German Politics too Much for Premiere Win

11 December 2006

A year and a half after partnering to deliver the Premiere Win betting service, German pay-per-view TV channel Premiere and betting operator Magna Entertainment (MEC) are going their separate ways.

A spokesperson for Premiere confirmed that Premiere Win and MEC were handcuffed because they could introduce no other gambling products besides the ongoing betting on horses.

The restrictive monopolistic legislation and the position of the political majority caused the split between the two partners, although the outlook for betting business in Germany remains unclear.

"On the occasion of their last meeting in October 2006," explains German Lawyer Martin Arendts, "the prime ministers of the 16 German states discussed the draft of the new Interstate Treaty on Lotteries (which regulates also betting and is supposed to include provisions concerning casinos as well). The initial plan to finally sign the controversial treaty on Dec. 13, 2006 already is now on the brink of collapse.

"On Nov. 29, 2006, the parliament of Schleswig-Holstein unanimously, with the votes of all parliamentary parties, voted to postpone the decision on the draft of the new Interstate Treaty on Lotteries (Lotterie-Staatsvertrag)."

The Treaty has, thus, failed.

The "Premiere Win" brand will remain intact, and Premiere will search for new financial partners. Premiere Win is now broadcasting in Austria and Germany with only horse betting.

The Players

Premiere AG is a listed company based near Munich and is one of the most innovative media companies in Germany. The subscription channel has always been a driving force behind digital television in Germany and Austria and has provided critical momentum for the development and implementation of new technology and innovations. Since February 2003, Premiere has exclusively been broadcasting digitally, consistently making the most of the advantages offered by digital television technology. Multi-feed broadcasts, pay-per-view services and child protection are just a few of examples of the subscription channel's pioneering role in digital TV.

MEC GmbH operates MagnaBet and is a subsidiary of Magna Entertainment Corp. The parent company, started by Frank Stronach in 1999, owns 14 horse race tracks in North America and Austria as well as telephone and Internet betting services and 24/7 TV channels.

The MEC Sport & Entertainment GmbH subsidiary has a betting license issued by the government of Niederösterreich, Austria. Its German licensed was issued by the government of Hanover.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.