Melville Patrao, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing, Playwin, who took charge as Playwin’s COO on February 10, 2006, will now drive its online gaming and online lottery initiatives in India. As a recent initiative, Playwin tied up with the Royal Western India Turf Club Ltd (RWITC) on February 1 to set up off course betting centres (OCBCs) for betting enthusiasts across Maharashtra.
As is known, Playwin is Subhash Chandra’s online lottery company, which, to a large extent, is responsible for lending a degree of respectability and credibility to the betting industry in India. What was earlier considered a dirty game has now caught the attention of betting enthusiasts who are keen to get a healthy dose of entertainment.
Commenting on Playwin’s tie-up with RWITC, Patrao said, “Currently, there are nine OCBCs in Maharashtra, and we will open 100 such centres by the end of 2006. While RWITC is the licensee of these OCBCs, we will manage all these centres such as choosing the franchisees, setting up the infrastructure, etc.”
Mehrnosh Surti, General Manager, Totalizators, RWITC, said, “We recently got permission from the government for these 100 OCBCs collectively. We partnered with Playwin as they already have the necessary infrastructure.”
Patrao pointed out that since Playwin’s key objective was to provide infrastructure, data communication, marketing support and service to facilitate secure online lottery networks, and it was already quite active on TV, this tie-up with RWITC was a natural extension of Playwin’s existing activities.
He added, “After deciding on the exact time and place for setting up these centres, we will actively advertise to let people know the official OCBCs of RWITC and Playwin. The idea behind this tie-up is to give some respectability to the notorious betting industry. Since betting is not accepted socially, we want to add credibility to online betting through these official OCBCs. I am sure that initiatives like this will go a long way in eliminating loopholes and organising this industry in a few years.”