Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Friday | July 17, 2009
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SVL, GraceKennedy in tele-betting deal
Sabrina N. Gordon, Business Reporter

Brian George, president and chief executive officer of Supreme Ventures Limited. - File

Gaming company, Supreme Ventures Ltd (SVL), in search of new ways to bolster its bottom line, has teamed up with Bill Express, the GraceKennedy-owned bill payment service to launch betting via telephone for its most popular games - Lotto, Pick 3 and Cash Pot.

Launched mid-June, SVL chief executive officer Brian George said tele-betting is designed to capture more players and grow revenue.

Both SVL and Bill express have been tight-lipped about the value of the deal.

"The ability to place bets via the telephone is of critical importance in the next step of the company's development," said George.

"We have come up with a mechanism by which people can pre-pay bets and cash in winnings up to a certain amount at Bill Express locations."

The deal also represents an added revenue stream for Bill Express, a division of Grace-Kennedy Remittance Services Limited (GKRS).

"It introduces a new revenue stream, new customers to sell our other services to," said Michael McNaughton, assistant vice president of product development for Bill Express.

"GKRS has the distribution network that we want ... so its a win-win situation with the expected traffic through their business," said George, echoing the Bill Express view of the importance of the arrangement.

Nationwide locations

At the outset, the service will be offered at 80 of Bill Express' 230 locations nationwide, and is to be rolled out at other locations later.

"In the ensuing weeks we will add locations, but we have to start with select locations where the modification in our information technology has been done," George said.

SVL is also expected to add other games to the tele-betting system.

"It is just a question of timing," the SVL boss said.

The current contract will see Bill Express facilitating collection and payout on bets of up to $300,000 for the three games.

To place mobile bets, subscribers are required to register for a GO PLAY card with Bill Express containing a maximum value of $50,000 and a minimum of $100.

To place wagers, participants are required to call into SVL's automated telephone system, an integrated system that the company said is provided by four gaming technology partners, including GTECH in the United States, and a local firm which George did not name.

Cash Pot, Lotto and Pick 3 account for over 90 per cent of lottery revenue, George told Wednesday Business.

But Cash Pot is the undisputed king, bringing in $15.2 billion or 72 per cent of the total $21.2 billion earned in 2008.

Within the current period, the company's half-year revenues marched higher that the comparative 2008 period, but profits dipped by some 7.2 per cent.

The decline, according to the company, is a reflection of continued volatile swings in prize payouts for Cash Pot games.


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