May 3, 2006. This should be remembered as the day the first TV betting show was presented on Austrian television.
The show is broadcast via ProSieben Austria, Sat. 1 Austria and Kabel Eins Austria, all part of the ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG group, which broadcasts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. (Since early 2005, it has also operated ProSiebenSat.1 Welt, a U.S. TV station targeting the roughly 1 million German-speaking viewers living in the United States.)
The new format, "Wettstudio.at Die 1. TV-Wettshow" (the first studio betting show), will be relayed five times per week via the three media and will be supported on the Web sites of Pro Sieben Austria and Wettstudio.at, powered by Intertops.at.
In a span of three minutes, a presenter gives information on new betting possibilities and products and explains how easy it is to participate. Bets can be set on a "wild" variety of wagers, such as the World Cup Soccer, the weather, politics, the stock exchange, international sports results, the number of hot dogs Kobayashi will eat this year, and who will become the Dancing Stars two on Mothers Day.
The First Show
The first Austrian betting broadcast was the prognostication of a Turkish Cup Final soccer match between Besiktas versus Fenerbahce (won by Besiktas after two 15-minute extra times).
A bet on a Turkish football match in an Austrian TV betting show? Perhaps this needs some explaining.
First, the total of the German speaking market is, according to PAF's recent report (commissioned by Germany-based consulting and research firm Goldmedia and titled "Online Betting & Gaming in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: Market Situation and Market Potential"), approximately 95.2 million persons. Above that, Goldmedia forecasts that the Internet gambling market in German speaking regions will triple by 2010.
In broadcasting terms they talk about "spill-over" or "satellite foot print," which can be via satellite senders or ground stations and can be received in neighboring countries, such as Germany and great parts of Switzerland. This is very important for TV betting and is not subject to cross-border restrictions because it involves the transmission of signals, not commerce.
And above that, there are around 5 million Turkish speakers in Germany and another million in the Netherlands. Turks are crazy about soccer and passionate bettors. Living in Turkey, I could see the "show" via a digital receiver, and bets can be set via telephone.
The Driving Force
The driving power and creator of the Austrian betting show is Intertops' Detlef Train, who on Jan. 25, 2006 celebrated the 10th birthday of Intertops.com. (By the way, the first online bet was from Finnish enthusiast Jukka Honkavaara, who on Jan. 17, 1996 wagered $50 on the outcome of a soccer match between U.K. teams Tottenham Hotspur and Hereford United and picked up $52 in winnings as a result.)
By 1998, Intertops added one of the world's first Microgaming online casinos, but Austria's strict monopoly laws meant that the company was forced to relocate to operations from the beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg to exotic Antigua in the Caribbean, where it continues to flourish today.
Intertops is a member of the European Betting Association as well as the Austrian Bookmakers Association.
The Austrian Market
The sports betting market in Austria tripled between 2000 and 2005. According to the Austrian Bookmakers Association, the turn was nearly 1 billion euro in 2005. The betting products in 2005 were as follows: Internet and telephone: 65 percent, betting offices and cafés: 22 percent, betting terminals: 7 percent, and over the counter: 6 percent. Gamblers must be over 18 years old.