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12Bet in the frame

Online bookmaker 12Bet, which has just launched into Europe, has quickly made its name known by sponsoring last month’s Snooker World Open. 12Bet chief executive officer for Europe Rory Ander- son said: “We are delighted to add the World Open to our fast growing sponsorship portfolio. This event will give our brand fantastic exposure not only in the UK but throughout Europe.”


Sportech given green light to buy



ure list after all

plate going forward.” Ladbrokes corporate development director Chris Palmer added: “We are sup- portive of any initiative that increases the profile of the sport and can lead to increased revenues for all concerned.”

Nigel Payne, Sportingbet director and chief execu- tive of the Horseracing Sponsors Association, said: “Racing has eagerly awaited these details and we should not be at all disappointed. Here is a great opportunity to attract some blue chip partners and sponsors to our sport. Major sporting spectacles such as The Champions League and Formula 1 market them- selves in this way and racing must be confident that we can do the same throughout the many media platforms available to us.”


The BHA’s brinkmanship in threatening to cull 250 fixtures unless it received lots more funding looks

particularly perplexing given that the fixture list was only reduced by 23 meetings. The betting industry’s complete indifference meant that the BHA wasn’t pledged any more money from

bookmakers. So the question being asked in some quarters is whether the BHA was exaggerating its financial hardship given that it has managed to more or less retain the number of races without extra funding. This close to a Levy agreement every statement from every stakeholder is analysed to the extent of Alex Ferguson-style mind-games, the only problem being that few can boast the Scot’s expertise.

ools operator Sportech has announced that it has cleared all the reg- ulatory hurdles required to complete its acquisition of the US pari-mutuel supplier and operator Scientific Games Racing.

The deal was announced in January but has taken longer to complete than anticipated because of the different jurisdictions that SGR operates in and has been further complicated because SGR’s parent company is listed on the New York stock exchange, which also had to approve the deal.

Sportech has gained approval from the New Jersey Racing Commission to acquire SGR’s tote oper- ations at the state’s tracks and takeover its licences on the same terms as those applied to SGR. The Divi- sion of Special Revenue in Connecticut has similarly approved the acquisition of Autote Enterprises, SGR’s pari-mutuel opera- tion in that state while the Maine State Harness Racing Commission has agreed to issue Sportech a provisional a licence to operate SGR’s Maine busi- ness, which is expected to be converted into a full operators licence in early 2011.

In Europe, Sportech has applied for a licence to operate SGR’s Dutch busi- ness and it is expected that a licence will be issued on

the completion of the deal. SGR and Sportech have agreed to extend the dead- line for final completion of the deal until 22 October. Sportech chief executive Ian Penrose explained the rationale for the SGR deal when announcing interim results in August: “With operations in over 30 coun- tries, processing in excess of US$13bn (£8.2bn) of bets on football and horserac- ing annually, Sportech, through its enlarged scale and capabilities will be well positioned to take advan- tage of the rapidly growing regulated global gaming markets, to become a leading profit focused sports and gaming business with international reach.” The deal is costing Sportech up to $83m (£52.5m) with an initial $65m (£41.1m) payable on completion. Sportech will pay a further $10m (£6.3m) by September 2013 with another $8m (£5m) payable over the following three years, providing certain performance targets are met. Sportech has paid the initial amount with a cash payment of $32.9m (£20.8m) and 39m Sportech shares, which leaves Scien- tific Games Corporation as Sportech’s largest single shareholder with a 19.9 per cent stake.

Another large share- holder has emerged as the result of a capital raising exercise that involved the

issue of 58m new shares to raise £29.2m. Some of the new shares were placed on the open market at 50p each but a large number were acquired by gaming soft- ware provider Playtech, giving the London listed company a 9.9 per cent stake.

Separately, Sportech has announced that it has extended its licensing deal with the Shop Direct Group, which owns the Lit- tlewoods brand, to be able to use the Littlewoods brand name across its web- sites. The deal is for the next five years, with an annual break clause after an initial 18 month period. It has also agreed to collab- orate with Shop Direct on an online bingo offering. The licensing deal with Shop Direct is surprising in some ways as Sportech had started winding down the use of the Littlewoods Pools brands some time ago in anticipation of not being able to renew its licence. It was for this reason the company launched the New Football Pools brand at the start of the 2008/9 season in the UK. But the Littlewoods Pools brand has a very strong her- itage and still a high recog- nition factor. While that the retailer that owns the brand no longer uses it in its company name, it still runs catalogue and websites using the Littlewoods brand.

BettingBusinessInteractive • OCTOBER 2010 5

US operator While normal betting is frowned upon in America, there are opportunities in the pari-mutuel sector for whiter than white companies. Fortunately, Simon Banks reports, Sportech has come through the background check with flying colours.



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