Betsson investors will have something positive to cheer them up in these trying economic times following the release this week of record quarterly numbers from the Swedish listed company. Third-quarter figures for the three-month period to the end of September, saw revenues rise 52 percent to SEK 252 million (Q3 2007:SEK 165.5 million); operating profit up 26 percent to SEK 67.8 million (SEK 53.7 million last time) and active customer numbers soar by 40 percent to 127 300 (90 800 in 2007).

On a quarterly basis, Betsson's casino operations contributed 62 percent of the group's gross profits, up 14 percent. The contribution from other products grew by 29 percent, poker only 4 percent, while the sportbook contribution remained steady.

The company has maintained its feisty stance against Swedish monopolistic practices which saw it open a land betting shop in Stockholm in defiance of threats from the gaming authorities (see previous InfoPowa report) Betsson reports that following a complaint from gaming officials about the shop, the local police opened an investigation and a fine was imposed. Despite these intimidatory moves, Betsson is adamant that it is operating within European Union law and intends to keep the shop open pending positive developments now taking place on the regulatory front.

Fourth-quarter trading looks set to carry on the positive trend, the report indicates. October producing "all time high" revenues, and the firm launched an enhanced affiliate programme called Affiliate Lounge. The company's statement notes that player and consumer confidence levels in online gambling were high and increasing, with net sales since 2005 up by 1 200 percent.

Presenting the financials for the nine-month period starting in January 2008, Betsson said revenues increased 56 percent to SEK 716.7 million (YTD 2007: SEK 459.2 million), while operating profit increased to SEK 184.7 million - up 26 percent. Pre-tax profits for the period reached SEK 187 million compared - well up on last year's SEK 147.5 million. Casino growth rose 77 percent over the same third quarter period last year while revenues from other company offerings grew 471 percent. Not faring so well was the online poker activities of the firm, which declined 29 percent. The sportsbook operations, however, delivered a stellar 188 percent growth in revenues.

Scandinavian markets, which comprise 62 percent of Betsson's action, grew 17 percent on a quarterly basis to SEK 126.9 million, compared with SEK108 million last year. Business from the European Union nations outside the Nordic region slowed, with growth declining by 3 percent to SEK 21.6 million and represented 27 percent of Betsson's business. Non-EU countries including Turkey grew 2 percent to SEK 55 million making up the remaining 11 percent of the firm's player base

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