Webis chief sees online gaming as a rank outsider in US

Webis chief sees online gaming as a rank outsider in US

Monday, January 25, 2016 Totally Gaming
Ed Comins is backing growth in pools betting after a new deal with HKJC

Ed Comins, Webis’ group managing director, has told TotallyGaming that the company will continue to focus on its core WatchandWager (W&W) pari-mutuel offering due to pessimism over the future of online gaming and betting in the US.

Comins, whose company closed down sportsbook Betinternet last year, was speaking after W&W extended its “ground-breaking” contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKGC) until the end of the 2017-18 season.

W&W became the first US-based operator to begin linking directly into the HKJC pools back in 2013, and Comins told TotallyGaming.com that both the length and value of the deal are key.

“HKJC is a big deal in that its is for three years whilst all other deals are one year,” he said. “Also our commission is slightly better.

“HKJC is clearly the largest gambling operation in the world and this is worth around $100m (€92.5m) in turnover to Webis over a year, as well as prestige amongst other operators. It is still a unique proposition for our players in the US.”

Comins said that W&W will continue to focus on expanding its existing offering, which is active in 29 US states, due to doubts about the potential of online gaming in the country. He pointed to stalled legislation and the problems experienced by the daily fantasy sports (DFS) market as reasons for caution about other areas of potential growth.

“We continue to focus on US and international licensed pari-mutuel wagering,” he said. “We know these work for us. Volumes are significantly increasing as we saw more algorithmic traders joining our network.

“In addition our core website and mobile are seeing ‘retail’ player number increases, with our new marketing team/strategy working well from our new ops base in Lexington, Kentucky. We have also opened a phone betting operation in Lexington that looks promising and is quite unique in the US.

“Expanded online gaming in the US is really a secondary factor for us. Poker in California seems further way than ever, and as for DFS – well, I am pleased we did not invest in that for legal reasons.”


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