Place Your Bets On This Gambler

International Totalizator Systems sounds as if it belongs in the Terminator's arsenal. It doesn't. It's in the gambling business, and the stock is starting to catch fire. ITS, a major maker of computerized lottery and pari-mutuel wagering systems, derives 90% of its sales overseas. Most stocks related to gambling have been on the ropes recently, but ITS has been on the go, rising from 2 in December to 4 1/2.

What's the scoop? ITS, whose pari-mutuel equipment is already used to service the horse racing industry in Britain and Hong Kong, has been signing up new businesses. It has also held talks with officials in the former Soviet republic of Georgia as well as Hungary and Romania to set up lotteries in those countries.

China has made inquiries as well. A lottery system in Georgia could generate revenues of $4 million for ITS, figures Charles LaLoggia, editor and publisher of the Special Situation Report in Rochester, N.Y. ITS signed a contract in late March with Papua New Guinea to provide a turnkey system for a national lottery: It will ship 100 wagering terminals in July of this year, and an additional 200 terminals over the next four years.

ITS, which is now in 15 countries, plans to widen its 10% share of the U.S. market, says Chairman and CEO Jim Walters. Already, ITS supplies the wagering equipment at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. "We have received numerous inquiries in North America," says Walters.

ITS could well exceed in 1992 its 1991 sales of $29 million and net of $1.7 million, or 18 cents a share, says LaLoggia. He thinks the stock is worth 10.

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