Playtech gears up for global expansion

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 24, 2012 2:43 AM
Playtech gears up for global expansion

LONDON (Reuters) - Playtech, the world's biggest provider of online gaming software, said it saw increasing opportunities as gambling laws are relaxed across the world and was confident of meeting full year expectations following a surge in revenues.

The Estonia-based firm, which operates a joint venture with Britain's biggest bookmaker William Hill, said total revenue increased by 89 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter to 69.6 million euros ($90.8 million).

"The board is very comfortable with market expectations for the year ended December 31 2011 and looks forward to 2012 with confidence," Chief Executive Mor Weizer said in a statement on Tuesday.

Market expectations for Playtech's full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) currently range between 105.4 million euros and 120.6 million euros with the average at 116.7 million according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 7 analysts.

The company, in which billionaire Israeli founder Teddy Sagi holds a 46.6 percent stake, said the opening up of online gambling markets would present opportunities for global expansion.

"Playtech is well positioned to take advantage of market opportunities wherever as and when they appear," Weizer said.

Playtech raised 100 million pounds through a share placing last November to finance acquisition opportunities.

The industry is preparing itself for the possible legalization of some forms of online gambling this year.

The United States Justice Department said in December that only online betting on sporting contests is unlawful, clearing the way for other types of Internet gambling such poker and casino games to be legalized.

Playtech has already positioned itself for the U.S. market re-opening, signing a deal to provide software to the California Online Poker Association (COPA) last year.

"The U.S. Department of Justice's pre-Christmas guidance has provided further encouragement for those looking to achieve regulation in the U.S. Playtech is preparing itself for each and every market," Weizer said.

($1 = 0.7665 euros)

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Lorraine Turner)