GigaMedia Limited  (GIGM) entered into a definitive agreement today to acquire FunTown, a leading Asian online casual game portal and operator of the world’s largest online Mahjong game site in terms of revenue.

 

GigaMedia expects the transaction to be strongly EPS accretive and generate significant increases in revenues and net income beginning in the first quarter of 2006.

 

On an unaudited, management account basis, FunTown is expected to generate approximately $5.1 million in net income in 2005. Looking ahead, GigaMedia anticipates 20 percent to 30 percent growth in FunTown’s business in 2006.

 

in April 2004, GigaMedia acquired Cambridge-based Grand Virtual, a privately held software developer and application service provider in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $32.5 million. Grand Virtual Casino does not accept bets from players in the United States.

 

Online Casino “Watchdogs” Sometimes Have Conflicts

 

The boom in online gambling — along with concerns about sending money to Internet casinos that operate out of loosely regulated locales like Aruba, Costa Rica and Belize – has spawned a cottage industry: Web sites that purport to tell gamblers which operations they can trust, and which have reputations for cheating players.

 

These self-styled watchdogs publish reviews of online sportsbooks and poker sites, and maintain lists of recommended casinos. But gamblers may not realize that several of the watchdog sites have conflicts of interest. Many take advertisements from gambling operations, and some are paid commissions for driving traffic to casinos. One site, MajorWager.com, owns one of the sportsbooks it recommends.

 

The upshot: Online Casino Singapore operators sometimes get sparkling grades on watchdog sites where they have advertising or business relationships, while receiving poor marks where they don’t. David Kesmodel at Wall Street Journal

 

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