power 50

					                                                                                                                         Power 50

                                                                                 egaming review

                                                                   Power
A    year is a long time in egaming. While
     operationally issues such as payment
processing and fraud present similar
problems as they did 12 months ago, at a
strategic level everything looks different.
No longer is egaming trying to prove itself
in the eyes of the wider leisure industry. If
you didn’t realise it was big business in




                                                               50
2005, then you weren’t paying attention.
   This paradigm shift has had a bearing
on our list. While a year ago it was domi-
nated by brands with an offline compo-
nent, that has now changed. The credibility
and financial backing can be achieved
solely online these days, and that is exem-
plified by our top three.
   PartyGaming’s headline-making initial
public offering (IPO) was the culmination of
this new acceptance, but it all began in No-
vember when last year’s number-one firm
paid US$300m for a poker site and blew
the whole thing wide open. Sportingbet’s
acquisition of Paradise Poker changed the
way everyone viewed this industry, and
sparked a drive for consolidation that is
now reaching fever pitch.                       Twelve months have passed since our
   So who are the major beneficiaries of this
shake out? While it may not seem unreason-      last industry review. Welcome to the
able to assume that if a firm was previously
ranked six and had a strong year it should      Power 50 of 2005
go up a few places, this is simply not how
things have turned out.                         mass-market acceptance in the US could           access to capital. A cash-rich firm with big
   Sports betting and poker have shown such     still see telephone number-size growth. For      revenues scores more highly than a heavily
strong growth that a good year is now an av-    all the talk of a mature US egaming market,      indebted firm. Consideration is also given to
erage one. In a year where average growth       millions of potential players are out there      turnover as a dollar spent at sportsbook A
in the poker sector was 154%, you had to        who have yet to take their first steps online.   is a dollar less spent at sportsbook B.
have a special 12 months to stand out.             Although this market is maturing, a huge      Reach is a measurement of the number of
   While some may disagree with our inter-      amount of change is ahead. And this list         territories in which an operator has a sig-
pretation, those who have gone public have      should not be looked upon as anything more       nificant presence. It is not a measurement
put themselves in a strong position. Access     than a snapshot of where the industry is in      of the number of languages a site is trans-
to capital will be important as the consoli-    June 2005. But for now, this is where we         lated into. The scoring is weighted to ac-
dation of the market continues, and those       believe the sector’s power lies.                 count for those regions with the largest
private firms without the necessary scale                                                        percentage of the egaming market. A strong
may struggle to keep up.                                                                         US presence scores more highly than a
   We also still view those with a strong in-   How the firms are assessed                       strong UK presence.
ternational focus as being in prime position.   The Power 50 reflects those companies            Influence is the hardest category to as-
While Asia appears to be next year’s growth     that exercise the most influence on other        sess, and takes into account several dif-
region, Europe is where many operators’         firms in the sector. It is not about who ex-     ferent factors. One of the most important
attentions are focused. It is proving a hard-   cited the financial markets the most, who        details is sector dominance. Operators
er nut to crack than many hoped, but has        garners the most headlines and not nec-          that are the clear market leader in their
emerged as the prime growth territory.          essarily who makes the most money.               sector or region score highly in this cate-
   Any publicly listed egaming firm openly         This is a multi-product global industry,      gory. Firms also achieve a high rating for
talks about European expansion plans, and       and the scoring system reflects this. A firm     innovation, profile and if they are known
by casting an eye over the poker sector you     with no interest in Europe, casino or poker      to be acquisitive. There is also a sector-
can see how much time and energy is being       sectors can only have a limited effect on the    weighting, with sportsbooks and poker
expended into cracking Europe.                  industry as a whole. This is not to say every    rooms attracting higher influence ratings
   But this is not to say the US market has     operator must offer every product in every       than pure-play casino operators.
become any less important. We have still        country, but a minimum standard of diversi-      Diversity is our most straightforward
attached a considerable weighting to those      ty is needed to be a top-10 player. The          measurement criterion, and simply ac-
firms fishing in the big pond as it remains     Power 50 is assessed on four criteria.           counts for the number of different products
the cash cow of the egaming sector, and         Scale takes into account both top-line           each operator has in their stable. Operators
there is still huge room for growth.            revenues and profits, in addition to the         can achieve maximum points without
   Any firm that is able to move to true        financial strength of an operation and its       offering every product on the market.



