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New Star’s Whittaker keeps his bets on the table

New Star UK growth man- ager Stephen Whittaker remains bullish on online gaming stocks despite $5bn being wiped off the sector’s value last week after the US government banned internet gambling.

He says he sold his stake in PartyGaming after last week’s crash because it had the biggest exposure to the US market but he retained stakes in 888 Holdings, Sportingbet and Empire Holdings because he believes prospects for the sector outside the US remain positive.

Whittaker saw the gambling stock weighting of his 396m fund drop from 5.2 per cent to 2.9 per cent last Monday but he believes the sector is set to benefit from consolidation and growth in Europe and Asia.

He says he will consider increasing his holdings in gaming stocks in 12 months time, when he expects the longer-term prospects to be clearer. Whittaker says: “I think gambling is a human instinct and impossible to contain. Online gambling only represents 2 per cent of the market so the sector will grow very strongly.

“PartyGaming was the most US-exposed company and I may even consider buying it back if it fell fur- ther. America is not the whole world and places like Macau make Las Vegas look like toy town.”

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