Betting Odds & Ends – December

29 November 2007
Yonkers, NY, Launches Online Race Wagering

Television Games Network (TVG) on Nov. 1 launched an account wagering Web site on behalf of Yonkers Raceway exclusively targeting New York-based bettors, marking the California-based group's first Internet betting venture in the state. Yonkers received approval during the last week of October from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to launch the service. The New York Racing Association (NYRA)--a competitor and operator of Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga racecourses--received the go-ahead to launch its Internet wagering service in May 2007.

Betfair Awaiting Approval in NSW

Australian media are reporting that Betfair is set to be awarded a license to offer online betting services in New South Wales. NSW Premier Morris Iemma has reportedly intervened to make his gaming and racing minister, Graham West, hold discussions with the London-based betting exchange. Racing NSW, meanwhile, has been very critical of the development, arguing that the Iemma government hadn't bothered to consult it regarding the possibility of offering Betfair a license.

Centrebet Mobile

Centrebet has launched an Mfuse-powered mobile sports and horse betting service for Australian residents. "We foresee a sizeable revenue improvement over time as a result of the product's portability and accessibility, and also as a flow-on from increased acceptance by customers of other java-based mobile products," said Centrebet Chief Executive Con Kafataris. In related news, Kafataris told shareholders today that the company is confident it will achieve a net profit of between A$13 million and A$13.6 million during FY 2008.

PartyGaming Goes to the Races

PartyGaming announced on Nov. 8 the launch of a comprehensive fixed-odds horse racing service on its PartyBets platform through a strategic alliance with spread betting specialist Sporting Index. The service will offer coverage of race meetings in the United Kingdom, Ireland and abroad, with odds compilation and trading advisory services to be provided by Spin Services, a wholesale division of Sporting Index.

Betfair Starting Price Finally Starting

Betfair is reportedly set to launch its starting price betting service in the middle of December, having received the "approval of a number of the exchange's biggest-staking clients at a series of demonstrations over the last seven days." "This has the potential to be the most significant step forward for Betfair since the exchange was launched," said Stephen Burn, Betfair's director of horse racing. "Racing is scratching the surface. In time, we hope that we will be able to add it across football, tennis and so on. We could even return an SP on the next general election."

Advisors: Don't Take the Tote Offer

U.K. government ministers have been advised not to sell the state-owned Tote to a racing consortium for a reduced bid because it is likely to contravene EU rules, according to the Times UK. The initial bid price of £400 million has been cut to £320 million, but the government's advisor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that such a deal would not represent the open market price. Furthermore, bookmaker and casino operator Gala Coral is reportedly willing to pay £405 million for the Tote.

Polish Racing Deal

Online gaming and entertainment company Gaming Ventures Plc has signed an agreement with Polish Racing Media Ltd. (PMRL) giving it exclusive rights to market and takes mobile and Internet bets one live horse racing from Warsaw. The deal allows Gaming Ventures to take bets worldwide, excluding Poland.

Blue Square/888 Venture Goes Through

Online sports book Blue Square and 888 on Nov. 5 announced a partnership agreement to launch a multinational sports book. Under the terms of the deal, Blue Square will supply multi-lingual fixed-odds and sports betting content, enabling 888 customers in each region to place bets on the 888 Web site. In addition, 888 will provide Blue Square with its payment processing platform, as Blue Square takes its own sports book offering to new international markets. Revenues will be shared between the two partners, but the details remain confidential. 888 will launch its offering in Q1 2008, focusing at first in several EU countries, including the United Kingdom; it will later roll it out on a global basis.

IG Group Hedges West

London-listed spread betting specialist IG Group has agreed to purchase the entire issued share capital of HedgeStreet Inc., a California-based Internet exchange allowing users to speculate on economic events and price movements, for $6 million. "For some time we have been interested in entering the U.S. market, but regulatory constraints limit our ability to offer much of our existing product range," IG Chief Executive Tim Howkins said. Pending satisfaction of certain financial conditions, the acquisition is expected to be completed in mid December.

Sportswinbet Cuts and Runs

Sportswinbet, listed on the LSE, has said that, due to the current competitive global licensing market, it will not renew its sports betting license with the Alderney Gambling and Control Commission. "As and when an investment opportunity is identified that requires Sportswinbet to have a global sports betting and/or casino license, the relevant application will be made in the appropriate jurisdiction," the company said in a written statement.

Jaxx in the UK

Jaxx UK Ltd., a subsidiary of Germany-based Fluxx AG, has launched its sports betting service in the United Kingdom with marketing partner AOL UK. Jaxx said it has secured the requisite licensure with British authorities and will offer casino and poker products in early 2008.

Spanish Sports Book Venture

Malta licensee has launched its online sports book and casino in Spain. Services are available in English and Spanish, with casino games by Net Entertainment.