NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Scientific Games ( SGMS) reported a surprise loss in its fourth quarter, sending shares of the lottery operator tanking in afternoon trading. Scientific Games recorded a loss of $50.1 million, or 54 cents per share, compared with a loss of $69.1 million, or 75 cents, a year ago. Excluding items, Scientific Games actually lost 5 cents a share, significantly missing analysts' forecast of a 19 cent per share profit. Scientific Games' revenue fell 12% to $232.9 million from $263.9 million last year. Instant ticket revenue fell 11.4%, while service revenue fell 8%. The biggest impact on sales for Scientific Games during the quarter was from the change in reporting of its China instant lottery production and the re-pricing of its contract in Pennsylvania. "Looking ahead, we are beginning to see some signs of improving retail sales trends in our core businesses, although we remain cautious in light of the difficult economic environment," Scientific Games CEO Michael R. Chambrello said in a statement. Shares of Scientific Games are tumbling 6.6% to $15.77 in afternoon trading. -- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.