Another Player Joins the British Invasion

14 March 2000
With big news breaking virtually on a daily basis, the United Kingdom remains a hotbed of Internet gaming activities. In recent weeks, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Stanley Leisure have all announced Internet strategies. Monday, Littlewoods Leisure tossed its hat into the online ring by launching its own betting site and Internet lottery at

"Bet247 is, quite simply, the most complete, innovative and accessible online gaming and betting site to be unveiled to date and places Littlewoods Leisure far ahead of its rivals in this industry," Littlewoods Chairman Roger Withers said. "Bet247 will appeal to an enormous audience--not only sports gamblers, but the much larger market of lottery and pools players, representing about 70 percent of the UK population."

The betting site will initially offer tax-free betting for U.K. residents. (The company has added its voice to the call for changing the U.K. General Betting Duty.) Among the Bet247 site's offerings are: BetDirect, taking sports bets on horse racing, rugby and football matches and more; Online Pools, offering payouts up to 2 million pounds; Big Match Stats, using a link with Sky Sports for proposition bets; and Prizebuster, one of the U.K.'s first Internet lotteries, played for three or four numbers in the BBC National Lottery draw. Littlewoods also plans Top Spot, an online version of Britain's "Spot the Ball" competition. Additionally, the company will partner with a yet to be named U.K. ISP permitting its customers to use the site for playing the Littlewoods Lottery.

Coming next month is a betting service using mobile telephones. BT Cellnet customers, thanks to a strategic partnership between BT Cellnet and Littlewoods, will be able to make live bets and play the pools and lotteries on their mobile telephones using WAP technology.

"The innovative and strategic partnerships that we are announcing today with BT Cellnet and Sky Sports will ensure that Bet247 is the most accessible and user friendly gaming site on the market," Withers said.

He explained, "Customers will have access to Bet247 from their WAP mobile phones, from their landline web phones and their TVs and PCs, and we will soon announce a range of other access channels including some of the Premier League's leading football clubs and one of the UK's leading service providers. ... I am confident that this is the strategy that will propel Littlewoods Leisure right to the top of the e-commerce and gaming industries."