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Odds Look Good For Gamblers

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Jul/12/2009

Javier Espinoza, Forbes.com

LONDON -- Despite warmer weather and tough economic conditions, sofa spuds are still playing high rollers in virtual casinos. On Thursday online gaming firm PartyGaming, reportedly a takeover target of Nasdaq-listed rival Gigamedia, saw a jump in shares as much a 7% after it said trading in the second quarter has been robust with revenues in line with the first quarter.

Gibraltar-based PartyGaming ( PYGMF - news - people ), one of the world's biggest online gambling firms, also said casino sales had significantly increased from the previous quarter, driven by a substantial increase in the number of games being offered on its PartyCasino site.

"Casino is developing into a major success story and recent poker initiatives are getting traction. We are maintaining our forecasts at this stage but there are increasing grounds for optimism," said Wyn Ellis, an analyst at Numis in London.

The recent jump in PartyGaming shares might be just a premonition of a much bigger rally next September as industry analysts expect a 2006-anti online gambling law to be scrap in the U.S. by the end of the fall.

"There is a reasonably good chance that the U.S. will introduce some positive online legislation in terms of gambling first at a state level in September and then at a federal level," said Nick Batram, an analyst at KBC Peel Hunt, a brokerage firm in London.

Last May, Rep. Barney Frank introduced a bill to propose that online gambling be legalized and regulated in the United States. (See "Gambling Firms Bet On Barney Frank.") PartyGaming's shares have hovered around the $3.80 mark ever since they dropped from nearly $15.00, just after to the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in October 2006. (See "Online Bets Are Off.")

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