VeCommerce Ensures All Punters Have a Bet During 2002 FIFA World Cup

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - VeCommerce Limited (ASX:VCM), a provider in the provision of natural language speech recognition (NLSR) and voice enabled e-commerce solutions, announced that its VeBet based voice-enabled wagering application has gone live at Ladbrokes in the UK.

Ladbrokes, the betting and gaming arm of Hilton Group plc and bookmaker, launched the new service called 'EasyBet' to coincide with the start of the 2002 FIFA World Cup which runs from 31 May through to 30 June 2002.

Using the latest in speech recognition from Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN) and communications technology from Aculab, EasyBet allows users to talk directly to Ladbrokes' computer systems, placing their wagers without the need to use the telephone keypad or wait in a queue for an available operator to answer their call.

EasyBet callers can say team or individual player names directly - eg "Give me a price for Ireland to beat Germany?" or "A fiver on Beckham to score first". EasyBet would then respond with "Republic of Ireland to win against Germany is 7 to 2" or "England versus Argentina, David Beckham first to score is 10 to 1".

"It has been extremely gratifying to leverage our market leading position in the Australian wagering market and enter the European wagering market with such a dynamic and innovative organisation as Ladbrokes," said Paul Magee, VeCommerce Managing Director.

The service enables Ladbrokes to ensure that large increases in call volumes can be handled in the run up to major events such as the World Cup final or The Derby.

"This unique technology provides customers with an additional option to ensure they can get their bet on during times of extremely high demand," said John O'Reilly, managing director of Ladbrokes eGaming. "As the range of languages we offer increases and the volume of calls continues to grow this service will offer significant value to our business."

Application development took place in Sydney with localisation and implementation being undertaken by VeCommerce's European operations over the last six months. Following the World Cup, the EasyBet system will be extended to cover a wide variety of sports including horse and greyhound racing, league and cup football and other sports such as motor racing and tennis.

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