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Emily D. Swoboda
 

Nambling Notes - Dec 1, 2000

1 December 2000

New Stuff -- While Australia's richest man, Kerry Packer, can casually lose $30 million during a gambling junket, he's obviously realized that most punters aren't quite so easy about it. His new online casino will feature a variety of "Packerisms," The Australian reports, such as software that lets players determine their own limits, including maximum playing time and even a limit on maximum losses. Packer's casino, expected to launch early next year under a Tasmanian gaming license, will incorporate many of that state's provisions for enhanced player protection controls on virtual gaming and wagering sites.

ONnet subscribers can now watch TV sporting action and bet online through their existing television and with both on the same screen, thanks to a new deal with Blue Square, a U.K. interactive betting service. The two companies have designed a site that enables people to watch horse racing and sporting events via ONnet's picture-in-picture facility and place wagers while simultaneously following the latest betting.

Global Entertainment Holdings/Equities Inc. announced Wednesday that its wholly owned subsidiary, Interactive Gaming and Wagering N.V. (IGW), has released the highly anticipated version 2.0 of the Internet & Telephony Sportsbook & Casino System (ITSCS) to its software licensees. The new sportsbook software, according to Global, "gives client websites a wide breadth of control that no other sites have" by helping them create a unique and attractive entertaining experience for their clientele. Further, website information is structured in a logical and simple way, enabling end users to intuitively find what they are looking for. The company says its new casino software is more secure, faster and easier to use, fulfilling the demands of both licensees and end-users. The casino now boasts nine games with others on the way later this year. One of the new games, "Stud Poker," incorporates a progressive jackpot.

Upscale U.K. casino operator Stanley Leisure has officially opened the doors to its Malta online sports betting operation, Stanley Leisure Electronic Sports Betting Business. The company is one of 12 entities awarded a Malta sports betting license, reports MaltaMedia, and operates its Internet bookmaking site at www.stanleybet.com.

Gaming software supplier Boss Media is closing out the year the way it started--by launching new casinos. The most recent one to hit the Web is PlayGate Casino (www.playgatecasino.com) and features 3-D graphics and sound effects that have players comfortably ensconced in an airport locale.

Junglegames.com, Inc. opened the door today to what it calls "a whole new world in the gaming and entertainment industries." Players of skill-based games will have the opportunity to consistently win money according to their own control and skill. With the launch of its website at www.junglegames.com, the company will offer the first application of its patent-pending technology which enables any skill-based game to be played for money. The first Internet application, "ClickWar," gives players 30 seconds to click their mouse button as many times as they can. Now that's skill!

Makin' Deals -- American lottery players can now yearn to win a $1 billion cash prize thanks to a deal between Australia's Gocorp Limited and Max Lotto Inc., an online lottery site operator that's currently offering prizes of $10 million and $100 million. According to Egoli, Gocorp will help Max Lotto obtain an Australian license in return for 10 percent of the company and a portion of future earnings. Max Lotto is a largely American-owned company operating in the Dominican Republic. Negotiations are underway for Lloyds of London to underwrite what may be the world's largest prize offering. Following the deal's announcement on the 28th, Gocorp's shares gained 25 percent in value, selling for 12.5 cents.

Earlier this week the Racecourse Association (RCA), which represents 59 racecourses in the U.K., suggested entering into exclusive negotiations with Go Racing during the next two weeks. The negotiations would, if finalized, award all media rights for the member tracks to Go Racing's partners, Channel 4, BSky B and Arena Leisure. The deal that could eventually generate £750 million in revenue, including interactive betting, during the contract's 10-year span. Rival bidder Carlton may have missed winning the deal because the RCA felt there would be more coverage provided by Channel 4, Media Guardian said. "It has been very difficult to pick between two excellent bidders. Ultimately, the more certain coverage both of quality and quantity by Go Racing was the deciding Factor," explained RCA chairman Angus Crichton-Miller. "There remain some important issues to be settled during the exclusivity period, but I will be disappointed if we cannot resolve them. It will ultimately be up to the racecourses to conclude the deal by December 15."

Penn National Gaming has signed a definitive agreement, subject to regulatory approval, to act as a wagering hub for all hosting services for RacingoR, an Internet bingo game based on the results of horse races, in the United States. Penn National will host the bet at their facility, Penn National Race Course, Grantville, Pa., and will provide the accounting services and payments to tracks and winners and money room transfers. Developed by PlayandWin Inc., Racingo is a pari-mutuel, bingo-type proprietary game with the outcome based on a series of horse races, which is protected worldwide, by trademarks and patents. As in bingo, Racingo players bet to form a winning pattern on a grid and the winning numbers are determined by the outcome of horse or races.

