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Anne Lindner
 

Nambling Notes - March 8, 2002

8 March 2002

Tidbits from the US -- A subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives is planning to mark up an anti-Internet gambling bill on Tuesday, March 12. The Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will be hearing debate and making changes to H.R. 3215, a bill proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. The bill aims to update the Wire Act to prohibit online gambling. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee has not yet announced his position on the bill. For the second time, plans to market the name of the city of Las Vegas to an online casino have been officially abandoned. On Wednesday the City Council voted to postpone the idea indefinitely on the advice of City Manager Virginia Valentine, who had questions about the legality of the proposition. Mayor Oscar Goodman, who championed the idea as a source of revenue for the city, said he still wants the Council to reconsider it in the future. "I have no problem with that whatsoever," Goodman told the Las Vegas Sun, "but I am proceeding on behalf of the city to get ourselves in a position that, once these questions are answered, we'll be able to latch on to the first ones who are put in cyberspace." Las Vegas first considered and rejected the idea in 2000. A bill that would have allowed the Virginia Racing Commission to regulate telephone and Internet betting failed in the state legislature on Wednesday. The bill, introduced by Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle, was defeated in the House of Delegates by a vote of 47-46. Naysayers claimed the bill would have put too long a leash on gambling activities in the state.

Tidbits from the UK -- Rank Group plc relaunched its interactive gambling Web site on Monday. The site, which initially debuted in November of 2001, has free- and real-play games and claims to offer the United Kingdom's largest online jackpot. Damian Cope, the managing director of Rank Interactive Gaming, said the company's late entrance in the market will allow it to learn from others' mistakes. This time around, the company said, it plans to promote the site with a multimillion-pound campaign. A report by a Yorkshire MP is calling for an end to betting on the National Lottery. According to the report, punters can win more by betting on the lottery's winning numbers than they can by actually entering the lottery. Selby Labour MP John Grogan disagreed with the argument, saying it might lower the lottery's sales. Online betting site Sportal was relaunched with new content and a new design this week. The site was initially launched in 1998 and was recently bought by ukbetting plc. The new Sportal will place an emphasis on soccer coverage and live news. While at the FT New Media and Broadcasting conference in London, the head of Playboy said her company is close to announcing a wireless deal that could involve gaming via mobile phones. Christie Hefner, chairman and CEO of Playboy, said she is very interested in the wireless medium and had hoped to unveil a new deal during the conference. Hefner said wireless applications are a growth area for the company.

New Stuff -- A new sports betting exchange launched this week: TradeSports Exchange Ltd. , a Dublin-based company that offers a form of sports betting similar to trading on financial markets. The site, www.tradesports.com, will offer contracts on all major U.S. sports events with prices determined by supply and demand. Since debuting on March 1, the site has traded more than 15,000 contracts. Users a charged a fee per contract lot. Rimpac Resources Ltd. is putting together a Web site to promote the launch of its upcoming lottery portal, InternetLOTO.com. The portal will offer players the ability to purchase lottery tickets online for various state lotteries and will show Webcasts of weekly drawings. Jackpot Madness has three new progressive games, two of which are firsts for the Internet. The games, designed by Microgaming, are progressive blackjack and cyberstud poker, which the company claims are the first of their kind on the Web, and a new progressive video poker game. Access Gaming Systems has a new linked jackpots module to add to its interactive gaming system. The module enables games to be linked within one site, with external Internet sites or with land-based casinos.

Makin' Deals -- Sportech's Littlewoods Leisure and ITV entered a strategic partnership to develop interactive betting concepts for ITV's channels on both analogue and digital platforms. The two companies have a revenue-sharing agreement by which ITV will receive guaranteed minimum payments during a five-year term, with an option to add an additional two years.

Tidbits from Asia -- The Hong Kong Jockey Club warned this week that raising betting taxes is not a good way to reduce budget deficits because it would chase punters to offshore bookmakers. Hong Kong bookmakers would end up with less revenue overall if the tax is raised, said Lawrence Wong, chief executive of the HKJC. "Our betting duty is already among the highest in the world and there is no room for further increases," he said. "I think the Legislative Council should pass changes to the Gambling Ordinance as soon as possible, in order to tackle local illegal bookmaking and illegal offshore betting."

Legal Stuff -- A court in Singapore has decided that gambling losses are not legal debts and are therefore not enforceable. In a case involving an Australian casino and a Singapore businessman who owed the casino AU $194,840, Chief Justice Yong Pung How ruled that gambling debts are "debts of honor" instead of legal debts, which are recoverable in courts. Eighty-one bookies in India were arrested this week for taking bets on whether religious riots would occur in Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. Police said the bookies were inciting panic in the city by spreading rumors about the riots to improve their business. Jaipur borders Gujarat, where hundreds of people have been killed in religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims.

A New Face -- Interspace Enterprises has hired Jeff Buch of Southwest Strategic Partners to help it drive traffic to www.planetlotto.com. Southwest Strategic Partners is a consulting firm in Texas.

What Others are Saying -- In a column on Sunday, the Boston Globe's Ron Borges voiced his opinion about the temporary tattoos Golden Palace has been painting boxers' backs with recently. Addressing the Nevada Athletic Commission's contention that the henna ads are distracting, Borges wrote: "So who is distracted by seeing an ad on a fighter's back? Probably Las Vegas casinos, since the ads were for an online casino gambling house called Golden Palace.com rather that their own operations on The Strip." On Tuesday a district court judge repealed the Nevada Athletic Commission's ban on the ads.

Nambling Notes - March 8, 2002 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner