RealTime IT News

Access Makes Parlay on IPO

Sydney-based Internet gaming systems supplier Access Gaming Systems will hedge its bets on an initial public offering (IPO) on the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) to raise AUS$45 million (US$28.3 million) to continue developing and deploying its games systems.

The nine year old company will issue 22.5 million shares at AUS$2.00 (US$1.25) each, when the offer opens on April 10, with the aim of reaching a market capitalisation of AUS$200 million (US$126 million).

Access supplies to casinos and lottery groups in regulated jurisdictions in Australia and Europe, with its customisable Internet gaming system, called ACES.

The ACES system is the world's first to be government certified, and includes a range of standard lottery and casino games along with a Games Development Kit to allow gaming operators to develop games for the ACES platform.

The company's clients include Northern Territory-based physical and online casino Lasseters, Australian betting and lottery group Tattersall's, Holland Casinos and RAL in Europe.

Access also recently signed an agreement with Nevada, US-based Internet Game Technology to develop a global Internet gaming software alliance.

US marketing consultancy Frost & Sullivan forecasts the global online gaming industry will grow at a rate of 40 percent per year to be worth AUS$17 billion (US$10.7 billion) by 2003. Access is keen to maintain the capital to be relevant to this expanding industry, said managing director Stephen Mulcahy.

"New and entertaining games are critical to the success of any Internet gaming operator," said Mulcahy. "Funds raised will go toward further development of Access' Internet gaming system and to the development of further games to be used on Access' client sites."

Funds from the IPO will also be used to fund capital expenditure, expenses from the offer and working capital requirements.

Core to Access' growth is that the company takes around a nine percent share of the net revenues derived by its clients. The company intends to compound the capital its gains through the IPO with a hike in this share.

In related news, former minerals explorer Abador Gold will enter the Internet gaming industry after acquiring Vanuatu-based online casino operator My Casino.

Abador will relaunch under the My Casino title, and expects to list on the ASX in the near future, after shareholders voted to issue 38 million shares and a similar number of options to raise AUS$7.6 million (US$4.8 million) in new capital.

With the capital it raises, My Casino will develop its business, appoint new directors, and prepare for an aggressive marketing strategy targeted at the Asian market.

The core business which Abador will acquire includes an Internet casino that currently operates under the name Casinos Australasia and Internet sportsbook Sportsbook Australasia. Both of these businesses will be operated by Vanuatu-based company Netcom.

Abador has also gained Internet Transaction Processing, which has an Internet banking facility in the Channel Islands, and Internet Data Process, which holds 10 year licences to conduct an Internet casino and sportsbook.