Financial Week in Review | Nov. 7

7 November 2008

Coming off a red October, the 20 e-gaming stocks surveyed by IGamingNews were up 6 percent between Oct. 31 and Nov. 6.

PartyGaming and 888 Holdings, which dropped markedly last month, gained 12 percent and 14 percent this week, respectively, but leading the field was CryptoLogic Ltd., which gained 22 percent.

Rounding out the bottom of the field was GigaMedia Ltd., falling 6 percent, and Bwin Interactive Entertainment A.G., which lost 4 percent.

CryptoLogic has announced numerous casino software deals in recent weeks, and this week agreed to supply GigaMedia, the Taiwan casino and poker operator, with its full flash casino.

Just today, the Dublin developer did a deal with Australia’s NextGen Gaming Pty Ltd. to co-develop branded slots content. The agreement allows NextGen’s content to be distributed across Crypto’s partners, and vice versa. 888 inked a similar deal with NextGen in March.

With no debt, cash on the balance sheet, and a looming poker partnership with -- we think -- Boss Media A.B. (there was M&A possibility between the two, once upon a time), the company is setting the table for a return to profitability.

The financial story this week, however, was undoubtedly Scandinavia. Unibet, Net Entertainment A.B., Entraction Holding A.B. and Betsson A.B. all reported positive third-quarter results sets.

As bearish as IGN has been on European poker, both Unibet and Betsson were able to grow -- just slightly -- quarter over quarter.

On Betsson’s analyst presentation today, Chief Executive Pontus Lindwall was asked why the Scandinavia-focused companies had fared better than their listed neighbors to the south.

He was emphatic that the Nordic markets had not matured, as some think. Interestingly, he also theorized that because winter weather starts a bit earlier in the north, bettors may simply be returning to their PCs a bit quicker than the rest of Europe.

Whatever’s boiling beneath the Baltic and wafting inland, the Scandinavian online industry is drinking it in.

On regulatory financial news, disappointingly little has been leaked about the French tax scheme -- in fact, nothing has. Our sources there are not sure yet whether duties will constitute a portion of gross profit or turnover; and for the poker hopefuls, nothing yet on rake. C’est la vie -- for now.

Key Financial News

GigaMedia Takes Crypto’s Full Flash Casino

CryptoLogic Ltd. has done a deal to supply GigaMedia Ltd. with a full instant-play casino to compliment the Taiwan company's downloadable-play offering.

Scandinavia Seeing Big Third-Quarter Gains

Growth for operators and suppliers serving the Scandinavian markets continues amid the economic downturn. After Net Entertainment A.B. and Unibet reported significant third-quarter gains year on year, so too have Betsson A.B. and Entraction Holding A.B.

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