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Playboy.com wants lady luck on its side

The online arm of Playboy Enterprises launches an international sports betting site in hopes of creating a new source of revenue.

Playboy Enterprises, which has always fancied itself an expert at the games people play, is betting it can parlay that expertise into a new source of revenue.

The company's Playboy.com on Tuesday launched an international sports betting site, PlayboySportsBook.com, where visitors can wager on games from around the world including baseball, boxing, soccer, horse racing and even snooker.

In addition to betting on sports, people can bet on which woman they think will be named "Playmate of the Year," the company said. Playboy's "Miss May 1998" will act as the site's virtual hostess and appear in video segments to announce top sports events, the company said.

Known for its steamy content and videos, Playboy has hardly lit any fires with its online operations. The company has had to contend with the crush of adult entertainment sites that have poured onto the Web. Playboy.com had to postpone a planned initial public offering last November as a result of a down stock market.

Chicago-based Playboy, like most media and e-commerce companies, is looking for new ways to dip into the pockets of its mostly male audience. With analysts predicting that the growth of online gambling will be substantial, Playboy may be looking for ways to jump on the bandwagon.

The company operates the Playboy and Spice cable stations and offers e-commerce and broadband content on Playboy.com. The company has been writing about sports in Playboy magazine for decades, with the All-American college football team it names each year being one of the more well-known features.