Europe's New Players in the P2P Space

3 September 2003

A veteran to the Interactive gaming industry has quietly been building what he hopes will be the backbone for exchange betting in Europe.

On Tuesday, Andrew Rivkin let the rest of the world in on a major component of his plan. Rivkin, who co-founded CyrptoLogic with his brother, stepped down as CEO of the Toronto-based gaming software company in December 2000. Nearly three years later, his new I-gaming venture could be on the verge of something big.

Columbia Exchange Systems Ltd. (CES), also co-founded by Rivkin, this week announced a partnership with, the Austria-based online sports betting group.

CES came onto the scene earlier this year when it leveraged key funding to sign, an exchange betting service created by more than 30 established British and Irish independent bookmakers.

This week's signing of betandwin signifies another big step for the company: entrance into the interactive gaming space.

"This is a tremendous partnership for us," CES chief James Lanthier explained. "They are one of the largest online bookmakers in continental Europe. They are, by a country mile, the biggest regulated player to make the move into the betting exchange arena."

CES will create a European betting exchange, Ebexx, which will be integrated into the betandwin site. Both companies are hoping to exploit the massive growth of person-to-person betting and fill what they see as a need for a true exchange serving European punters.

"We are looking to build an exchange to pursue the European market," he said. "There is a lot of unrealized potential there. A lot of the exchanges are centered on British horse racing. We certainly offer that too, but we feel there is a lot room left for exchanges to grow and we hope to capitalize on that."

Manfred Bodner, co-CEO of betandwin, said P2P betting represents a huge growth area for his company and for the sports betting industry as a whole.

"We believe that this new venture into the high growth sector of exchange wagering has the potential to generate significant returns for betandwin," Bodner said, "We are pleased to be partnering with CES as we pursue this attractive new business opportunity. CES and its founders have a proven track record of delivering innovative technology focused on results."

Bodner is confident the partnership between betandwin and CES is a strong one.

"Given our license base, market liquidity and regional know-how, and CES's leading edge technology, the new venture will have all the essential elements required to achieve market dominance in Europe," he said. "We look forward to introducing this exciting and rapidly growing form of wagering to the continental European market."

Ebexx management, meanwhile, is shopping for strategic premier private equity partners.

The Ebexx site is expected to be launched by the end of the month.

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