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The King of Diamonds smiles behind a "join now" button on the screen of an online gambling website. - 


Doug Krizner: The British-based online gaming company 888 was dealt a good hand in the latest quarter. Profits rose sharply, even after the company was booted out of the American market. Now the company's boss says he's glad the U.S. banned Internet betting. From London, Stephen Beard has more.

Stephen Beard: The U.S. legal clamp down on Internet betting in 2006 hit 888 hard. The company lost more than half its revenues.

But today, business is recovering. Full year figures just released show a 36 percent jump in sales. The company has rebuilt its fortunes concentrating on the European market and launching new products like online bingo.

The boss is now revelling in the company's expulsion from the U.S. He says, "We're better for it. More efficient and more focussed."

Analyst David Buik agrees:

David Buik: They know actually where they're going. And they know that there are plenty of places to expand their business, whether they eventually decide to go to South Africa or to the Far East, where they're not going to walk into a blockbuster of a problem called litigation.

He expects the whole online gaming business to do well, even if there' a global economic slowdown. He says in hard times, people usually keep on gambling.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.