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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Mar. 24, 2000

24 March 2000

Behold the Power of Nambling --There's simply no denying interactive gambling's booming presence on the World Wide Web. In case you doubt this fact, consider that Media Metrix's AdRelevance has rated casinos as No. 1 on its Top Entertainment Segments Advertising Online list for the month of February. Casino sites bagged 190 million impressions, ahead of television (66 million), movies (30 million) and sports franchises ( 20 million). For those who are mathematically challenged, that means casino sites saw more impressions than movie sites and sports franchise sites combined. Meanwhile, four Net betting businesses cracked the Top 10 Entertainment Advertisers Online list. Landing at No.'s 1 and 2 on an impressive list that includes NBC, Fox and Columbia Pictures were Cassava Enterprises, the operator of Casino on Net, with 78 million impressions and gaming software developer MicroGaming Systems with 31 million impressions. Gaming Club came in at five with 13 million while Zap Casino came in 10th with 5.9 million.

Meanwhile Nielsen//Netratings rated as the Web's top clicked-on ad banner among at-home users for the week of March 13-19. The popular virtual casino registered an 11.2 percent click rate.

Tidbits from the U.S. -- Legislators will have a look at several online gambling-related bills during the final week of March. The next big event in the ongoing Prohibition 2000 Gala will be March 28 at 9:30. At this time, the House Judiciary Committee will look at marking up the Goodlatte Bill. Not to be outdone, the states will look at online gambling measures on the 28th as well. Louisiana's bill to legalize account-based pari-mutuel wagering and a prohibition bill in Tennessee will both see committee action in their respective Houses. Tennessee's Senate bill (a sister act) will go to committee on the 29th. California AB 2179 is scheduled for reading on the 27th.

Backtracking a bit to the Louisiana bill, Fair Grounds Race Course President and General Manager Bryan Krantz confirmed to IGN today that the track indeed plans to implement an Internet wagering service if the bill is passed. Krantz projects a 10 percent growth in business for the track if the door is opened for account wagering.

The U.S. House Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection has overwhelmingly approved the Unsolicited Electronic Mail Act (also known as the Spam Bill). Next stop: the full Commerce Committee.

A federal judge in Virginia has denied a motion to have the cybersquatting lawsuit filed by Caesers World against the owner of more than 100 domain names that allegedly infringe on the Caesars trademark.

TV Guide Inc. this week announced plans for its Television Games Network to offer interactive race wagering to nine states by the end of the year.

On the European Front -- International Gaming & Wagering Business reports that Norsk Tipping, Norway's national lottery, is waiting for the Norwegian government to approve the launching of an Internet lottery test program this summer. A sample of 3,000 Norwegians will be issued a smart card. The card will hold cash value for lottery play and winnings and will give users access to Norsk Tipping's Internet games via home computer (smart card readers will be supplied), via interactive television, and eventually via cell-phone systems and mobile terminals. Norway's gambling legislation has recently been renewed to include Internet gambling. Play is restricted to bettors within the country's borders.

This Week in Cyber Crime -- The New York Times reported this week that federal officials have, for the first time, successfully shut down foreign websites involved in the selling of prescription drugs over the Internet to American consumers. U.S. Customs agents and Thai authorities teamed to raid online pharmacies and arrest 22 people for violating Thai drug laws and export laws. Six people were arrested in Albany, accused of buying drugs from a Thai online pharmacy. Thai officials are also investigating possible violations of a new Thai money-laundering law.

New Faces -- According to Bridge News, U.K. hotel and betting company Hilton Group plc has announced plans for its Ladbroke gaming division to restructure its senior management to implement its e-commerce strategy. The company has appointed Chris Bell chief executive officer of Ladbroke's e-commerce and betting businesses in the U.K. and internationally. John O'Reilly, currently managing director of Ladbroke's tax-free Internet and telephone betting operations in Gibraltar, will become managing director for e-commerce under Bell.

Makin' Deals -- Total Entertainment Inc. has announced the signing of a licensing agreement with Web Game Corporation N.V. of Norway for the Internet Casino Extension, WebSports and Lotto Magic products of Online Gaming Systems. Terms of the agreement call for up-front licensing fees of $325,000 and recurring revenue from royalties and maintenance for the duration of the four-year contract.

Total Entertainment also announced the signing of a co-branding agreement with Norstar Group, Inc. in which the two companies will promote one another and Norstar will launch a free-play casino using Total Entertainment's software.

