Monday, November 02, 2009

Virgin Games targets 5 percent of Italy's online poker market - 3rd November 2009

Britain's Virgin Group is aiming for a 5 percent share of Italy's booming online poker market within a year of its start-up, the chief executive of Virgin Games, Simon Burridge, said on Monday.

Virgin's online poker is operated in a revenue-sharing partnership with Italy's Cogetech SpA and Virgin sees this boosting its chances of success and keeping down costs, he said on the sidelines of a Virgin Games presentation.

"We are 'white labelling' it on the back of Cogetech. It is a lot less expensive. Cogetech does (player) registration and the banking. For Virgin it is just a marketing operation and that is what it does best," he said.

Since a "soft launch" in September Virgin's online poker has gained 8,000 players, he said.

"After six weeks we are on target to take 5 percent of the market after 12 months. The market is 200 million euros. So by December we are looking to be 10 million euros. We are looking to break-even in five or six months," he said.

Since its launch in September 2008, Italian online poker bets have risen to 221 million euros in September, Italian regulator AAMS data showed.

Italy's Lottomatica SpA (LTO.MI), Snai SpA (SNAI.MI) and the unlisted Sisal are among operators of online poker.

Some foreign operators have found Italy a difficult market to crack. In August, Britain's Ladbrokes PLC said it was selling its Italian retail operation to concentrate on online activities.


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