Littlewoods to offer iTV betting
By Paul
Littlewoods Leisure is to try to cash in on the expected boom in iTV gambling with its own offering, interactive TV betting linked to ITV (the major UK commercial TV network, not interactive TV) programming. Littlewoods also owns its own pools, betting and lottery products.

According to, Littlewoods parent company Sportech’s financial results for 2001 revealed that Littlewood’s Leisure’s telephone and Internet business for the Littlewoods Bet Direct service had grown 47% year-on-year. Customer numbers grew from 165,000 in December 2000 to 227,000 in December 2001.

Littlewoods is expecting revenues from its online casino, and from a new portal which offers ‘soft gaming’, such as competitions, which is expected to launch sometime this summer. Littlewoods leisure will also provide fixed-odds betting on Internet and iTV betting consortium, which is set to launch in May.

Colin McGill, managing director of Sportech, said that 1.5 million people use Littlewoods Leisure’s betting services each week. He says that, unlike many iTV offerings, the iTV agreement with ITV “…covers all of ITV’s broadcasting channels and not just a walled garden.” Sportech acquired Littlewoods Leisure in September 2000.

Last year, McGill identified iTV as having the highest potential of any marketing channel: “Where we see the biggest potential is interactive television,” adding: “We think we can get a chunk of the market if we get into partnerships with the right people. It’s a very important growth area for us.”

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