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Strong growth in "mobile" betting: Tabcorp


Wagering and keno operator Tabcorp is experiencing strong growth in its digital business as more and more punters place bets via their mobile phones.

Tabcorp on Thursday reported a net profit of $72.9 million for the first six months of the 2012/13 financial year, down 61.5 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

But the result was heavily skewed by the loss of the highly lucrative right to operate poker machines.

Tabcorp and rival Tatts Group lost their duopoly to operate poker machines in Victoria - outside of those operated by Crown in Melbourne's Crown casino - in August 2012.

New revenue-sharing arrangements under Tabcorp's wagering and betting licence in Victoria also skewed the result.

Under the new arrangements that started in August 2012, Tabcorp was obliged to share more of its proceeds from wagering with the Victorian racing industry.

Tabcorp's revenues from continuing operations for the six months to December 31 rose 2.1 per cent to $1.03 billion.

Tabcorp said its revenues and market share from gambling on digital platforms continued to grow.

Digital turnover in the first half grew 15.9 per cent to $1.25 billion, encompassing sales via the website and the company's wagering apps for smartphones and tablets.

Wagering via mobile devices accounted for 28 per cent of Tabcorp's digital turnover in the first half.

"There's always been a tendency for Generation X and Y to be early adopters of technology," Tabcorp chief executive David Attenborough told reporters.

"Smartphones are well over 50 per cent of the Australian market in phones.

"People are getting used to transacting over their phones with the banks, with retailers and certainly with us."

Tabcorp said the continued transfer to digital betting and a relatively soft retail trading environment were reflected in turnover at TAB outlets.

NSW retail TAB turnover grew 0.9 per cent to $2.04 billion, and Victorian retail TAB turnover fell 1.9 per cent to $1.57 billion.

Mr Attenborough said the group's first half results reflected the biggest changes to Victoria's gambling industry in 20 years, and the fact that Tabcorp was the biggest player involved in the changes.

He said Tabcorp had succeeded in making a smooth transition from its poker machines business to a new business that provides support services for the new operators of the poker machines: Tabcorp Gaming Solutions (TGS).

Mr Attenborough said Tabcorp had accelerated the revenue growth of continuing businesses.

Total wagering revenue, before the allocation to the Victorian racing industry, rose 6.2 per cent to $1.01 billion.

After the allocation to the Victorian racing industry, wagering revenue fell four per cent to $816.1 million.

Keno revenue grew 15.3 per cent to $106.5 million; revenue from media and international operations lifted 8.1 per cent to $101.5 million; and TGS generated revenues of $37.8 million.

Mr Attenborough said that in the second half of the financial year, Tabcorp was focused on strengthening its digital channels, managing expenses and growing its business in fixed odds betting, keno, TGS, and international operations.

Share in Tabcorp were 7.5 cents higher at $3.155 at 1436 AEDT on Thursday.