Czech Republic restricts online bonuses, free bet offers

Central European betting and lottery operator Fortuna Entertainment Group (FEG) reported significant gains in its H1 revenue but its Czech Republic online gambling operations are about to face new restrictions.

On Thursday, FEG released its preliminary results for the six months ending June 30, during which betting stakes shot up nearly 41% to €720.7m, revenue improved 24.5% to €100.5m, while earnings fell 22% to €7.6m and profit fell by more than half to €2.5m.

The earnings slide was the hangover of FEG’s recent pricey acquisitions of the Romanian, Croatian and Spanish betting operations of the Hattrick Sports Group and the Forbet brands. FEG CEO Per Widerström claimed that if the one-off costs of acquiring and integrating these operations were absent, FEG’s H1 earnings would have risen 8% year-on-year.

Apart from the acquisitions, the company credited its online gambling operations as the main engine of H1’s growth. In February, FEG launched its new online gambling site in its biggest market, the Czech Republic, which formally ushered in a new online licensing regime this year.