Youbet.com, Inc., the online live event and wagering company, announced Thursday that first quarter 2003 marked the company's fourth consecutive quarter of record growth. The gross handle for the first quarter set a new record at $61.0 million, up substantially from $27.1 million in the first quarter 2002, and includes a record-breaking gross handle of $21.1 million for the month of March, 2003. Gross revenues increased 323% to $11.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2003 as compared to $2.6 million in the first quarter of 2002. Net revenues, after payments to our track partners and licensing fees, were $3.8 million for the first quarter 2003 compared to $1.7 million in the first quarter of 2002. Expenses for the quarter were $3.4 million, up $135,000 when compared to the first quarter of 2002.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $522,000 for the first quarter of 2003, a $2.0 million improvement over the comparable quarter of 2002. As of March 31, 2003, net working capital increased $2.0 million to $275,000 compared to a net working capital deficit of $2.3 million at December 31, 2002. "2002 represented a turnaround year for the Youbet team," said Youbet.com president and chief operating officer Chuck Champion. "Our focus was on cutting costs as well as growing handle and revenues, and we successfully accomplished both. We have demonstrated the scalability of our operation as we again increased the revenues and the customer base while managing our costs. We are committed to continued enhancement of our product offering and of our operating performance. Our focus on the high margin segments of the business differentiatesus from our competitors, and has fueled our relative improvement in year over year comparisons."