Loss-making Gaming Insight requests suspension of shares

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The Independent Online

The future of Gaming Insight was thrown into doubt last night after the interactive TV gambling company asked for its shares to be suspended from trading on AIM, the junior stock market, pending clarification of its financial position.

Its shares, which have been sliding consistently over the past 12 months, were suspended at 1.07p each. The shares had traded as high as nearly 80p in early 2000.

The group, which is now understood to be trying to restructure its balance sheet, comprises several integrated gaming entertainment businesses including an online casino as well as sports gaming companies. In its interim results in September last year, Gaming reported a £6.2m net loss but said it had raised £2m in extra funding through a share placing to support a joint venture with Victor Chandler to develop a greyhound racing venture called Red Bet Racing.

The move, which saw the chairman Victor Chandler join Gaming Insight's board, was designed to secure the future of the company's GoBarkingMad digital TV greyhound racing channel.

Gaming dubbed that placing and a recent conversion of loan notes into ordinary shares as "a demonstration of investor support" for the business. But the company has endured its fair share of troubles. Just two months ago, the Knightsbridge department store Harrods, owned by Mohamed Al-Fayed, relaunched its online casino after cutting ties with Gaming Insight.

The upmarket department store said then that it had chosen not to renew its contract with Gaming Insight "because we felt it could be done better". Its new partner is the software group Kismet International.

In November last year, the leisure group secured a deal to supply its digital greyhound racing channel together with an on-screen betting facility to the Scandinavian broadcaster NSAB.

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