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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Nov 17, 2000

17 November 2000

A Tidbit from the Netherlands -- AFP reports that the Dutch government has given local casinos and other gaming organizations the green light to take bets over the Internet. An official from the country's finance ministry said the decision was prompted by the unavoidable existence of unregulated online gambling websites. "Illegal gambling organizations already have Internet sites," said Ivo Hommos. "By legalizing online gambling, the government wanted to ensure that consumers are protected." According to AFP, bettors at Dutch sites will be required to set loss limits before they play. Measures banning minors from gambling in casinos will be taken as well. Hommos also said that 60 percent of revenue from the sites will go to needy causes. The sites will only be available in Dutch.

Makin' Deals -- Reuters reports that British leisure company Rank Group Plc is in the hunt for a high-street bookmaker and it has placed Ladbrokes at the top of the list. Rank Chief Executive Mike Smith, formally in charge of the Ladbrokes gaming division, has reportedly indicated that buying a bookmaker is a top priority in Rank's new strategy. Hilton, the parent company to Ladbrokes, is already in exclusive talks to sell its Ladbrokes Casinos to Britain's biggest bingo hall operator, Gala Bingo in a deal estimated to be worth £250 million.

Redundantly redundantly named IGN Internet Global Network Inc. announced that its Winstreak subsidiary has commenced several major marketing initiatives with respect to its Internet casino, Casinos of the World ( The initiatives include a banner advertising campaign through which Casinos of the World banners have been placed on more than 40 websites and an agreement with an Australian advertising company specializing in Internet gaming promotions. The company intends to commence additional marketing initiatives in the near future and anticipates being able to capitalize on them in the coming weeks and into the year 2001.

Tidbits from the Channels -- An unnamed source has informed IGN that Ireland's December 2000 budget will include a reduction of Irish betting duty to 0.3 percent for international bets and to 3 percent on domestic bets. If that's the case, expect Ireland to be a hotspot for Internet gambling.

A Nov. 13 story suggests that Channel Islands bookmakers are thrilled to see the U.K. Chancellor leaning toward new policy that will mandate lowering the U.K. betting duty. According to the publication, the offshore bookies see the new policy as more of a crackdown on tax-free betting than a break for U.K. bookmakers. Mark Blandford, managing director of Alderney-based, agrees. "The whole thing is self-defeating," says Blandford. "The more the government cracks down on betting taxes in the U.K. the more business it pushes offshore."

Financial Times reports that BBC would retain the exclusive television and radio rights to the U.K.'s National Lottery if the new operating license was taken away from Camelot, the current operator, and awarded to Sir Richard Branson's The People's Lottery consortium. Branson reportedly told a U.K. ministerial committee last week that he was happy to take on the existing commercial arrangement which sees the BBC paying the lottery operator £1million a year for the right to broadcast the draw twice a week.

New Stuff -- Interactive race wagering service provider Inc. has announced the release of the beta test version of its new Web-based horseracing product. The company's product software and engineering groups expect to conclude testing and fully launch the Web racing feature during the first quarter of 2001. The product will be available to Youbet subscribers with Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.

Internet gaming software developer IQ-Ludorum plc, announced this week that it has completed a multilingual and multi-currency enabled version of IQ-Casino, the company's online casino software. The new version 3.0 is in-line with the company's overall strategy to further expand its presence in international markets initially in the U.K. and in the longer term in Asia. The new version will also include affiliate program functionality, which will enable clients to establish click though partnerships with third party Web operators; improved graphics; enhanced audio features; faster and smoother animations; new 3D elements; and a full-screen layout designed for both kiosk and PC operation. Version 3.0 of IQ-Casino will be offered to all existing IQ-Ludorum licensees and should, the company hopes, act as a catalyst for new licensees.

Online casino operator Windnsea Gaming Services this week announced the release of Avatar Bingo at The company proclaims the new site "the first 3D, multi-user Bingo entertainment center available on the Web." It features an interactive and content-rich virtual environment allowing members to share gaming experiences. In addition, the software provides for real-time movement and conversation among players who are represented in Avatar Bingo by virtual stand-ins called avatars.

eLOT, Inc. recently launched its enhanced lottery results website at The new site has a new design and new features including a free lottery e-mail notification service (LENS). Lottery players who register at will receive their state lottery results via email every day. The new site also offers lottery news, archived results, tips for playing the lottery and a random number generator.

Europe's Culture Web has announced the launch of a new online casino portal called The website features unbiased reviews, interactive polls, gambling advice and free casino games. Betcrawler finds and lists online casino sites giving away free cash to casino players and only list casino sites with full casino licenses.

A New Face -- If you want to run a successful online poker room, it helps to have an expert onboard. With that in mind, WebQuest International, Inc., a company that recently announced the pending launch of its real-money-wagering table poker website at, has signed an endorsement deal with poker legend Thomas Preston (a.k.a. Amarillo Slim) to promote the site. "The site will reflect Slim's image, personality and style," says WebQuest Chief Executive Officer Kirk Johnson. "We expect Slim will be to our site, what Tiger Woods is to Nike.' won't be the first online poker room to hire on a poker wiz. Several months ago brought "The Mad Genius," Mike Caro into the mix as its resident poker guru.

Nambling Notes - Nov 17, 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.