By Ian Neubauer

Betting giant Tabcorp has delivered a modest profit figure of $262 million for the half-year ending Dec 31 in what has been one of the most challenging economic periods of recent times.

In addition to below-expected performance from its casino divisions in QLD and NSW for the period, Tabcorp absorbed $13.2 million in licence amortisation as a result of unforseen regulatory changes in Victoria. It also absorbed a once-off write down of $11.5 million from a bounced cheque presented by a high roller at a baccarat table.

Profit was down 3.7 per cent in the period, but up 1.1 per cent compared the previous six months when adjusted for the licence amortisation. Normalised revenue was  $2.11 billion, up 6.4 per compared to the previous six months, aided by recovery from the Equine Influenza in wagering and growth in gaming.

Tabcorp chairman John Story said the company had responded well. “The results were positive in light of a tougher economic environment and the additional licence amortisation charge in Victoria,” he said.

Tabcorp CEO Elmer Funke Kupper said the result confirmed the need to push ahead with its plan to raise $300 million through shares to fund the refurbishment of its Star City Casino.

Kupper also announced the appointment of Larry Mullin as CEO of Tabcorp’s casinos division, effective next month.

Mullins will assume responsibility for the casino’s redevelopment and will draw on experience he gained managing the redevelopment of the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City.

Tabcorp shares were trading at $6.50 at midday today (Jan 30) compared to $6.62 seven days ago.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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