It's not often in these troubled economic times that you
read about major dividends being paid by online gambling
companies, but this week that dream has come true for
investors in Swedish online gambling firm Betsson. The
company announced that it is to pay a record dividend of
SEK 9 a share - an increase of 76 percent on last year's
Betsson management made the
announcement as the company posted its full year 2009
numbers that recorded a 15 percent increase in operating
income, and revenues up by 25 percent.
executive officer Pontus Lindwall told business
journalists that operating income soared to SEK 316.9
million (2008: SEK 276.6 million) whilst revenues were
up from SEK 1037 million in 2008 to SEK 1299 million in
Giving the industry in general a boost,
Lindwall said that his company's results "....prove that
this industry is resilient to the economic downturn, and
that can conclude that this kind of company has a very
strong position, even in a bad financial climate.
Income before tax increased by 14 percent to SEK
318.9 million (2008: SEK 280.7 million), and gross
profit on sportsbetting operations rose 33 percent;
online casino was up by 28 percent and other products by
a similar percentage. Online poker had, however,
underperformed, he admitted.
Poker has been not
as successful for the last two years, Lindwall said. We
have been losing market share because although we still
believe that we have a great product, on the other hand
there have been changes in other networks that have
changed the price scene and we have had some problems
being able to compete with that.
Lindwall said that the issue was being addressed and
that the company would change the situation going
forward, although he was reluctant to make any
predictions for 2010.
Lindwall responded to
questions on the controversial plans by the Norwegian
government to restrict online gambling payments in order
to protect its own state run monopoly, saying that these
moves did not concern him. It was still not clear where
and how such restrictions would be implemented, he said,
and there would always be alternative methods of
payment. He added that his company expects to generate
significant b2b growth in this market, too and expects
to announce new deals ahead of the World Cup football in
South Africa later this year.
remain Betsson's main market, Lindwall revealed, saying
that these countries contributed more than 50 percent of
total revenues in 2009, with just 37 percent from wider
European operations and a mere 13 percent from other
Expanding on the entry of Betsson into
the b2b sector with its Betsson Business Solutions,
Lindwall commented that this was a business area with
good potential; there were many new companies entering
the industry and in need of expert services, and there
had already been interesting approaches to BBS.