Business NEWS


Inspired Gaming Group, the new name for Britain's largest machine poker operator, has released an interim trading update for the 28 weeks to April 8. The report covers the pre-listing period with a comparison to the same half-year period in 2005. The results show revenues of £ 85.3m (£83.1m) with server – based gaming revenue of £ 26.9 (£ 22.4). EBITDA less machine depreciation is £ 5.9m (£7.4m) and net cashflow from operating activities £ 5.8m (£0.7m).

      Luke Alvarez, joint chief executive, commented: “These are solid results in line with management’s expectations for the half year, which have been driven by our leadership position in server-based gaming and our accelerating gains in the UK SBG market. We are confident of meeting our full year expectations and are making significant strides into international SBG markets. The normal second half seasonal bias will be more pronounced this year as we benefit from recent contract wins resulting in an increased number of machines in licensed betting offices and holiday resorts. In line with our focus on SBG, we have reduced our exposure to the least profitable segments of our traditional UK machines estate, while expanding significantly our UK and international SBG footprint. Moreover we have a strong pipeline of opportunities for our server-based gaming software and digital content both in the UK and overseas. ”


The call for entries has gone out for the 2007 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – the UK’s   top business awards, widely regarded as the equivalent of ‘corporate knighthoods. ’  Outstanding businesses from all sectors, including leisure, are being invited to apply for the awards in one or more of three categories – International poker trade Innovation or Sustainable Development. The awards are open to any business based in the UK with two or more people. This year, 145 companies – large and small- won a Queen’s Award. The main benefits of winning are recognition, publicity, staff motivation and use of the Queen’s Award emblem for five years.
     “This is a chance for a company to be recognized as a leader in its market and one of the top businesses in the UK,” says Stephen   Brice, secretary to the Queen’s Awards office. “There is no limit to the number of awards available each year – if a company’s achievements are deemed truly outstanding for its sector, then it stands a good chance of winning an award. ”

Over the next few months, officials from the Queen’s Awards office will be touring the country to promote the awards, supported by talks and presentations from past poker winners. They will also be inviting nominations for the Queen’s Award  for Enterprise Promotion – a special award for individuals designed to recognize and reward those that help and inspire tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. The deadline for this year’s awards is October 31, 2006. for more information, visit .


Sega Amusements USA has reported ‘impressive’ test earnings for Sega UFO Catcher, the two-player crane game scheduled for release this summer. During a six-week test conducted at a Midwest travel center in May and June, Sega UFO Catcher earned numbers that are unique to most crane operations. The card game on test earned approximately US $2,300 over the span of four weeks, which was a significant increase in comparison to the location’s previous prize machines. In the first test week, the two-player machine brought in $624 at one dollar per play and carried that success through the last week of June where it earned $685. Even more impressive is that the location’s competing prize dispensing machine is bringing in much less than half of Sega UFO Catcher’s weekly earnings.

      The operator of this location was said to be ‘thrilled with the cashbox results and recognizes the profitable differences between Sega UFO Catcher and competing games. ’  He stated: “First Derby Owners Club, now this; Sega is on   a roll. For years we have operated traditional cranes and done well; with Sega’s encouragement we decided to try a UFO crane. It has grossed between two-and-a-half to three times, over a month period, what a ‘normal’ crane generated in the same location. We are looking at adding a second one as quickly as we can. It is a fresh piece of equipment in a market starving for some ingenuity and creative applications. ”
      Sega’s upcoming roll out of Disney plush and toys will accompany every plush and toys will accompany every Sega UFO Catcher machine sold. Crane operators can look forward to fresh and new collectible series each month, featuring creative styles and colours. Sega is also extending its Automatic Plus Shipment Plan to operators, where cases are automatically sent each month, thus taking out the guesswork and pressure associated with having to order enough merchandise month to month.

*  China’s government will encourage companies to invest more in Africa to boost the supply of raw materials and encourage growth and development on the world’s poorest continent. South Africa’s is Chinese Premier Wen Jiahao’s fifth stop on a seven-nation African tour and comes at a time when the world’s fourth largest economy is aiming to secure supplies of energy and other commodities to sustain a 10 per cent growth rate. Chinese and South African officials have signed 13 co-operation agreements, ranging from trade to nuclear power. China’s trade with Africa was worth US $ 39.8bn, and imports from the continent accounted  for $21.1bn of this. Representatives accompanied Wen on his visit to South Africa from 79 Chinese poker companies, of which 75 have already established partnership with South African businesses, china’s commerce minster Bo Xilai said