One of the largest sports books in the world, BetOnSports.com of Costa Rica, says it plans to go public as soon as international economic situations steady themselves.
CEO David Carruthers confirmed to IGN today that the company is positioning itself to float stock on London's AIM index, a market for new and upcoming companies. He said the float could raise as much as £25 million.
"Right now, things are not favorable for a company like ours to go public, but as soon as that changes, and I think it will eventually, we will be ready to go with the float."
Reports from the British press this week indicated the BoS would be making the move within the next year, but Carruthers said that the timing of the float is out of his hands and that anyone who speculates on an exact timeframe is not tuned in to company information. He also pointed out that AIM guidelines mandate that investors and analyst have ample notice before the float
Whenever that is, the company will be prepared.
"We are teed up and ready to do it," he said. "We have all the paper work ready and are serious about doing it. We just have to wait for the global economic climate to change. ... Right now, things are not favorable for a company like ours to go public, but as soon as that changes, and I think it will eventually, we will be ready to go with the float."
A big reason BoS has everything in place for a float is that it went through pre-float procedures in 2001. It was prepared to go public in the last quarter of the calendar year, but put the plan on hold in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the slumping global economy.
In addition to the world's volatile economies, Carruthers pointed to the political situation in the United States (with the House of Representatives passing a prohibition bill aimed at cutting off Internet gambling) and the imminent overhaul of England's gambling policies as two areas of concern.
But, despite attempts on Capitol Hill to ban online gambling, he feels it's just a matter of time before the United States is forced to regulate the industry.
"There is entirely too much demand for our product and services from the U.S. for politicians to realistically believe that they can go on without ever having to regulate the industry," he said. "I don't see it happening anytime soon, but as soon as politicians are educated on how our industry works and hear from the massive amount of players who are comfortable using our system, then they will have no other choice than to regulate."
When that time comes, Carruthers said, the United States will have a lot of ground to make up on other jurisdictions that have already adopted a regulatory approach.
The company has always relied on a large customer base (nearly 90 percent of its clientele) in the United States and doesn't plan to change that.
"We are officially licensed in all the jurisdictions that we operate out of," .Carruthers explained. "We are perfectly legal everywhere, and I am a resident of the U.K. I am not a citizen of the United States, so the U.S. government has no grounds for coming after me."
With its headquarters in Costa Rica and offices in Birmingham, England, BetOnSports is one of the world's best known offshore sports betting services. The company has achieved success, in part, through ambitious, well funded marketing campaigns. They made it normal practice to advertise in leading American magazines, such as Maxim and Pro Football Weekly. This fall they started an aggressive marketing campaign in which they've sent two fully loaded luxury buses on the road to various college and professional football games. In August, Carruthers said, the site became the first Internet-only sports book to open a terrestrial VIP club for its regular customers. The club/resort area opened its doors this summer with a Hollywood-style bash complete with celebrities and tabloid TV reporters.