Televisa puts its chips on gaming

Conglom ramping up lottery biz

What do you do when you dominate local TV, radio and print markets to the point where little growth is likely?

Place your bets elsewhere.

Mexican media conglom Televisa is ramping up its gambling and lottery biz with hopes that it’ll become a major revenue stream.

Lotto will be crucial to padding the bottom line after the Mexican net’s dreams of expanding into the U.S. market were crushed last year when it lost out in the auction of Univision.

Televisa will unveil its lottery this week, looking to entice millions of viewers with cash and other prizes.

Since winning government concessions to operate 65 off-track betting parlors in 2005, Televisa has been developing its gambling plans under a shroud of secrecy.

Those concessions sparked a scandal, as they were awarded by interior minister Santiago Creel just days before he stepped down to launch a presidential primary campaign, heavily dependent on ads on Televisa outlets — for which some allege Creel received cut-rate deals.

But the Mexican Supreme Court last month threw out charges over the deal, freeing Televisa to move ahead.

Morgan Stanley estimates that the lottery and other games could tally more than $200 million this year — around 5% of Televisa’s annual revenue.

The conglom has to like that payout.

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