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Bookmaker GVC forecasts higher annual profit on online gaming boost

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(Reuters) - Ladbrokes and bwin owner GVC Holdings GVC.L on Thursday raised its outlook for annual core earnings after posting a 12% rise in third-quarter revenue, helped by a surge in online gaming and as sports events such as the English Premier League resumed.

The company, which owns brands such as Coral and Eurobet, said full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) is now expected between 770 million and 790 million pounds.

GVC had previously forecast annual EBITDA to be between 720 million pounds and 740 million pounds, and last week warned that new gambling rules in Germany, its second-largest online-gaming market, would reduce 2021 profit by 70 million pounds.

However, the company is steaming ahead as it also announced the acquisition of Bet.pt, an online gambling operator in Portugal. Gambling companies have been expanding overseas to offset a hit from tighter regulations in Britain.

The company, which has a U.S. presence through a venture with casino operator MGM Resorts MGM.N, said the business was tracking ahead of expectations, with sales of roughly $150 million to $160 million expected this year.

“We have delivered our nineteenth consecutive quarter of double-digit online growth, along with market share gains in all our major territories ... GVC is primed for further growth,” Chief Executive Officer Shay Segev said.

Online net gaming revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 jumped 26% as COVID-19 encouraged customers to play more to relieve themselves of boredom.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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