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Island Bet to introduce mobile betting app

Published:Sunday | March 13, 2016 | 3:00 AMTameka Gordon

Sports betting outfit Island Bet will launch its virtual gaming and downloadable application this month amid the groundbreaking performance of its election-betting options.

Island Bet, which is owned by business partners Adam Epstein and Gassan Azan, pioneered a new market segment when it offered players a chance to call the results of the general election of February 25. The top payout to one player was $2.5 million.

Island Bet said it expects to have the app available for download "within the month".

"We have actually recently done an upgrade to the system based on what our customers were saying. The downloadable version will be available through the IOS and Google Play Stores," Epstein told Sunday Business.

Island Bet will invest "roughly $50 million over the next three months" on the brand build-out, virtual gaming, and the app, he said.

Virtual betting allows wagers on games and sport, such as horse racing, dog racing, and football.

Island Bet currently allows bets in more than 50 international sports betting markets. It added 500 new players through its election betting option, pushing its user base beyond the 1,000 it started with.

"It performed really well in terms of the acceptance and the interest it generated," Epstein said of the election betting. He said that the wagers and revenue generation were "greater than expected" but declined to quote sales revenue.

The tech start-up and bookmaker went live in September 2015 through its platform IslandBet.com, beating out lottery company SVL, which has been touting its mobile betting plans for more than a year.

Island Bet allows Jamaicans to place bets from their mobile devices by connecting to the website with a registered account, but Epstein is hoping for greater brand visibility with the new app.

With the local government poll now constitutionally due, Island Bet is weighing whether to offer players another chance to call those elections.

"We are looking at the possibility of it, but I'm not sure as yet," he said.

Island Bet is operated by Sizzling Slots, a gaming company co-owned by Epstein and Azan.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com