Off To The Races

IGT and William Hill

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What's going on?

Multinational gambling firm International Game Technology (IGT) reported first-quarter results on Monday that hit the jackpot – but for many punters, beating the bank remains tricky.

What does this mean?

Slot machine maker and lottery runner IGT reported a return to profitability after posting a loss a year back – but shipping 20% more slot machines still wasn’t enough to stop revenue declining, with higher gaming machine taxes in Italy contributing to overall sales falling 5%.

For British betting firm William Hill, meanwhile, a trading update last week showed gaming revenue going to the dogs. The company reported a roughly 40% fall in takings from the sort of in-store betting terminals made by IGT, following a UK government crackdown which took effect in April. But while revenue disappointed at home, the recent legalization of sports betting in the US helped sales there climb almost 50%.

Why should I care?

The bigger picture: A lot’s riding online.

William Hill may not be such a familiar face on UK streets for much longer: declining in-store takings have left the company pleading for rent reductions to avoid closing almost half of its stores, and rivals are similarly gloomy. Persuading gamblers to open online accounts has been one response; US media company Fox’s Monday launch of an online sports betting service is another sign of the times.

Zooming out: Consoles are getting sold down the river.

You don’t have to play for money. Sony and Microsoft unveiled plans last week to join forces against tech giants Google and Apple in the $140 billion video games game of thrones (tweet this). The makers of the Xbox and PlayStation consoles have put aside their differences in a bid to target the higher-growth opportunities afforded by games streaming. Chipmaker Nvidia has its eye on the sector too; streaming growth could provide welcome relief during a torrid time for the semiconductor sector.

Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.

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