|Casino software firm Cryptologic has had a rough time in the past year – the hostile commercial and legislative environment in the US has taken its toll on the online casino industry’s hitherto double-digit growth, and a hasty boardroom reshuffle, along with lawsuits from former licensees have all taken their toll. |
The seven-year-old firm has cut revenue estimates three times this year. Its price on the Toronto Stock Exchange has fallen to a four-year low, plunging 7% last week when it said described its revenue outlook for the fourth quarter as “uncertain”.
So the answer, according to newly-installed CEO Lewis Rose, is to focus on Europe and Asia. And CryptoLogic has secured a couple of notable wins there: Littlewoods -- which received Isle of Man certification and went live in September -- and the Ritz (now awaiting Alderney approval) are Cryptologic customers. Both are big, respected names in the land-based gambling arena, and both have licenses from the so-called “Tier one” jurisdictions based on islands offshore from the UK – both of which have reputations built on stringent regulation.
'I think the US will get to regulation and licensing eventually, but it's going to be a trickle,' said Dan Walsh, a Washington lobbyist who represents Cryptologic and other i-gaming companies.
'We believe that there will be a global trend toward regulated environments' said Rose. 'It brings the industry into the sunlight. We'd like transparency, we'd like regulation, we'd like players to feel secure and safe in an environment where they spend their money on this form of entertainment.'
Kelly Moulton, chief executive of the Ritz Club London Online offered his opinion of why the Tier one licensing jurisdictions will be so important: 'These organizations can now contemplate a legitimate environment in which to operate,' 'Before, they wouldn't touch it. If you want to get to the mass market, people aren't going to do it unless it's a brand they trust and there's a third party to go to if there's a complaint.'
However, the financial analysts who covered the company have dropped CryptoLogic like a hot potato - as has Jean Noelting, Mr. Rose's predecessor, who resigned abruptly in July, a year and a half after taking over from founders Andrew and Mark Rivkin.
'It's a highly profitable company that practically prints money -- but there is a lot of risk,' says Sprott Securities analyst Brandon Osten, who dropped coverage this year.