Despite the economic doom and gloom that dominated the financial news in 2012, it turned out to be a good year for investors, with often overlooked gaming stocks delivering some spectacular returns.

The general consensus at the start of 2013 was that last year was a good year for investors, a marked improvement versus 2011 when the markets were swathed in red.

The S&P 500 ended 2012 up just over 13 per cent, with the FTSE 100 up around 7 per cent and the FTSE 250 up a creditable 23 per cent.

Much of the growth can be credited to a recovering banking sector and the rise of energy and mining stocks, but gambling stocks also put in a stellar performance which went relatively unnoticed due to most institutional investors’ aversion to what are often described as ‘sin stocks’.

The companies that make up the Gaming Intelligence stock page recorded combined average growth in stock value of close to 25 per cent over the course of 2012, despite being weighed down by the arrival to the list of some big names from the US - such as WMS, Scientific Games, IGT and Caesars – who all made moves to capture a share of the online market.

Separate the two and the pure-play online gaming operators and technology suppliers show combined average growth of over 44 per cent in stock value.

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