Financial Week in Review | Jan. 30

30 January 2009
British Sky Broadcasting turned in the sector's strongest performance this week, up 21.51 percent at close of business Thursday.

The company, which released half-yearly results Wedenesday, reported a 6 percent rise in revenue against the same period a year ago. However, Sky Bet -- which received just a one-line mention -- was down £1 million, or 4.1 percent, to £23 million, with growth in the online business helping to offset declines in TV betting, it said.

CryptoLogic, meanwhile, continued its meteoric rise in London; the stock there has nearly doubled since late December. Analysts with Roth Capital Partners said Tuesday that Javaid Aziz, Crypto's former chief executive and recent acquirer of an activist shareholding, could be helping to drive value ahead of a forecast return to profitability during the second quarter.

Other gainers this week were Probability, up 13.43 percent after launching Zaphod, and Sportingbet, up 11.6 percent. Sportingbet announced Tuesday that an employee, whose travel was restricted to Turkey after having been arrested there last May, was cleared to return to the United Kingdom.

Even the volatile PartyGaming -- absent any news related to the United States Department of Justice -- was up 9.83 percent.

Losers this week were 32Red, down 4.34 percent; Intralot S.A, down 3.57 percent; and Paddy Power, down 3.7 percent.

In a 108-page sector note Monday, analysts with Daniel Stewart & Company said that the gambling sector, on the whole, had outperformed the wider market since August. During that time, the sector did, though, fall 27.2 percent against the FTSE All Share, and 49 percent against the Alternative Investment Market.

James Hollins, an equity analyst with the firm, called William Hill his key offline pick on a "relatively resilient" retail outlook coupled with a "dramatically improved" online product via its deals with Orbis Technology Ltd. (sports betting) and Playtech Ltd (casino and poker).

Mr. Hollins' key online pick was Sportingbet -- for which Daniel Stewart serves as nominated advisor. He said the company had "completed a majestic turnaround of its business since 2006, while developing a best-in-class sportsbook offering across Europe and Australia."

Finally, in a survey of 33 listed I-gaming companies, average value per company for the 5 trading days ending Thursday was up 3.8 percent.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.