03/05/2009 1:00AM

Youbet loss decreases on year

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The online broadcast and account-wagering company Youbet.com has reported a $4.45 million loss in 2008, including an $11.2 million write-off for its subsidiary United Tote.

Despite the losses reported Thursday, the figures were significantly better than Youbet's 2007 year-end figures, which showed a $28.4 million loss, including $17.9 million in write-offs.

Excluding the United Tote write-off, the company reported total income of $5.4 million in 2008, compared with losses of $6.2 million, excluding write-offs, in 2007.

Total revenue for the year fell 11 percent, from $122.5 million to $109 million, in line with the trend of declining parimutuel handle nationwide. But there was positive news from the fourth quarter of 2008, such as a 0.8 percent increase in handle at the company's Youbet Express online wagering service, from $106.4 million to $107.3 million. The fourth quarter also saw a 6.7-percent increase in handle per active customer as compared to the fourth quarter of 2007, a trend chief executive officer Michael Brodsky said has continued into 2009.

"We are very pleased with our fourth quarter, as well as our results for 2008, as we achieved a profitable year, excluding the $11.2 million impairment charge for United Tote," Brodsky said.

"We are especially pleased with our ability to increase handle over the prior-year quarter, given the current economic environment and challenging state of the industry," said chief operating officer David Goldberg.