Issuing a post-close trading update for the year to December 31, 2018, gambling operator group GVC Holdings now expects earnings (underlying EBITDA) to be in excess of £750m, ahead of forecast.

Net gaming revenue was up nine per cent across the group in 2018. The online business saw NGR jump nearly a fifth, by 19 per cent compared with 2017, while GVC’s UK retail operations saw a like-for-like fall in NGR, down three per cent.

There was better news on the continent with European retail NGR up 16 per cent, with Italy performing especially strongly in the 12 months, rising 18 per cent on the year prior.

NGR across GVC’s games brands was 18  per cent up in Q4, with partypoker doing especially well (up 43 per cent), supported by Gala brands (up 18 per cent) and legacy GVC casino brands, which saw year-on-year gains of 13 per cent in the three-month period.

Kenneth Alexander, GVC CEO, said in a statement: “The group’s performance in 2018 has been excellent with the strong momentum reported at Q3 continuing into Q4.

“We are materially outperforming the market and taking share in all of our major territories. As the group carries this momentum forward into the new year, and starts to deliver the opportunities provided by both the Ladbrokes Coral integration and our sports-betting joint-venture in the US with MGM Resorts, the board is confident that the group is very well placed for a successful 2019.”

GVC will release its preliminary full-year 2018 results on March 5, 2019.