PartyGaming bets on a flush year despite US competition

ONLINE gambling firm PartyGaming said yesterday that it is confident about its full-year prospects, having made a strong start to the fourth quarter.<br /><br />PartyGaming said its total revenue rose 11 per cent to $112.7m (&pound;69.4m) in the third quarter from the previous quarter, despite it normally being a weak period for the industry as players take their summer holidays.<br /><br />Casino revenue climbed two percent to $49.2m.<br /><br />In Poker, where the company has faced increasing competition from unregulated US operators such as PokerStars and Full Tilt, revenue fell eight per cent to $45.1m.<br /><br />However, chief executive Jim Ryan said the company had attracted new poker players through the launch of a number of initiatives including a loyalty programme and VIP offer.<br /><br />&ldquo;Poker remains challenging from a competitive standpoint, but we are encouraged by the increased player traffic during September and into October,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />KBC Peel Hunt analyst Nick Batram reiterated his &ldquo;hold&rdquo; recommendation and 257p price target on the stock. The consensus for full-year pre-tax profit stands at $102m.