Interview: Comins ambitious after Webis promotion

Interview: Comins ambitious after Webis promotion

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Totally Gaming
Ed Comins is looking at various forms of gambling in the US

Ed Comins is aiming to position pari-mutuel wagering operator WatchandWager (W&W) at the centre of US gaming after becoming group managing director of parent company Webis.

Comins was handed his new role last week and will lead Webis in what has been a critical period for the group after it closed down sportsbook Betinternet earlier this year and decided to focus all its efforts on W&W.

W&W president Comins became Webis managing director after it announced that Garry Kowles was leaving “by mutual agreement” following 10 years with the company. However, while it has been time of change, Comins told TotallyGaming.com that he expects it to be business as usual in the new role.

“With the closure of Betinternet - Webis effectively is W&W,” Comins said. “So, whilst taking over the MD role of a publicly traded company brings with it certain statutory duties, the vast majority of my focus and work will remain growing W&W.

“There have been a lot of changes, but they were necessary decisions and will put Webis in a better position going forward.

“When we realised that continuing Betinternet was not viable long term, we acted decisively and quickly. It should be noted that we also handled the closure very professionally, with no reported inconvenience to the client base.”

W&W currently operates in around 30 US states, is one of the top five ADW companies in the country and expects all sources handle to be over $120m (€108.2m) in 2015.

As well as the US, it holds simulcast agreements to transact wagers with racetracks in Canada, UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, France and several other jurisdictions, and also operates standardbred harness race meetings at the Cal Expo racetrack in Sacramento, California.

However, the US is the prime focus for the company at present, with Comins convinced that becoming a major force in the country will reap huge dividends when “inevitable” regulatory changes occur.

“It is very interesting times. We have clearly made our position very clear by placing ourselves in the US regulated market," Comins said.

“At first of course we are totally focused on our horseracing operation - both on line and track. However, as the various forms of gaming are regulated in the US - it is slow to watch but inevitable - I think there will be a lot of interest in companies that have established presences in the US, and that is no bad thing for W&W.”

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