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Bwin.party revenue hit by German tax rules, poor poker

LONDON (Reuters) – Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, the worlds largest listed online gaming group, said a new gaming tax in its core German market and a big drop in poker sales pushed net revenue down 10 percent in its third quarter.

The firm said on Friday net revenue in the three months to October 31 fell to 175.7 million euros compared to the same period a year ago, but added that it had seen a marked recovery in trading since the end of September.

The introduction of a 5 percent turnover tax on sports betting in Germany, revenue decline in poker and continued pressure on consumer spending, particularly in parts of southern Europe, held back our performance in the third quarter, the firm said in a statement.

In Germany, the tax rule which came into effect from July 1 contributed to an 8 percent decline in the amount wagered on sports betting as Bwin.party removed short-odds bets. Year-on-year sports betting revenues fell 2 percent to 828.3 million euros, with unfavourable European soccer results also a factor.

Poker net revenue fell 29 percent year-on-year to 37.0 million euros, continuing a recent decline, although the firm said the imminent integration of its dotcom poker networks would provide a major catalyst for growth.

The group said that a recent upturn in business had been driven by a strong recovery in sports betting, with average daily net revenue in October up 19 percent on the previous quarter. It said it was confident about its full-year result.

Shares in the group were down 1.65 percent at 119 pence by 0842 GMT.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Paul Sandle)

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