Interactive gambling deal

Having a flutter from the comfort of your lounge

The UK interactive gambling television deal between broadcaster Five and interactive gambling group NetPlayTV comes to fruition this month when NetPlay's SuperCasino.com show flights between midnight and 4am three nights a week starting September 17.

TV executives expect the new service to boost revenues declining as a result of low advertising income.

An RTL-owned Five spokesman said the show will be extended to six nights a week in October, before being shown every night of the week in 2010. As part of the deal, Five has been granted an option to buy 5percent of NetPlay's shares for 28.5p - a small premium on Friday's closing price of 28p.

NetPlay already operates on satellite channels and Scottish broadcaster STV, but the Five deal will bring live TV gambling to millions of households throughout the country for the first time.

The show, which NetPlay described as a "four-hour advert", will encourage viewers to open a NetPlay account and deposit money in a virtual "wallet". An on-screen croupier will ask players to place bets, via phone or online, before spinning the wheel. If the player wins, their name will flash up on the screen and the winnings credited to their account.

Martin Higginson, chief executive of NetPlay, said the show was no different to online gambling and will be tightly controlled by the regulator.

"There has been a decline in advertising and they're [Five TV network] desperately looking for new sources of revenue, this will help them," he said. "If it proves successful, we will look to extend it to other UK channels and into other countries."

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