WatchandWager boss explains Betinternet closure

WatchandWager boss explains Betinternet closure

Thursday, March 12, 2015

WatchandWager can go from strength to strength with its core ADW operations following the closure of fellow Webis subsidiary Betinternet.com, president Ed Comins has told TotallyGaming.com.

Comins said that Webis’ decision to close Betinternet was “inevitable but sad”, adding that “the cost of regulation in the UK, and concern over the ‘grey markets’ in Asia meant withdrawal was the only option, especially as a PLC”.

Betinternet, which officially shut down last week, had been the cause of concern for Webis, particularly with several national markets, such as Singapore, clamping down on online gaming activities.

Now, with Webis’ full backing, San Francisco-based W&W hopes to build on its existing thriving ADW business in the US and internationally, while also keeping a keen interest in potential regulatory developments in California.

Comins, also a director of Webis, told TotallyGaming.com: “Others may take regulatory risks, but this is not a model we are interested in.

“The announcement on Betinternet is clearly a positive for W&W. The companies never sat well together in retrospect as we pursue our clear position in the regulated markets in the US.

“It allows us to reinvest in W&W with no legacy issues, and also reminds us of the vital importance of protecting your main market, as W&W has successfully done in the US.”

W&W, which 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 (€113m) 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.

Comins expects profits to be hit this year by the effects of the Betinternet decision, but believes that the existing business model is strong enough to expect continued strong growth regardless of regulatory change in California and other states.

He added: “The main rationale for the focus on pari-mutuel is we know it can make it work. It’s a volume and churn business with limited risk.

“It seems a little misunderstood in the UK especially, but internationally is a huge business if you look at markets like Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Australia plus the Tote monopolies in Europe.

“As we grow our reputation in these markets we believe we can also move fast, and create a competitive advantage as we did in Hong Kong. These operations like doing business with compliant US operations and we expect to announce more international tie ups soon.”

He added: “While US deregulation is very important to us, making a success of core operations in the US, and California especially, is the key for us right now.

“The company has traditionally been very profitable, and while recently our significant cost of doing regulated business and setting up operations in the US, plus the cost of disposal of Betinternet, will impact this year’s profits, we have very aggressive projections for the future.” 

Ed Comins will be a guest speaker at GiGse from April 20-22 in San Francisco, California. Visit www.gigse.com for further information

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