Friday November 7,2014 : UNCERTAINTY CLOUDS 500.COM'S FUTURE
Investment house scales down involvement over legality and financial reportage concerns.
The initial runaway success of New York Stock Exchange-listed Chinese sports lottery provider 500.com appears to be slowing amid uncertainty around its legality vis-a-vis the Chinese authorities, and claims that its financial operational practices are not on a par with those in the United States.
Earlier this year, Chinese media reported that China’s Sports Lottery Administration Center had not authorised any sports gambling websites and that online lottery sales are illegal without authorisation.
500.com management immediately responded, claiming that the company has the operational approval of the central government's Ministry of Finance.
Apparently the Ministry has to date not confirmed this claim.
This week Bloomberg business news reported that one major investor, Prime Capital Management, had reduced its shareholding in the company from 16 percent to below 5 percent, alarming other investors.
The Bloomberg report notes that 500.com shares tripled in value in the first three months of public trading in March this year, but have since plunged 42 percent on uncertainty about the company's legal position and accounting practices. And this week the shares dipped a further 6.8 percent to $28.02. The price is currently $27.86.