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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Nov 24, 2000

24 November 2000

Tidbits from Down Under -- The Victorian State government has been sitting on its Internet gaming regulation since it was passed in 1999, but comments made last week by Minister for Gaming John Pandazopoulos suggest they might be preparing to finally move forward with it. "This government had been forced to delay proclamation of this legislation because of prevarication by the Federal Government on the issue of Internet gambling," Pandazopolous said. "And yet the Federal Government has continued to fail to recognize the fast-growing nature of the Internet and, in particular, of Internet gambling. . . . By failing to regulate, the Federal Government risks leaving consumers exposed to unscrupulous international sites which fail to provide important checks and balances."

Australian media mogul and casino owner Kerry Packer was checked into a hospital Wednesday for a possible kidney transplant. According to the Daily Telegraph, Packer was to undergo transplant surgery within 48 hours. Packer, 62, reportedly had a cancerous kidney removed in the late 1980s.

Tidbits from the US -- Rep. Bob Goodlatte still has his sights set on getting his Internet gambling prohibition bill passed. According to a Newsbytes story, the congressman is still making changes in hopes of swaying his colleagues to support the bill. Goodlatte spokesperson Michelle Semones says the bill is still undergoing changes but did not specify what those changes might be.

Sports bookmaking brothers Dennis and Joseph Atiyeh were indicted November 9 for allegedly funneling sports bets through a circuit with outlets in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Jamaica. Dennis Atiyeh, accused on one count of illegal gambling, one count of conspiracy to launder money and 14 counts of money laundering, could be sentenced to life imprisonment and fined as much as $7.75. Joseph Atiyeh, a former Olympic silver-medal winner for Syria, has been charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of money laundering. He could face life imprisonment and a $2.5 million fine. The two are accused of operating a sports betting business from Sports Marketing & Sales and English Sports Betting in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Chalk up another victory for the mighty Las Vegas casino team. The Nevada Gaming Commission, which had been considering a proposal to limit college sports betting to $550 a wager, dropped the idea in the face of casino opposition to a cap. The chairman said the idea behind the proposal was to prevent illegal bookies from placing large bets at Nevada sportsbooks to limit their losses, but "ironically, this proposal, if adopted, would have the same negative impact as legislation before Congress to ban legal wagering on college sports."

Tidbits from the UK and Beyond -- National Lottery Commission regulators apologized yesterday to MPs for improperly handling the competition for the next lottery license, however, they denied that the lottery's reputation has been hurt. The five-member Commission is expected to award the next seven-year license next month. In August, the Commission's decision to negotiate exclusively with Sir Richard Branson's The People's Lottery after rejecting both Branson's and current operator Camelot's bids were declared unlawful.

Isle of Man-based online bookmaker plc, announced that its Betinternet Malta Limited subsidiary has been granted an international bookmakers license from the Maltese Gaming Commission. The license will permit the company to accept U.K. bets. Further, the license enables the company to expand its services to be provided through the Euro Off-Track Limited Partnership, betinternet's 50/50 joint venture with Greyhound Channel Inc..

According to an AFP story, British officials are highly concerned with the ease in which people can launder money through Internet gaming sites based in the Caribbean, particularly those based in Antigua. A British task force visited the island last month and concluded that steps taken to shore up the problem were not enough to erase their apprehensions. "It became clear that in some cases it would be possible to use the gaming industry for the purposes of laundering through players' accounts held with the gaming company," British Junior Treasury Minister Melanie Johnson explained. Kings Casino was specifically named as a possible target because clients can open accounts with cash by registered mail. Antigua has also been flagged by the U.S. Treasury as a potential money laundering hotbed. The country responded by making improvements to its money laundering policy, but the U.S. has still not changed its position.

This is London reports that London Clubs International plc, rumored for months to be considering an Internet venture, is currently developing an Internet casino.

A Tidbit from the Great White North -- Considering news last month that the Treaty Four Bands group of Indians in Saskatchewan plans to regulate online gambling, one would think that the overall attitude among Indian gaming interests within the province toward Net betting would be positive. An article from the Edmonton Journal, however, suggests otherwise. The paper reported last week that Dutch Lerat, the former head of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, is to blame for a sizeable chunk of an estimated $1.7 million missing from funds destined for the First Nation's Fund, Metis organizations and provincial coffers. An audit revealed that Lerat received $360,000 in unauthorized debit and credit card advances and that, among his "unnecessary" expenses was $57,000 for "an 11-day trip to New York, Barcelona, London and Paris for Lerat and his wife to attend an Internet gaming conference in London."

New Stuff -- Eurobet, a division of British bookmaker Coral, this week officially launched its online person-to-person sports wagering service. The new site, located at, enables punters to offer and match £10 wagers against each other instead of against the house. They can also make bets on games during play.

PlayStar Wyoming Holding Corp. announced this week the launching of its Shockwave casino at The site will be operating in a practice mode during beta testing and is set to launch for real-money wagering December 15.

Zetters, the British pools group-turned-online betting company, announced this week that it will begin to offer spread betting on stock indices and global equities by February 2001. The company is seeking to turn its financial woes around. It lost £450,000 during the six-month period ending September 30, after last year turning a £582,000 profit for the same period. During the period this year, the group invested £200,000 in its Internet operation. Chief Executive Viscount Dangan has admitted that selling the company's pools division is a possibility.

Makin' Deals -- Corp. announced this week that it has signed its first customer for its Web-based eBorder Control technology to restrict access to online gaming and lottery sites to users within a jurisdiction. The company did not identify the licensee. In October, the company announced that eBorder Control has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Starnet Communications International Inc. announced this week that its World Gaming Services Inc. subsidiary has entered into a simulcast agreement with Lebanon Raceway. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The company further announced that it has re-signed Northfield Parkv and Delta Downs to new simulcast agreements for their 2000-2001 meets. The signings bring the total number of tracks under contract with World Gaming to eight. They are: Dania Jai-alai; Delta Downs; Lebanon Park; Monticello Raceway; Northfield Park; Ocean Downs; Phoenix Greyhound Park; and Tucson Greyhound Park.

Names and Faces Changing Places -- The Las Vegas Sun reports that Scott Scherer, Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn's chief of staff, is the likely replacement for Steve DuCharme as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. DuCharme will retire January 1. Scherer has indicated that he would accept an offer to do so, and according to the Sun, most industry observes expect very little to change regarding the Board's policies and philosophies.

For a few years, Toronto-based gaming software developer CryptoLogic Inc. has market its software through its subsidiary, Intertainet Overseas Licensing Limited. In attempt to create a more marketable brand, the company has changed the name of the subsidiary to "WagerLogic." For a sneak preview of the new brand, visit The new site is expected to be launched by the end of the month.

Nambling Notes - Nov 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.