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Emily D. Swoboda

Q.& A. | Charles P. Cohen

23 May 2008

Did your new mobile come with an online casino? A couple million are about to.

Probability on Thursday inked a deal with Three, the mobile network operator, which sees a link to Probability's mobile bingo and slots offering, Ladyluck's, preinstalled on two million of Three's handsets.

The deal is the first of its kind, for both the mobile gambling operator -- which listed on the Alternative Investment Market in 2006 -- and the sector.

Charles P. Cohen, chief executive of Probability, answered questions via e-mail about the deal with Three, the future of the M-gambling industry and more.

    Q: How did you come to be in the mobile gaming industry?

    A: I have no idea. Seemed like a good idea at the time. It makes perfect sense, until you try doing it.

    Q: Two million handsets sound like an awful lot of phones. From the business side of things, what could a deal like this do for your company?

    A: Ask me in a year's time!

    Q: Have you heard of any other deals like this -- from your competitors, for instance?

    A: No.

    Q: How do you keep up with -- or keep ahead of -- the Joneses? In other words, in such a small sector of the industry, what do you do to compete with other operators?

    A: We are the Joneses! For example, we recently licensed some movie titles to make mobile gambling games from Paramount, including "Grease" and "The Italian Job." Exclusive content is a great selling point for new and existing customers. Mainly, however, we just try to offer the best service we can.

    Q: You mentioned the importance of having a good relationship with mobile operators. How did that dynamic facilitate this deal?

    A: Completely. It required trust and confidence from all parties to engage like this.

    Q: You are gambling on the idea that customers are going to use the Ladyluck’s product once they have the new phones. What makes it a desirable product? What happens if things don't go according to plan?

    A: Last quarter we recruited a new customer to Ladyluck's on average every minute. We know it's a desirable product to a wide range of people and we have some ideas on how to market it to them. Attention is not so easy to come by on the mobile, though. That's why you have to be creative and take a punt on new formulas such as this one. Right now, most people don't even know you can play games to win money on your mobile -- we're educating at the same time as recruiting.

    Q: You said in your final results for the year ended March 31, 2007 that your focus would remain on the United Kingdom in terms of growth. When do you foresee a change in that plan?

    A: This would change only if the regulatory environment moved forward in any interesting markets.

    Q: Give me a five-year projection for the mobile gambling space.

    A: Bigger than on-line, PC-based, but I don't know how big. Also, it's additional to that market, not instead of. A lot of people don't get this additionality, but it is key to understanding the mobile gaming opportunity.

Q.& A. | Charles P. Cohen is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda