Youbet.com is poised to launch portable betting in the fourth quarter of 2003 through wireless technology such as java-enabled cell phones and handheld personal computers.The new service, called "Youbet Anywhere," is believed the first of its kind in North America. It is being distributed through wireless communications company Digital Orchid."This will give the current fan base increased connectivity and mobility," said Youbet chief executive officer Chuck Champion. "And it will bring racing to a new audience. People in there late 20s and early 30s are carrying wireless devices, and that is the perfect market for the industry to go after."Wagering through cell phones and personal PCs is widespread in Asia, but wireless companies in the United States are just now developing the technology. Champion suspects Youbet Anywhere will result in increased handle for the company. "We do expect handle will increase but that is just a guess in the dark because there are no other models we can benchmark to," Champion said.Through its deal with Digital Orchid, Youbet gets all revenues from wagering but a $19.95 monthly subscription fee is split between the two companies. Youbet also charges a $14.95 a month for access to streaming audio/video and other features but generally waives that fee for customers that wager through Youbet. Champion expects it will be the "high-end players" that buy the service.
Second-quarter handle for Youbet was $67.97 million, up from $52.27 million in the first quarter.