Intralot in Australia deal

Greek lottery systems supplier Intralot said yesterday it has won a 10-year license to operate lottery and instant games for the Australian state of Victoria, expanding its presence in the country. Intralot will operate games, including scratch cards, or instant lotteries, in the state, breaking Australian gaming firm Tattersall’s Ltd 54-year monopoly, Intralot, the world’s second-largest lottery systems provider by sales, said in a statement. Intralot, which already provides lottery systems to Western Australia’s state lottery, said it will start operating the games on July 1, 2008. It would invest about A$12 million to set up a network of more than 1,000 points of sale in the state. Lotteries in Victoria produce an annual turnover of A$1.2 billion and the market is expected to grow further with a second operator setting foot in the state. Tattersall’s said yesterday the Victorian state government had awarded it a 10-year license to operate the majority of public lotteries. Tattersall’s, which has an exclusive license to operate lotteries in the state until June 2008, said it would provide games which account for 85 percent of lottery sales in the state through to 2018 under the new licence. It will provide games such as Tattslotto and Powerball where prize pools are combined with operators in other Australian states. However, it will no longer sell some other games, including scratch cards that are only offered in Victoria. Tattersall’s, which doubled earnings after buying betting group UNiTAB last year, said it expected to deliver more than A$3.7 billion in taxes to the Victorian government from lotteries over the license term. Tattersall’s paid the Victorian government A$375 million in lottery taxes in the last financial year. Lotteries contributed A$35.3 million to the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) last year. The Victorian government has been reviewing the structure of the gaming sector, including gaming machine and wagering licenses. Intralot stock trades at 19 times its estimated 2007 earnings, compared with a 25 multiple and 32 for Italy’s Lottomatica and New York-based Scientific Games respectively, according to Reuters Estimates. Bulgarian venture Separately, Intralot said yesterday its Bulgarian fixed-odds betting subsidiary Eurofootball is mulling the acquisition of online bookmaker Eurobet. «Intralot, and the firms in which it holds a stake, have been exploring several business partnerships around the world, including the possible acquisition of Eurobet, which is active in Bulgaria, by Eurofootball Ltd,» it said in a bourse filing. Intralot said it was examining the regulatory framework for the operation of Eurobet in Bulgaria but no decision has been taken yet. Intralot, the world’s second-biggest lottery systems supplier, holds a 49 percent stake in Eurofootball, which has a market share of more than 50 percent in the Bulgarian gaming market. (Reuters)