Party Gaming revenue growth in 2008


Party Gaming plc's much anticipated half yearly results were released this week, showing revenue growth in all areas as the online gambling firm continues to rebuild following the depredations of UIGEA and its exit from the US market.

Revenues in the first half of 2008 rose 17 percent to $254.8 million in line with market expectations, up from $217.4 million in H1: 2007.

Party Poker was the star performer in the group, contributing over half of company revenues, and rising 6 percent to $153.9 million due to higher yields.

Casino revenues followed the current industry trend, soaring 38 percent to $89.9 million, driven by higher player numbers and yields. The small but fast growing bingo business appears to be gaining ground, especially in the UK, and reported a leap of 82 percent in revenues to $2 million. Sports betting activities also delivered a good performance, with revenues up 36 percent to $9 million.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) from continuing activities rose to $64.9 million, up from $36.9 million last time. The figures exclude reorganisation income and costs and non-cash charges relating to share-based payments.

Judging by statistics for the start of the new quarter, poker activity has eased slightly, but overall group performance is on target

"Our poker business continues to grow but is being held back by the continued competition from those sites that accept players from the US," said Jim Ryan, Party Gaming's CEO.

In the 8 weeks to 25 August, average gross daily revenue has been $1.6 million. Average gross daily revenue for poker has been $835 000 while for the online casino division it has been $694 100. Bingo revenue has been running at $27 600 per day while the sports book's average gross win per day has been $44 600.

Ryan took the opportunity to announce the appointment of Rod Perry (63) as non-executive chairman with immediate effect. Perry has served as a non-executive director with Party Gaming since May 2005 and since February 2007 has been the senior independent director.

During his tenure he has also served at various times as chair of the Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee and Ethics Committee.

Party Gaming's Board of Directors has appointed Lord Moonie, who joined the Board on 13 December 2007, as the senior independent director and chairman of the Remuneration Committee. Perry will chair the Nominations Committee.

"I look forward to working closely with Rod as we develop the Group's strategy to both grow our existing revenue streams and also to seek to exploit new opportunities over the coming months and years, CEO Ryan said. "Rod's experience and knowledge of the online gaming sector and Party Gaming make him the ideal person to oversee the board going forward and to provide continuity following a period of a change to the membership of the board.

"On behalf of my fellow directors, I wish to thank Michael Jackson for his service to Party Gaming over the last 3.5 years."

Perry said: "I am honoured to have been selected by the board to lead Party Gaming into its next phase of development. Since becoming a public company, we have had to face and overcome a series of major challenges. Looking forward, I am excited about the opportunities that a fresh approach under Jim Ryan as CEO will bring and am confident that under his stewardship, the
management team can unlock further value for shareholders."

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