Playboy.com has signed an agreement with Ladbrokes, the world’s biggest bookmaker, to develop an online sports wagering site at PlayboySportsBook.com. The site will be licensed and operated out of Gibraltar and should be online in the first half of 2001. Playboy expects to add casino games and pari-mutual wagering in the coming year.
PlayboySportsBook.com will offer a full-range of fixed odds sports wagering, allowing international consumers to bet on American sports including football, basketball, baseball, boxing, tennis and golf and international sports including soccer and rugby. In addition, the site will allow participants to wager on events ranging from elections to Playboy’s Playmate of the Year.
“The site will bring Playboy’s unique brand of sexiness, excitement and fun to online sports wagering,” said Lawrence R. Lux, President of Playboy.com. “For example, we’ll be inaugurating a Playboy Betting Bunny, a live Playboy Playmate dressed in the classic Playboy Bunny Costume, who will serve as the site’s interactive hostess, including giving tips. In addition, PlayboySportBook.com will offer a range of distinctive features, including highlights of daily sports wagering events, video event coverage, sports commentary, scores and stats and a chat lounge.”
Playboy said the site will have safeguards to prevent taking bets from the United States and other places where online sports wagering is illegal.
Playboy said that it believes that the online gaming market outside of the United States includes as many as 3 million players generating revenues in excess of $1.5 billion and will grow to 10 million players generating revenues in excess of $6 billion by 2004.
“We already have 6.5 million non-U.S. visits to Playboy.com each month and will be adding international sites tailored to regional tastes and interests,” said Lux. “These sites, our 16 international editions of Playboy magazine and Playboy television networks in Asia, Europe and Latin America will generate significant international interest and potential.”
Under the agreement, Ladbrokes will fund all operating costs, providing hardware and software, management and customer support. Playboy will provide marketing, branding, user interface, design and content.
Lasseters and Gocorp Announce Merger
Australia’s first regulated online casino, Lasseters Online, and listed company Gocorp Limited, announced they will merge to form a new company. Gocorp operates AusVegas online casino, which recently closed due to Australia’s Net gambling moratorium.
The merged company will have a global player base of more than 100,000.
Lasseters Holdings Limited will hold 75 percent of the equity in the merged entity and the current shareholders will hold the remaining 25 percent. Gocorp will acquire 100 percent of the equity in Lasseters Online (a division of Lasseters Holdings) and in return issue three shares in the merged entity for every one share in Gocorp.
“The proposed merger makes good business sense, because it injects the resources and capital Lasseters needs to support its global expansion,” said Peter Bridge, Lasseters Holdings Managing Director.
Bridge said Gocorp brings to the table excellent technology and approximately $5 million in cash.
“By adding Gocorp’s player base to Lasseters’ database of 95,000, the merged entity will achieve a critical mass that will continue to lower the cost of service delivery,” said Bridge.
Gocorp Chief Executive Officer Paul Appleby said the announcement is an important step towards fulfilling Gocorp’s objective to establish itself as a global leader in the online gaming space.
“Gocorp has always remained Slot Online committed to responsible and regulated online gaming, and whilst the Federal Government’s moratorium halted our operations, I believe a merger with Lasseters Online will lead to the creation of a stronger entity capable of growth and ultimately leadership status,” Mr Appleby said.
Lasseters Online (www.lasseters.com.au) was launched in April 1999 and is regulated by the Northern Territory Government. In the 1999-2000 financial year, the business generated revenue of $5.4 million based on turnover of over $100 million. In the six months to 31 December 2000, Lasseters achieved turnover of more than $130 million and gaming revenues in excess of $7 million.
The merger is subject to the approval of Gocorp shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting in late March 2001 and other preconditions listed in the binding Heads of Agreement.