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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Jan 5, 2001

5 January 2001

Tidbits from the US -- A new federal House resolution, HR 12, calls for ISPs to be protected from criminal liability when they unknowingly traffic illegal content. The bill, sponsored by Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., could make things tough on the effort to prohibit Internet gambling. One of the heaviest knocks on the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act has been its failure to set up effective enforcement mechanisms. Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who introduced the bill, has called on ISPs to enforce the law. Drier was among those who criticized the bill for this reason. "(It's) wrong to hold (ISPs) criminally liable for online content all over the world," says Dreier. "If successful, efforts to hold ISPs criminally liable for third-party content will have a profoundly negative effect on the Internet."

Sentencing for Island Sports' Allan Ross, originally scheduled for Dec. 15 and postponed until Jan. 9, has again been postponed, this time to Jan. 19 at 3:15. Ross, one of 21 Internet bookmakers on the receiving end of criminal complaints filed in 1998 by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, pled guilty earlier this year to felony charges.

The trial date of Dennis Atiyeh, busted along with his brother, Joe, in November for allegedly operating an illegal gambling business in Pennsylvania has been set for Jan. 29, 2001 in a federal court in Philadelphia.

MDI Entertainment, Inc. and eLOT, Inc. this week announced that, pursuant to their strategic alliance, a series of second and third-chance Internet promotions will launch with the New Jersey, Kentucky and Hoosier (Indiana) Lotteries, tied directly to two of MDI's exclusive lottery licensed brands, Elvis Presley(R) and SPAM(R). The three will each launch separate Internet-based promotions with MDI. Each lottery's launch of its MDI licensed game will feature different functionalities of MDI's Internet platforms.

Tidbits from Down Under -- Victoria's TAB betting system, operated by Tabcorp, crashed last week, making it impossible to wager and collect winnings for a few hours on December 26. Tabcorp hasn't determined yet what caused the system failure, which resulted in up to $500,000 in lost turnover.

The Age reports that the Seven television network has become "a key player in a global interactive wagering system" through a deal with EventsMarket Pty Ltd. EventsMarket has developed a stock exchange, or futures-style, wagering system that enables bettors to purchase and trade coupons at fixed prices on various events. According to the Age, the company as of last year had its sights set on capturing 50 percent of Australia's sports wagering market and 15 percent of the world market by linking its gambling activities to interactive TV as well as a network of affiliated websites. The system enables bettors to buy opposite sides of $1 coupons issued on a sporting event. The price of the match changes as conditions change before and during the event. The Age also revealed that Seven's Internet arm, i7, holds a 20 percent share in EventsMarket. The majority shareholder, Interactive Entertainment Technology, is also the parent company of Pacific Casino Management, an applicant for an online casino license in Queensland.

Makin' Deals -- Virtual Gaming Enterprises, Inc. announced this week the signing of a letter of intent with Wow Technologies, Inc. to cross market through Wow's proprietary site at in return for a 24-month agreement to run a digital certificate for the Luxcard with-in the site. Virtual Gaming President and CEO Virgil Williams describes the Luxcard as a "a prepaid private label proprietary card that can be used by potentially millions of adults to access the Luxcard website 'virtual mall' and various other entertainment website shopping partners via Wow's site.' He added, "Virtual Gaming Enterprises, Inc. could generate substantial revenues over the next 24 months based on Wow Technologies' payment for guaranteed site hits generated by the placement of Virtual Gaming's site icon in the most visible location within the virtual mall." Corp., an ASP specializing in eBorder Control technologies for the gaming and lottery industries, has completed or is in the process of completing over $750,000 in ASP contracts with several U.S. and Latin American lottery and gaming companies for its suites of products ranging from its PrimeLine Sports Wagering system to macro and micro eBorder Control technologies. The company says it will also receive a future stream of revenues based on its software and application usage and expects to show over a 200 percent increase in revenues from 3Q 2000 to 4Q 2000. The names of the U.S. and Latin American companies were not disclosed.

eBet Ltd. of Australia has announced that it is purchasing ACT-based sports betting company City Index for $3.9 million in an effort to get an angle on the Asian betting market and operate in compliance with Australia's moratorium on Internet gambling expansion. The company, which last week sold VIP Casino (an online casino based in Antigua), will be able to operate City Index because the moratorium exempts fixed-odds sports wagering services. eBet will issue shares for $2.5 million and two convertible notes--for $500,000 and $900,000. (The latter number represents City Index's debt.) Eighty percent of the issued shares will be subject to escrow and restricted for a period of 12 months. The convertible notes will have a revised term of two years and an interest rate of 10 percent, and will be convertible to shares at a strike rate of 75 cents.

dot com Entertainment Group, Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary, dot com (Antigua) Ltd., has announced that it has entered into a license agreement with Altadena Investments Ltd. of Cyprus to deliver and install a complete Internet bingo and internet casino system for use by Altadena. Altadena currently operates an Internet Casino with an active player base. The company intends to convert its current casino operations to dot com technology, while at the same time establishing an online bingo presence using dot com's Internet bingo technology.

Mobile entertainment network Indiqu, Inc. is partnering with Dutch wireless carrier KPN to launch WAP games on KPN's portal "M-Info." The deal calls for Indiqu to deliver a wide spectrum of games to KPN mobile-phone users (including casino, card, arcade, sports, quiz show, board and parlor games) all in Dutch.

Tidbits from the Far East - Hong Kong has been struggling of late with putting an end to illegal bookmaking, and the No. 1 complainant, naturally, has been the Hong Kong Jockey Club. According to an article, the outfit recently reported that illegal gambling turnover may even top that of its own, which last season was $83.4. A senior government official told the publication that turnover for illegal betting on next year's World Cup has already reached $500 million.

Meanwhile, the jockey club in nearby Macau has declared that a proposed Hong Kong bill that would ban offshore wagering, including services based in Macau, is illegal. The club submitted to Hong Kong legislators a paper claiming that such a policy would be a breach of Basic Law. It accused the government of being "discriminatory" and "unfair."

A Tidbit from the Caribbean - The Commonwealth of Dominica's parliament has passed a bill making money laundering illegal. Violators will face up to seven years in prison and up to a $400,000 fine. "We do not want Dominica to become a haven for international crime, and so the standards being set by the international community are things we would want to agree with," Attorney General Bernard Wiltshire said last week.

Names and Faces Changing Places - Retail and online bookmaker Firststake has named sports promoter Barry Hearn its non-executive director. Hearn replaces Clive Swann, who left the company to concentrate on other commitments. Hearn will help the board develop the group's strategy for promoting

Online gambling software provider Starnet Communications International Inc. has announced a workforce reduction of approximately 30 employees at its Vancouver, B.C. based Inphinity Interactive subsidiary in an effort to reduce expenditure levels and increase operating efficiencies. As part of the reductions, Jason King, previously Inphinity's Chief Executive Officer, has left the company. The reductions are effective immediately and are primarily in the managerial, administrative and support areas.

Nambling Notes - Jan 5, 2001 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.