1/16/10 – British football-pools operator Sportech plc is foraying into the Indian market through a joint sportsbetting venture with the Essel Group's Playwin brand.  Sportech and lottery and gaming brand Playwin will invest an initial GBP 2 million each for their 50 percent stakes in the joint venture to fund start up costs, Sportech said in a statement this week.
 
The new gaming platform is expected to be launched in spring 2010 and the companies plan to target cricket, football and Formula One fans in the beginning with a suite of prediction and fantasy games. The joint venture will be promoted across Essel's Zee TV network and online, Sportech said. Sportech said the investment, already anticipated in its budget, would be phased over the next three years.
 
Sportech is the owner of the New Football Pools, which are operated online, via Ladbrokes betting shops, UK newsagents, and a network of home visitor collectors, as well as in the Daily Mirror newspaper. Playwin is owned by Pan India Network, a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate the Essel Group, and runs the online lottery franchises for the Indian states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Sikkim, as well as offering games online and through its network of 12 000 gaming terminals.  
 
Sportech chief executive Ian Penrose said: "India has a huge population with a long history of being committed sports fans, and Playwin is ideal as a partner as it is already India's premier gaming operator, and enjoys significant brand strength. This gives Sportech a great partner and platform from which to launch sports-based gaming products into a growing and lucrative marketplace." 
 
India's population numbers almost 1.2 billion people, second only in size to China