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Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Pools betting on television
The pools ... coming soon on your televiion
The pools ... coming soon on your televiion
By BBC reporter Pauline McCole

That most traditional of gambling methods, the football pools, is set for a revamp on digital television.

Littlewoods Leisure, through its internet betting site Bet247 has joined forces with the cable TV company Telewest to launch a range of television based pools and lottery games.

The idea is that from the comfort of their own armchairs customers can play the pools in a traditional way, guessing which of the week's football games will end in draws, all with just a touch of the TV remote control.

Littlewoods is clearly hoping this convenience factor and a potential jackpot of 2m will make this a winner.

It also claims players are 10 times more likely to win on the pools than they are to win the National Lottery jackpot.

However, Two Way TV and Ladbrokes say they have actually been offering Pools betting on Cable & Wireless digital cable since April.

Ladbrokes, the UK's largest betting firm, has already said it plans to spend 100m to put betting on the internet.

Tax threat

To take advantage of the immediacy of interactive TV the Littlewoods service will be able to make their Pools selection right up until kick-off for many football matches.

While it all spells a potential new lease of life for the Football Pools concept it may also add up to another sign of how new technology is diverting gambling money from traditional bookmakers.

The government-owned Tote betting service has complained about the impact on its business of tax free offshore betting and the growth of online gambling sites.

At its annual general meeting yesterday The Tote called on the government to slash betting taxes to enable traditional bookmarkers to compete with the new services on offer.

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See also:

27 Jun 00 | Business
The decline of the pools
27 Jun 00 | Business
Littlewoods sells off pools
06 Apr 00 | Business
Odds favour offshore betting
14 Feb 00 | Business
Ladbrokes embraces the web
22 Jan 00 | Business
Tax break for online punters
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