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SVL vows to deliver mobile betting service this year

Published:Friday | May 27, 2016 | 12:50 AMTameka Gordon
Brian George

Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) says it will roll out its mobile betting platform as soon as its selected banking partner, National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCB), obtains approvals from the central bank.

The company otherwise reported at its annual general meeting on Wednesday that the negotiations for its takeover of Caymanas Track Limited are expected to wrap up in another three to four months.

Supreme Ventures was selected preferred bidder by the Jamaican Government for the purchase of the operating assets of the horse racing company, a deal which includes taking up a 30-year lease on lands held at the track.

SVL president and CEO Brian George would not be drawn on the specifics of the negotiations, however, citing confidentiality.

As for its mobile betting service, the lottery provider has been beaten out the gate by other local companies who have already put their products on the market, as acknowledged by George, who now seems confident that he can deliver the service this year.

“We have been inconsistent with where SVL has always wanted to be, which is first to market. We are not first to market but we want to be best to market in the mobile business,” he told shareholders.

While SVL has settled on NCB as its mobile banking partner to get the betting service off the ground, the gaming and lottery operator plans to offer mobile betting through other networks as well.

George said the lottery company is also in discussion with the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League to use its mobile wallet Conec.

“They are ready and authorised but they have a smaller base of customers,” he said.

SVL will also seek a partnership with conglomerate GraceKennedy, provided their product comes to market, George said. GraceKennedy boss Don Wehby has signalled the launch of its product this year.

Supreme Ventures is developing its own betting platform, “but we will be using their mobile money application so that players who are NCB customers, for example, won’t have to go down to some other institution to deposit money. They will be able to automatically move money from their NCB account into their gaming account,” he said.

Supreme Ventures and its technology partners, Intralot and International Gaming Technology, will pump some US$5 million into infrastructure upgrades this year, George told the Financial Gleaner.

The investment “will ensure that SVL will be able to take advantage of opportunities that will come in the future,” the SVL CEO said, but he declined to offer specifics on how the money would be spent.

Last year, SVL earned a profit of $1.2 billion from revenues of $43.8 billion. Lottery sales accounted for $36.8 billion of annual turnover.