ut its shares fell after it failed to provide news on an Asian software deal that sources said earlier this month it was close to clinching. "We’re still negotiating the deal," Chief Executive Avigur Zmora told Reuters. "They’re fair, ongoing negotiations."
Playtech, which provides gambling web sites with games ranging from poker to mahjong, said 2006 underlying net profit was us$ 67.7 million, compared to u$s 35.7 million a year earlier.
Since the US effectively banned online gaming last October, Playtech has fared better than any other group in the online gaming sphere, with its shares now worth 30 percent more than before the ban.
"The board’s prompt reaction to the changing US legal landscape has clearly illustrated Playtech’s ability to react quickly and effectively to changes in our dynamic industry," said Zmora.
“It’s a question of no new news in a soft market," said analyst Paul Leyland at Arbuthnot Securities. "But that’s the nature of contracts. And they would have to do gangbusters for the shares to keep climbing like they have."
Zmora said Playtech was one year ahead of rivals in building computer gaming for traditional casinos, known as "server based gaming".
"I think the world recognises this is the future for land-based gaming," he told Reuters. "Where regulations allow, it will take over. It can generate much more revenues and is more robust."
He said that Playtech had arrived at the right time to take advantage of a worldwide explosion in casino building. "Singapore is on its way to land based casinos, Japan is exploring the opportunity, and Italy will double its number of slot machines. We have a one year window ahead of the traditional giants who are still in R&D," he concluded.