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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Dec. 10, 1999

10 December 1999

On the E-Commerce Front -- In case you missed it, IGN reported Tuesday that First Union Visa, one of the defendants in the Cynthia Haines lawsuit, has introduced a policy banning the use of Visa for Internet. Haines' settlement required that the issuing banks adopt within a month of the settlement either a policy for warning customers about online gambling or an all-out ban. First Union chose the latter, as did Providian National Bank, which instituted its ban in October.

Meanwhile, Haines' attorney, Ira Rothken, has informed IGN that American Express will ban all Internet gambling transactions using American Express credit cards. The decision comes amid a more recent suit, against American Express and Discover, in which a California man has challenged the enforceability of online gambling debts. Rothken is the attorney for the plaintiff in that case as well.

Wheelin' & Dealin' -- Toronto-based gaming software provider CryptoLogic Inc. recently announce that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Intertainet Overseas Licensing Limited has finalized an agreement with William Hill Internet Ventures Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Hill Limited of London, England to provide its Internet gaming software and related support services.

dot com Entertainment Group, Inc., a publicly traded Internet technology company, announced Monday that it has entered into a preliminary license agreement with Azul Electrico S.A. of Costa Rica to develop and implement a complete Internet Bingo system for use by Azul as a companion product to its Internet casino and sportsbook operations. The agreement provides for the completion of a formal license agreement on or prior to December 15, 1999 and a start-up date of February 15, 2000. dot com will receive a royalty payment from Azul, which will extend over the life of the license agreement and will continue as long as the software is used by Azul. Inc., a high-profile online bingo community visionary, announced today a strategic alliance with, an e-commerce provider of gift certificates, to provide SuperCertificates to bingo game winners. The agreement, upon release of's Play-4-Free games for the North American market, will provide's online shopping destination, featuring a selection of products and services, to the registered users on As part of the agreement, will utilize the SuperCertificateTM, an emailable gift currency that can be redeemed for original gift certificates to 100's of merchants, restaurants, spas, and hotels found on's web site. further diversified itself last week by establishing itself as a broker to find an active homeport and initiate operations of the newly built 220-foot ocean going "Casino Cancun" casino gaming ship. says it plans to provide ongoing marketing and operational services to the ship, and is in negotiations for an equity ownership position.

New Stuff --, Inc., a sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-licensee of Starnet via Global Interactive, has joined the portal club through the launch of ( Along with links to the company's five online casinos, the new site features an extensive Las Vegas directory, gambling and casino news, how-to guides for popular casino games, a gambler's bookstore, a casino industry stock page and user polls.

Speaking of portals, eLottery, Inc., a subsidiary of Executone Information Systems, Inc. has expanded its new lottery portal at by adding new sports trivia games from Quizland. As with all games at correct answers will earn players points that can be redeemed for cash or merchandise.

CryptoLogic Inc. announced Wednesday the completion of a Spanish language version of the company's online gaming software. The new Spanish version is in-line with the Company's overall strategy to further expand its presence in International markets. The Spanish version joins the Japanese version, which has been operating for over two years. The Company is also completing development of version 4.0 of its online casino gaming technology. The new software is scheduled for worldwide release in early 2000. It will feature a VIP room for bigger stakes, progressive jackpots, an easier step-by-step installation process, a variety of new games, DirectX compatibility for faster and smoother animations, a new interactive 3D environment including player avatars, enhanced audio features and dealer voices, new 3D elements (cards, slots etc.) and a larger screen layout.

Merlin Casino ( recently beefed itself up by adding the "Merlin Warrior Lounge," a new section where players can find daily news, sports scores, jokes, adult pictures, horoscopes, a web search and more.

Today's Dose of SNMM News -- Starnet Communications International Inc. (SNMM) announced Wednesday the appointment of R. Dean Grimm, C. Frank Shoop and Gary Robert Lechte to the board of directors. The three bring to Starnet more than 40 years of experience in the horse racing industry, thereby strengthening the company's ability to grow its online pari-mutuel operations. The company has also received the resignation of Paul Giles, one of the original builders of the company, who is leaving to pursue other interests. Meldon Ellis assumes the dual role of president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. More than 1 million shares of the company's stock were traded on the day of the appointments (the highest daily volume since October 19). The stock opened the day at $2 and closed at $3 after rising to $3.50.

In other Starnet news, San Diego-based Internet finance firm IP Equity, Inc. announced Tuesday that it has ended its relationship with the company.

Legal Stuff -- The legal battle between Interactive Gaming & Communications Corporation (IGCC) and former licensee Total Entertainment will apparently linger forever. This week IGCC announced that it has rejected a settlement offer by Total Entertainment and has vowed to "actively pursue its pending legal action. IGCC also accuses Total Entertainment of issuing a misleading press release on October 4 that "gave investors the impression that the entire case was dismissed." The lawsuit stems from the companies' falling out last spring, at which time IGCC alleges Total Entertainment continued to use software developed by IGC subsidiary Intersphere Communications Ltd., despite the termination of the companies' relationship.

On a side note, Total Entertainment announced this week intentions of filing a Form 10-SB Registration Statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC) to become a fully reporting company.

The Praise Section -- Casino was named Wednesday as a finalist for a Global Information Infrastructure (GII) Award in the entertainment category. Finalists are recognized for their innovative use of technology to improve business and society. The GII Awards, presented by Ziff-Davis will be presented on December 14 in San Francisco.

Quote Worthy -- "... what should be seen as a barrier to entry are companies who lack experience, who lack financial resources, and who lack know-how as to how they might set up and run Internet betting or a casino site. These are all things which undoubtedly concern me, and undoubtedly concern the authorities in this environment."

-Stanley Leisure Chairman Leonard Steinberg on the presence within the Net betting industry of companies that aren't qualified to be running online gambling operations (taken from a lecture given at last week's International Symposium on Internet Gaming in London)

Nambling Notes - Dec. 10, 1999 is republished from
Mark Balestra
Mark Balestra is the Managing Director at BolaVerde Media Group. He previously worked at Clarion Gaming and the River City Group where he was the publisher of iGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
Mark Balestra
Mark Balestra is the Managing Director at BolaVerde Media Group. He previously worked at Clarion Gaming and the River City Group where he was the publisher of iGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.