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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - March 23, 2001

23 March 2001

Makin' Deals -- One of the U.K.'s biggest online sports betting agencies,, has expanded its global position with the acquisition of Australian private bookmaker Number One Betting Shop Limited. The deal, announced last week, will cost £11.6 million in cash and shares and possibly another £24 million, depending on Number One's performance in the next two years.

Sportsbook operator VIP, has reportedly agreed to take over the customer accounts at Golden Bets, a Costa Rica-based Internet sportsbook that recently ceased operating. Referring to the decision to do so, VIP General Manager Alistair Assheton said, "The industry needs to realize that we all suffer when sportsbooks are dishonest. We hope our actions will help set a positive example."

New Stuff -- Boss Media of Sweden has introduced a new online casino that specifically targets female gamblers. "Women's Vegas," as described by Boss, is "an entire online 'casino town' designed especially for women." Operator CyberCroupier Ltd. intends to create a virtual gambling town that will grow rapidly, incorporating many different casinos that will all be located along the Women's Vegas central "Strip." Each casino will have a unique theme designed to appeal primarily to women. CyberCroupier also operates Oriental Casino, Riverboat Casino and Mini Vegas.

Spread betting service announced that it's about to launch a new spread betting service that will offer bets on the top quoted Irish stocks as well as major Irish and international sporting fixtures. The group's e-commerce partner, Smarttransact, has waved development charges of $1.2 million and will instead be paid under a profit sharing agreement.

Sungold Entertainment Corp. announced this week that it has identified April 2 as the target date for the Internet debut of its Java-based HorsepowerTM 2.0 virtual racing system. The company did not indicate where online the games will be available or whether they would available for real-money wagering.

Tidbits from the UK -- British bookmakers have assembled an association to handle media rights negotiations for the industry as a whole. The association, the Confederation of Bookmakers (CBA), has been formed in response to the announcement that the Horserace Betting Levy Board will be scrapped. The CBA is made up of the Betting Offices Licensees Association, British Betting Offices Association and the National Association of Bookmakers.

Members of the Sports Spread Betting Association, unhappy with the British Treasury's plan to replace the England's 6.75 percent betting duty with a 15 percent tax on gross profits, have announced plans to lobby Customs & Excise for a revised policy. The SSBA claims that the new policy will significantly increase the amount of tax money they owe. The association, led by IG Index and Sporting Index, hopes to open formal discussions by April. As reported by the Telegraph, IG Index, which paid betting duty of £625,000 last year, calculates that if the new regime was in place during 2000 it would have paid up to £1.7million in betting taxes.

Tidbits from the US -- The always intriguing dance between online and offline gambling in America is progressing briskly, with the latest step coming from California. In an effort to increase its Web presence, the state's lottery has made a number of recent enhancements to its website. Among the new features are animated free-play versions of its scratchers games Camelot's Riches and Pinball Action. The site will also soon feature the lottery's new Harley Davidson Scratchers.

Meanwhile, MDI Entertainment, a company that has expressed a keen interest in getting involved with online lottery sales in the U.S., continues to strategically position itself by establishing key relationships offline. The company announced last week the signing of a three-year agreement with CBS Consumer Products for the exclusive rights to market television's Hollywood Squares(R) game show program to lottery promotions throughout the United States and Canada. Through the Hollywood Squares(R) instant lottery game, MDI will offer consumers a chance to win prizes that include VIP trips to Los Angeles to audition for an appearance on the game show, VIP audience passes to live tapings and official Hollywood Squares(R) merchandise. The company also owns the marketing rights to Wheel of Fortune(R) and Jeopardy!(R), along with several additional brands, including Harley-Davidson(R), Elvis Presley(R) and Graceland, Betty BoopTM, Twilight ZoneTM, Louisville Slugger(R) and more.

The Associated Press reports that U.S Rep. Tim Roemer, D-Indiana, plans to introduce a bill this year aimed at outlawing betting on college sports. The NCAA has been lobbying hard for the passage of such a law. The Nevada gaming industry naturally opposes the bill adamantly. "Their so-called solution is akin to banning alcohol everywhere in order to address underage drinking," American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf said. "We tried prohibition before, and it didn't work."

This Week in Fraud -- Computer Daily News reports that credit card fraud took Vanuatu-based online casino My Casino for US$2.14 million last year. The company, which supplied no details on the scam, said in a statement, "The entrance of many more gaming sites online has further compounded the situation over the past nine months. This increased competition has reduced industry margins and the number of players visiting our site." The company also indicated that it has taken steps to reduce staff and running costs in an effort to dig itself out of the hole.

Several online casinos have reported an unusually large amount of Danish players signing up and then either charging back after pulling winnings out or playing with fraudulent credit card information. Few details have filtered through at this point, but a number of operators have confirmed that this has been a problem of late.

By the Numbers -- According to a Detroit News article, federal officials in the U.S. estimate that online sportsbooks will take in $250 million in bets on this year's NCAA tournament. A representative for Intertops online sportsbook told the publication that his company last year took in $12.5 million on its own.

A Finnish Tidbit -- Market researchers get out your pens: Finnish cops like to gamble online--at least some of them do. The entire Helsinki Police Department was recently banned from visiting dozens of sites after it was learned that officers were spending way too much time at pornographic, gambling and other entertainment sites.

Names and Faces Changing Places -- Gaming software provider Interactive Solutions Corporation Tuesday announced the resignation of Chairman Jack Lake, who is stepping down to concentrate on other businesses. Taking Lake's place will be Edward M. Tracy, who served from 1992 until 1998 as the chairman and CEO of Capital Gaming International, Inc., an international casino management company. CEO Anthony Geisler and President David Bailey will continue in their respective management roles and continue with the day-to-day responsibilities for the company.

Telephone/Internet betting company plc has announced the appointment of David Peter Craine F.C.A. as finance director. Craine is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the past chairman of the Isle Of Man Society of Chartered Accountants.

Nambling Notes - March 23, 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.