Gaming Channel Takes an Operational Role in Avago

25 September 2003

After hiring an I-gaming expert as its CEO, The Gaming Channel took control of British interactive TV betting channel Avago and declared that it intends to expand in the industry.

Since Avago's initial launch, software company Digital Interactive Television Group (DITG) has held its license and assumed many of its daily responsibilities, even though The Gaming Channel has always owned Avago. Until now, The Gaming Channel had functioned as a shell company with no staff, which led to much confusion about the roles of DITG and The Gaming Channel.

But on Sept. 1, The Gaming Channel clarified that it has taken control of Avago.

The Gaming Channel's CEO, Damian Cope, explained, "Effectively all the day-to-day operations always belonged to The Gaming Channel, but it didn't have any profile. It was just sort of a company name on a register of companies. There were no real employees there, there was no substance to it, and so we've tried to separate. We're saying, 'those people who were within DITG but working exclusively on a betting business have now been transferred to that betting business which is called The Gaming Channel, and those employees that worked within DITG providing technology to The Gaming Channel but also to lots of other customers will remain with DITG."

Cope is a veteran in the industry. He co-founded Blue Square, the United Kingdom's first licensed Internet betting service, in 1999. He later worked with the Hilton Group on and then set up the Rank Group's interactive gaming division. Before hiring Cope, The Gaming Channel had no expertise in the I-gaming industry.

"I've only joined a few weeks ago, and until now there has been nobody in the business with any interactive betting or gaming experience at all," Cope said. "It has basically been a technology company running a betting business. So this is a statement of intent, saying, 'We are taking this betting company business very seriously. We've got somebody with betting and gaming experience and a staff that is dedicated full-time to producing the interactive gaming channel. They will become part of the gaming channel and will also help the development of any future betting and gaming channels that we do.'"

Cope said the company hopes to have another three or four interactive television channels, either independently or with third parties, in the next six months. The Gaming Channel already has agreements for two of them and will make an announcement about a wholly owned channel within the next couple of months.

"We're in the unusual situation of being an operator, but also a white-label service provider to third parties," Cope explained.

Avago, he said, will continue to proceed without any changes.

Shareholders in the privately funded Gaming Channel include Freeserve's founder, Peter Wilkinson, and BSkyB's former director of new media, John Swingewood.