Ladbrokes Decides not to Pursue US Market
By James Mc
British bookmaker Ladbrokes has decided to postpone its entry in the US market, and has instead opted to tap into the Italian market by way of a €100 million (£68 million) joint venture investment with Italian betting company Pianetta Scommesse.

The decision was reached after Ladbrokes chief executive Chris Bell, had conceded that the predicament of BetOnSports had impinged on the company’s review of the US market for Internet gambling. Bell admitted that any potential to provide the US market with online casino and poker games hinged on the outcome of the forthcoming Bill, with the chief executive claiming “it remains a wait and see situation.”

The company’s venture into the Italian market is believed to be the first step in a planned investment programme of €100 million over five years, with a strong focus on both Internet and terrestrial betting models. Ladbrokes has acquired a 51% share in Pianetta Scommesse for an estimated €1.3 million, making Ladbrokes an accredited operator with the future option to buy out its partner.

The move comes after Ladbrokes gained independence through the sale of the Hilton International hotel chain in February, and comes prior to the expected deregulation of the Italian gambling market.

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