The giant satellite channel Eurosport is to launch an online betting service after being granted an Alderney e-gambling licence. The broadcaster has partnered with Serendipity Investment to set up Eurosportbet.co.uk under the umbrella name of Societe des Paris Sportifs (SPS) – a firm based in Paris and Guernsey – after being awarded a licence by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
The sportsbetting website will go live on June 1st, operating from Alderney, after trialling on an invite-only test basis in recent weeks.
Eurosports new online venture will launch with pre-match betting on nine sports. Live betting will be introduced later and online poker will be added in the northern summer.
Eurosport spokesmen said the company plans to extend the gaming service to "every European country where regulation allows", as soon as each national market relaxes online gambling legalization.
In October, the broadcaster plans to launch EurosportBET in Italy, and subject to local legal requirements, the site will go live in France in January 2010, to be followed by gaming sites for Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Poland.
Eurosport plans to launch two new sites a year for the next five years, with a target player base of 530 000 and turnover of Euro 200 million by 2014.
Caroline de Fontenay, marketing director of SPS Betting, the joint venture between Eurosport and investment fund Serendipity that will run the EurosportBET business, said: "Several European countries are starting to deregulate the betting sector and so it is time for Eurosport to enter the market. Sports betting is no longer perceived as linked to negative rules, and it offers a more engaging way to enjoy sports."
Eurosport celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and revealed plans to launch an Arabic website during celebrations marking the occasion.
Eurosport CEO Laurent-Eric Le Lay reflected on the broadcaster’s success to date, saying: “TV remains the best way to watch sport. If you compare TV today with 20 years ago, the quality of picture and sound is fantastic. TV remains our primary business and our goal is to propose something to viewers that’s interesting at every moment.”
Le Lay said the broadcaster now reaches 116 million homes across 59 European countries, and offers a HD service that reaches at least 2.4 million households in 29 countries. He also highlighted the growing importance of Eurosport’s online presence and announced plans to launch a website in Arabic, its first foray into the Middle East region. The broadcaster has partnered with Dubai-based telco Du to develop the service.