WEBIS HOLDINGS PLC
6th June, 2017
WatchandWager’s New York State license approved
WatchandWager now accept stakes from the Empire State
The board of Webis, the Group specializing in pool wagering and the operators of Cal Expo, the Californian harness track, is pleased to announce that its Advanced Deposit Wagering (“ADW”) business, WatchandWager.com LLC (“WatchandWager”) received a license approval from the New York State Gaming Commission on Wednesday, 31st May. This new license means WatchandWager can commence accepting registrations, deposits and wagers from residents of New York State with immediate effect, and in time for the prestigious Belmont Stakes, run at Belmont Park, NY on 10th June. The license will be renewable annually.
The award of the license adds to the growing number of US States in which WatchandWager operates. Most importantly, it now secures WatchandWager a licensed presence in the two major States for horse racing by value of wagers placed, namely California and New York Itself, something many other ADW operators have been unable to achieve. California and New York residents wager an estimated US$1 billion plus per annum through ADW operations and wagers on races conducted in the two key States represent over 40% of the total licensed US pool betting market of over 10 billion per annum. The Board believes the acquisition of key licenses such as these is critical to the company’s future as it continues to focus on the strategic development of its B2C retail operation via the watchandwager.com/mobile site.
New York State is a major center of horse racing in the United States with the premier New York Racing Association circuit of Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course. In addition to those three tracks, the Empire State is home to Finger Lakes Racetrack as well as Buffalo Raceway, Batavia Downs, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Raceway, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, and Yonkers Raceway for harness racing.
WatchandWager President Ed Comins confirms the New York license is a significant development in the growth of the company: “We are delighted to be approved by the New York State Gaming Commission, who have a reputation for enhanced due diligence and demanding the highest levels of compliance,” Comins said. “The expansion of our licenses to include New York means that WatchandWager is now available to our players in the two most populous States that allow Advance Deposit Wagering. We look forward to giving them the very best deal on the best horse racing from the United States and around the world.”
WEBIS HOLDINGS PLC
Webis agrees Term Loan for USA Bonds (“Loan”)
The Board of Webis, the Group specializing in pool wagering and the operators of Cal Expo, the Californian harness track, as part of the strategy to consolidate and increase the number of operating licenses, has agreed a Term Loan on behalf of Watch & Wager Inc (“W&W”) for the sum of USD $500,000 from Galloway Limited (“Loan”).
At present, W&W is licenced in the following US states: California, North Dakota, Maryland, Minnesota, Kentucky and Washington, as well as additional licences to place wagers, principally in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Canada. The majority of these licences are supported by cash-backed Bonding Agreements and, together with the proceeds of the new loan, Webis holds approximately US$ 2.5 million cash deposits for this purpose.
The Board of Webis considers the renewal and expansion of key US licenses to be central to the development of the W&W business-to-consumer strategy, namely the acceptance of wagers via its principal website watchandwager.com and mobile product in licensed jurisdictions. The Loan will allow W&W to renew existing and pursue new licenses as required.
The Loan carries a coupon 7.75% for a term of five years and is secured against all the unencumbered assets of Webis. The Board of Webis remains confident that W&W possesses sufficient working capital to meet current and planned operational requirements.
Denham Eke, the non-executive Chairman of Webis, is a director of Galloway Limited and both he and Nigel Caine, a non-Executive Director, are directors of Burnbrae Group Limited of which Galloway Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary and which is an indirect 63.1 per cent. shareholder in Webis. Accordingly, as a Related Party Transaction under AIM Rules, the independent Directors (being Ed Comins and Sir James Mellon), having consulted with the Company’s Nominated Adviser, consider the terms of the Loan are fair and reasonable in so far as Webis’s shareholders are concerned.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation No. 596/2014 on market abuse. Upon the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.
The Board of Webis Holdings plc, the global gaming group, announces that at the AGM held earlier today, all resolutions were passed.
WEBIS HOLDINGS PLC
WatchandWager’s Kentucky license approved
ADW may now accept wagers from the Bluegrass State
The board of Webis, the Group specializing in pool wagering and the operators of Cal Expo, the Californian harness track, is pleased to announce that its Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) business, WatchandWager.com LLC (“WatchandWager”) received a license approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday, December 13, with immediate effect and throughout 2017. This means the company will commence taking live registrations, deposits and wagering from residents of the State from Wednesday 14th December. The licence comes conditional on a $100,000 Bond being lodged with the Commission and this is expected to be in place early in January 2017.
With hundreds of horse farms, breeding farms, and training centers in the state’s Bluegrass Region, Kentucky is famously known as the “cradle of horse racing” in the United States. Kentucky has a population of over 4.4 million, many of them horse racing fans. WatchandWager’s presence in Kentucky began in 2013, and the company’s investment in the State expanded when it moved its telephone call center from the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom to Lexington, Ky., in 2015. WatchandWager’s Lexington office now serves as the operations center for the company. Another benefit of the license is the Duties and Fees associated with it are relatively modest compared to other larger States. This means wagers will be accepted at a higher margin to WatchandWager than in many other states.
WatchandWager President Ed Comins comments: “We are pleased to add Kentucky to the ever-expanding list of states where WatchandWager can accept wagers. Our company’s experience in Kentucky has been a very positive one, and being able to accept wagers from residents of the State only cements this relationship.”
To mark the approval of its Kentucky license, for a limited time WatchandWager is giving a special matching-deposit bonus to Kentucky residents who successfully register and fund a new wagering account. WatchandWager is known throughout the wagering industry as the leader in cash-back bonuses, giving money back to their players instead of “points” for their play.
WEBIS HOLDINGS PLC
WatchandWager extends contract to operate Cal Expo Harness Racing
The board of Webis Holdings PLC, the Group specializing in pool wagering and racetrack operations, is pleased to announce that its Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) business, WatchandWager.com LLC (“WatchandWager”) has extended its contract to operate Cal Expo Harness Racing, the Californian harness racing track based in Sacramento through to 2021. WatchandWager received unanimous approval from the Board of Directors at Cal Expo in Sacramento on 3rd June.
WatchandWager entered into a contract to operate Cal Expo Harness in 2012. Since assuming the operator’s license for Cal Expo, WatchandWager has been pleased with the progress that has been made by the track to date. The contract extension with WatchandWager guarantees that California harness racing fans and horsemen will continue to have a local venue for live Standardbred racing into the next decade.
In addition to supporting live horse racing in California, WatchandWager’s contract to operate Cal Expo Harness is a strategic trade license which enhances the ADW wagering business both in the US domestic market and on the international stage. By operating the only live harness racing track in California, WatchandWager has significant leverage in negotiating wagering contracts and licenses with domestic and international tracks and racing associations.
Ed Comins, President of WatchandWager, believes that the new contract with Cal Expo strengthens the future of both the track and the company.
“We are proud to reach an agreement with the Board of Directors of Cal Expo,” Comins said. “WatchandWager remains committed to the US racing industry by providing live harness racing to fans and supporting California horsemen with revenue from wagering. We look forward to building upon the progress over the next five years of the contract.”
Racing at Cal Expo is scheduled to resume in early October, subject to the normal regulatory approval.
WatchandWager.com LLC (“WatchandWager”), Webis’s principal US subsidiary, has extended its contract with the French Pari Mutuel Urbain (“PMU”) to provide its wagering customers access to betting directly into the French horseracing pools. The deal also includes video streaming of French racing to WatchandWager customers.
Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, WatchandWager conducts US licensed advanced deposit pool wagering through its website, watchandwager.com, and also manages racetrack operations at Cal Expo racetrack, Sacramento, California.
WatchandWager has partnered with the PMU for over two years, but this extension to the end of 2016 is significant in that it renews access to one of the largest global horseracing markets. In 2014, total volume wagered into the PMU pools was Euro 9.16 billion. The PMU are particularly forward thinking in successfully distributing their premium content worldwide.
French horseracing is one of the premier centres of the sport in the world. The quality of the product, coupled with the significant size of the pools, is attractive to international players, for which market liquidity is of a paramount importance. WatchandWager expects a significant impact to turnover through the remainder of 2016 as a result of this contract renewal.
Ed Comins, Managing Director of Webis, said: “It is an honour for WatchandWager to renew its partnership with the PMU and to be able to offer world class racing to our customers. It is particularly good time with the French core thoroughbred season approaching full swing right now, and culminating in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe meeting in October. We look forward to promoting French Racing to our international customers throughout this exciting time. “
Thursday 3rd of March 2016
WEBIS HOLDINGS PLC
(“Webis” or “the Group”)
Issue of Options
Webis Holdings plc, the global licenced pari mutuel gaming and US racetrack operations group, announces that today the Board has granted 14,000,000 options to subscribe for new Ordinary Shares of 1p (the “Options”) each to Ed Comins, the Group’s Managing Director. Each option entitles the holder upon exercise to one ordinary share of 1p in the capital of the Group (“Ordinary Shares”). The Options have an exercise price of 1p each, representing a premium of 47% to Webis’ last closing price, vest after 3 years and lapse after 10 years from the date of grant and are non-transferable.
Ed Comins was appointed as Group Managing Director on 29 April 2015 and has executive responsibility for all Group activities and therefore the Board considers it in the best interests of Webis that he is granted a meaningful option package to align his interests with those of Shareholders. Ed Comins holds no other options in the Group.