Online Wagering, Complete With 'Betting Bunny'

Penn National Gaming has inked a deal with Playboy Enterprises to develop, the company's online pari-mutuel wagering site. Operations could begin by the third quarter of 2001.

Under the terms of the agreement, Penn National Gaming will be responsible for the service's development, day-to-day operations, and overhead, including hardware and software, management, and customer support. Playboy will provide marketing, branding, user interface, design, and content.

The site will be licensed and operated in Pennsylvania, where account wagering is legal. Penn National, through its wholly owned subsidiary, has formulated a vertical marketing strategy that builds upon its existing authorization for account wagering. will offer a wide variety of pari-mutuel wagering on North American racing. Penn National gives the company the opportunity to launch the site with live racing and wagering on about 30 tracks. The site will have safeguards to block wagers from states and jurisdictions where online pari-mutuel wagering is prohibited.

Said Lawrence Lux, president of "The site will bring Playboy's unique brand of sexiness, excitement, and fun to online horse racing. Our live Playboy Betting Bunny, Deanna, who consumers will already know from, will serve as the site's interactive hostess."

The company said it has 4.4 million visitors to its site each month.

Peter M. Carlino, chief executive officer of Penn National Gaming, said the partnership gives Penn National a chance to draw upon Playboy's "tremendous brand and marketing strengths, inluding its large and demographically appropriate online and offline audiences."