Betting Odds & Ends - June

24 May 2007

Golden Resorts Extends Reach to Cambodia

Hong Kong-listed hotel casino operator Golden Resorts Group, which operates two properties in Macau, is entering the bookmaking business in Cambodia. Golden Resorts subsidiary Good Start Group Limited signed on April 28 a memorandum of understanding which may see the group acquire a 49 percent interest in state-licensed bookmaker Cambo Six for HK$147 million. Golden Resorts will pay HK$63 million in cash for the acquisition, while the remaining HK$84 million will be satisfied by issuing shares at HK$0.60 per share. The deal is expected to be finalized on May 31.

New Zealand SuperTAB

New Zealand's totaliser pools will be included as part of Tabcorp's SuperTAB pool under a letter of intent signed on May 11 by the Victorian Racing Minister, Rob Hulls, and the New Zealand Racing Minister, Winston Peters. "It is very much in the interests of punters and the racing industry as a whole to have as large a pool as possible," Hulls told Finalization of the deal is expected within the next few weeks.

Churchill Downs to offer Online Wagering

Churchill Downs Inc., the Louisville-based racetrack operator, has ventured into online account wagering, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Churchill chief executive Bob Evans said the company launched its TwinSpires account wagering service on May 2. While certain forms of online gambling are prohibited in the United States--horseracing not among them--Evans said that, looking ahead, Churchill is interested in extending its brands "to play other games" in countries where online gambling is legal. "Given the fact that the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Twin Spires are world renowned brands, why wouldn't we use those brands to enter into businesses that are outside our traditional core of thoroughbred racing," he told the paper. TwinSpires was launched on Scientific Games' TrackPlay software platform.

Betfair Shares with the NRL

Betfair has announced a product fee and integrity agreement with the National Rugby League (NRL). Under the terms of the agreement, Betfair will deliver to the NRL a share of its betting revenues from rugby-league events and give the NRL access to its betting records "to enable [the NRL] to more effectively protect the integrity of the sport." "Betfair has long held the view that the NRL deserves a share of the revenue we make from offering betting on their sport and that they should have full access to the betting records of our customers to ensure the integrity of the game is protected," said Andrew Twaits, director of corporate and business affairs, Betfair, Australia.

ACCC Allows Tripartite Deal

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have announced plans to allow Tabcorp, Sky television network and ThoroughVision Pty to share thoroughbred horse-racing content. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that ACCC has drafted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to bring to an end the "split vision" dispute, which has led to a decrease in wagering revenue, bettor confusion and a decrease in funding to the racing industry. The MOU will result in improved output, quality and innovation of the Sky and TVN channels, the paper quoted ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel as saying.

UK Sports Leagues Receive Government Backing

U.K. sports leagues will likely receive a cut of the U.K. bookmaking industry, now that they have the support of the government. Sports Minister Richard Caborn and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell decided on May 16 to support the case of the major U.K. sports: Tennis, Cricket, Rugby and Football, agreeing that the leagues have a persuasive "moral case" for a cut of the estimated £500m annual turnover in sports betting. Caborn must now negotiate a settlement with bookmakers, who are thought to be pushing for a voluntary payment of £5 million and £10 million annually in the short term. It has also been reported that they would consider a system similar to the levy paid to horseracing, in which a percentage of profits is passed over to the sports.