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Anne Lindner
 

Nambling Notes - Oct 5, 2001

5 October 2001

A Tidbit from the U.S. -- At the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, Thomas Gallagher, the CEO of Park Place Entertainment Corp. , told an audience of gaming industry executives to be cautious about accepting Internet gambling. "With the social consensus that has allowed the growth and development of our industry over the last 15 years we have to be very careful about the perception that our industry is putting a vacuum cleaner in their pockets," he said. Terry Lanni, the chairman and CEO of MGM Mirage, disagreed, saying he would like to drive the offshore, vaguely-regulated online casinos out of business. MGM Mirage was granted an Internet casino license from the Isle of Man in September.

Tidbits from the U.K. -- Off-course bookmakers in Ireland are objecting to claims by the British Horseracing Board that they pay the BHB 2.5 percent of their turnover on British racing. Claims from BHB chairman Peter Savill that Irish betting offices will be bracketed with British ones when a payment formula is devised in contract negotiations in May have the Irish bookmakers seeking legal advice, reported The Times of London on Sunday. Brian O'Farrell of the Irish Independent Betting Offices Association told the newspaper that the 2.5 percent tax is the British levy in disguise. British bookmakers aren't happy with the levy either and this week reported the country's racing industry to the Office of Fair Trading for alleged monopoly abuses. The industry had requested £180 per year from the bookmakers to beam live races and racing data into high street betting shops. The tax represents triple the current rate. Chris Bell, chief executive of Ladbrokes, told the Telegraph of London that the rate is prohibitively high. "Racing is acting as a dominant monopoly and have told us their demands are non-negotiable," he said. "We are facing the prospect of blacked out screens in betting shops from April."

The abolishment of the U.K. betting tax is creating 100 new jobs at bookmakers in Northern Ireland. Bookmaker Sean Graham already employs 250 people in the province and will be adding another 100 during the next year. The company's betting site, www.seangraham.com, is expected to launch soon.

Ladbrokes, Britain's largest betting company, is predicting a boom in betting when the U.K. betting tax comes to an end on Saturday, the day of a World Cup qualifying match between England and Greece. Ladbrokes is expecting an increase in betting to the tune of £800 million.

Makin' Deals -- Online Gaming Systems Ltd. , maker of online gaming transaction-based products, and UnoDosTres.com, a Miami-based Internet television network, have agreed to develop up to three online casinos. The deal calls for Online Gaming Systems to provide the network with a play-for-fun casino and two real-money casinos. UnoDosTres.com serves the Latin American market.

Names and Faces Trading Places -- Interactive Solutions Corp. last week appointed Ed Fishman to its board of directors. Fishman is the founder and former chairman of Players Club International, which was sold to Harrah's last year. Interactive Solutions provides gaming software to hotels and casinos. On Wednesday Virtgame.com Corp. appointed Robert McMonigle to its board of directors. McMonigle is executive vice president of customer relations for International Game Technology, a manufacturer of computerized casino gaming products. Edinburghnews.com reported Wednesday that Michael Grade will be the new chairman of Camelot, England's national lottery. Grade, a former boss at Channel 4 and current board member of Camelot, will succeed Sir George Russell in January. He said his priority is to increase lottery sales and returns to charity. Grade has also said he will fight plans to deregulate gambling.

Two directors of World Gaming plc resigned on Thursday. Brownell Combs II and Matthew Stasior were the company's U.S. directors; their resignation means that World Gaming will no longer have U.S. representatives on its board of directors. The chairman of the board, Fred Hazell, said the company is focusing on its presence in Europe, Asia and South America and will be looking for board candidates who are European citizens, as well as people with legal or corporate finance experience.

Tidbits from the Pacific Islands -- Vanuatu's Minister of Finance, Joe Carlo, is asking authorities of other Pacific Island nations to create a Pacific Forum Island Nations Association of Regulators of Offshore Financial Services. Carlo made the request at a recent meeting of the Registrars of Financial and Banking Services in Port Vila. Most Pacific Island nations, he said, are struggling with pressure from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that threatens Vanuatu's major source of income-its status as a tax haven.

Grenada's Houses of Parliament recently gave the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank the OK to create a securities exchange for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. Grenada Today reported that Grenada is the last member of the OECS to pass the securities bill necessary for the exchange, although it won't come into effect until at least five of the eight other member states ratify their bills. That is expected to happen before the end of the year.

New Stuff -- Players Network Inc. recently launched a multimedia Web site to provide Web casts of Internet gaming industry events. PlayersNetwork.com will offer highlights from industry events including GameTech on Oct. 16 and the World Gaming Congress and Expo from Oct. 17 to 19.

Digital greyhound racing service 24dogs.com is starting an online advertising campaign for its recorded race gambling option. The site is operated by Irish company 24dogs Racing Ltd. , a subsidiary of Wembley plc, and its new Treasure Traps service is to be advertised on sites including MSN, Yahoo! and Lycos. The service allows bettors to wager on archived greyhound races 24 hours a day. Users are given no details about the location of the race or the dogs' names, so they can't find out what the previous winners of each race were.

Quote Worthy - "There is no difference between gaming and what we consider as traditional entertainment. It's all about entertainment that engages the customer in a profound way. The most valuable commodity in the gaming and entertainment industry will always be the human imagination."

-- Alex Yemenidjian, chairman and chief executive of filmmakers Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. , in a keynote address at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, as quoted by the Las Vegas Sun.

Nambling Notes - Oct 5, 2001 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner