Dismal results for interlot

Profit down on weak sports betting, high start-up costs

Lottery systems provider Interlot reported dismal H1 2009 results this week, recording a 30 percent fall in net profit, which management attributed to a weaker sports betting business and high start-up costs.

Nevertheless, CEO Constantinos Antonopoulos remained optimistic that the company would meet its full year targets and looked forward to a better 2010. "As a management team, we are pleased with the results in the first six months of the year, since the company is on track with our expectations for the full-year 2009 profitability," Antonopoulos said in a statement.

Net profit for the half year came in at Euro 42 million (H1 2008: Euro 60.3 million) at Intralot, which also runs sports betting games in more than a dozen countries around the world. This was still better than an average forecast of Euro 39.9 million given by analysts in a Reuters poll, a cause for some comfort to investors.

Sales in the period fell 11 percent to Euro 488 million, well below the average forecast of Euro 513.8 million, Reuters reported.

Despite weak profit, Intralot's CEO said the firm would meet its 2009 targets and was upbeat over 2010 performance.

In a bid to capitalise on the trend toward liberalisation of world gaming markets, Intralot has inked several deals in all five continents in recent years. Earlier this year, it started offering instant tickets in the U.S. state of Ohio and launched Internet poker in Italy.

Antonopoulos said a backlog of six projects in the United States which would start to clear soon, improving revenues, and a program to streamline internal operations would start bearing fruit in 2010.

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