Faced with the prospect of new French gambling laws earlier this year, Unibet sportsbook then decided not to apply for a license – and yesterday their chief financial officer admitted they’re paying for it, despite an excellent second quarter.
Unibet’s recently appointed CFO Henrik Tjärnström told analysts yesterday that the company enjoyed a 30% year-on-year rise in income to £39.2 million ($61.2 million) in the second quarter of 2010. Pre-tax profit for the quarter rose a whopping 70% year-on-year to £10 million. Unibet also saw a 30% year-on-year increase in customers, credited to betting on the 2010 World Cup.
Then came the bad news. Though Unibet has since put in for a license to operate its online sportsbook in France in addition to publicly announcing its partnerships with Zeturf and France Pari, Tjärnström was pessimistic about the chances of anything happening for his company in France in 2010: “we won’t have any revenues in France,” he said.
As a result of exiting the French market in the second quarter, Tjärnström stated that Unibet revenue “will most likely decrease in the third quarter.” Tjärnström went on to say that “it will be a challenge to exceed the EBIT level for 2009 for the full year.”
Despite the financial hardship, though, Tjärnström still wants to play within the rules of French gambling laws: “Long term, we want to be a credible operator in Europe […] and that’s why we decided to go for a local license in France. At the same time, the initial terms and conditions are restrictive, and that’s why [we weren’t] in France from day one.”