Gambling News

AGTech revenue up; MelcoLot shed manufacturing arm; Thai online lottery delay

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agtech-melcolot-thailand-lotteryHong Kong- and Macau-based sports lottery services provider AGTech Holdings saw revenues rise 127.6% to $12.8m in the first six months of 2012. As in Q1, AGTech attributed much of the increased cash flow to the 2011 acquisition of Chinese sports lottery outfit Beijing Greatwall GOT. But while gross profit in H1 was up 42.5% to $6.13m, AGTech recorded a $3.5m loss, primarily due to nearly $600k in share-based payment expenses and nearly $2.5m in amortization costs. The company declined to recommend an interim dividend payment, but touted its prospects going forward, noting that it had launched China’s “first national government-approved rapid-draw virtual fixed-odds sportsbetting lottery platform” and its first game, Lucky Racing – the virtual F1 betting joint venture with minority partner Ladbrokes – bringing together “international and domestic industry expertise, technologies, management, skills and infrastructure.”

The outlook isn’t as smooth for China-facing lottery outfit MelcoLot – the joint venture of Hong Kong’s Melco group and minority partner Intralot, the Greek lottery firm – which lost HK$87.4m in H1 2012. In a Tuesday filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, MelcoLot proposed selling 49% of its Chinese lottery management company Precious Success Holdings as well as a minor stake in South Korean lottery firm Gain Advance Group to Intralot. Simultaneously, MelcoLot plans to sell its majority holdings in Chinese lottery terminal manufacturer Oasis Rich International (ORI) and ORI subsidiary Wu Sheng Computer Technology (Shanghai) Co, to MelcoLot stakeholder Global Crossing Holdings (which is run by a former director of Taipei-listed lottery terminal manufacturer Firich Enterprises). MelcoLot’s filing indicated its commitment to the Chinese lottery terminal distribution business, but decided to shed the “capital intensive manufacturing operations” due to “increasing factory labor costs and overheads.” A source told GamblingCompliance the deals were intended to “clean up the company, get it under control and move on.”

In Thailand, plans to introduce an online lottery have been put on hold until 2013. The scheme was originally proposed by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra as a way to combat unsanctioned lotteries, but Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and the online lottery concept was officially shelved in 2010. However, the Government Lottery Office (GLO) is still keen on the plan, and new GLO boss Attakit Tharichat told the Bangkok Post the service provider contract with Loxley GTech Technology remains valid, pending the government’s okay. In the meantime, guess there’s always that sex lottery