Big Fish Are Biting on LiveBet

5 March 2002

Less than two years after its inception a South African online sports betting software supplier is slowly but surely cementing key relationships halfway around the world.

LiveBet Online announced two separate deals this week with high-profile British bookmakers, marking a key step in the company's goal of penetrating global markets.

British independent bookmaker Done Bookmaker and the Demmy Group expanded their operations recently with the help of LiveBet software.

LiveBet focuses on the development and support of fully integrated, real-time, online sports betting platform. The platform enables global sports books to administer, control, maintain and operate an online sports betting business and covers a wide range of sports and sports betting products. The system can also be combined with a number of traditional and interactive betting environments.

Last month the Demmy Group launched its first live Internet site,, powered by the LiveBet system. Demmy is licensed in Gibraltar, where it can act as a legal offshore bookmaker to punters in the United Kingdom. The group has been involved in the U.K. bookmaking industry for 75 years, and its solid background enables it to offer a complete service to all its of clients.

Done Bookmakers, England's largest independent betting shop chain, has also come on board with LiveBet. The group, which is behind only Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral in terms of sheer number of shops, is a privately-owned operation by the Done brothers.

Done has traditionally focused on land-based betting shops until this year. The company had a small interest in telephone betting up until a few years ago. Rather than jump right into the Internet, the company has decided to focus back on the telephone market and then move into the Internet market.

Sheldon Cohen, a co-director for the games and gaming division of eCompany (LiveBet's parent company), is confident Done will turn to the Internet in the short term. He said the company has always coupled its telephone betting software with its Internet betting software because many customers use both.

"New clients always use the call centers at least once, just to make sure they are real," he said.

To help with Done's endeavor LiveBet built a fully integrated telephone and Internet system. Done, which kicked the business on Monday, has staffed a call center with more than 50 operators.

Cohen sees the recent partnerships with such established U.K. as somewhat ironic because LiveBet originally was focused on a different level of licensees.

"LiveBet was built to address the medium to large bookmaker market," he said. "Because we came in a little behind Orbis the guys who seem to get excited about us are these large independent players who hadn't leapt into the game two years ago. They don't have huge marketing money, and they tend to be a little more conservative. They waited to see how the market played out and are now making significant investments."

One of the biggest appeals for bookmakers, according to Cohen, is that operators can start out at their own pace and allow the system to grow as much as market demands allow. Although some operators choose to have a longer testing period than others, systems can be up in less than a month's time.

With the Demmy Group in LiveBet's corner, Cohen is hopeful that more doors will be open for his company

"This is very exciting for us," he said. "It is a major push out of Gibraltar."

In addition to securing more licensees with strong land-based brands, LiveBet is working diligently to prepare sites for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, the biggest three days of racing in Britain, which scheduled to begin March 12. Andrew Beveridge, LiveBet's other co-director, said Cheltenham and the World Cup are probably the two biggest events for Internet sports books this year.

Preparation includes staying with LiveBet's monthly schedule of updating its software and adding new features to the system. The implementation of a new data mining system has been a major development for LiveBet that's proven to be valuable for operators.

LiveBet took some third-party software and customized it to enable users to spot anomalies in the business. "It is great in terms of risk management," Beveridge explained. "It works very well for marketing, too, in pinpointing specific activities and where customers are coming from."

He said the historical data that can be accessed makes price setting easier for operators as well.

Three of the data mining systems have been licensed out; Beveridge said the response has been overwhelming.

To further solidify its presence in England, LiveBet opened an office in London, which has helped the company's clients launch and market their services.

Cohen and Beveridge agree that their task of making a serious impression on Internet gaming operators won't be easy, but they're both confident that the LiveBet product will continue to make solid inroads, in the United Kingdom and beyond.