                                                                                                 egaming review
                                                                                                                                    33
Power 50


1 Sportingbet                            (1)

Who is Sportingbet? Founded in 1998 it has grown to be one of the world’s largest egaming
operators with a market value of over US$2bn and a huge international player base. Based
in London it has more than 50 sites offering sports betting, casino, poker, bingo and soft
games to players in over 100 countries.

What a year it has been for last year’s number-one firm. In October 2004 Sportingbet complet-
ed the largest acquisition in the history of egaming when it paid US$300m for Paradise Poker
and doubled its size at a stroke. The purchase showed Sportingbet was prepared to act while Nigel Payne, CEO of
others simply talked about consolidation and proved Sportingbet’s ability to continue pushing Sportingbet
back the boundaries of what is possible in the egaming sector. The deal was funded in part by
a debt facility from Barclays Bank, and it marked a turning point in the financial markets’ attitude towards this sector.
Paradise is no PartyPoker, but it’s a huge site and the UK sportsbooks can bear testament to the kind of step-growth
that can be achieved once a sportsbook begins cross-marketing its poker product. But to characterise the past 12
months simply as the year Sportingbet bought Paradise would be underestimating its performance. During the
period under consideration each quarter has seen it rack up record profits, its share price and market capitalisation
have soared and it has cemented its position as the leading global online sportsbook player. Nonetheless, if this list
was simply about who was the largest companies in egaming then Sportingbet would have no claim to the top spot.
But as is increasingly being proved by the performance of the listed egaming companies, diversity of product range
and geographical reach are crucial components of future success. Sportingbet is the only top-five firm to tick all the
boxes under the criteria we first laid out 12 months ago. It has a fully developed and well-diversified product range,
and only Cassava can rival Sportingbet in terms of global reach. Its scale is only beaten by the gigantic valuation
attached to PartyGaming, and its influence on every branch of the egaming industry remains huge. There is no region
or sector where Sportingbet is not among the big players online and its innovative ground-breaking attitude gives it a
position of importance in the egaming world not even PartyGaming can match in July 2005.

Transworld House, 82-100 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ, UK.
Chief executive: Nigel Payne



         PartyGaming
2
                                              Who is PartyGaming? Founded in 1997 as
                                           (5)an online casino operator, the group
                                              originally known as iGlobalMedia is best
        known for its flagship PartyPoker brand. Based in Gibraltar it is the largest
        egaming operator by market value.

Nobody has attracted more attention this year than market-leading poker firm PartyGaming,
and with good reason. This is a business that makes enormous profits at huge margins, with
2004 netting the firm US$371m from revenues of US$661m, and has set the standards for
others to follow. It’s impossible for anyone who has inside knowledge of Party’s operations to
not talk about the firm with admiration, and as a cash cow it is without equal. But with over 90%
of its revenues coming from poker, and more than 90% of those revenues coming from North
America it remains too sector- and region-specific to be placed at the top. While it is tempting to Richard Segal, CEO
make Party number one simply due to the publicity it has attracted and the valuation attached        of PartyGaming
to it, this would not reflect the global and product diversity of this industry. Egaming is about
more than just poker, and there are many firms to whom PartyGaming is no more than an envy-raising distraction. Party
tops our scoreboard for scale and rates highly on influence, but loses marks in the areas of global reach and product
diversity. This is sure to change over the next 12 months, as the firm looks to make acquisitions, expands into Europe
and relaunches its casino brand under a single wallet. But it’s unrealistic to assume Party can waltz into a huge acquisi-
tion and integration is never as easy as it seems, and the European market is far more developed than the US poker
sector at the time of Party’s growth spurt with massive marketing spends and some well-established competitors. If
this list were solely about the most profitable business model, then PartyGaming would be a cast-iron number one. But
if we take the top five then at the moment PartyGaming only influences a portion of their businesses. It has little effect
on the global casino market (yet) and has zero effect on the sports-betting sector. Its scale and profile mean it cannot
be ignored and its number-two position reflects this. If it can progress in Europe and with its casino business, then in
12 months it would be a surprise to see Party as our number two. But for now that is where it must remain.

711 Europort, Gibraltar.
Chief executive: Richard Segal




34                 egaming review
                                                                                                   Power 50

          Cassava Enterprises
3                                                          (4)
          Who is Cassava Enterprises? Privately owned Cassava is the parent company
          of a family of egaming brands including 888.com, Pacific Poker and casino-on-
net. Based in Gibraltar it is widely regarded as the largest online casino operator.

