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Webis secures California online betting approval for thoroughbred racing

10th January 2014 11:30 am GMT

Shares in UK-listed Webis Holdings soared by more than 23 per cent in London Friday after the company confirmed that its US-facing WatchandWager.com subsidiary has been granted approval to offer online betting on thoroughbred racing to residents in California.

Webis said that it has received written contractual approval from the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) to allow California residents to wager on thoroughbred racing taking place across the US, as well as all international jurisdictions for which it has the rights.

The deal follows WatchandWager's recent approval by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) as a licensed Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) company for 2014.  

Ed Comins, president of WatchandWager.com said that being approved by the TOC was a big deal for the company.

“The California Racing market has been dominated by only three main ADW providers, and we are grateful to the TOC and CHRB in recognizing our investment, and wielding its influence to allow us into the market,” said Comins.

“For WatchandWager to be approved and operating as a first mover in the Golden State, will not only positively impact our business as a licensed Advanced Deposit Wagering operator, but also put WatchandWager in a very attractive strategic position as the debate regarding online poker is widely expected to hot up in California early this year.”

According to Webis, the approval opens up a new pool of potential customers for WatchandWager.com which can now accept Californian wagers on thoroughbred content through its website.

The agreement involves a statutory $50,000 one off payment to the California Purse Fund, a contribution to prize money, and also ensures that a percentage of all bets placed by Californian residents directly benefits Californian Racing, in direct compliance with Californian statute.

Webis said that the agreement may also be subject to certain separate track group and media agreements, but remained confident these will be in place over the coming months.
 
In order to support this initiative, WatchandWager has committed a substantial sum to marketing Californian Racing, both thoroughbred, quarter horse and its own standard-bred product at Cal Expo.

The main marketing activity is expected to commence early during the second quarter and should lead to a significant increase in California player registrations and handle within its core US market.  

Shares in Webis Holdings plc (Co. Data) (AIM:WEBIS) soared by 23.87 per cent to 4.80 per share in London this morning following the announcement.

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