Gambling Shares Up, Sportingbet a BUY

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As Prime Minister Gordon Brown continues to cling on to power - despite dismal European election results and further resignations - bookmaker Paddy Power was offering odds of 8/1 that he'll be de-throned between September and November of this year. 

It neatly illustrates how the gaming industry can seemingly make money out of anything - even a political crisis.

Broker Daniel Stewart took a more forensic look at the fortunes of the betting industry yesterday in a note to clients entitled 'Gambling: Leading at Half Time'. 

Analyst James Hollins said punters are likely to wager more of their hard-earned cash as the year goes on after a resilient start to 2009.

Share prices have been quick to respond and the gambling sector has outperformed the stock market by around 33 per cent since January.

'We expect this to continue and remain bullish on the sector overall, with a recommendation that investors remain long of sports betting in particular, with an ongoing negative view of offline bingo,' he wrote.

Hollins's key 'buys' include Sportingbet and Playtech, while 888 Holdings is a 'buy', and Paddy Power and Partygaming are rated a 'hold.' 888 rose 2¼p to 109¼p and Partygaming closed 4¼p higher at 240p after agreeing to a tie-up with broadcaster Channel 5, creating 'five' bingo and casino gaming services.

Etain Lavelle, Daily Mail

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