French digital TV channel offers online betting

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PARIS--French digital satellite TV broadcaster CanalSatellite and themed channel Equidia have introduced a new interactive service allowing users to make live bets on horse races worldwide.

The service, managed by national equestrian gambling monopoly PMU, is being launched nationwide with a large TV, outdoor and Internet campaign designed by FCA!BMZ, Paris. The budget for the campaign -- which focuses on a TV spot starring futuristic trotting horses pulling high-tech chariots in a race through space -- was not unveiled, but is estimated at more than $2 million given the size of the TV component.

The service, offered to 1.6 million CanalSatellite subscribers, aims to win converts among France's estimated six to seven million active equestrian gamblers.

PMU executives have unveiled an ambitious objective for the new service -- $450 million in new gambling revenues during the next five years. PMU recorded revenues of about $6 billion in 1999.

Equidia and CanalSatellite will each get an undeclared percentage of gambling revenues, as will rival digital satellite broadcaster TPS, which will also offer interactive betting to its Equidia viewers beginning in September.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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