US NEWS: Sportech going online in US state; Massachusetts begins discussing regulations; Gambling industry suffering more than most

usa flag thumbUk-headquarted tote and pool betting firm Sportech has signed an exclusive deal to handle online horserace wagering in Connecticut. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has given Sportech Venues Inc., a subsidiary of the firm, permission to offer account wagering over the Internet to all residents over the age of 18. The platform will launch by April 2013 and follows extensive investment in the state via the firm’s existing licence to offer pari-mutuel wagering on horseracing, greyhound racing and jai-alai. The US market has been lucrative for Sportech with the total betting handle for Sportech Racing being a main contributor to results staying “in line with expectations”. Ian Penrose, CEO of Sportech, hinted at more to come in the future, adding: “We are delighted that we are now able to extend our offering to include exclusive wagering on horseracing on the internet, in addition to our existing retail and telephone exclusive wagering services. We will continue to build our business by offering secure, legal, pari-mutuel wagering on horseracing.”

Massachusetts’s Gaming Commission will sit down later today to start discussing a set of regulations to govern the state’s gambling expansion. The process will look to address a number of “policy questions” that have come up as a result of the new law and it will take “several days” to iron out the complexities. The Associated Press reports that one of the main questions is whether licences should be awarded simultaneously or one at a time. The first licences aren’t likely to be awarded until 2014.

A researcher has claimed the US gambling industry is recovering a lot slower than the country’s wider economy. Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, pointed out that tourism in the West of the country has a lot to do with the state’s economy. Lee McPheters, professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University added that the Western economy is being driven by “nothing” and that states in that part of the country are still “recovering” and are “not recovered”. That is having an adverse effect on Vegas, which is now relying on tourists from the West Coast more than before the economic downturn.