Monday 19 February 2018

Smurfit Jr on a roll as company wins major Las Vegas gaming deal

The landmark Stratosphere casino and hotel in Las Vegas.
The landmark Stratosphere casino and hotel in Las Vegas.

Gavin McLaughlin

Dermot Smurfit Jr's internet gaming product 'Simulated Gaming' has broken into the Las Vegas market.

Smurfit's company GAN has won a contract to provide the product to the Stratosphere casino on the Las Vegas strip. Smurfit moved to Las Vegas with his family last year.

"Breaking into the Las Vegas casino market has remained a priority for GAN in 2015," Mr Smurfit said. "We're delighted to partner with ACEP (Stratosphere's owner) to bring their local casinos and the major destination casino 'Stratosphere' online nationwide in the United States."

He added: "We believe Simulated Gaming is the right opportunity for major land-based Nevada casino operators seeking to extend their business and patron relationship online and take market share in the highly competitive Las Vegas gaming market."

The product offers online games including slot tournaments, poker, backgammon, gin rummy, poker dice and blackjack tournaments.

Virtual currency is sold to players who gamble for entertainment, not profit.

The company's shares remain substantially below its IPO price of 135p - hovering around 40p.

In the first half of its current financial year it lost £2.6m before tax, compared to £900,000 in the same period a year before. Net revenue declined from £4.2m to £2.9m. However, net revenue from the 'Simulated Gaming' product rose to £1.2m from £200,000.

Mr Smurfit - a nephew of Michael Smurfit and cousin of Tony Smurfit - told the Sunday Independent earlier this year that GAN floated in 2013 in order to try and take advanatge of the legalisation and regulation of internet gambling in US.

It forecast the market would be worth $8bn in gross revenue within five years, if the pace of regulation remained at the same level. However, the pace slowed and the company suffered as a result.

Mr Smurfit, who's the chief executive and the company's largest investor, says the price drop came because some institutional investors sold out due to the "dramatic" slowdown in the pace of regulation. He is now focused on building a secure revenue base to drive profitability.

"The rapid growth in Simulated Gaming revenues is particularly important as we believe over time they will substantially compensate for the slower than expected pace of the development of real-money internet gaming in the US," he said.

Irish Independent

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