AGTech Holdings, the Hong Kong-based Chinese lottery software supplier and Ladbrokes partner in that country, has started 2013 with a weak first quarter result that included an 11 percent slide in revenues to HK$37.64 million ($4.84 million).
With offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau, AGTech operates the Lucky Racing virtual sportsbetting game in the province of Hunan in partnership with British online and land-based gambling group Ladbrokes.
Gross profit for the quarter sank 3.7 percent to HK$24.23 million ($3.12 million) due largely to what the company termed a change in revenue mix.
The good news was that profit from continuing business operations in Q1-2013 was up three-fold when compared with the same period in 2012 to HK$3.21 million ($414,004) while its overall loss for the three-month period improved (was less than) by HK$7.38 million ($950,992) year-on-year to HK$3.59 million ($463,461).
Our long-term objectives are to maintain a leading position as a lottery technology group in China and to provide innovative and legal lottery games to help the Chinese government crack down on illegal gambling, the company said in its accompanying statement, adding that it has plans to expand into China's welfare lottery market "in due course."
The German online lottery company Tipp24 SEs move from Hamburg in Germany to the United Kingdom (see previous InfoPowa reports) opens up new business opportunities for the company, including a possible foray into the US market, says chief executive Hans Cornehl.
Cornehl announced the firm's American ambitions during the release of Tipp24's Q1-2013 numbers that included a 5 percent rise in revenues to Euro 37.4 million.
Other highlights of the report included:
* EBITDA slightly lower y-o-y at Euro 12 million
* Margin down 1.8 percent to 32.2 percent.
* Consolidated net profit up 3.2 percent to Euro 9 million
The company is to expand its British presence after acquiring UK company Genomics Global Games Limited (formerly Roboreus Limited) in late 2012, Cornehl revealed.
The conditions for our strategic international development are significantly better in the UK than in any other European company, he said.
We also see clear signs for a deregulation of the lottery market in North America, and we plan to tap this market more efficiently from our base in London as a partner of the state lottery companies. We shall make targeted use of our leading technological and marketing expertise."
Financial manager Andreas Keil said the company was off to a good start in 2013.
Creating a buzz on internet gambling message boards late Tuesday were Ars Technica and CNN reports that the virtual currency Bitcoin is under siege by US Homeland Security and Department of Justice authorities.
The agencies have apparently served seizure warrants on key mobile payments accounts associated with Mt. Gox, the largest Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange.
Intermediary Dwolla confirmed the official action to the New York Observer, revealing that it had received a seizure warrant from a federal court in the District of Maryland, but that no justification for the seizure had been given.
The involvement of Maryland, a state from which federal authorities have mounted several actions against online gambling payment processors, immediately fuelled speculation that the initiative is targeted on internet gambling.
The warrant required Dwolla to hand over the Mutum Sigillum (aka Mt. Gox) account balance, a requirement with which Dwolla confirmed it had complied.
Media and interested party enquiries to Mt. Gox were met with claims of ignorance on what was happening.
"Thank you for the e-mail. We can see that the Dwolla transactions are not getting processed right now. We will contact Dwolla and post an announcement regarding this. Your patience is appreciated...." the virtual currency exchange advised enquirers.
The Department of Homeland Security was equally unresponsive, with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Nicole Navas confirming to CNET that legal action to halt Dwolla processing Bitcoin transactions had been triggered.
Navas told CNET a warrant had been filed in the District of Maryland on Tuesday, but could not comment further in order not to compromise this ongoing investigation.
She revealed that the investigation was being handled by the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Baltimore.
In March this year, the US Treasury Departments Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) hinted that the US federal government planned to regulate Bitcoin exchanges in a similar fashion to banks.
Bitcoin recently hit the mainstream headlines with a volatile surge in its exchange value following the Cyprus financial meltdown (see previous InfoPowa reports) and a series of DDos attacks.
Although there has been no official statement from the operator, reliable reports indicate that the PlayersOnly and SportsBook poker rooms on the Merge poker network have segregated their players from the main Merge pool, presumably in an attempt to improve the "poker ecology" by encouraging more recreational player action and less "shark" activity.
Initial reports indicate that the segregation is being applied across all cash and sit 'n go tables, although it appears that MTT action is still open.
There is speculation that Jazette, which owns the PlayersOnly and Sportsbook brands, along with a slew of sports betting sites that also offer online poker, is extending the segregation to its new private poker network.
The major land and online gambling group Betfred in the UK has revealed that it has embarked on a plan to consolidate all of its mobile betting services on one platform. The initiative includes apps like Goals Galore and Virtual Sports, along with the company's new mobile sports book.
Earlier this year Betfred partnered up with Playtech on the mobile gaming front, providing its internet and mobile punters with both Android and iOS action.
Betfred execs say that the new, in-house developed mobile sports book app gives its operations more flexibility, and means that Betfred is not reliant on third party suppliers in pushing ahead with offerings that will appeal to its player base.
Although no details have thus far been released, company execs have hinted that further changes and new products for the mobile market, mostly developed in-house, will soon be forthcoming.