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Betfair profits jump as new punters flock in


Telephone betting operators

Telephone betting operators

Telephone betting operators

Telephone betting operators

Online gambling company Betfair posted a better than expected rise in full-year profit on Wednesday, led by strong revenue growth and a big surge in new customers.

The company, whose main exchange product allows gamblers to bet against each other, said core profit for the year to April 30 was 120.2 million pounds ($188 million), ahead of raised guidance of 113-118 million pounds given by the firm in March.

Revenue grew 21 percent to 476.5 million pounds with double digit growth across sports, gaming and Betfair U.S. New customers rose by 65 percent on the back of strong marketing, new products and a boost from the 2014 soccer World Cup.

Active customers increased by half to 1.7 million.

Betfair has benefited from a slimmed operation focused on more secure markets and higher product and marketing spend, while growth has also been boosted by avoiding heavy costs and regulations associated with betting shops that rivals such as William Hill and Ladbrokes contend with.

Future profits however will be hit by a new UK tax on profits from bets made by its UK-based customers, which crimped full-year income by 19 million pounds. The move closed a loophole that allowed bookmakers to minimise tax bills on online earnings by basing operations offshore in places like Gibraltar.

Betfair said it was upbeat on prospects despite the new tax regime. Current trading was good, the firm said, adding it was confident of delivering on expectations for its new fiscal year.

Shares in Betfair closed at 2,514 pence on Tuesday, having reached a record high of 2,724p earlier this month.