Smart card specialist Oberthur Card Systems has signed a $23 million contract to provide microprocessor chip cards for GSM cell phones in China. In the past year, the company has been awarded a series of new contracts in the Asian market that includes Cable & Wireless HKT Mobile Services for mobile betting, WAYIA and Companhia de Telecomunicacoes de Macau S.A.R.L. for mobile stock trading and One Tel in Australia for mobile Internet access.

NDS Group plc, a News Corporation company that provides conditional access systems and interactive applications for digital pay TV, this week announced that it has acquired Orbis Technology Ltd. for £15 million in cash and between 320,000 and 1.11 million NDS shares. The aggregate number of shares to be issued is dependent on the performance of Orbis over the current and the next fiscal year and certain other factors. Orbis, a privately owned U.K. company, is a leading developer of sports betting software for digital TV, Internet and WAP phones.

An unnamed "major" Latin American licensed gaming operator has reportedly been named Virtgame.com 's first licensee with the purchase of Virtgame.com's gaming software package and eBorder Control technology.

Australian Internet security company eSec Ltd recently signed a letter of intent to incorporate eSuccess Inc.'s Citadel fraud protection product with its Internet credit card payment gateway services.

Tidbits from Both Sides of the Channel -- A source recently told IGN that the Irish government is set to lower its betting duty, a move that most Irish bookmakers are applauding, as it would let them remain much more competitive with their U.K. brethren. The government has also been considering substantial changes to its Gaming & Lotteries Bill to bring its legislation more in keeping with the times and technology. That move may be a little longer than expected, reports MD Associates, which was told that the Department of Justice has "a considerable amount of new legislation in the pipeline." Thanks to the backlog, the legislation is likely to undergo its first work early next year unless the general election process tacks on some more delays.

British bookmaker William Hill says it's not a good year for wagers on the Miss World contest. The annual pageant, says the betting shop, brought in an all-time low of £2,570, far less than the £250,000 typically taken in during the mid-1970s.

Tidbits from the US -- January's American Gaming Summit has attracted a record number of sponsors, say officials for the annual event. The event, scheduled to run January 11-12 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, is the land-based gaming industry's most important annual conference, highlighting the issues and personalities that will make the largest impact on the gaming industries in the upcoming year.

Lately, Florida residents have become famous for their voting abilities, or lack thereof, which has left most online bookies unsure of when or how to pay punters who bet on the American presidential race. It wasn't too long ago, however, that most Net betting operators associated Florida with its efforts to crush the industry. Even though Bob Butterworth, Florida's attorney general, gained attention for his crusade against offshore gambling sites, one of his subordinates was heavily engaged in betting online. Knowing that it was only a matter of time until the local media dug up the truth about his illicit gambling vice, Hillsborough State attorney Harry Lee Coe committed suicide, leaving behind more than $150,000 in gambling debts. Since his death, it's been revealed that Coe's massive gambling debts--incurred at local greyhound tracks and Internet greyhound betting sites--led him to borrow extensively from staff members, reportedly "borrow" funds from his campaign war chest, and accrue more than $5000 in bad check fees at local tracks.

Michigan college students, meanwhile, are happily betting online despite efforts by the High Tech Crime Unit at the Michigan Attorney General's Office. A recent U-Wire story quotes Terry Berg, the head of the HTCU, explaining that "it's unlawful" to bet on these sites while in Michigan. Despite their efforts to prevent online betting, the division has pursued very such few cases.

Housecleaning -- Youbet.com this week slashed its staff by 29 percent, a move that CEO Robert Fell called an effort "to be conservative in our operating expenditures while maximizing our resources for greater efficiency." He added, "In recognition of the status of the current financial markets, we need to conserve cash and optimize our resources to proceed effectively in our core operating business. We expect to generate significantly greater efficiencies by combining our horseracing and sports-related product content and technologies into one comprehensive Web site. We plan to offer Youbet subscribers not only horseracing information, but also a host of other sports data." President/COO A.L. Frank has also tendered his resignation, while executive vice president Ron Luniewski will assume Frank's duties and COO position.

Nambling Notes - Dec 1, 2000 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda