Playtech plans push as sales double

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Playtech plans to push more aggressively to win business from its competitors after the gambling software developer doubled first-quarter sales.

Contract gains with websites such as Bet365 helped boost revenue from $19.8m to $39m (£19.7m) for the three months to the end of March.

The company, which intends to move from Aim to the main market, said it now had the largest pool of poker players outside the US.

“Up until now we were pretty much focused on reactive sales,” said Mor Weizer, chief executive. “We’re now becoming more pro-active. We just believe we can leverage our market-leading position better.”

However, competition from its peers, which include Microgaming and Cryptologic, remains tough.

The sector has fled to Europe and Asia since the US banned internet gambling more than 18 months ago.

Collins Stewart, the company’s broker, increased its annual revenue forecast by 7 per cent and profit before tax estimate by 10 per cent.

The company has a war chest of about $90m to spend on acquisitions, Mr Weizer said. He expected margins to grow from 67 per cent “towards 70” this year.

Playtech, which takes a typical cut on every transaction of about 15 to 20 per cent from operators such as PartyGaming and Paddy Power, plans to complete another two so-called “migrations” – contract wins from other providers – later in the year.

By number of players, the company has a market share of about 10 per cent in poker and an estimated 15-18 per cent in casino games.

Mr Weizer also argued the company had benefited from the UK smoking ban.

“The revenues in the pubs went down, some of which I’m sure found its way to online.”

The shares rose 12¼p to 478¾p.

Playtech’s market capitalisation of more than £1bn is the third largest on Aim.

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