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Anne Lindner
 

Nambling Notes - Jan. 11, 2001

11 January 2002

Tidbits from Asia -- The Malaysia Star reported this week that the country's cybercafes are becoming hotbeds of gambling activity. Police are planning to put a stop to the gambling dens after a 58-year-old man asked for protection from criminals trying to get him to pay gambling debts at a cybercafe. Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Yusuff said more gambling is taking place at the cybercafes because they are not regulated properly.

Hong Kong casino mogul Stanley Ho is promising that if he's awarded one of the three Macau gambling licenses currently up for grabs, he'll guarantee 10,000 jobs and invest in a theme park. Ho is the former holder of the enclave's only casino license; his Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau has had a monopoly on the business since 1937. Twenty-one companies are vying for casino licenses now that Macau's gambling market is being opened to competition. "If I manage to get one of the three licenses, I can guarantee none of my 10,000 employees will lose their jobs," Ho said. The Macao Special Administrative Region government said Wednesday that it will announce the winners of the casino licenses on Feb. 12, the eve of the traditional Spring Festival. Among the bids in consideration there are investment proposals of between $7.8 billion and $32.4 billion from companies based in Macau, Hong Kong, the United States, Britain and elsewhere. Among the proposals is a plan to build a bridge between Hong Kong and Macau, a 6,000-room hotel, a giant Ferris wheel, an artificial snow-skiing complexes and amusement and convention centers.

New Stuff -- Lottery site www.planetlotto.com is preparing for its inaugural draw on Jan. 18. The site, which is owned by Interspace Enterprises Inc., was approved by the International Lottery in Liechtenstein Foundation on Dec. 20. Daniel P. Murphy, president and CEO of Interspace, said the site will offer a minimum jackpot of $5 million for its first drawing. The Gaming Factory launched PlayersGalaxy on Wednesday. The site, an online casino with 12 games in downloadable or instant-play formats, sports a futuristic space theme and as part of its introduction will offer prizes including trips to Las Vegas, gambling cruises, a Mercedes Benz C-Class and $10,000 in cash.

The Toronto Sun reported this week that Woodbine Entertainment Group will make pari-mutuel wagering via the Internet available within 6 months or as soon as regulations issues are settled. David Willmot, the company’s president, said the Woodbine will use the Internet to continue its growth. “The enabling regulations are very close,” he said. “Basically the (Canadian Pari-Mutuel Association) has agreed that the concept of other electronic devices is exactly the same as betting over a telephone line, which we’ve already been doing for a number of years.” Woodbine is also seeking to end the pirating of its signal from offshore Internet betting sites. “We know our signal is being pirated, as are other tracks’. It’s up to the industry to get together and help police that,” he said.

Tidbits from Down Under -- Scientists are warning that aftershocks of the earthquake that shook Vanuatu on Jan. 2 might register as high as 6.5 on the Richter scale. The recent earthquake measured 7.1 and delayed the opening of the CrownGames.com online casino. Seismologist Cvetan Sinadinovski told ZDNet Australia that the aftershocks could happen within the next six months. Sara Clafton, a Publishing and Broadcasting spokeswoman, said the earthquake only caused a small setback for the casino site's launch. TAB Queensland Ltd. announced this week that it has received final regulatory approval for its purchase of South Australian TAB for AU $43.5 million. TAB Queensland’s chief executive and managing director, Dick McIlwain, said the buyout would result in positive earnings per share in the upcoming year. However, he said, the acquisition would not be complete until the 2002-03 financial year due to the shifting ratio of taxes paid to the Queensland racing industry and company earnings.

Tidbits from the US -- The Augusta Chronicle reported on Tuesday that an injunction has been placed against Sparticus Heyward of Texas, barring him from operating Web sites he owns that have similar domain names to the South Carolina Education Lottery site. Tara Robertson, a South Carolina lottery spokeswoman, said Heyward bought the URLs hoping to sell them to the lottery. The lottery declined and recently launched its own site, sceducationlottery.com. One of Heyward's sites, sclottery.com, promised but failed to display pornography on Jan. 7, the beginning date of the lottery. The Associated Press on Thursday reported that a mid-level manager with AT&T in has been charged with promoting gambling as part of an office football pool. Wayne Davis of New York could face up to five years in prison if he is convicted. Police said he took a 10 percent cut, amounting to nearly $3,000, of all money bet. Davis was turned in by a co-worker, authorities said.

As soon as California’s horse racing board gives the OK, Magna Entertainment said is ready to operate account wagering in the state. The company has filed an application with the board and will use a harness racing phone betting system, Call-A-Bet, which is operated in western Pennsylvania. Jack Liebau, president of Magna’s three racing tracks in California, told the San Francisco Chronicle he’s optimistic that Magna’s application will be approved at the board’s meeting in two weeks. The Call-A-Bet system at Magna’s Meadows operation in Pennsylvania has been in place since 1983.

A Middle Eastern Tidbit -- Finance officials from the United States and Israel met this week to discuss the removal of Israel from the Financial Action Task Force’s list of counties it has decided don’t do enough to fight money laundering. Meir Sheetrit, Israel’s minister of justice, and Yehuda Shefer, its newly appointed anti-money laundering director, outlined to U.S. officials the country’s new legislation aimed at fighting money laundering, which becomes effective on Feb. 16. Israeli Minister of Economic Affairs Boaz Raday said Israel might be removed from the blacklist at the FATF’s meeting in October.

Names and Faces Changing Places -- Staffing changes abound at Australia’s Publishing & Broadcasting. Kerry and James Packer are nearly dividing the PBL into two companies to address gaming and new media opportunities. Among the changes: John Alexander, chief executive of PBL’s Australian Consolidated Press division, has been appointed as head of PBL Media, giving him control of all the company’s TV and magazine properties. David Leckie, the company’s television chief executive, said this week he would not renew his contract. He will be replaced by Ian Johnson, the former head of Crown Casino. Crown’s Rowan Craigie, the casino’s chief operating officer, will replace Johnson. PBL executive chairman James Packer said the changes will reinforce the company’s position as Australia’s media and entertainment leader. “This new management structure will also allow us to benefit from emerging opportunities or structural changes in any of our operating environments,” he said. The company is said to be investigating gaming opportunities in Taiwan, the United Kingdom and California. ABN Amro media analyst Sean Monaghan said PBL appears to be moving onto a “war footing.” “They’re totally focused on business development,” he said. “They’ve separated the strategy from the operations.”

A British Tidbit -- Anyone looking to gauge the unpopularity of U.K. Transport Secretary Stephen Byers need look no further than betting firm William Hill. The bookmaker said this week it hasn’t received a single bet that the secretary will remain in his post until Jan. 1, 2003. Graham Sharpe, William Hill spokesman, said one day after opening the book, all betting interest was in Byers resigning or being fired in the upcoming year. The transportation official has come under attack recently for taking a vacation while thousands of commuters were delayed by rail strikes.

Makin’ Deals -- Millennium Software and Systems Inc. said this week that it will be supplying an Internet gaming system to Atlantic West Gaming Entertainment Ltd. of Antigua. Atlantic West, which provides turnkey operating systems to online casino and sports book gateways, will be receiving casino games, a sports wagering system and government-sponsored lottery agency as per a one-year master license agreement. The MIS Group and Cyberview Technology Ltd. are forming a joint venture, to be named MIS Innovation Technology, to distribute Cyberview’s downloadable gaming technology to the casino and cruise line industries. The software uses a central server to download new games to gaming machines and is in use throughout the United Kingdom in betting shops owned by Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral.

Nambling Notes - Jan. 11, 2001 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner