Codere Brings Wireless Gambling to Latin America

26 February 2003

Thanks to a new partnership with Digital Orchid, Codere will be offering some of its offline gaming products as well as new online products through wireless devices.

Codere is one of the leading providers of casino and gaming services in Latin America. Digital Orchid, working with its affiliated telecom carriers, will embed wireless devices with the betting applications so that when they are distributed to customers, betting and gaming will be an immediate option.

Daniel Daou, Digital Orchid's CEO, said between 100,000 and 200,000 devices will be enabled with the Codere platform within three years. Digital Orchid's focus will be Microsoft's Pocket PC as well as the next-generation Stinger phone, which is based on a Microsoft operating system.

Codere has 63 betting and gaming operations throughout Latin America and Europe. Codere's emphasis is in the Latin American market, where the company has a presence in every Spanish-speaking country. Depending on the jurisdiction, and its gaming laws, Codere has everything from slot machines and bingo halls to casinos and sports betting facilities.

"The user won't have to go and find us. We will be one click or one call away. These new devices are both a smart cell phone and a pocket PC. That allows us to offer our content online, where (people) can see the odds and the different products."
- Nourdean Anakar

Nourdean Anakar, the managing director of Codere, said that from the wireless devices users can access Codere's system, get a run down on odds, pick their wager and confirm it all from their account.

"The user won't have to go and find us," he said. "We will be one click or one call away. These new devices are both a smart cell phone and a pocket PC. That allows us to offer our content online, where (people) can see the odds and the different products."

The system currently isn't set up to allow users to create a master account from which they could play keno or bingo and place a sports bet all from the same account.

"We are working on that right now," Anakar said. "That is something that should be available by the end of the second quarter."

Anakar said although Codere is teaming with the San Diego-based Digital Orchid for the first time, both firms are familiar with each other's board of directors and top executives.

"We are excited to get to work with them," he said.

The games that will be offered to consumers will depend on where they are located, Anakar said.

"We are only doing this on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis where we have a legal and official presence," he said.

Codere is targeting its existing player base from its land-based facilities but does not have a goal for how many players will use the wireless service.

"We are not set in any real fixed-percentage targets," Anakar said. "But we will take whatever we can. We do cross-market a lot. We feel that it is important for us to get new customers with the new technology and products that are out there. But we also want to be able to reach our current customers better and not make them have to go to a physical location if they don't want to."

The deal with Digital Orchid isn't the first venture into the wireless arena for Codere, but Anakar said it is the most extensive to date. In the initial rollout, the majority of the players who took advantage of the wireless platform were sports bettors.

"We only launched wireless gaming six months ago," he said. "In our sports betting, the response has been tremendous. We have very impressive numbers with respect to how many referrals we get from customers who frequent our regular land-based operations and how they sign up online and open accounts."

The service offers the ideal situation to further expose the brand to new customers as well as bring them into the land-based facilities, Anakar said

"We are using some of the online and wireless wagering systems to promote our brick-and mortar operation," he said. "We would like to get new, younger customers in those facilities as well."

Digital Orchid's Daou said the idea behind pre-loading the gaming systems into the devices is to get people gaming as an afterthought instead of having it be the main purpose of the device.

"The idea here is to create an entertaining device," he said. "We don't want to create a gambling device. We want to entertain people and then get them thinking about gambling, we don't want to push the gambling on them first."

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