Investors avoid Gocorp gamble

Despite officials claiming the federal government's proposed moratorium on internet gambling would have no impact on the company's operations, investors have steered clear of the stock, which opened at a dismal 23 cents. Gocorp's issue price was 50 cents per share.

At 11:30am, an hour after listing, 3,549,500 Gocorp shares had been traded, reaching a high of 27 cents and trading as low as 19 cents. The shares appeared to have stabilised around 22 cents.

Last week, Gocorp officially launched the first of its games - AusVegas, which actually went live on May 16, three days before the federal government announced its retrospective proposed moratorium.

Despite conveniently dodging the planned legislation, Gocorp CEO Paul Appleby said the company was "supporting and encouraging" a national regulatory approach to internet gambling.

In fact, the organisation has launched several of its games as cash-free games, where players gamble points.

"Until the various states and federal government's can agree on a national regulatory approach to online gaming, we have taken steps to bar those Australian's outside the Queensland jurisdiction, from gambling at AusVegas.

"However, we have made the casino available to anyone around the country who wants to play simply for fun and for free, using points only," Appleby said.

According to Appleby, cash games are available to Queensland residents and international players, with players from the US, Middle East, Switzerland and New Zealand already logging on.

Gocorp is expecting to launch another cyber casino, "Aussie Nugget" by Q3 this year.

Gocorp was issued an online gaming licence in June 1999, under the Queensland government's Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1998. The licence is valid for a period of 15 years, and can be extended for an additional 15 year term.

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Luisa Bustos

PC World

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