FINANCIAL REVIEW ARTICLE
VOCUS FOUNDER JAMES SPENECELEY’S MHOR BACKING TOPBETTA

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Fund manager and former telco boss James Spenceley has emerged as a backer of small cap wagering stock TopBetta via his MHOR Asset Management business.

MHOR has been buying TopBetta stock in recent months and Mr Spenceley, a member of the BRW Young Rich list and founder of Vocus Communications, revealed MHOR had bought more shares on the market on Thursday, when TopBetta announced it had signed global betting firm Ladbrokes to its Global Tote product.

Mr Spenceley said MHOR, which he established with fund manager Gary Rollo in August, has been TopBetta shares since October. “We first bought in at 10¢, and have also bought at 18¢ and participated in the recent capital raising at 20¢. We also bought in at market open [on Thursday].”

TopBetta shares rose 8¢ or about 45 per cent to close at a record high of 27¢ after announcing the Ladbroke deal, the first bookmaker it has signed up, and that it had received regulatory approval from Racing NSW to carry that state’s thoroughbred racing on The Global Tote.

The Global Tote

The company has in recent months been locked in talks with several corporate bookmakers to convince them to join The Global Tote, which it is pitching as a wholesale alternative to the totes run by Tabcorp and Tatts Group where all bets of a certain type are placed in a pool and odds are calculated via a “totalisator” by sharing the pool among all winning bets.

TopBetta’s product plans to offer a competitive tote which would be available to the online bookmakers, professional gamblers and retail gamblers directly. It plans to launch The Global Tote later in December.

“People have asked how they can take on the big players,” Mr Spenceley said. “Well, I took a $10 million business [at Vocus] and took on the billion-dollar players, so it can be done. Couple that with good management, and we think TopBetta has a good team, then I think … the Global Tote can be a multibillion dollar turnover business. So while it is a small stock now, I think it can have a much larger market cap soon.”

TopBetta chief executive Todd Buckingham said the Ladbrokes deal was a breakthrough for the company and that while he was hopeful of signing other bookmakers the companys’ tote it could still be launched with just Ladbrokes participating. “We are talking to wagering operators all over the world but after talking to professional punters we think we will have a liquid pool in which people can bet into with confidence.”

John Stensholt

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