Pools firms reject BDB betting idea

Digital terrestrial TV operator British Digital Broadcasting has approached pools companies about using its channels for interactive betting – but the operators have turned it down.

Both Littlewoods and Vernons say the price BDB is asking for access is too high. They also have doubts about the medium’s effectiveness for selling pools coupons.

One pools source says: “It is a bit early to decide if it is appropriate for pools. The traditional pools customer is not exactly at the forefront of technological development.”

The move comes as the gambling industry assesses the possibility of using interactive digital TV to take betting into punters’ living rooms. Betting chain Ladbrokes has invested more than 11m in Two Way TV. And Channel 4 is running interactive betting trials for its racing coverage. But interactive betting from home is a controversial issue because it raises fears about gambling addiction and unintentional access by children.

Littlewoods’ home shopping division has teamed up with Granada Group to launch a shopping channel on terrestrial, satellite and cable systems. A Littlewoods spokesman says that if the pools business were to test digital TV sales it would probably use this channel rather than BDB.

See News Analysis, page 17

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