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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Oct. 19, 2001

19 October 2001

New Stuff -- BSkyB's Sky Sports pay-TV channel yesterday launched "Sky Play," an interactive football television betting game. The new game enables fans watching at home to place in-game wagers throughout matches.

Bet365 Limited yesterday launched its new sports betting Web site,, which will enable the U.K.-based company to offer its premium service to the North American sports betting market. The new site is part of the company's aggressive expansion plan, which includes growth into new sports betting hotbeds as well as developing strategic partnerships to access new distribution channels. John Coates, a director with the company, said entering the burgeoning North American sports betting market is a key component to the company's overall expansion plans. "The opportunity cost of not moving into this market was just too great," he said. "We believe that with our very extensive bookmaking background and strong technical and financial platforms, will quickly gain recognition from the North American sports bettor.'' All betting and financial systems are fully tested and audited by KPMG.

Online casino software developer CryptoLogic Inc. has released a video poker game (part of its new Version 4 software) that offers a theoretical return of 100.04 percent.

Gambling software developer World Gaming plc announced Tuesday the launch of its first Portuguese language gaming site through its licensee Internet Empire Entertainment Ltd. (IEE), the owner of IEE and World Gaming have entered into an agreement in which World Gaming will provide the technology and application in support of IEE's Querapostar Internet casino property. The Brazilian site went live Tuesday using World Gaming 3 software. The Web site features 10 Java casino games, as well as bingo, lotteries, pari-mutuel betting and a sports book. The site is also the first World Gaming sports book to offer Brazilian soccer. World Gaming CEO Mike Aymong said the new deal was spawned by his company's need to expand its increasingly international scope. "Languages of the world, as well as regional content such as adding Brazilian soccer, are critically important ingredients to accelerating the success of our licensees and our growth internationally," Aymong said.

According to an article published Monday by, Harrah's Entertainment intends to beef up its online marketing campaign. The publication reports that Harrah's plans to "significantly reduce direct mail offers to its Total Rewards members and prospects over the next few years, while increasing offers via e-mail and its Web site,, which re-launched in June." Harrah's has been one of the most aggressive American casino operators when it comes to executing Internet strategies. In addition to the online implementation of the Total Rewards players club, the company operates a free-play Internet casino.

Access Gaming Systems (Europe) Ltd. has supplied Austrian Lotteries with a new version of its AGS Interactive Gaming System that's compliant with the Euro currency. The highlight of the release is a new draw lotto called "Systemschein."

Makin' Deals -- ukbetting plc this week announced the acquisition of 100 percent of the share capital of PA Sporting Life Limited (PASL). ukbetting has agreed to pay in cash £2 each for the existing shares and to subscribe £1 million for new shares in PASL to pay existing loans. The deal follows the Sept. 25 announcement of ukbetting's recommended offer for Sportscard Group plc. PASL, a joint venture between The Press Association Limited and Trinity Mirror plc, addresses online sports content through the brand and online wagering through the brand. The most recent audited figures for indicate that in June 2001 the site logged 708,000 unique users and 43.1 million page views. The publication has its own editorial team and accesses the PA's global network of over 700 sports journalists. ukbetting will continue its relationship with PA and retain access to's comprehensive horse racing and form database. "PASL provides ukbetting with a new dynamic to the business," ukbetting CEO Eric Semel said. "We are significantly increasing the ukbetting customer base to 56,000 and can now provide market-leading sports content as well. In addition, PASL invested heavily in technology which will provide a solid base from which to grow the business further.", the online casino operated by Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho, has signed a promotional deal with Victoria's Secret that will have the site's live online dealers showcasing Victoria's Secret's latest line of outfits. Peter Kjaer, CEO of, said the new look addresses the site's need for its dealers to be "chic, smart and stylish." The site features 60 dealers--all of whom, by the way, are female--who previously wore revealing, brightly colored outfits. Players can cast their votes on their favorite dealers to become Miss The US$20 million online casino claims to have had over 13 million hits and 30,000 account holders (mostly Asians) since its soft launch in March.

U.S.-based online casino software developer Wagerworks has signed a deal with sports betting software firm Orbis through which the two companies will offer an integrated online casino and sports book platform. The partnership will focus on selling the package to big-brand clients, particularly in the United Kingdom. The integrated service will be launched at the end of the year.

Global Sports & Entertainment, Inc. (GSE) announced last Friday that it has entered into a five-year strategic alliance with, Inc. through which the two companies will promote each other's Web sites. GSE will supply with a variety of sports information content focusing primarily on odds and handicapping, while will promote GSE and with banners and links on and Conversely, will appear prominently on the Global Sports & Entertainment Web site where visitors will have the opportunity to link directly to Playboy's Web site. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Global Entertainment Holdings/Equities Inc. announced Monday that its wholly owned subsidiary, Interactive Gaming and Wagering N.V. (IGW), has established a licensing relationship with, a new betting company registered in the United Kingdom., which has acquired the rights to use IGW's gaming software, went live with its online sports book on Sept. 5.

Tidbits from Europe -- reported Monday that British bookmaker William Hill is closing its telephone betting center in Athlone, Co Westmeath. William Hill chief executive David Harding said the company no longer needs the center, which was set up to facilitate wagering outside the constraints of the recently abolished 9 percent betting tax in Great Britain. The Irish betting tax is 5 percent. The closing will result in the loss of around 300 jobs. reports that Welsh bookmakers are grappling with the negative effects of the new tax-free betting scheme in the United Kingdom. Several are reporting that, since the betting tax was abolished, more bettors have been placing money on heavy favorites because the minimal winnings on such bets are no longer swallowed by the 9 percent duty. "The indications are that there is a lot of clever money around," Karl Williams, a spokesman for Welsh bookmaker Jack Brown, told the publication. ". . . People who can afford a heavy loss are now coming out of the woodwork because there is no tax. England were six to one on to beat Greece on Saturday and a Pontypridd customer had £1,000 on England to win. All he stood to gain was £166 but in his case it was a quicker investment than on the stock exchange. With tax he would only have got £76 if he won."

A Tidbit from the Caribbean -- During a three-day meeting chaired by senior ambassador and lead negotiator on international financial services Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua & Barbuda devised a plan last month to develop a new telecommunications infrastructure. The aim is to enhance e-commerce and solidify a framework for the relationship between the government's independent regulatory, tax and law enforcement agencies. Also during the meeting a memorandum was drawn up documenting the agreement between the government and the Internet gambling industry.

Names and Faces Changing Faces -- announced Wednesday that it has appointed Jeremy Black as chief financial officer of the company. Prior to joining, Black was the CFO of Blue Zone, Inc., a leading developer of online convergence applications., Inc. announced today that it will change its name to "Proxity Digital Networks." Over the past five months has acquired four companies and has redirected its business model from online casino development to developing "cradle to grave" backend, front-end and infrastructure services for corporate and government offices worldwide. The name change was filed Wednesday with the state of Nevada. NASD will issue a new symbol within the next few days.

Nambling Notes - Oct. 19, 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.