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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - May 24, 2002

24 May 2002

New Stuff -- has introduced a new person-to-person betting service. The option enables punters to create their own betting events, set their own odds and become bookmakers themselves. ukbetting plc on Monday launched the Poker Zone, a poker news and information Web site, at The new site, which forms part of the recently launched betting-information Web site at, was launched in conjunction with the ukbetting-sponsored London Poker Night occurring Monday as well. The Poker Zone enables poker fans to easily access relevant information and the latest U.K. and global news. The site includes tournament and club news, previews of major tournaments, information on poker in England (including club and casino listings, as well as a user forum) and a bookshop enabling users to buy chips and the latest book releases. The site also includes a poker glossary, information on rankings of hands and an in-depth history of the world of poker. ukbetting has forged syndication deals with the in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Poker Zone has also signed up top stars Dave Welch and "Smokin"' Steve Vladar to write a series of monthly columns. The site is the latest addition to the ukbetting group of sites, following in the steps of the Bettingzone, which offers visitors general betting information. Sports fans are also kept up to date on all sports news by and ukbetting CEO Eric Semel said the site will appeal to the 1.5 million users who already visit Sportinglife, Sportal and Bettingzone. U.K.-based gaming software provider IQ-Ludorum has announced the release of the Progressive Jackpot Management system and the first of several progressive slots games for the IQ-Casino 4.0 platform. The IQ-Progressives Engine gives casino operators the flexibility of either operating their own internal jackpot pools or partnering with other operators to offer even larger and more attractive jackpots. Gold Club Casino recently unveiled two new games: the "Jack-in-the-Box" progressive slot machine and single-deck blackjack. These games, developed by Swedish software developer Boss Media, can be downloaded at Ladbrokes, the world's biggest bookmaker, said last week it will pour £15 million into creating its own broadcasting lineup. reports the group is installing new digital broadcasting technology into its 1,900 shops throughout Britain, to enable it to show its own branded in-shop television. The group currently uses a feed, shared by all bookmakers, from Satellite Information Services (SIS), an industry supplier. The expanded service, in addition to the SIS feed, will feature video highlights, interviews and previews with studio experts offering wagering advice. To date Ladbrokes has invested £40 million on electronic point of sale and the biggest shop refurbishment program in the industry's history, chief executive Chris Bell explained.

Makin' Deals --, Inc. announced Monday the sale of its skill-based bingo game, BiG'r Bingo. CYOP Systems International Inc. (CYOP) has acquired all rights to the BiG'r Bingo game, including the software, the Web site located at, the trademark "BiG'r Bingo," and rights and responsibilities to the BiG'r Bingo customer database. In exchange for ownership of the BiG'r Bingo game, CYOP has agreed to absorb all past and on-going software maintenance charges relating to BiG'r Bingo. In addition, CYOP has granted a perpetual worldwide license to the skill-based bingo game, BiG'r Bingo. of Austria has acquired a 50 percent interest in Odds Sportdata, one of five betting providers licensed in Germany. will serve as an atypical silent partner and know-how/technology partner. Founded in 1990 and based in Saxony, Odds Sportdata previously specialized in postal, fax and telephone betting. To adapt to changing market requirements, the management decided to place greater emphasis on more innovative distribution channels in the future. In the absence of appropriate resources within the company, the group chose to develop these new distribution channels. has granted Odds Sportdata a license to use its brand name, domain, product and technical platform. Pursuant to the acquisition, Odds Sportdata has changed its name to betandwin e.K. (HRA 1374), which will begin offering its Internet services at at the end of the month to coincide wit the beginning of the World Cup. The financial arrangements of this transaction have not been disclosed. In a effort to target the female audience, Rank Interactive Gaming Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of leisure and entertainment giant The Rank Group Plc, has formed a partnership with iVillage UK, a top Web site for women in England. Through the deal, will become the exclusive games channel provider for, providing online visitors with games that can be played for real money, or for free. The games, developed in-house by Rank, include a range of bingo and lottery style games as well as a selection of fruit-machine-style wagers. FreeStar Technologies, Inc., a company providing a live debit and ATM with PIN-authenticated payment technology on the Internet, announced Wednesday it gas granted a license to Sky International Group of Casinos to use its PaySafeNow payment solution. Using the system, Sky International will provide secure payment processing for its land-based and online casino operations.

Names and Faces Changing Places -- Sun International Hotels Limited announced Monday plans to change its corporate name to Kerzner International Limited. The company anticipates finalizing the name change on or before July 1, 2002, at which time the company's stock, which currently trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SIH," will be listed under the new ticker symbol "KZL." The name change is being implemented in accordance with agreements related to the restructuring of the company's major shareholder, Sun International Investments Limited, which were announced in July 2001. There will be no change in the company's management or worldwide operations as a result of the change., Inc. on Wednesday announced a number of internal management promotions and appointments. Jeff Franklin was promoted to vice president of product management, and Chris McConnell was promoted to executive director of track relations and player development. Franklin joined Youbet in 1994 and has been responsible for developing customer support interfaces and racing products for the Youbet Network. McConnell joined Youbet in 1999 and has been responsible for daily racing operations. Within the company's racing department, Lucky Kalanges has been appointed manager of racing operations, and Cliff Robinson has been named the new racing operations supervisor. In addition to her continuing role as vice president of human resource and administration, Archi Padilla has been appointed head of member services. Additionally, Michael Jackson has been appointed director of special projects and Joseph Hasson has been appointed vice president of business development. SureFire Commerce last week announced the resignation of Joel Leonoff from the position of COO and CFO. Leonoff's responsibilities will be shared by Michael Liquornik, the current vice president of business development, who assumes the role of COO, and David Schwartz, the current vice president of finance, who will be take over as CFO. Leonoff, a founding member of SureFire Commerce, will continue contributing to the company by remaining on the board as an independent member. The company additionally announced it has named Steve Shaper, the former CEO of TeleCheck International Inc., chairman of the board of directors. Brahm Gelfand, the company's recently appointed director, has been named vice chairman. Innovative Gaming Corp. this week announced that Andrew Tottenham has tendered his resignation from the board of directors. Tottenham said he's resigning because of the company's shift away from the European market. He also cited a conflict of interest between his current unidentified employer and Innovative Gaming's announced merger partner, GET USA, Inc.

A Tidbit from GIGSE -- While Internet-related policy appears to be taking a backseat to land-based gaming issues amid sweeping changes in the United Kingdom, a senior policy advisor for the U.K. Department of Culture Media and Sport estimates that Net betting could be legalized and regulated within two years. Clive Hawkswood told an audience at last week's Global Interactive Gambling Summit & Expo that he expects online gambling policy to be introduced in 2003 and passed in 2004. Hawkswood added that U.K. policymakers heavily favor regulation over prohibition. "It's a no-brainer as far as we're concerned," he said.

A Tidbit from Israel -- The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council in Israel on Monday began public hearings as part of the process for approving the airing of a gambling channel that will enable viewers to wager on soccer games as well as play the lottery via the interactive services of digital television systems.

Nambling Notes - May 24, 2002 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.