After being booted from the United States by the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006, CryptoLogic packed its bags and moved from Canada to Ireland to pursue Asian and European markets that still welcomed its business.
At the time, America accounted for around 30% of total revenue. As you can imagine, many investors thought taking U.S. gamblers off CryptoLogic's plate might be a blow so fatal the company would never recover. Losing a third of your business and having to move across the globe doesn't exactly promote a great deal of confidence.
Sure enough, the company has found adapting to its new residence to be tough; fiscal 2007's year-over-year profit has fallen 77%. Nonetheless, business is beginning to show signs of life in its new home.
On Tuesday, CryptoLogic reported that fourth-quarter profit per share had tripled in the past year to $0.36 per share on $4.3 million in net income. That easily blew away analysts' expectations of $0.21 per share. In the fourth quarter of 2006, CryptoLogic earned just $1.7 million, or $0.12 per share.
While total revenue grew just 7% to $20.4 million, the online casino division saw a 40% surge in business. Part of the big jump came from last fall's introduction of new online slot machines that include Marvel Entertainment
Teaming up with other companies such as Marvel has been a boon for CryptoLogic. Last year, it joined forces with the World Poker Tour, capturing one of the gaming industry's fastest-growing phenomena. On Monday, CryptoLogic renewed contracts with the World Poker Tour to become its exclusive provider of online casino software through 2011.
As has been the case for a while, CryptoLogic's balance sheet remains the envy of its competitors. At the end of the year, its coffers held $77.5 million in cash without a penny of debt. That flexibility is vital as it continues its expansion into global markets and makes headway in a fiercely competitive industry. Taiwan-based rival GigaMedia
What's next for CryptoLogic? One major wild card remains; it's unclear whether legislators in Washington will choose to overthrow the online gambling ban that threw CryptoLogic out in the first place. Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has proposed taxing and regulating online gambling, rather than simply banning it. If that proposal happens to gain ground, CryptoLogic could suddenly regain its once-lucrative American clients.
Until that happens, check out this related Foolishness:
CryptoLogic is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. GigaMedia is a Global Gains pick. Marvel is a Stock Advisor pick. Take a free 30-day trial of any of our newsletters here.
Fool contributor Morgan Housel once had dinner with poker legend Freddy Deeb, but doesn't hold shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool's disclosure policy has the best poker face you've ever seen.