Gala will spend £3m to make Jamba pay-to-play

Bingo and casino operator Gala plans to spend up to £3

million on developing its newly purchased online games site Jamba.co.uk.

The acquisition was originally revealed by Revolution (24 October,

p3).



The money will be used to transform Jamba.co.uk, formerly owned by

Carlton Interactive, into a pay-to-play venture with fixed odds gaming.

The Jamba brand will be retained, with Gala planning to develop a

next-generation online casino.



According to Brian Mattingley, development and strategy director at

Gala, the company is looking to base the casino offshore in Gibraltar or

the Isle of Man and will be planning to develop relationships with

commercial partners.



"We will be fairly aggressive in the coming months in promoting

Jamba.co.uk," said Mattingley. "This is just the platform to take Gala

into true commercial online gaming. We have to put our foot back on the

gas and create a high-profile for the site."



He added that the company is also planning to extend Jamba.co.uk's iTV

coverage by looking to move the site onto Sky digital's platform. "We

would be a bit brain-dead not to go after it," he said. "It will involve

negotiation and cost but, at the end of the day, we are already present

on iTV, which is a core focus for us."



Under the £1.5 million deal, Gala purchased the site, brand and

associated customer base, and will continue to work with Carlton

Interactive on development of the revamped site.



Jamba.co.uk currently has a 750,000-strong database and, according to

Carlton Interactive, 600,000 players a month. It will continue to

feature free-to-play games for the next three months to keep its

customer base strong, with at least one new game being launched during

the next two months.



The first phase will see the current back office system being used to

build a commercial gaming engine, which should be developed within three

or four months. Gala then plans to develop predominantly numbers-based,

fixed-odds gaming, which should be in place within six months.



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