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Kevin Smith

Software Via the Buddy System

26 June 2002

What seemed a surprise partnership more than six months ago has turned into a strong alliance in the interactive gaming industry.

WagerWorks, a growing supplier and designer of online casino games, and Orbis, a leading developer of back-end management software for online and land-based sports books, are laying the foundation of what could turn into a major force in the industry.

Orbis and WagerWorks have integrated their product offerings to combine what they feel is the most robust Internet sports wagering system with the richest casino content. Orbis is working closely with WagerWorks to extend the combined reach both domestically and internationally.

Executives with both firms told IGN that strategic plans have been made involving the strengths of both sides and that high hopes are reachable with the partnership. Andrew Pascal, CEO of WagerWorks, said the alliance is unmatched in the industry.

"We have positioned ourselves nicely in the sector," he said. "We are thrilled to have a partner like Orbis. They are the ideal partner for us cause we can offer an integrated solution that has the best back-end management software coupled with the best designed and most expansive front-end."

Charles Malir, marketing director for Orbis, shares in the sentiments and feels the two sides have been able to combine sports betting and casino software to create an unmatched system.

"No one out there is offering a good sports book and casino software in a single project," he said. "We are happy to be dealing with such a good supplier as WagerWorks."

Not only does the partnership bring together two leaders in their respective fields but it joins together two firms that have had similar ideals in running their business.

Both companies have focused on regulated jurisdictions and have licensed their products only to reputable clients. WagerWorks can count MGM Mirage among its leading operators while virtually every bookmaker in the United Kingdom, from Ladbrokes to William Hill, uses the company's management software.

According to Malir, of the 13 interactive TV betting platforms that have been developed in the United Kingdom, 11 of them are based on the Open Bet system created by Orbis.

For Orbis and WagerWorks, the partnership couldn't have come at a better time. WagerWorks, which is based in San Francisco and has ties with many American operators, is able to join forces with a firm rich in European stature. Pascal said having firms that are in tune with what is going on in different parts of the world is a major plus for prospective clients and licensees.

Malir feels that new gambling regulations aimed at liberalizing the industry in the United Kingdom that will adopted in the next year or so will lead to many new entrants in the sector. WagerWorks and Orbis will be in a great position to corner those players, he said.

"I think the mountain is finally coming to Mohamed," Malir said. "This will put the U.K. and the U.K. regulations under the spotlight. It will take about two years to work though, but in the end it will be a good thing for this industry."

Pascal said other jurisdictions should take the United Kingdom's lead and that the interactive gaming industry is one that could be regulated effectively. He said it is that belief that has led WagerWorks to focus on regulated jurisdictions.

"We feel there are three really credible jurisdictions and we have licenses in all of them," he said. "That just further validates our commitment to compliance."

WagerWorks currently holds licenses in both the Isle of Man and Alderney, located in the British Isles, and in Australia.

Both Pascal and Malir said changes in regulated jurisdictions like the United Kingdom will have a positive effect on the entire industry. Both would love to see the United States take a look at regulating the industry instead of prohibiting it.

"There are a lot of open issues here domestically," Pascal said. "The legislative process is a long one and is leaning more towards prohibition that it is regulation."

In order for the best regulatory approach to be successful, Pascal said, an evolution has to occur from within the regulatory framework.

"The land-based regulators have to learn how the online world works," he said. "They then need to see what can work in terms of compliance, and then you will start to see a lot of the operators going to those international markets."

Regardless of what happens in the States though, Malir feels the overhaul of gaming regulations in the UK will keep the partnership busy in the upcoming years.

"The statement of intent is attracting a lot of people here," he said. "The regulations, and the regulators, are taking a pretty sensible, long-term view here."

More importantly for both firms, though, is that the lines between interactive sports book and Internet casino become less and less apparent to the consumer. Pascal said it is important for more and more operators to fully integrate their systems.

Malir said it is an easy decision for bookmakers to add casino games once they study the issue.

"Sports book customers want the WagerWorks casino games added to their site," he said. "They see it as an extension of the sports book and customer loyalty is very high in that sector, so it is important for them to merge that loyalty over to the casino games."

Software Via the Buddy System is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith