January 25, 2008 / 1:38 PM / in 11 years

Bookmaker deals boost Inspired Gaming shares

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - British gambling machine maker Inspired Gaming Group Plc INGG.L said it had renewed two of its biggest contracts with UK bookmakers William Hill (WMH.L) and Ladbrokes LAD.L, sending its shares up almost 20 percent.

The computer-linked machines, known as fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT’s), play games like roulette, blackjack and Poker and are hugely lucrative for bookmakers, bringing in around a third of their total profits.

Inspired, which last month saw a planned takeover by investment firm FL Group fall through after changes at the top of the Icelandic company and problems in the debt markets, gave no financial details of either contract.

It said on Friday it would put 6,300 machines in William Hill’s betting shops and beam its games into 1,500 machines in Ladbrokes shops.

By 1310 GMT shares in the firm, which have fallen around 45 percent in the last four months, were up 19 percent at 193-1/4 pence, valuing the business at around 156 million pounds.

Inspired has been hit hard in recent months, as takeover hopes disappeared and the introduction of a smoking ban in England and Wales led to a slump in pub fruit machine income. (Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by David Holmes)

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