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
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
football
News
people
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
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

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot