Youbet.com Reduces Loss, Gains Subscribers
by Eric Mitchell
Date Posted: 5/14/2001 9:57:03 PM
Last Updated: 5/18/2001 11:32:17 AM

Youbet.com reduced its net loss by 31% for the first quarter of the year compared with the same quarter of 2000.

The California-based online horse racing, handicapping, and wagering service reported a net loss of $2.4 million, or 12 cents per share, for the quarter ending March 31 compared with a net loss of $3.4 million, or 17 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. These figures do not consider an extraordinary gain related to the repurchase of debt last year.

Revenue for the first quarter dropped 6% to $1.6 million compared with revenue of $1.7 million for the first quarter of 2000. The decrease was caused by Youbet.com being cut off from New Jersey bettors last November.

Youbet.com has seen some growth in subscribers since launching a new Web-based service. Previously, subscribers had to order a CD and load special software onto their computers. Now people can subscribe online and have immediate access to Youbet.com services. The company has added about 1,000 new subscribers since the Web-based service, called Youbet Express, was introduced in March, according to Robert Fell, chairman and chief executive officer for Youbet.com. A total of about 17,000 people subscribe to Youbet.com's service, which includes 2,388 California residents and 1,565 New Jersey residents who can only download information and cannot wager online.

"We would like to get to 30,000 (subscribers) by the end of the year," Fell said during a Monday evening Web conference. "At that point, we would be at the breakeven."

Youbet.com also reported a 3% increase in handle for the first quarter of the year. About $27.5 million was wagered for the quarter compared with a handle of $26.8 million for the first quarter of 2000.

The company is still at risk for being delisted from the Nasdaq exchange. The company has until the end of May to report 10 consecutive trading days above $1.00 per share. If the goal isn't met, then Youbet.com could be taken off the Nasdaq exchange and listed on a smaller, stock bulletin board. Fell said he can ask for an extension of the May 31 deadline. He also some projects that he is not at liberty to discuss may return the stock price to a value he believes more accurate reflects the overall value of the company.

Youbet.com has not traded at $1.00 or higher since January. The stock closed Monday at 79 cents per share, up 2.6% from the end of trading May 11.

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