With the regulatory environment easing in Europe, online betting and gaming operator 32Red looks to enter licensed markets, particularly Italy, and expects to surpass market estimates for 2011, its chief executive said.
32Red expects to post another set of record results for 2011, boosted by increased investment in marketing activities that has consistently yielded new casino customers.
The business is definitely on a roll. We are investing more money in marketing at the topline and we are being more aggressive with our promotions, which are bringing in new players, Chief Executive Ed Ware told Reuters.
The company's marketing activities include broadcasting television advertising and sponsoring the Football League Championship team Swansea City.
Analysts on average were expecting it to post a full-year pretax profit of 2.1 million pounds ($3.3 million), on revenue of 22.1 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which is licensed by the government of Gibraltar, said it would seek to become a licensed operator in the Italian market and prefer to be on the inside, lobbying governments rather than on the outside.
We're only interested in regulated markets, which is why we're looking at Italy closely now because we think that could be an opportunity, said Ware, who owns a race horse and goes to UK during the racing season.
Several online gambling companies have been seeking to break national monopolies in a number of EU countries -- a lucrative market with revenues of 80 billion euros in 2010.
Ware said he would also be interested in obtaining a license in Spain, but was wary of the economic situation in the region.
Since mid-August the European central bank has buttressed debt management efforts in both Spain and Italy by buying roughly 70 billion euros of the countries' bonds.
CEO Ware, who started his career with bookmaker Ladbrokes', said he wouldn't rule out making acquisitions if the right opportunity came along.
Ideally we would look for companies that would be on par with ourselves or slightly small, Ware said, adding that the online gaming industry would see more deals done in the future.
The company, whose biggest client base is in the UK, settled an infringement dispute in January with Britain's biggest operator of high street betting shops William Hill.
($1 = 0.633 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Juhi Arora in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)