By Bob Ehalt
The online wagering market will gain a new player with powerful overseas ties this spring after Sportech Venues gained state approval to launch an Advance Deposit Wagering service at its Winners off-track betting unit in Connecticut.
The ADW is expected to launch by April 2013 and will complement Winners' existing telephone wagering network.
Sportech Venues, which purchased Winners in October 2010, is a division of international online wagering giant Sportech PLC. Based in London, Sportech PLC specializes in wagering on soccer, horse racing and dog racing, and handles more than $13 billion a year world-wide.
"Sportech will draw on internal expertise to develop the new website for Connecticut, as our own interactive products and services group provides Internet and mobile wagering technology, service, and marketing solutions to licensed operators in North America. Winners will constitute the fifth such customer launched by Sportech IP&S in the last two years," said Ian Penrose, CEO of Sportech PLC.
Under the Winners banner, Sportech Venues operates 15 off-track and sports bar wagering sites in Connecticut, headed by Sports Haven in New Haven, which opened in 1979 and was one of the nation's first simulcasting centers outside of Las Vegas. Since acquiring Winners from Scientific Games, Sportech has committed at least $3 million to improvement of its facilities in the state.
"Sportech is committed to the continual improvement of our facilities and services, and to enhancing the overall experience of our many customers," said David Schreff, Sportech's chief operating officer, The Americas. "We are confident that our customers will appreciate the convenience and additional services that will be made available to them online.
"More importantly, they can be confident and assured that the service is secure and fully licensed, and that a portion of every dollar they wager goes back to Connecticut in the form of contributions to the general fund and to responsible gaming funds."
In 2011, Winners handled a combined total of a little less than $190 million, a figure that is expected to jump once online wagering begins. State law mandates that only Connecticut residents will be allowed to open an account.