For Centrebet, 2009 was a record year, at least in Australia. Second half turnover was up 24 percent over the previous six months, with revenue rising from $16.3 million to more than $19.5 million. The company’s European products did not fare so well, however, making for an overall decline in profits of nearly 8 percent.
Despite the cold European climate, company executives and shareholders are pleased. Trends show that punters are embracing internet betting in Australia, which lets Centrebet cut costs at their track-side bet shops. In fact, Centrebet plans scrap its on-course products as of April 30.
Analyst Andrew Hills confirms this trend towards betting online. “An increasing proportion of punters now are not going to the track to bet. The retail punters that go to the track are there for a drink and not for gambling.”
“Out of an audience of, say 6500, only about 200 now are really in the betting ring,” Hills says.
These punters, it seems have moved online. Centrebet now has almost 31,000 active online customers who together turned over a total of $304 million in online wagers during the first half of the financial year – an increase of 25 percent.
Centrebet hopes its European products will fare better in coming years. As the economy bounces back from the recent dip, and as EU countries beginning to embrace internet gambling, the industry shows tremendous potential.