Saturday June 28, 2008
Genting launches online casino in Britain
By YVONNE TAN
PETALING JAYA: Genting International Plc has launched its first online casino brand, CircusCasino.com, in Britain.
CircusCasino would be run by unit Genting Stanley Alderney Ltd (GSAL) and would offer over 100 casino, card and table games, Genting International said in a statement yesterday.
TA Securities analyst James Ratnam said the online business would complement the company's existing business.
“A lot of young people are also more interested in utilising online services as opposed to going to physical casinos. It will probably be good for Genting International,” he said.
Another analyst concurred but said he expected the impact of CircusCasino to be minimal on Genting International’s net profit.
“This is part of the company’s strategy to strengthen its presence in Britain’s online gaming industry. However, the profits – especially within the first two years – should be minimal,” he said.
The analyst said the cost of setting up the online business would also be small, probably in the region of “a few million pounds.”
Genting International, a 53.4% subsidiary of Genting Bhd, operates 44 casinos in Britain.
On March 13, Genting International said GSAL had received approval from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission for an online gaming licence and it expected the online gaming business to start in the latter part of the second quarter.
AmResearch noted in a report yesterday that Genting had been “besieged” by a lot of rumours of late, relating to Genting International’s financial position.
Investors have been concerned that the cost of Genting International’s integrated resort project in Singapore is on the rise.
Additionally, its British operations have been affected by lower business volume, higher net bad debts written off and increased gaming duties.
According to AmResearch, however, as of May, Genting’s management had indicated there were no cost overruns for the Sentosa Island project and that it should be “comfortably financed” by borrowings of S$4.3bil and equity proceeds.
“We understand that Genting International bought forward some of its materials, like concrete and structural steel, more than 12 months ago,” it said.
Meanwhile, Genting International said the launch of CircusCasino was not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets and earnings per share of the company for the financial year ending Dec 31.