Bahamas-based Infobridge International Ltd. has invested 1 million Deutschmarks in German-based gaming software developer Q-Seven Systems Inc. Infobridge, which will enter Q-Seven as a new shareholder, has close connections to the European television advertising industry. The company will also support Q-Seven's X-Real Intertainment subsidiary in marketing X-Real's Internet sites.

Alderney-based Internet bookmaker (UK) Plc has signed a three-year deal with leading cable television provider Telewest Communications. Sportingbet will join William Hill, Blue Square and Ladbrokes as the only betting organizations to provide Telewest cable subscribers with interactive betting facilities. Telewest subscribers will be able to access Sportingbet via their digital television by the end of May.

After months of anticipation, Starnet Communications International Inc. has finally sold its adult entertainment division The buyer's name (and a catchy one at that) is 596773 BC Ltd. The companies have signed a definitive asset purchase agreement in which Starnet will receive $2.8 million in payments over a three-year period. Transfer of an initial payment of 20 percent of the purchase price is scheduled for today.

CryptoLogic Inc. announced this week that it's going after the Latin America market via a deal with International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation. The agreement calls for Crypto's subsidiary, Intertainet Overseas Licensing Limited, to license its gaming software to International Thunderbird Brazil Ltd. The new games will be available in Spanish and Portuguese.

New Stuff -- Boss Media has announced the launch of the its 14th online casino, Challenge Casino. The new site is operated by HobbyGaming International Corporation.

Premiership Lotter-e, an Internet football lottery in Britain, held its first drawing on March 23. Odds for winning the weekly 20 thousand-pound jackpot are 1 in 142,506. Income generated by the lottery will go, in part, to support a number of Premier League clubs. Customers can specify which club they want to benefit from their lottery purchase.

Bingo software developer and licensor dot com Entertainment Group recently debuted its new program, the CyberBingo Network. The proprietary program takes the concept of satellite-based bingo, which links up numerous land based halls for nightly Jackpot games, and applies the concept to the Internet. The individual bingo halls will be owned by participating members who will automatically link their players to the CyberBingo central game system which is located at The games runs 120 times a day 365 days a year.

Riptide Technologies Inc., a software consulting company that's developing a risk management database for the Interactive Gaming Council, has formed a new Internet product company called e-Success Incorporated. Riptide's existing software products, Integrity, Citadel, and Webshow, have been transferred to e-Success.

U.K. bookmaker William Hill has beefed up its Internet betting service to feature exclusive live commentaries on a daily basis from the principal British race meeting of each afternoon, together with live greyhound racing commentaries. Punters will be able to place bets via credit card and then listen to the races unfold online.

Investors Corner -- Ltd., an Australian Internet gaming specialist licensed in Vanuatu, announced that it will float on the Australian Stock Exchange with a $16 million IPO before June 2000. Managing Director Andrew Spinks says the company had shortlisted three brokers for the float which will offer 32 million shares at 50 cents each, representing 25 percent of the expanded capital. Directors will own 55 percent of the public company. Clubs Victoria, a coalition of more than 500 sports clubs and other venues, will hold 2.9 percent of the expanded equity. A group of Melbourne businessmen has purchased a 15 percent stake for $3 million. plans to implement a secure casino software product that allows operators to establish strict controls measures to regulate the participation of problem gamblers.

Toronto-based gaming software developer CryptoLogic Inc. officially began trading on the Nasdaq exchange March 20.

Rumor Mill -- recently released a statement informing shareholders and potential investors that rumors of the domain being up for sale are not true.

What Others are Saying -- Casino Journal's March 2000 issue, like a whole heck of a lot of other publications in recent weeks, featured a nifty piece on the debate over whether wagering on college sporting events should be banned in the U.S. Following are a few choice quotes that don't exactly beat around the bush:

Business Week: "The NCAA suffered more game-fixing scandals in the '90s than in its entire history. Now it's looking to fix its image with a bill only a bookie could love."

Sporting News: "The NCAA has put no thought whatsoever into its push to outlaw gambling on college sports. This is strictly a public relations move that offers no tangible benefit for the NCAA but it may have unintended consequences that would damage the integrity of college sports, especially basketball."

Ed Looney, executive director of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling: "Banning things doesn't work in America. We need more education so people will make informed decisions about their action. The NCAA is not doing what they should be doing on college campuses to address the problem of illegal betting."

Nambling Notes - Mar. 24, 2000 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.