Online Poker Protesting May Highlight Few Shares (CRYP, GIGM, UBET)

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We have noted several stocks in the past for online gambling repeals that would benefit if online gambling bans for U.S. citizens were lifted.  Among these that trade in the U.S. are:

Cryptologic (NASDAQ:CRYP) is sort of the pure-play  stock that traders would look at that trades in the U.S., although the former Canadian company moved overseas closer to its European client-base.
Taiwan’s online gaming software company that traders look to is GigaMedia Ltd. (NASDAQ:GIGM). (NASDAQ:UBET) is one such company, although it too has had issues in the past.

The Poker Players Alliance is petitioning Capitol Hill this week to repeal part of the ban on online gambling, or at least for online poker.  The alliance apparently represents 800,000 poker enthusiasts and is looking to get poker put in the same exemptions as online horse racing, lotteries, and fantasy sports.  This follows a move by Congressman Barney Frank which we covered earlier this year, and his efforts are apparently gathering more support.

Interestingly enough, playing poker online is still done regularly and legally.  But processing payments is the illegal part for U.S. citizens, and the laws currently allow the government to go after financial institutions that facilitate such payments if they process online gambling payments for U.S. citizens.

In the U.K., stocks like PartyGaming Plc and 888 Holdings Plc are two of the online gambling companies that would benefit from a repeal in online gambling for poker.

It is probably far too soon to make bets, no pun intended, on how this turns out.  Even if the puritanical ban ends up getting repealed, it is not something that will happen overnight.

Jon C. Ogg
October 23, 2007