Omnipresent both online and off, the owner of 888.com remains a huge force within
egaming. Cast a glance at any web-ranking site, any search-engine listing anywhere
around the world and 888.com will be somewhere near the top. It has become
synonymous with the world of egaming and there are few firms that don't look at it as a
competitor. Its sheer scale in a sector such as online casinos where growth has slowed
means its influence rating is very high. The firm’s intended initial public offering would be John Anderson,
another huge step forward, but it remains to be seen if it will follow PartyGaming’s lead     CEO of Cassava
and not raise any new capital. Cassava is not known as an acquisitive company so it will
be fascinating to see if it seeks to buy its way into new markets and sectors. However, it is already the most
geographically diverse firm on the list with a strong presence in the US, Europe and Asia. It also has a full
range of products with sports betting (through a Betdaq white-label) and skill gaming (through a subsidiary
firm) alongside its casino and poker brands. It is also a hugely profitable company, and has the resources to
compete with the land-based gaming brands as well as its online competitors. And its blend of online and
offline marketing has given it a visibility few firms can match. If casino was showing the same growth rates as
poker this firm would be number one with a bullet. But ultimately its failure to replicate the success of its
casino sites into any other markets means it has to remain number three.

Suite 601-701, Europort Avenue, Europort, Gibraltar.
Chief executive: John Anderson




          William Hill                                                BetandWin
4                                        (3)
            Who is William Hill? Following its
            acquisition of Stanley Leisure it is
now the UK’s largest high-street bookmaker.
                                                           5                                        (13)
                                                                       Who is BetandWin? BetandWin Internation-
                                                                       al (BaW) online sportsbook
                                                           was founded in 1999 by Simon Bold. Since June
Founded in 1934, the firm operates eight internet          2001 the firm has been owned by Austrian firm
gambling sites and a chain of more than 2,200 retail       BETandWIN.com Interactive Entertainment.
outlets in the UK.
                                                           Without doubt one of the strongest performers in the
William Hill is a hugely impressive online operation       past 12 months, with consistently huge top-line
with a 2004 annual profit of £50.7m (US$92.8m) in          growth. Gross win for 2005 is expected to top €100m
its egaming division and a well-diversified product        (US$123m) and the firm consistently posts 100%
offering. It has a strong casino and poker room and        quarterly growth. It is the leading pan-European
its sportsbook is probably the most popular of the         sportsbook brand, and its high-profile marketing in
fixed-odds sites in the UK market. It scored very          emerging markets such as Spain and Greece shows
highly on scale, diversity and influence, and only its     what a powerful competitor BaW is. Its position near
reach rating stopped it being a top-three player.          the top of the list is strengthened by its unique
Where it falls down is in its international player base,   position as one of the few licensed operators in
which is not believed to be as strong as its major         Germany. It is also a well-diversified company with a
competitors. But with its huge profits, strong             strong casino, and growing soft gaming and poker
product range, innovative approach and acquisitive         revenues along with innovative mobile products. It
nature it is rightly a top-five player, although it        also has an ownership position in betting exchange
needs to break out of its UK stronghold and into           firm Betbull. The firm shows little interest in either
Europe and Asia to obtain a place in the top three.        the UK or US markets, but within Europe it is
Its recent strategic partnership in Greece is a sure       undoubtedly the power player and its influence rating
sign the company is headed in this direction. A            reflects this. It is no longer a small player in terms of
widely feared competitor both in the UK and beyond,        scale either, with a US$2bn turnover not an
William Hill remains one of the true power players         unrealistic prediction for 2005.
in egaming.
                                                           Babenbergerstr. 9/17 A-1010 Vienna, Austria.
Greenside House, 50 Station Road, London, N22 7TP, UK.     Co-chief executives: Manfred Bodner and Norbert
Head of internet operations: Peter Nolan                   Teufelberger



                                                                               egaming review
                                                                                                             35
Power 50

         Ladbrokes                                                                          Carmen
6                                   (2)
         Who is Ladbrokes? Founded in the 1890s by a racehorse trainer,
         the firm is now part of the Hilton Group and is probably the world’s
biggest bookmaker. It launched its online sportsbook early in 2000.
                                                                                  9         Media            (9)

                                                                                  Who is Carmen Media? Carmen is
Last year’s number-two firm has not had a bad year by any definition.             home to some of the largest casino
Profits are up across the board, and its poker room in particular has             and poker brands in the world,
shown superb growth to hold on to its position as the biggest                     including Gaming Club and River
standalone poker site in Europe. In our ratings Ladbrokes is as strong a          Belle.
firm as it was 12 months ago, but the industry has moved on at such a
pace that several of the pure-play firms have moved above it. Its                 By most industry estimates Carmen
geographical reach remains impressive, but in Europe it has been                  has held on to its position as the
overtaken by BetandWin, in Scandinavia it is outgunned by firms such              world’s second-largest online
as Unibet and in Asia it has made little real progress. Profits in its            casino firm, but it has not had as
egaming division were up 50% to £21.3m (US$39m) in its last annual                strong a year as many had
results, well below those of its competitor William Hill, but it is a             predicted. It remains a hugely
stronger force than Hill in a non-UK setting. It scores highly for reach,         important part of the online casino
diversity and scale, but ultimately its influence rating slipped this year        sector, but growth outside of its US
and it left the top five.                                                         stronghold has perhaps been less
                                                                                  impressive than it could have
Imperial House, Imperial Drive, Rayners Lane, Harrow, HA2 7JW, UK.                hoped for. What remains, however,
Managing director of egaming and telephone betting: John O’Reilly                 is a firm with a strong range of
                                                                                  products; its European sportsbook
                                                                                  is beginning to show some



 7        Bodog                                                                   potential, while its poker and casino
                            (16)                                                  sites have broken into Europe and
                                                                                  Asia, giving the firm a huge global
         Who is Bodog? Calvin Ayre founded a software company that                reach. It has worked hard to give a
         would become Bodog in 1994. It is now one of the largest                 tangible corporate face to its online
US-facing sportsbooks with a 2004 turnover of $US3.5bn in its                     enterprise, and is well positioned
sportsbook, casino and poker sites.                                               for the next growth phase of the
                                                                                  industry. A stronger showing is
Bodog has consistently pushed back the boundaries in the US-facing                needed from its non-US brands to
sportsbook sector. Its mass-market-friendly branding is combined with a           push it into the top five.
slick behind-the-scenes operation that has full control of the crucial areas
of software development and payment processing. It is one of the best risk-          Suite 651, Europort, Gibraltar.
managed operations in its sector, with a strong trading team and extremely           Chief executive: Tim Johnson
strong casino revenues mitigating
against sports results. It has also

                                                     BetonSports
                                            8
become a powerful player in the poker
sector and is spending huge amounts                                                    (7)
to push its brand in the poker arena
with a new software upgrade due in                    Who is BetonSports? Publicly listed in the UK, Costa Rica-based
September. It has become the                          BoS is one of the largest sportsbooks and casinos in the world.
business model to follow in the US,
with several sites aping its brash         If this assessment had been done as little as three months ago
media-friendly strategy. Its vision as an BetonSports would have been lucky to make the top 10. Following a profit
entertainment brand is evident with        warning the firm’s share price halved and its position at the top of the US-
offshoots such as its new music label      facing sportsbook was looking seriously undermined. But its end-of-year
and it remains the most innovative site results showed the firm had bounced back, and the acquisition of Asian-
in the US egaming space. As a result it focused operator Easybets may prove to be a smart strategic move.
scored more highly this year for           Crucially the firm also strengthened its management team, which had
influence than most of its rivals. It      been an area of weakness since the IPO. It would be untrue to say
remains too US-focused to be a true        BetonSports is firing on all cylinders in June 2005, but it has negotiated
global leader, but within its sector few   itself into a position of real strength once more. Its publicly listed status
firms can touch it.                        has so far proved a rock around its neck, but as it seeks to make future ac-
                                           quisitions it could prove a crucial differentiator.
Oficentro Ejecutivo Sabana Sur Edificio
7, 5 Piso, San José, Costa Rica.           9th Floor, Mall San Pedro, Montes de Oca, San José, Costa Rica.
Chief executive: Calvin Ayre               Chief executive: David Carruthers




36                  egaming review
                                                                                                        Power 50


10             Betfair                      Who is Betfair? Betfair is the world’s largest betting exchange firm with
                                  (6)       an estimated 80% market share.

                Betfair remains the only firm of any significance in the betting exchange sector and is one of the key
                power players in the UK betting market. It maintained a high rating for influence and scale, but again
failed to score better than average for diversity and reach. Profits for the year ending April 2005 were at a record
£22.5m from revenues of £107m. This is still some way behind William Hill, but impressive considering the firm’s
huge development costs and 500-strong workforce. And it has continued to grow its international user base, with al-
most a quarter of revenues now coming from outside the UK. While the global march of the P2P model has proved
slower than predicted, Betfair’s diversification into poker has ensured it retains a strong position within the industry.
The US remains off the agenda, but it is looking eagerly at markets across the globe with the Far East, South Africa
and Scandinavia high on the list. And with its initial public offering and Australian licence now looking like a question
of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ it would be wrong to write off Betfair as a global player just yet.

Waterfront, Hammersmith Embankment, Winslow Road, London, W6 9WS, UK.
Chief executive: Stephen Hill




11             Victor Chandler                            Who is Victor Chandler? In 1975 the present Victor
                                                     (8) Chandler sold the family chain of betting shops and set up
                                                          a telephone operation. Victor Chandler International is now
              a telephone and online betting operation alongside an expanding UK retail presence.

This has been a year of repositioning and consolidation for Gibraltar-based Victor Chandler (VC). Its rebranding
has pushed the firm’s gaming brands to the forefront and given it a more mass-market-friendly feel. The firm that
began the offshore revolution in the UK still scored highly for influence thanks to its profile, its
white-label programme and its innovative approach. With the majority of its players coming from the UK it didn’t
score too highly on reach despite a reasonably strong international player base, but its activity in Spain and the Far
East are important strategic moves. It scored well for diversity with a strong product range militating against the
occasional run of bad results, and racked up a decent score for scale. We expect 2006 to be a strong growth year
for VC, and will look to this firm to rise up the rankings next year.

Leanse Place, 50 Town Range, Gibraltar. Chief executive: Michael Carlton




12              OIGE           (11)
                Who is OIGE? Curaçao-based OIGE is the
                very private holding company for the
                Intercasino family of websites. It outsources
                                                                  13            Coral Eurobet
                                                                                Who is Coral Eurobet? In 1999
                                                                                                                    (21)

                                                                                UK high-street bookmaker Coral joined
                                                                                forces with internet sportsbook
its management and marketing to UK-based Adsdotcom, a                           Eurobet to form Coral Eurobet.
subsidiary of CryptoLogic’s software arm WagerLogic.
                                                                  Although Coral continues to lag behind its
OIGE owns one of the strongest brands in the online               high-street rivals in the UK, it is easily a match for
casino sector, and is believed to be the third-largest online     them in continental Europe. Its powerbase is
casino on the internet. It scored highly not just for scale       undoubtedly in Italy, thanks to the Eurobet brand,
but also for influence due to its close working relationship      but it is making headway in other territories
with its software provider WagerLogic and its strong              including Scandinavia. It is no longer the least
marketing skills and online presence. Intercasino is              developed of the UK big-three online, and has a
pushing into Europe, and with rebranded European                  good portfolio of gaming offerings. Although it’s a
versions of its site it has made up ground in the region. It      firm that likes to stay under the radar, its industry
is one of the few casino firms with a true mass-market            profile has gorwn notable during the past 12
strategy and has one of the broadest product ranges in the        months. It scored well for influence and diversity,
industry. While other firms consider their options, OIGE          without excelling in any category. However, it
has added bingo and lottery sites to its casino and poker         wants to be the pre-eminent European online
offering. Its lack of a sportsbook was not considered a fail-     player, and it has the scale – thanks to its huge UK
ing, but cost the firm some points in its rating. The             retail empire – to match its ambitions.
definition of a solid performer. We wait with interest to see
if it can pull off the transition into a mass-market brand.       Glebe House, Vicarage Drive, Barking, Essex,
                                                                  IG11 7NS, UK.
Curaçao, Netherland Antilles. Chief executive: N/A                Chief executive: Vaughn Ashdown



                                                                                   egaming review
                                                                                                                 39
Power 50

                 Unibet                                                             L&G (VIP)
14                                 (25)
                 Who is Unibet? Formed in 1998, Unibet
                 is a Scandinavian-focused sportsbook,
                 casino and poker operator. Since its
                                                                15                                          (16)
                                                                              Who is L&G? The parent company of
                                                                              the VIP group of companies, it formed
                                                                              following a reverse takeover in May
launch it has grown from a US$3.5m-a-year operation in          2005, when VIP Management Services (VIP MS) was
1999 to have a turnover of US$385m in 2004.                     acquired by L&G in a deal worth US$44.5m.

As one of the smaller firms by turnover and profits in the      L&G debuts on this list due to its acquisition of Curaçao-
top 20, Unibet’s high positioning is a combination of its       based VIP, and it plans to move ahead with grand plans
strong position in the competitive Scandinavian                 for a series of acquisitions in the US-facing sector and
market and its 50% ownership of poker company                   beyond. With annual profits of US$6m it is not playing in
24hbet. Outside the UK, Scandinavia is the second-              the same league as BetonSports, but its combination of
largest betting region in Europe and Unibet is well             financial acumen from the L&G team and the VIP team’s
placed to use its strong revenues there as a springboard        experience make it a formidable firm for the future.
for European expansion. It is a well-diversified group,         Diversification is good with a horse book, casino and
publicly listed with access to capital for acquisitions. It     poker room and its strong relationship with software
has a good opportunity to benefit from its stake in             firm IGW should not be underestimated. A disappointing
24hpoker as European poker continues its strong                 showing by its European brand and its lack of scale cost
growth. In our opinion this is one of the best-placed           some points, but it is well-placed to become a cons-
European sportsbooks and its high ranking reflects that.        olidator , and we predict a top-10 showing next time.

1st Floor, Melbury House, 51 Wimbledon Hill Road,               10th Floor, Bucklersbury House, 3 Queen Victoria
London, SW19 7QW, UK.                                           Street, London, EC4N 8EL, UK.
Chief executive: Peter Nylander                                 Chief executive: Alistair Assheton




16              Pinnacle Sports
               Who is Pinnacle Sports? Curaçao-based
               online sportsbook and casino, Pinnacle
               was founded in 1998.
                                                       (17)
                                                                17              Rational
                                                                                Enterprises                   (14)
                                                                Who is Rational Enterprises? Rational is the owner of
Pinnacle is to the US sector what Betfair is to the UK          the world’s second-largest poker room, PokerStars.
industry. Its consistently low margin pricing has
forced others to compete on price and forced profit             With only a poker offering, Rational scored poorly for
margins down. It is doing huge volumes online, and              diversity and its low-key approach similarly affected its
scored well for both influence and scale. Pinnacle will         rating influence. But as the second-largest player in the
benefit from a move into the recreational market,               rapidly growing poker sector, its importance cannot be
as its operations are optimised for the online                  underestimated. Its decision to spend heavily on
environment and will reap the benefits of the                   pushing into Europe and the UK in particular is also an
economies of scale. The long-overdue addition of a              important move, and it scored well for reach as a result.
poker room would see it increase its diversity ranking,         If Rational can effectively move beyond poker and away
but without it Pinnacle remains a major competitor for          from its US base it could easily become a top-10 player
any sportsbook looking at the US.                               next time around.

Pater Euwensweg 31, Willemstad, Curaçao.                        Plaza Roble Corporate Center, San José, Costa Rica.
Chief executive: N/A                                            Chief executive: N/A

                                                   Who is Betcorp? The Australian parent company of Antigua-based
                Betcorp
18                                    (10)         BetWWTS, it is one of the leading US-facing sportsbooks companies.
                                                 Betcorp has had a rollercoaster year, with a share price collapse and
              total management upheaval eventually leading to a more solid base. It is now back to profitability and
              its streamlined operations give it a much better chance of catching up with market leaders such as
Bodog, Pinnacle and BetonSports. Its strong range of products ensured it achieved a high score on diversity and its
high turnover made sure it had a respectable rating for scale. It has already proved it will look to buy its way into the
mass market with the acquisition of Cybersportsbook, and this strategy may be its best bet going forward.

Level 16, Rialto North Tower, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia.
Chief executive: Colin Walker




40                 egaming review
                                                                                                    Power 50

                BetCRIS                                                    Ongame
19                                      (27)
                 Who is BetCRIS? One of the first
                 offshore sportsbooks BetCRIS has
                 been operating out of Costa Rica
                                                           20                                     (N/A)
                                                                           Who is Ongame? The owner of
                                                                           Pokerroom and PokerNetwork is one
                                                                           of the largest players in online poker.
since 1985. It is believed to have one of the largest
turnovers in the industry.                                 Without doubt Ongame is one of the best placed firms
                                                           to capitalise on the continuing growth of the poker
For all the talk of its massive turnover numbers,          sector. The majority of its earnings come from the US,
BetCRIS is believed to be a relatively small               but it has solid international revenues. A Sweden-
operation in terms of player numbers. Nonetheless,         based company, it understands the European market
as the home of the pro bettor it has the ability to        better than some of its US-focused competitors. It has
move the betting lines on most US sports and is an         also achieved a high liquidity without resorting to TV
influential player in the US-facing sector. BetCRIS is     advertising, and as it begins to advertise on US TV
moving into the recreational market with a greater         this is sure to make a big difference to its scale. The
range of products, including skill games, and is           owner of a fast-growing poker network, it also
looking at more mass-market-friendly marketing             boosted its position above firms such as eWorld and
techniques. It scored highly for diversity, although its   Empire Online through its rating for influence and
US-centric player base restricted its score for reach.     diversity. With an online casino site and the first
It is undoubtedly looking to make the move from a          mobile poker product, Ongame has proved to be an
strong foundation and it is undoubtedley the               innovative operator, and with a much-rumoured listing
strongest performer within the ‘pro bettor’ sector.        likely in the next 12 months we see this firm going
                                                           from strength to strength.
Building La Colmena, 7th floor, Sabana Sur, San
José, Costa Rica.                                          Centralplan 9, 11120, Stockholm, Sweden.
Chief executive: Mickey Richardson                         Chief executive: Patrik Selin




                                                                              egaming review
                                                                                                             41
Power 50

                                                    Interwetten is an important player in the emerging

21    Interwetten                (19)
                                                    European sportsbook sector, but its lack of diversity
                                                    pushes it down a few places. It is in the strategically
      important position of owning a German licence and is a well-trafficked site with good localisation and
      experience in the European market. Its recent relocation to Malta was an intelligent move, and we still
      rate this company as a power player.

                                                      North America-focused sportsbook SportsInteraction

22    SportsInteraction                         (37)
                                                      failed to score highly on influence as it operates
                                                      primarily under the radar and is not expected to be a
      major consolidator. It does, however, have considerable scale and it scored better than some of its rivals
      on reach. The recent addition of Playtech poker alongside its casino room should give it more diversified
      revenues and potentially move the firm up another gear.



23    Golden Palace                       (31)
                                                          Revenue numbers for casino and poker operator Golden
                                                          Palace are unavailable, but it is thought to be a profitable
                                                          company. However, it is not the firm’s financial strength
      that has pushed it into the top 25 for the first time. The past 12 months have seen Golden Palace take
      guerrilla marketing to new levels, ensuring its name is never far from the mind of the average egamer.
      The resulting high scores for influence alongside diversity pushed it into the top 25 for the first time.

                                                      While it was overshadowed by PartyGaming, the listing of

24    Empire Online                    (38)           the parent company of Empire Poker was a major event,
                                                      raising US$225m. The firm is hugely profitable with Q1
      2005 profits of US$12.5m and its Empire Poker brand is the largest affiliate in the PartyPoker network.
      However, its position as only a white-label operator and limited diversity accounts for its relatively low
      placing on this list.

                                                      The only publicly listed online casino firm, it still

25    Gaming VC                  (50)                 remains on the sidelines when assessing the real
                                                      power players in this industry. Its lack of substantial
      non-German revenue ensured its scores for influence and reach were only average. Gaming VC is
      looking at a series of acquisitions, and could buy its way into new market. If it remains an acquirer
      rather than an aquiree, then expect to see Gaming VC shoot up the charts next time around.



26
                                                      Fun is pushing back the boundaries of skill gaming’s role
      Fun Technologies                         (N/A) in the egaming industry, and it’s hard to dispute its
                                                      influence on this emerging sector. Unlike many of its
      competitors it is geographically and product diverse, and it retains a foothold in the betting exchange
      sector, with a big stake in BetandWin-backed Betbull. All Fun lacks at the moment is profits.

                                                      Currently one of the top-five poker sites, the owner of

27    eWorld Holdings                            (47) UltimateBet is now moving outside its US stronghold
                                                      and into Europe. Its marketing has also stepped up a
      gear, and it is looking at major offline campaigns in the US and the UK. The addition of a casino later
      this year will be an important source of new revenues.



28    Mr Bookmaker                         (N/A)
                                                       Malta-based sportsbook and casino with a high profile in
                                                       the French-speaking European nations, thanks partly to
                                                       sports sponsorships in the region. One of the few
      operators effectively targeting the emerging French market, and a chief executive who is also head of the
      European Betting Association, its influence rating scored highly. One to watch.



29    Fortune Lounge                         (N/A)
                                                     This huge casino group has recently shifted its
                                                     marketing up a gear; its media spend in the US is
                                                     believed to be along the same lines as any of the other
      casino giants. A solid performer, and with rumours of a potential listing and fast-growing poker sites,
      this could prove to be 2006’s big success story.



30    Skybet            (12)
                                                        This wholly owned subsidiary of digital TV giant BSkyB is
                                                        still the most powerful player in the UK’s iTV sector. It
                                                        shows little interest outside of the UK, and as such was
      never going to rank higher than 30, but within its margins of operation it remains a powerful competitor.




42          egaming review
                                                                                                   Power 50

31   St Minver                   The white-label
                          (N/A) provider to a host of
     brands, including Yahoo!, Virgin and FHM, it
                                                         41   Intercontinental Online (34)
                                                              Another Playtech operator, IOG is a slickly
     has risen to be a true power player with a               run and internationally focused casino firm
     strong product range. Solid scores for                   with strong diversity and reach. A continually
     influence, reach and diversity.                          impressive operator.


32   Bet365                One of the few UK players
                      (23) to take bets from the US,
      Bet365 is a geographically diverse operator
                                                         42   Sunny Group                        One of egaming’s
                                                                                         (33) old guard, it
                                                              continues to punch its weight, and its
      with a good product mix but lacks dominance             guerrilla marketing techniques ensure this
     in any one area.                                         casino operator always exerts an influence
                                                              on the sector.

33   Gamebookers                        Good European
                               (22) presence with
     decent revenues, but in a year where firms in       43   Trident Group                A solid casino
                                                                                          (40)
                                                                                           and poker
     Europe have grown by 100%, Gamebookers                   operator and one of the highest-profile
     has failed to capitalise.                                operators using Microgaming software.


34   Rank      (20)
                     A disappointing 12 months
                     for the firm behind the Blue
     Square, Mecca and Hard Rock brands. It
                                                         44   Ritz Interactive                       Still a solid
                                                                                             (26) performer in
                                                              the casino and poker sector, Ritz is a well-
     should benefit from growth in the UK bingo               diversified operator with a good international
     market next year.                                        player base. A strong voice within the
                                                              industry associations.

35   Sportech           (35)
                               A firm with strong
                               brands and a
     partnership with the UK’s most popular TV
                                                         45   Expekt       (36)
                                                                                 One of the largest
                                                                                 online sportsbooks in
     station, it is still punching below its weight at        the important Scandinavian region, its
     the moment. File under potential.                        strong poker room gives it the edge over
                                                              other competitors.

36   Imperial E-club                  The firm’s
                                      (42)
                                      Noble Poker
     site added to its well-established casino           46   English Harbour                         Impressive
                                                                                                 (41) casino
     destinations – including Casino Tropez –                 operator with well-diversified product range,
     make it one of the most powerful operators on            catering to the poker and bingo markets.
     the Playtech system. Good reach and scale.               Good blend of high-roller and recreational
                                                              marketing techniques.

37   Profitable Play (N/A) Hugely popular
                           soft gaming
     sites in its home UK market, now pushing            47   ukbetting              This sportsbook’s
                                                                                  (45)
                                                                                     control of the UK
     effectively into Europe and the US.                      sports information market is a powerful tool.
     Innovative and creative marketing ensured                With a good product range it is another firm
     its influence rating remained high.                      with big potential.


38   IAS     (N/A)
                   The largest Australian-focused
                   online sportsbook, and parent
     company of UK and US-facing site Canbet. A
                                                         48   Betdaq       (N/A)
                                                                                      The world’s second-
                                                                                      largest betting
                                                              exchange has signed some important
     frequently overlooked but important player.              strategic deals during the past year
                                                              including partnerships with Citic Pacific

39   Virgin Games              (24)
                                   Following an
                                   unremarkable
     year for Virgin, it slips down to the lower
                                                              and 888.com.

                                                                                               By some
     rungs of the Power 50. Its revamped                 49   Midas Player               (N/A) measurement
     marketing strategy should see it retain a                the largest skill-gaming site on the net, its
     place in the top 25 next year.                           lack of diversity finds it lower down the list
                                                              than competitor Fun.

40   Paddy Power                  Recreationally
                               (N/A)
                                  focused British
                                                              Betcom                  An up-and-coming
     and Irish sportsbook and casino operator.
     Showing impressive growth across the
                                                         50                 (N/A)     online sportsbook
                                                              operator based in Costa Rica, its Mybookie
     board, and with good scores for diversity                and Bodog-esque Nine brands are ones to
     and scale it remains one to watch.                       watch for the remainder of 2005 and in 2006.



                                                                        egaming review
                                                                                                             45

				
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