Stride leaping into bingo niche

Stride leaping into bingo niche

Friday, May 22, 2015 Totally Gaming
Eitan Boyd believes there is huge potential in the bingo sector

Stride Gaming chief executive Eitan Boyd believes his company’s impressive stock market debut shows it can take advantage of volatility in the UK gambling industry to become a major new force in the bingo sector. 

Stride launched on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on Monday, and saw its share price from an initial 132p to 171.5p by the end of the day – a rise of 30 per cent - with £11.2m (€15.7m/$17.6m) raised.

On the same day, 888, GVC Holdings and Amaya Gaiming were publicly discussing a potential £1bn purchase of Bwin.party, and the owner of brands such as Kitty Bingo, Lucky Pants Bingo and King Jackpot told TotallyGaming.com that while the industry giants are focusing on such huge deals and the repercussions for casino and sports betting, there will be a niche for an ambitious bingo-focused company.

“We were delighted that Stride Gaming had such a spectacular debut,” Boyd said. “We came to market at a time when the sector is undergoing consolidation as evidenced with the bidding wars for Bwin.Party, as a result of increased regulation.

“We specifically came to market to exploit this opportunity as increased regulation means that scale is becoming vitally important in order to survive.

“Those smaller companies lacking scale will be squeezed out the market and the larger players are looking to merge in order to add scale, and those same larger players will be more focused on their core products and less on bingo.

“This has created a perfect opportunity for a bingo-led facing company to grab market share through organic growth and acquisition.”

Coincidentally, two of the senior figures at Stride have been involved in deals with the players in the Bwin.party deal, as Boyd sold Globalcom – now Dragonfish – and Wink Bingo to 888 for a combined £90m and chairman Nigel Payne is a director and former chief executive of GVC-owned Sportingbet.

However, there is no coincidence as to the timing of the flotation, which was scheduled to come just over a week after the UK’s General Election.

“Our timing had a lot to do with our success," Boyd said. "We listed just after the shackles and uncertainties surrounding the election receded and gambling stocks rallied following the result.

“We are extremely pleased with our successful listing and firmly believe that given our extremely strong credentials in online gaming, having previously sold two businesses for £60m and $42m, we will emerge as a serious player within our marketplace.”

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