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Emily D. Swoboda
 

Weekly Nambling Notes - July 1-5, 2002

5 July 2002

Makin' Deals -- U.K. multimedia bookmaker attheraces recently signed a contract with The Press Association, a news agency, for horseracing editorial content and photos. The three-year deal will supply attheraces with content for all of its betting platforms, including its Internet site, interactive TV channel and mobile phone application. British casino and betting shop operator Stanley Leisure announced Thursday plans to acquire five English regional casinos from offshore gaming entrepreneur James Lane's Tower Casino Group. Stanley Leisure now controls 40 gaming sites, 37 provincial sites and three in London. The five sites--two casinos in Birmingham, one in Blackpool, one in Derby and one in Reading--are the last of Lane's U.K. gambling interests. The Guardian reports the properties will cost Stanley Leisure £44 million. Diva Gold International Ltd. , a subsidiary of Dijaya Corp. , is entering an agreement with Atlantic Gaming NV of Curacao. Diva will now manage the Asian-region business operations of Atlantic Gaming's online gaming site, Atlantic Casino.

Names and Faces Changing Places -- U.K.-based gaming software developer World Gaming plc today formally announced the appointment of Jim Mackay to the position of CEO. Mackay, who joined World Gaming in May 2002, has more than 25 years experience managing and financing business ventures in Europe and North America, with a focus on sports and entertainment. "My first order of business has been to create a sense of urgency in the company, as there are real and immediate opportunities for World Gaming and the industry as a whole," Mackay said. "We are working with solid banking and business relationships to affect a significant turnaround aimed at solidifying a leadership position within the industry." He added that shareholders can expect a "complete overhaul at the board of directors level in very short order." Mackay replaces Michael Aymong, who resigned one day before World Gaming's annual shareholders meeting on June 20. Lawrence Elliot Hirsh, the president, CEO and counsel of Interactive Gaming & Communications Corp. , is resigning for health reasons. Gregory R. Noonan will replace him as president and CEO.

New Stuff -- Two Boss Media licensees launched online casinos this week--Victor Chandler Casino and SuperVegas Casino. The Victor Chandler Group debuted its first online casino, The Spin Room, in 2000 and opened its second, victorcasino.com, in 2001. The casino it launched today is called victorchandlercasino.com. The company plans to launch 12 new gaming products by the end of this year. SuperVegas Casino is operated by Sportingbet.com, the online and telephone sports betting giant. SuperVegas Casino will be integrated with Sportingbet's system so that players can use the same username and password for both sports wagering and casino gambling. Camelot, operator of the U.K. National Lottery, is preparing its new interactive digital TV channel. The iTV site is part of the company's marketing effort to re-brand the lottery as "Lotto." The site will feature the latest drawings and will allow players to search for their numbers, learn about the lottery's games or how to be a contestant on the lottery show "In it To Win It." Camelot said it hopes to launch the site as soon as possible. Interactive Gaming & Wagering is in the process of introducing its new horse betting software. IGW, a subsidiary of Global Entertainment Holdings/Equities Inc. , says its new system allows gaming operators to take bets from players on a non-pari-mutuel system. Bryan Abboud, president of IGW, said the software is a response to market needs. 'The online gaming market is witnessing a tremendous demand for horse wagering and our current licensees requested the opportunity to grow their business in this area." Dark Blue Sea Ltd. of Australia on Tuesday unveiled a new virtual horse racing product. The new game, UnrealRacing, enables players to own and race their very own virtual horses. It allows users to choose their horses' name, gender and markings as well as devise custom feeding and training regimes. The company said the product is distinguished by the "sheer amount of interactivity which is delivered to the user seamlessly and effortlessly." The company, which refers to UnrealRacing as a game of skill, also reported a "staggering" amount of signups during the first week. aJile Systems says it has created the world's first pure Java wireless mobile device, the aJ-100WRP. The company, which developed the first Java microprocessor, says the product is a wireless mobile device that functions as a telephone, PDA and gaming device. aJile President and CEO George Hwang said that while Java applications are becoming more important in wireless products, often the "software translation" is too slow. "The aJile reference design demonstrates that full action Java applications are achievable with hardware execution," he said. "Mobile system developers no longer need to accept inferior performance." Jackpot Madness gave away a record amount of money--almost $1.4 million--to 17 players last week. On Friday, a record-high Treasure Nile jackpot of $520,625 was won at Sultans Casino.

