Betting Odds & Ends - May

30 April 2007

Tote Sale on Verge of Collapse

The proposed £400 million sale of the U.K. Tote has been delayed once again. This time the delay is due to the cancellation of a meeting between sports minister Richard Caborn and Stephen Timms, chief secretary of HM Treasury. The sale to a consortium of horse racing industry players has, since the end of 2006, not advanced beyond the negotiation stage, owing to (among other issues) contention over how the deal would be funded.

32Red Bet Site Launches

Following the successful upgrade of the BetDirect online sports-book platform at the beginning of March this year, the company has launched the 32Red Bet Web site. The new 32Red-branded service began operating in time for the Grand National, fulfilling the company's plans of offering integrated betting and gaming opportunities for both the 32Red and BetDirect brands.

Arkin Sports Moves to Alderney

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission has granted a full eGambling License to operator Arkin Sports and Leisure Limited. "Alderney provides the right technical environment for the continued expansion of Arkin's TheBetArena online betting and gaming operations," said Arkin chairman Erbil Arkin.

William Hill Vies for Greek Betting License

William Hill on April 13 applied to the Greek government for licensure to operate sports betting outlets in the country, challenging OPAP's monopoly on the market. While several news sources predict that the London-listed operator's application will be rejected, William Hill CEO David Harding said the company is prepared to take the case to the European courts if necessary. "We believe the recent European cases mean that what is happening is in breach of EU law," Harding said. "If it is rejected we will go to the courts to argue our case and that could involve going to the European Court of Justice."

In other news, Campaign reported on April 20 that William Hill is reviewing a £4 million ($7.9 million) ad account as it looks to overhaul the brand ahead of changes to U.K. legislation covering gambling ads. The bookmaker is reportedly targeting agencies Bartle Bogle, Hegarty, WCRS and Poulters, and is looking to revamp its brand and logo. The news source said that the winning agency will be responsible for creating a "heavyweight TV and online campaign," scheduled to launch in September.

Youbet at Risk of Losing Kentucky Derby

California-based horse betting site and racing giant Churchill Downs are at an impasse in reaching a deal on account wagering, and might be left out of wagering on the Kentucky Derby as a result.

The dispute is over TrackNet Media Group--a partnership between Churchill Downs Inc. and racecourse operator Magna Entertainment Corp.--which provides the simulcast signal to several domestic and international wagering outlets. TrackNet wants its customers to have access to all races carried by companies such as Youbet in return for making all of its races available to those companies. However, TrackNet insists that Youbet stop accepting wagers for races controlled by interactive horserace wagering network TVG, which means Youbet would lose races at operations in New York, Keeneland and Turfway Park.