March 26, 2010

France's FDJ buys LVS ahead of World Cup

LA Française des Jeux (FDJ), the French national lottery operator and the second largest lottery operator in the world, has acquired LVS, the betting software supplier that FDJ in January signed to provide its fixed-odds sports betting platform.

FDJ chairman and chief executive Christophe Blanchard-Dignac said: “This is an important acquisition in the context of the opening of the French online betting market to competition. By buying this company, La Française des Jeux reinforces its technological control on the overall activity – sports betting and lotteries – in the stake of the safety of our customers.”

The acquisition for an undisclosed sum of the software house by FDJ follows January’s announcement that LVS had won the contract to deliver fixed-odds sports betting online for FDJ once the French online sports betting market opens this year.

French budget minister Eric Woerth recently announced the country’s online gaming law will come into effect by 1 June, opening the country’s egaming market for competition ahead of this summer’s football World Cup.

LVS chief executive Simon Ordish said: “We’re delighted that La Française des Jeux has chosen to strengthen even further the successful relationship we already have. It will enable us to take the business to the next level and exploit new opportunities.”

FDJ’s range of sports bets increased by 24% year-on-year and accounted for sales of €783m in 2009, representing around 8% of turnover. Online bets increased 61% to €43m. FDJ has set a target of €1bn-worth of sports bets in 2010 through online and retail sales, representing 10% of overall sales.

UK and Gibraltar-based LVS, which employs around 40 people, is currently working with FDJ to build a new live betting platform.

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