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Kevin Smith

Spain Primed for Interactive Football Betting

24 August 2004

Officials with the Professional Football League (LFP) in Spain are hoping that an all-encompassing interactive betting system will create new revenue streams.

"In order for us to remain as a top league in Europe, we have to explore as many alternative revenue streams as possible, and this is just part of that process."
- Marta Ramerec

The Technology Platform for Sports Betting (TPSB), currently under development, will facilitate various forms of betting across multiple platforms. The first component to receive government approval, an Internet-based fantasy game called "Gol es Liga" (Goal is League), will hit the market in the first quarter of 2005. The game features betting on teams and players from the LFP's First and Second divisions and enables punters to bet on the outcome of one or more matches as well as on which player will score the most goals.

Indra Systems, a Spanish technology firm, is developing the back-end technology for the multi-channel system. Other components (all of which await government approval) include: wagering on additional sports as well as racing; in-game betting; and the integration of mobile and iTV platforms.

Marta Ramerec, a spokesman for the LFP, is confident the full system will gain government approval.

"Sports betting has always been a key source of additional revenue for our league and teams," Ramerec said. "In order for us to remain as a top league in Europe, we have to explore as many alternative revenue streams as possible, and this is just part of that process."

Ramerec pointed out that the ultimate goal is to expand the system beyond football betting.

"Although we have played a key role in getting this system developed, the whole idea behind it was for betting other than football," Ramerec said. "This will enhance football betting, but it will also be used to bring in betting revenue from other sports like racing and basketball."

While Spanish punters have long showed a penchant for betting on football, national laws limit opportunities for betting on other sports. Some progress was made in this area in January, however, when TPSB was presented to the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Angel Maria Villar, and to the government-run Sport Board (CSD) at an annual meeting of the football clubs. At the time, CSD officials said they were willing to consider changes.

The public's first taste of TPSB and Gol es Liga came in May, when more than 400,000 pre-paid promotional cards (each loaded with 20 euros) were distributed in Barcelona during the Barcelona Football Fair. Participants could bet on the First and Second division matches held in conjunction with the Football Fair. Ramerec said the promotion was "successful and met our expectations."

The LFP plans to offer more extensive betting by the end of the upcoming season, which starts in two weeks, although Ramerec advised that the process wouldn't be rushed.

Meanwhile, representatives from the LFP, the State Lottery and the CSD met with officers from the Treasury Department last week to discuss the creation of an agency to manage the platform.

The LFP and Indra are also looking to implement the system in other European states.

Spain Primed for Interactive Football Betting is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith