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Littlewoods gets mobile with online betting.

Littlewoods will offer punters the chance to place bets from mobile phones next month as part of a move announced yesterday to take its football pools and telephone betting to the Net.

In a strategic partnership with BT Cellnet, the group said it will offer a world first in April to enable its customers to make live bets and play the pools and lotteries on Wireless Application Protocol mobile handsets.

Littlewoods, Britain's largest private company, said it was launching its new website Bet247, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, immediately.

It had cost under pounds 5 million and would offer its telephone betting service BetDirect online, for gambling on sports like horse racing and football.

It will offer the UK's first Internet lottery, Prizebuster, to allow punters to play on three or four numbers in the BBC broadcast draw for the National Lottery. Its football pools, where prizes can reach pounds 2 million, also come online.

The web strategy is aimed at re-energising Littlewoods' leisure operations after its traditional football pools betting was hit by the National Lottery, with pools players falling to two million from 4.5 million some five years ago.

The group will also operate Big Match Stats in conjunction with British Sky Broadcasting Plc's Sky Sports, offering the chance to bet on the statistics of a football match such as total goals, corners, offsides, bookings and substitutions.

The Littlewood web stategy follows moves by a number of other gaming groups to move online. Last month, Hilton Group's Ladbrokes unit announced its online betting strategy, sending its shares soaring.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 14, 2000
Words:264
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