Small Talk: Probability bets on crazy camels after gamblers get the hump with US laws

Probability has not had the easiest of starts to its life on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), hit by the fallout of US legislation just a week after listing. But with a business model backed by the market and rising revenues, the mobile phone gambling specialist is preparing for one of the industry's showpiece events this week with confidence. A year and a bit on from its listing, Probability is gearing up for its second International Casino Exhibition (ICE) in Earls Court.

The ICE is one of the big-gest gambling trade shows of the year, described by Charles Cohen, the company's chief executive and co-founder, as "an arms fair for croupiers". It showcases the biggest name in world gambling, and Probability is hoping to get noticed as it launches its latest product.

The company provides gambling games including casino, bingo and slots to customers on their mobiles, a market in its infancy. A note from Arbuthnot backed the company and its business model in September, saying: "A combination of improving technology and customer awareness means that mobile gambling is now economically viable." It added that mobile gambling is seen as "the next big thing" in remote gambling.

Probability was first set up as a mobile lottery game, dubbed Mlotto, in 2004, before changing its name the following year. It listed on AIM in August 2006 at 82p after launching its casino suite. The shares rose for about a week, before falling off a cliff. Five months later, its value had more than halved, coming to rest at 39.5p in line with the rest of the sector, hit by the devastating changes to US gambling laws.

Mr Cohen said: "We were an unproven, loss-making business in a sector that was all heat and no light. No one knew the correct valuation of these companies." While it remains one of the smaller names in the gambling universe, the group has raised its profile with several landmark deals. In September, it announced a white labelling contract with Rank Group, to provide mobile gaming for its database of customers. This was followed two months later by a deal with The Sun news-paper and a further tie-up with Orange, part of France Telecom. It has followed this with news that it has developed the first gambling game for the iPhone.

In early December, Probability revealed that its first-half pre-tax losses had narrowed to £600,000 from £2.1m last year. It hit operating profitability for the first time in September.

Since then, the shares have leapt 26p. Probability released its third-quarter numbers last week, in which net gaming revenues rose 38 per cent quarter-on-quarter to £930,198. The market expects it to make a loss this year, but the predictions for 2008 are for the company to turn a profit of about £700,000.

The group's latest game is called Crazy Camels, a variation on the electronic horse-racing games. It has themed the stand at the ICE exhibition accordingly, and even has a real palm tree, although no camels, because – as Mr Cohen said – the smell would clear Earls Court.

The big name gamblers have not become involved in mobile gaming in any meaningful capacity. But a few might look at a takeover of Probability. Mr Cohen remained coy on the subject. "You would have to ask them," he said.

FoaMasters

Chances are that foam makers from China have rarely come on your radar as a consumer or an investor. Yet if you've worn a pair of Nike or Adidas trainers recently or possibly slept in a bed from Ikea, you have used FoaMasters International's wares. The group makes foam products and exports them to retailers around the world.

The market will be watch-ing with interest as it posts its first trading update this week since the group came to AIM in December. It is expected to outline its production expansion plans in China and Vietnam, where it employs almost 2,000.

FoaMasters was founded in 1964, and the bulk of its business comes from sales of raw foam, exported to retailers including Wal-Mart. It also makes its own brand bedding products.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas