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Online Poker News Archives - August 26, 2004

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Copyright 2004 Centaur Communications Ltd.
New Media Age

August 26, 2004

HEADLINE: Blue Square eyes up other bookmakers for exchange

    Blue Square could try to persuade other bookmakers to link into a betting exchange network if it goes ahead with its takeover of the Sporting Options exchange, in a deal that could be confirmed as early as today (Thursday).

    The Rank-owned bookmaker is entering its most ambitious expansion phase yet, having launched an online casino last week and with an online poker room due next month.

    The possible takeover places Blue Square at the forefront of the long- awaited move by traditional bookmakers into the betting exchange market. Several sources close to the deal have indicated that it's likely to try to get other bookmakers to join the exchange as white- label clients to improve liquidity on its markets.

    Blue Square has refused to confirm or deny reports of the potential £4m bid. But Sporting Options founder Kevin Griffiths confirmed "We are in talks and it looks likely that we'd do a deal."

    Other exchange operators say they're determined to stay independent. But Betdaq CEO Rob Hartnett suggested his firm could also partner with bookmakers.

    At the same time, Blue Square has finally followed its peers into the online casino and poker market. The casino is being provided by WagerWorks. However, Blue Square has opted for Tribeca Tables' Apex Poker Network for its poker room.
This network also includes Victor Chandler, Golden Palace Casino and Platinum Poker.

    Blue Square spokesman Ed Pownall said that the reason for its slow entry into the casino and poker markets was the amount of integration work required. Customers will be able to use a single account across the sports book, casino and poker. "The same account is crucial in our view," added Pownall.

    In a further development, the firm is also expanding its mobile service with the launch of its Hi Lo game, Aces High, on the platform.

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