Online gaming firm hit by regulation in U.S.A.

  • 2006-07-26
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - Shares of Playtech, an online gaming operator with a large development unit in Estonia, plummeted last week on news of a crackdown on the industry in the United States. Playtech's share price on the LSE fell to 2.14 pounds at the end of July 19 from 2.7 earlier in the day.

The drop was part of a larger trend among gaming stocks, as fears of widespread regulation, if not prohibition, on online gambling in the United States spread. Some 600 million pounds were knocked off the value of U.K. gaming stocks on July 18 after the FBI shut down the U.S. operations of BETonSPORTS and detained its chief executive.
In a statement following the stock-dive, Playtech clarified its position, stressing that it was not a gaming operator but a software developer. "(Playtech's) operations are the supply of licensed software to operators in online casino, poker and bingo markets," the statement reads.

The company will be announcing a second quarter trading update on July 26, Playtech added.
Still, a new gambling bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and pending in the Senate would ban Internet gambling, thus potentially placing a crimp on Playtech's future.
A large part of the company's work is carried out by a development unit based in Tartu, which employs some 200 people.