Legal Stuff -- Jay Cohen, whose conviction on charges relating to Internet gambling was held up by the Supreme Court two weeks ago when the court refused to allow him to appeal his case, has not received a surrender date to report to prison yet, one of his lawyers said today. Melinda Sarafa, of the firm Brafman and Ross, said she and Cohen's other lawyers are exploring possible post-conviction remedies--issues that could have been raised on Cohen's behalf that haven't been so far.

Tidbits from Asia -- Thailand authorities say that a gambler who killed himself because of gambling debts from the World Cup owed nearly HK$2 million (US$256,410) to bookmakers. The man, Nelson Hu, died from smoke inhalation. Employees of the Macau Jockey Club have been told to expect pay cuts of between 5 percent and 10 percent. The organization, which is bracing for its worst turnover in a decade, has been hit hard by Hong Kong's new ban on offshore betting. And now that the World Cup is over, average turnover is down as much as 50 percent.

UK Tidbit -- U.K. bookmaker attheraces announced that its June audience numbers show a peak audience of 270,111 viewers on June 29. In May, the company's peak audience reached 237, 351. From May to June, the channel's daily viewing numbers also grew to 181,064 in June from 149,159 in May, a rise of 22 percent.

Tidbits from the US -- Scott Scherer, a member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, told IGN Tuesday that he has asked the state attorney general's office to look into the legality of radio advertisements in Nevada for online casinos. "I have asked them to do some research into what our options are, but I haven't asked them to commence some kind of legal action against anyone yet," he said. Scherer said he does not foresee free speech issues associated with the advertisements. "Not when they are targeting Nevada residents for something that's clearly illegal," he added.

Tidbit from Down Under -- Tattslotto, the lottery of Tattersall's, had its 30th anniversary last week. The lottery, which was the first lottery in Australia, has given away more than AU$30 billion in prizes during the past three decades. When it began in 1972, the top prize was AU$50,000.

Tidbit from Mexico -- A bill is under consideration in Mexico that would allow for the building and operations of casinos. In addition, the bill would provide government regulation for a variety of gambling that already goes on in the country, including lotteries, bingo and sports betting. The bill specifies that businesses that are issued gambling permits must provide quarterly and annual financial statements to a commission that monitor the records for any possible money laundering.

World Cupdate -- Graham Sharpe, spokesman for William Hill, is calling the World Cup the biggest betting event of all time. According to the company, the gaming industry as a whole netted about £250 million from the tournament, which earned them £90 million four years ago. Ladbrokes spokesman Matt Finnigan said the games "reached expectations." "The icing on the cake for us is that the tournament was very kind with results," he said. "A lot of shocks was very good for us." Austrian betting site betandwin.com said Monday that during the World Cup about 4,000 of its customers used a new feature that allows for live betting in real time. The company said the service updates odds in real time, eliminating the need for bettors to refresh the Web page. The service is also in use for other sports, such as tennis and American football.

Congratulations -- The co-founders of P2P site Betfair were recently co-recipients of the Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award for the London region. Andrew Black and Edward Wray were given the award for their success in growing their business, which is projected to turn over £1.6 billion in fiscal 2002. Since its first day of operation in June 2000, the company has had monthly compound growth of 25 percent. "We are delighted by this award which recognizes the value that customers place on Betfair," Wray said. "We offer a new and exciting way to bet and are revolutionizing betting in this country." Betting technology provider Orbis announced it has received the "Sports and Gambling" trophy for the second consecutive year. The award, handed out in recognition of Orbis' innovation and contribution to the sports betting industry, was presented by New Media Age. The publication's "Effectiveness Awards" are designed to recognize England's very best in interactive applications.

Weekly Nambling Notes - July 1-5, 2002 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda