Shares of gambling technology company Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS) jumped as much as 51.7% in trading Monday after getting a large investment and a board shakeup. The stock trailed off a little early in the trading day, but was still up 41.6% at 9:25 a.m. EDT.
MacAndrews & Forbes has agreed to sell its 34.9% stake in Scientific Games to a group of institutional investors, including Caledonia, an experienced gambling industry investor, for $28 per share. The company also announced a change to its board of directors, including Jamie Odell joining as executive chair and Toni Korsanos as executive vice chair.
The initial strategy is to "implement transformative strategies to optimize the business portfolio and shareholder value," which could mean selling parts of the business. The company also mentioned it will accelerate efforts to reduce its debt. This is another sign that asset sales may be part of the strategy.
Internally, Scientific Games has said it will focus on digital gaming and sports-betting opportunities. These are areas where names like DraftKings and FanDuel have taken most of the attention, but Scientific Games could play a big role.
Given where the gambling market is headed, it's a good idea to focus on digital sports betting options. Casinos and new entrants are rapidly launching betting apps where they're legal and the market is bidding up these stocks as well. We don't know yet if Scientific Games can sign on the casino partners it needs to make digital betting a big business, but that's where the growth is and investors should cheer more focus in that market.