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Playtech shares surge on buyback, higher 2019 earnings view

(Adds details on results, buyback, strategy)

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Playtech (Frankfurt: A1J0S4 - news) shares rose more than 15 percent after the gambling software developer said it would buy back shares worth 40 million euro ($45.34 million) and forecast core earnings to rise at least 15 percent for 2019.

Playtech, which makes gambling software and content for casinos and sports betting, said it expects 2019 adjusted earnings before income, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be between 390 million euros to 415 million euros.

The profit range includes a positive impact from Sun Bingo, which had losses in 2018.

The company posted adjusted core earnings of 343 million euros for the 12 months ended Dec (Shanghai: 600875.SS - news) . 31, 7 percent higher than a year earlier, boosted by its acquisition of Italian betting and gaming firm Snaitech SpA and growth in regulated markets.

The number beat Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) 's consensus of 329 million euros. The brokerage has an "equal weight" rating on the stock, citing Playtech's core business and the stock's cheap price.

The company also operates a financial division, which posted a 9 percent rise in revenue and adjusted core earnings.

Shares (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) of the company were up 5.5 percent at 388.5 pence at 0830 GMT.

Revenue for the year rose 55 percent on a constant currency basis, to 1.24 billion euros, with business to business regulated gaming revenue rising 12 percent at constant currency, helped by new licenses in the UK, Europe and Latin America.

Playtech had said last month it would pay 28 million euros under a settlement with Israeli tax authorities following an audit of its accounts for the years from 2008 to 2017.

The FTSE-250 company, which conducted a review of its position in the industry, said it believed that a balance between regulated and unregulated markets was still needed as unregulated markets remain high margin and highly cash generative.

But the company said that it was essential to have a presence in three or more regulated jurisdictions to diversify its risks.

Playtech said the share repurchase programme would start on Friday. ($1 = 0.8822 euros) (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Bernard Orr)