17% drop in profits for bwin.party

The online gambling group bwin.party saw its profits drop 17 per cent last year as it was hit by a new tax in Germany and concentrated on creating a single platform following last year's merger of bwin and partygaming.

It warned that current trading is down as it shifts from "volume" to "value" and focuses on fewer but more valuable customers.

Last year's pre-tax earnings dropped to €164.9m (£142.7m) on revenues down 2 per cent at €802m. Bwin.party said current revenues were running at €2.4m a day, down from €2.6m in the final quarter of last year, but earnings were better because it was spending less on marketing.

Its chief executive Norbert Teufelberger said: "Most of last year was focused on integration. 2013 will be about completing this effort and transforming our business through innovation as we revitalise our offer with a string of product updates and extend our reach through mobile and social media channels."

Sports betting and casino games did well last year but poker playing dropped and Germany's 5 per cent online tax hit revenue there. Its shares fell 6.6p to 114.9p.

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