Monday, October 02, 2006

Calls of Note Part 5

- On 30 September 2006 the US Congress passed H.R. 4954 the Safe Port Act, a bill seeking to improve maritime and cargo security. A number of amendments were attempted but only one, relating to Internet gambling, made it through. The measure, "The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006", prohibits acceptance of any payment instrument for unlawful Internet gambling.

The casualty list includes: PartyGaming (stock down 60 percent in Europe), Sportingbet (down 64 percent), 888 (down 45 percent) and gaming software provider Playtech (down 55 percent). Austria's Interactive Entertainment fell as much as 22 percent in the first few minutes of trading.

The worst-hit US-listed counterpart is most likely Optimal Group (NASDAQ:OPMR). The co has already issued a PR release saying the news will have significant negative impact on the results of its FireOne Group Plc subsidiary. Optimal Group holds 76 percent of FireOne Group, a provider of payment processing services for the online gaming industry.

Soleil is downgrading OPMR to Hold from Buy saying the unexpected has happened, and the greatest risk to the OPMR story has come to fruition. Firm's model now reflects OPMR retaining the full breadth of the FireOne business through the end of 2006 and the first half of 2007. Should the Fed offer it's interpretation earlier than the 270 day limit, they will adjust their estimates accordingly. Therefore, 2006 estimate remains unchanged at $1.24, but 2007 estimate drops dramatically, from $1.60 to $0.75.

Notablecalls: Expect OPMR shares to be under considerable pressure today. Also, Cryptologic (NASDAQ:CRYP) will likely get hit. The co is a software and services provider to theInternet gaming market.

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