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Anne Lindner
 

Nambling Notes - April 5, 2002

5 April 2002

Tidbits from Asia -- The first Web site to be operated out of North Korea is an Internet lottery site, CNN reports. The site, DPRKoreaLotto.com, was developed by South Korean businessman Kim Beom-Hoon. He calls it a "people's lottery" because winners take 100 percent of the pot. "Most of those who buy the lotto are poor people, but winners only get 30 percent of the jackpot," he said. "So I explained that, since there is no tax in North Korea, we could develop lotto on-line and serve the people of the world." The site's investors told CNN they expect to make money from bank interest. Hong Kong businessman Henry Fok is said to be selling his 27 percent stake in Macao's Sociedade deTurismo E Diversoes de Macau (STDM) . Reuters reports that Fok wants to donate the proceeds from the sale to develop a foundation to help develop Macau. STDM had a monopoly on the casino industry in Macau until March. Macao's 11 casinos paid a record-high tax of six billion patacas, or $750 million, in 2001. Casinos are a main source of government income for the Chinese SAR.

Tidbit from Canada -- CryptoLogic is laying off 12 of its Canadian staff members. A spokesman for the company said the I-gaming software supplier needs to cut expenses to ensure that it remains on solid ground "in the face of short-term pressures affecting the whole industry now." The company employs 116 people at its Canadian office.

Legal Stuff -- Three Internet casino operators were ordered to stop using Mandalay Bay's trademarks by a U.S. District Court last week. South Korean company Seocho was ordered to transfer the domain name "mandalaybaycasino.com" to Mandalay Bay. The Las Vegas-based hotel and casino operator also owns the Luxor name. Luxor Online Casino, an operator in Costa Rica, was also told to return its domain name to Mandalay, as was DBS Administration Pty Ltd. That group, which is based in Australia, was told to return the domain name "wwwluxorcasino.com." MGM Mirage is suing to stop online casino MGM Club Casino from using its trademarks. The casino and hotel group is suing MGM Amusements BC Inc. , Mahini Inc. and their owner, Michael McLennan of California, accusing them of linking to domain names including "mgmclubcasino.com" and "northamericassportsbook.com."

New Stuff -- Access Gaming Systems said this week that it is adding two new instant lottery games to its collection. The new games, called "Formula-1" and "Booster," are now offered on Internet gaming site La Française des Jeux. Formula-1 is an instant-win lotto game with a racecar theme, and Booster is based on a pinball machine. MGM Mirage introduced its Players Club loyalty program on Tuesday. The program keeps track of what players spend at slot machines and table games so they can quickly and easily acquire complimentary services, including more cash to gamble with. Eight of the Mirage's properties will link their existing loyalty clubs to the program, which will be fully functional by April 2003. Ireland's Ryanair is said to be considering offering free flights with pay-per-view in-flight entertainment and casinos on board. The airline already offers flights from Prestwick to Norway for only £9.

Makin' Deals -- eConnect said this week that casino and sports betting site www.GrandmasterSports.com will participate in a pilot program on April 8 for eConnect's Playerscash smart-card payment mechanism. The smart-card program will allow players to bet using cash pads and add money to the smart cards by accessing their checking accounts through www.CashMover.net. Gaming Insight has reached an agreement with Marco Pierre White's Mirabelle restaurant and The Stork Rooms club to provide an online casino for their patrons. Gaming Insight will operate the site under White's brands. The U.K. bookmaker has also signed a deal to run AltaVista's gaming site.

Tidbits from the UK -- British PrimeMinister Tony Blair had some explaining to do this week when it was revealed that two of the Labour party's prime donors will benefit from the country's gambling industry deregulation. Blair's party received about £170,000 from companies that stand to gain from the introduction of Las Vegas-style casinos in the United Kingdom, which the prime minister has approved. A Labour spokesman called the suggestion that donations had influenced policy "nonsense." William Hill, Coral and the Tote will all be closed on Tuesday, April 9, for the funeral of Queen Mother Elizabeth, the queen mother. Jeremy Scott, Tote spokesman, said the Tote's credit operation will reopen in the evening for Champions League football. The U.K. Department of Education and Skills "Get On" campaign is offering a free help line to assist Britons in computing their winnings (or losings) on bets on the Grand National. John Healey, the Adult Skills Minister, said, "The Grand National attracts bets from people who would not usually place them at any other time of the year, and who aren't used to the language and mathematics used by the gambling industry." An animal rights group is asking people to bet on which of the horses to run in the Grand National will die during the race. The League Against Cruel Sports says 25 horses have died in the race since 1997, and is using the betting angle to attract attention to the danger of horse racing. The group says there are higher odds of a horse falling or not finishing the race than completing the course. "This year we are urging people to recognize this, put their money on those horses and donate the cash to us," said Douglas Batchelor, the organization's chief executive.

Tidbits from the US -- The New York Lobbying Commission is investigating whether a lobbyist for GTECH Holdings Corp. violated lobbying rules by taking elected leaders to expensive dinners. The New York Post reports that GTECH lobbyist Virgilio Perez allegedly treated government officials to meals that exceeded the $75 legal limit. The commission is said to be concerned that Perez and GTECH aren't reporting their expenses correctly.

Names and Faces Changing Places -- David Callander was appointed CFO of dot com Entertainment Group Inc Callander will replace Andre Kern, who will pursue other interests. Charles F. Champion will join Youbet.com as its president and COO. Champion was previously the president and publisher of Access Magazine. Australian online gaming company eBet appointed Neville Wran as its chairman. Wran is the former premier of New South Wales. Wran replaces Michael Hale, who will retain his position as non-executive independent director. eBet's CFO/COO Edward Foy was appointed as executive director. A stockbroker known as "The Spaniard" left his job after controversy erupted about a £5 million financial spread bet on City Index. Also known as Nigel Howe, the Spaniard was employed by Gilbert Elliott and was a party to the bet, which affected the IPO of Cyprotex, a biotechnology company.

Nambling Notes - April 5, 2002 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner