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Emily D. Swoboda
 

Nambling Notes - Apr. 7, 2000

7 April 2000

New Stuff -- Global Technologies, Ltd. announced Thursday that its wholly-owned U.K. subsidiary, GTL Management Limited, and Inter Lotto (UK) Ltd. have successfully launched the "Daily Number" lottery game in the U.K. GTL Management is the exclusive management company for the lottery on behalf of Inter Lotto, which holds the license to operate daily lotteries on behalf of various charities in the U.K. The Daily Number charity lottery (www.dailynumber.co.uk), which is only available to citizens of Great Britain, is currently operating and selling tickets through a network of 3,000 terminals located throughout the nothern England. Five hundred more terminals will be added to the network by the middle of this month. This is the first time a "pick three" style lottery game has been available to British citizens. In other countries, daily games generate a substantial percentage of total lottery revenues. In the United States, Pick Three is a $6 billion game annually and garners over 16 percent of overall conventional lottery ticket sales. The lottery was activated March 27 and officially launched April 4, in conjunction with the kick-off of a media campaign.

Youbet.com, Inc., a provider of interactive race wagering, has announced the premiere of Inside TrackTM, the company's new live, real-time streaming online track-side reporting system. The new feature includes streaming real time information by top handicappers with pre and post race commentary, post parade information, late breaking news, track bias and complete race day wrap-up with highlights and insights found only at Youbet.com. The company also announced the release of a new software upgrade, version 3.0. Version 3.0 features include improved audio visual content such as an independent AV screen that allows members to customize the size of the AV screen as well as float the screen to a desired location. Additional enhancements include an exotic grid that displays all combination pay-outs of exotic bets that Youbet members can select. The combination pay-outs can be viewed with win probables at the same time.

Tropika International Limited this week announced the Web launch of its South African Internet marketing and operations subsidiary, APS Marketing Pty. APS is unveiling its own Web operation (www.apsinteractive.com) because of client response to its range of products and services, and it expects to be able to contribute significantly to both Tropika's service array and bottom line. A wholly owned subsidiary of Tropika, APS Marketing has for the past two years built and supported Tropika's Internet operations, particularly its stable of 11 Internet casinos and one bingo site, from its base in Cape Town.

Microgaming Systems, one of the world's largest suppliers of Internet gaming systems, this week added a new online progressive slot-machine to its array of Internet gaming systems. The new virtual slot-machine, Lots-A-LootTM, operates like a traditional casino slot machine, featuring a spinning three reel, five line pay-out screen. The new game utilizes the same proprietary technology and support network as Microgaming's CashSplashTM, the first and largest Internet progressive jackpot connected to more than 40 casinos worldwide. Meanwhile, the company has announced that the first quarter of this year produced some outstanding results for CashSplashTM. The total amount paid out for jackpot wins since inception in October 1998 reached $3.4 million in March. More than $1.5 million in total jackpots has been paid out among a total of 45 winners since January, 2000.

Makin' Deals -- Virtual Gaming Enterprises, Inc. has announced the purchase of an additional six Internet gaming sites, The Mayan, Out of This World, Mardi Gras, Zodiastic, Great Gatsby and Hollywood Casinos. The company now owns and operates 12 online casinos under a master gaming license granted by the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Gaming software provider Online Gaming Systems Ltd. announced this week the signing of two new licensees by the company's Australian subsidiary. The first of the two, Gamble.com.au Limited, is a Melbourne based company, which has included in its shareholders, Clubs Victoria, the group representing licensed clubs in that state. Gamble.com.au plans to go live with an internet casino sometime in July 2000. The second company, Castech Pty Ltd., signed deals to operate OGS's webSportsTM sportsbook software as well as the ICETM Internet Casino ExtensionTM suite. Financial details for the two deals were not disclosed. Both company's will operate sites under a gaming license issued OGS by the government of Vanuatu.

World Gaming Services Inc., a subsidiary of Starnet Communications International Inc., has entered into an Internet broadcasting agreement with Seattle-based Activate Corp., a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Activate will provide Internet broadcasting services for World Gaming Services' websites that are located at www.worldgaming.net and www.worldbroadcasts.com.

Tidbits from the U.K. -- As expected, British casino company Stanley Leisure has become the first entity to be awarded a license in Malta to operate an international online sports betting site. The company has set up an office in Birkirkara which will be run by senior management from the U.K. operations. The company's online betting site, currently being developed by software companies Eunite and Orbis, is expected to be up and running for the start of the 2000/2001 European football season.

Reuters reports that Hilton Group Plc is talking with British Sky Broadcasting about offering online betting on Sky Sports TV channels and websites. Last month, Ladbrokes, Hilton's gambling division, announced plans to offer "offline" betting via digital TV. The new plans, however, will enable bettors to view sporting events while opening a second window for wagering. Reuters was unable to confirm the plans with either company. The news also led to a brief surge in trading on Hilton shares. Friday's trading was up 13 pence or 4.7 percent, Reuters reported.

Executives on the Move -- The homogenization of the land-based and Internet gaming industry is slowly progressing. Less than six months after announcing his resignation as CEO of MGM Grand Inc., J. Terrence Lanni, has decided to rejoin the company as a full-time executive. Lanni will continue as chairman of the board of directors as well as chairman of the executive committee. In February, Lanni was elected to Youbet.com Inc.'s board of directors. Lanni was quoted in October as saying that the "future of 21st century commerce is on the Internet.

Starnet Communications International Inc. this week announced the resignation of Jack Carley as director and president of EFS Caribbean Inc., one of Starnet's e-cash processing subsidiaries. Carley stepped down from the company's board in December 1999 to limit his responsibilities, and recently elected to remove himself completely from managing Starnet's operations to pursue other interests.

Investors' Corner -- Canbet Limited, a Canberra-based sports Internet betting company, made its debut today on the Australian Stock Exchange. Chairman Richard Farmer says the company is doing an annual turnover of $100 million and he expects that to double in the near future.

Youbet.com has reported a net loss of $24.5 million in 1999. The loss resulted from $3,773,577 in revenues against $24,468,268 in operating expenses. The numbers were up from a net loss of $13,861,547 in 1998, when the company had revenues of only $263,793 against expenses of $11,096,330. Expenses in 1999 included $14.4 million for sales and marketing, $2.1 million in network operating expenses, and $2.4 million in research and development. The company has grown from 19 employees at the end of 1997 to 90 at the end of last year, and says it plans to add additional personnel and expand internationally, while upgrading and enhancing its service and technologies. Its services, from all indications, have been popular with users in the industry.

The Internet Casino Network will reportedly launch an IPO in Tel Aviv for Bet and Chat.com, a gaming software developer and online casino operator, in May 2000. Bet and Chat.com is headquartered in Israel and licensed in the Commonwealth of Dominica. The company also has offices in Cyprus, Canada and Dominica.

Tidbits from the U.S. -- A report released last week by the University of Michigan comes as handy ammunition for those who support the banning of wagering on NCAA sports. A survey taken by the university found that among NCAA officials, 84 percent admitted to gambling of some type. Twelve respondents even knew of other officials who had actually fixed games for gambling reasons. Questions were sent to 1,462 NCAA Division I officials; 640 (44 percent) answered--an amount well above the 25 percent return rate necessary for accuracy.

IGN reported in February that a billboard located outside Detroit has raised the ire of Wayne County Sheriff Robert Ficano, who spoke with the local prosecutor's office about having it removed. (The same county sheriff's office operates a sting website set up to nail Michigan residents who are betting illegally.) No dice, however, said the prosecutor who has decided against pursuing the matter, Sgt. Greg Gordish, a member of the department's Internet Crime Bureau, told IGN this week.

Quote Worthy -- "The (Justice) department does not understand why the pari-mutuel wagering industry should be allowed to accept bets from people in their homes, when other forms of gambling have rightly been prohibited from doing so. The same concerns that we have expressed about children and compulsive gamblers having unfettered access to gambling via the Internet is true whether the betting is on horse races or on casino games."

-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kevin DiGregory (as quoted in an MSNBC article) on the U.S. Justice Department's disapproval of the Goodlatte bill.

Nambling Notes - Apr. 7, 2000 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda