said Tabcorp was now streaming vision of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing via iPads and iPhones.

He said Tabcorp's "multi-channel" strategy for its wagering business - encompassing TAB outlets, online and mobile - and delivering both fixed odds and totalisator products was resonating with customers.

Fixed odds revenues were the highlight, growing by 41.5 per cent to $321.4 million.

Totalisator revenues continued to decline as the market shifted to fixed odds betting.

The animated racing game, Trackside, also grew strongly, with revenue rising 65.6 per cent to $82.3 million, driven by its expansion in NSW and continued growth in Victoria.

Mr Attenborough also said that despite the high visibility of the Olympics, betting turnover on the event in Australia was never great because of time differences between the host country and Australia.

However, the Olympics was an opportunity to advertise and attract new customers.

Mr Attenborough said that on a financial and operational front, 2011/12 was a successful year for Tabcorp, with earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) from continuing operations growing by 5.2 per cent to $591.7 million amid challenging market conditions.

Earnings were boosted by 10 per cent growth at Tabcorp's wagering operations, the largest of the group's four core business arms.

Earnings from its media and international businesses were up 8.1 per cent, while gaming rose 1.1 per cent.

However, earnings from the Keno business dipped 1.0 per cent due to start-up costs associated with the launch of the new Victorian operations.

The West Australian

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