Friday April 19, 2013 : MOBILE GAMBLING PROVIDER EYES THE UNITED STATES
Probability interested in partnerships to profit from the changing shape of the US gambling market
Probability plc, a British company involved in mobile gambling technology and operations, has revealed that it is in advanced talks with potential U.S. partners to break into the changing American gambling market as several states relax online betting restrictions.
Chief Executive Officer Charles Cohen believes that the time is ripe for an American venture, pointing out to the Reuters news agency that state-by-state legalization is already taking place, and momentum is building for other states to follow the examples of Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey in intrastate legalization drives.
"Within a couple of years, half the population of the United States will live either in a state or very close to somewhere they can gamble for real money through their mobile phone or desktop," Cohen told Reuters in an interview.
He said that the global online gambling market, valued at Euro 21.73 billion ($28.43 billion) in 2012, is forecast to grow almost 30 percent over the next three years, according to gambling research group H2 Gambling Capital.
"We are getting a lot of interest from U.S. companies," said Cohen, an Oxford University graduate who co-founded Probability in 2004.
He did not identify the companies involved.
Probability's European partners already include Paddy Power plc and William Hill plc. Probability, which designs, distributes and operates mobile betting games, also plans to enter Sweden, Denmark, France and Spain, Cohen said.
"I would hope to get into at least one other territory during this year, if not two," he said.
In the United States, casino owners MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp are getting closer to making their own online offerings in partnership with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment plc and 888 Holdings plc, respectively.
The Reuters report notes that mobile gambling is expected to grow rapidly as the smartphone boom attracts more gamers who do not often use desktops or play games on the move.
Probability plc has a market value of about GBP 22 million ($34 million), and generates over 75 percent of its revenue from gambling smartphones, half of which comes from users of Apple iOS devices.
However, Cohen expects Apple to account for only 30 percent of revenue within the next year or so as more people buy phones using Google Inc's Android operating system.
H2 Gambling Capital valued the global mobile gambling market at Euro 3.4 billion ($4.43 billion) last year, or about 15 percent of the total online gambling market.
"I think that desktop is dead as a platform for real money gaming … and consumers are frankly voting with their feet already," Cohen claimed.
Mobile will likely account for about 60 percent of the total online gambling market in Europe in 3-5 years, he predicted.
Cohen said that the social gaming market did not especially hold appeal for Probability, although he would be prepared to consider opportunities.
"We ourselves don't want to go into the social gaming business because it's a very different business to real-money gaming … we would look at it through partnerships," he said.