Orbis, WagerWorks set to cast their (Inter)net

June 25, 2002 8:07 AM
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Orbis has arrived for this week’s iGamingWorld Conference with software in hand. The question is whether anyone in Las Vegas is buying.

"We are optimistic about the Internet and know that there is great opportunity for anyone that wishes to work with us," said Pauline Vahey, vice president of the North America division of Orbis, in an exclusive interview with GamingToday last week.

The London-based firm is the software engine on the Internet for Ladbrokes, the world’s largest bookmaker. Orbis operates in tandem with WagerWorks to handle all the data input, money processing and updating for Ladbrokes and other clients around the world.

"We are like peanut butter and jelly," said Michael Martinez, vice president of marketing for WagerWorks, a San Francisco-based company that will also participate in the I-Gaming World Conference. "We do all the nuts and bolts, in effect, allowing companies like Ladbrokes to concentrate on what they do best. WagerWorks handles the casino games aspect and Orbis works with sports betting."

The technology is in place for Orbis to set up an interactive horse racing program, where customers at home would be able to bet on horses they would own and operate through their home televisions or on CDs through their computers.

"Virtual horse racing," Vahey said. "We have the capability to do this in Britain. This is the type of technology we would like to bring into the U.S., and particularly Las Vegas."

Orbis, the brainchild of James Caddy, was started five years ago. The company is working with the MGM Mirage and its Internet deal with the Isle of Man. Internet gambling is legal in some overseas jurisdictions, but not in the U.S.

"We understand the laws and we plan to be very patient," Vahey said. "We want this industry to be regulated. All the markets that use us, such as Ladbrokes, have been found to be totally reputable."

Orbis and WagerWorks are used in Australia and Macao. They handle 75 percent of interactive bets in the United Kingdom.

"We don’t have relationships in the Caribbean," Martinez said. "We only believe in working with regulated jurisdictions. No wagers are accepted from the U.S."

"Our position on regulation is in sync with WagerWorks," Vahey said. "It’s just a matter of the safe guards. We have the experience and the software technology to adapt to consumer needs."

Orbis recently signed a four-year contract with Ladbrokes to handle the interacting gaming, including tele-betting, Internet and television.

"The ideal environment is to have no risks," Vahey said. "Americans obviously want to gamble on the Internet. We don’t think our interests will cannibalize the gaming industry."

Martinez said that WagerWorks and Orbis are "the next frontier" in gaming.

"I was with Harrah’s when they introduced Indian gaming and that took eight years," he said. "We have had no problems working with regulators in Australia or anywhere else. That’s what we bring to the table for Las Vegas."