MORE PLAYERS AND GOOD REVENUES FOR BETSSON Swedish online gambling company delivers sterling Q1 results With player acquisitions up 20 percent and revenues in Q1 2008 rising 54 percent, it's no wonder that the management at the Swedish Betsson online gambling group are confident for the year ahead. The company released its Quarter 1 2008 results this week, showcasing revenues of SEK 228.8 million, up 54 percent on the SEK 148 million recorded in the same perios last year. Pre-tax profits rose to SEK 56.8 million (Q1 2007: SEK 45.5 million). Player acquisition was also a highlight, with the number of active customers growing 43 percent to 153 000 over Q4 of 2007. Betsson went after five new markets in its player acquisition drive, including France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Spain. Player acquisition from these new sources rose 20 percent higher than the average intake of clients in Norway, a well established market for the company. CEO Pontus Lindwall said the company has achieved value in its investment to acquire and monetise customers across new and established markets, and this would stand it in good stead for the forthcoming European football championships in Austria and Switzerland. “We have prepared for the event by building up our customer base," Lindwall revealed. "Our marketing costs (have) increased but it has been worth it because we got the customers registered and playing with us. This will enable us to make the most of the football tournament this summer." Casino products made up 53.7 percent of Betsson’s gross profit (Q1 2007: 46.3 percent), whilst poker contributed 25 percent, lower than the 38.4 percent achieved last year. Sportsbook revenue generated 18 percent, up 3 percent on last year's number. Other gaming products made up the remaining 3.3 percent of the gross profit. Looking at the regulatory situation in Europe, the report notes that continued pressure from the European Commission for EU member nations to curtail state gambling monopolies could lead to more major markets opening up, allowing operators to expand. Exceptions were Turkey, where the protected activities of the IDDAA was an impediment, and Norway where an apparent determination to ban online gaming could effect operations in the short term in one of Betsson's largest markets.