Party Gaming's growth boosts first quarter

But weak performance again in the competitive field of online poker

Online gambling group Party Gaming plc has reported a 27 percent rise in first-quarter revenue that is mainly attributable to strong growth from internet casino, bingo and sports betting services.

Online poker revenues continue to disappoint, however, depressed by competition from major websites like Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker, which continue to take bets from United States-based gamblers.

Group revenue increased to $127.1 million in the first quarter of 2010, with casino revenue up by 25 percent to $51.2 million, and online poker revenue falling to $47.8 million from $53.6 million in the same quarter the previous year.

First quarter highlights included:

* Group revenue up 27 percent to $127.1 million (2009: $100.1 million);

* Average daily revenue down 2 percent versus the previous quarter due to an exceptional casino performance in Q4.

* Poker revenue of $47.8 million (2009: $53.6 million);

* Casino revenue up 25 percent to $51.2 million (2009: $40.9 million);

* Average daily casino revenue down 9 percent versus the previous quarter due to an exceptional casino performance in Q4 and foreign exchange considerations.

* Bingo revenue of $17.7 million (2009: $1.0 million);

* Average daily bingo revenue up 4 percent versus the previous quarter driven by higher player numbers, partially offset by adverse foreign exchange circumstances.

* Sports betting revenue of $7.1 million (2009: $4.5 million);

* Average daily sports betting revenue up 1 percent versus the previous quarter due to further improvement in gross win margin

Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Total revenue was up by 27 percent year-on-year with strong increases in all product verticals except poker, which fell due to competition from US-facing sites.

“On a quarter-on-quarter basis and as expected, we have seen a slight softening in average daily revenue overall following the exceptional casino performance in the previous quarter. While clean EBITDA margins for the year to-date were ahead of our expectations in the first quarter of 2010, we are maintaining our previous full year guidance for 2010 clean EBITDA margins of approximately 28 percent.

“In line with our expectations, since the end of March gross average daily revenues have softened and were down between 6 percent and 7 percent versus the average for the previous quarter, reflecting the normal seasonal pattern seen in previous years.”

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