|Ladbrokes in mobile pay deal before World Cup semi|
LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Ladbrokes, the world's largest bookmaker, has signed up to a Deutsche Bank-backed <DBKGn.DE> mobile payment service ahead of the first 2002 World Cup semi-final between Germany and South Korea on Tuesday.
Owned by Britain's Hilton Group Plc <HG.L>, Ladbrokes becomes one of the highest profile British partners for paybox, the company operating the system that authorises small secure payments using mobile phones.
Paybox, which is 50-percent owned by Deutsche Bank, argues that using a mobile phone to make online transactions is more secure than a credit card, because sales are only authorised once a pin number is typed into the phone.
David Briggs, business development director at Ladbrokes, said the World Cup was a big opportunity for technological development, as online bets are expected to make up a fifth of around 200 million pounds ($300 million) placed on the soccer tournament in Britain alone.
Briggs said paybox had potential among punters.
"They are technology savvy, and as a high proportion are also mobile users, the partnership with paybox enables us to offer them an attractive and beneficial payment alternative," he said in a statement.
Paybox has signed up around 750,000 users around Europe, largely in Germany, and 10,000 merchants accept it, though figures for individual countries are not disclosed. Ladbrokes rival Coral Eurobet is also a paybox partner.
The rest of Paybox's shares are held by its board members, and 4.8 percent by German wireless operator Debitel, which is controlled by Switzerland's top telecoms group Swixxcom <SCMZn.VX>.
Copyright 2002, Reuters News Service