Sportingbet confident of DoJ settlement this year
LONDON (Reuters) - Online gaming company Sportingbet SBT.L is confident of reaching a settlement with the United States Department of Justice over its U.S.-facing activities by the end of 2009, CEO Andy McIver told Reuters.
An agreement would prevent U.S. authorities taking action against the company in relation to its U.S. businesses prior to legislation being passed in October 2006 which effectively outlawed the industry.
"We will hopefully reach agreement in the current calendar year, it's not going to be (resolved in) weeks. The talks have been very amicable and very positive but incredibly slow," McIver said in a telephone interview.
Sportingbet said on Wednesday second quarter pretax profit more than doubled on the previous year, driven by strength in its European sports betting business, and it remained "cautiously optimistic" about the full-year.
McIver said he "saw no reason" why the company wouldn't meet analysts' expectations for full year underlying pretax profit. The consensus stands at 29 million pounds according to a Reuters Estimates polls of six analysts.
Sportingbet obtained a licence for online sports betting in South Africa in December and McIver emphasised it is the first major player to enter that market ahead of the country hosting the World Cup soccer tournament in 2010.
Shares in Sportingbet, which have lost close to a fifth of their value over the past year as uncertainty over possible retrospective legal action in the U.S. weighed on the shares, were up 4.6 percent to 39.75 pence at 4 p.m..
(Editing by John Bowker)
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