UPDATE 1-Playtech sees 2020 ahead of expectations as lockdowns boost gaming

(Adds details on sales, outlook, disposals)

Jan 12 (Reuters) – Gambling software maker Playtech said on Tuesday it expects 2020 annual performance to be ahead of expectations, driven by its financial trading arm, and casino, poker, bingo and betting businesses.

Online betting has enjoyed a boost as COVID-19 restrictions encouraged locked-down customers to play more from home when casinos and betting shops are off limits.

Playtech, the world’s biggest supplier of technology for online gaming operators, expects adjusted core earnings to be at least 300 million euros ($364.77 million) for the year ended Dec. 31.

The Isle of Man-based company said its core B2B business, including casino, bingo and poker, performed very well in 2020 and its gambling unit Snaitech had a strong performance online, with retail hit by lockdown measures and the cancellation of sports events.

Finalto, the financial trading arm, was “the standout performer” in the first half, benefitting significantly from increased market volatility and trading volumes, but had a challenging second half.

Playtech said it continues to be in talks about the possible sale of the unit as part of an asset review to simplify its business and sell non-core assets.

The company said it had completed the sale of YoYo Games for about $10 million, leading to the disposal of all its casual and social gaming assets. ($1 = 0.8224 euros) (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Subhranshu Sahu)

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