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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Oct 20, 2000

20 October 2000

Tidbits from the US -- Reports from Capitol Hill indicate that U.S. Congress could remain in session into November, buying Sen. Jon Kyl and Rep. Bob Goodlatte more time to get Internet gambling prohibited in America. Even if it doesn't happen, however, many experts believe the two will pick up where they left off in 2001. With that in mind, the unique race for Missouri's open seat in the Senate becomes particularly interesting for those with a stake in online gambling. Governor Mel Carnahan, who died last week, remains on the ticket as the Democratic nominee. In the extremely unlikely--but not impossible--event that Missourians vote the deceased Carnahan in over incumbent Republican John Ashcroft, it would be up to recently sworn in Governor Roger Wilson to choose Carnahan's replacement. Wilson has the option of naming that person before or after the election, and among names being tossed around is Attorney General Jay Nixon, perhaps the most vocal and proactive attorney general in the country when it comes to handling Internet gambling. One would expect that Nixon, who (in separate cases) sued both Interactive Gaming & Communications Corp. of Pennsylvania and the Coeur d'Alene Indians of Idaho for accepting online wagers from customers in Missouri, would add a new dimension to Kyl's and Goodlatte's crusade. Yes, it's very doubtful that Ashcroft will lose to a deceased opponent, but stranger things have happened.

The Associated Press reports that a Tampa Bay lobbyist has claimed responsibility for the forging of a controversial letter declaring Florida Governor Jeb Bush's opposition to HR 3125, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. The letter was sent to U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida in July, and in it, Bush supposedly said that he was opposed to the bill. A report of the investigation by the state inspector general's office states that lobbyist Matthew Blair admitted to state investigators that he forged Bush's name. Blair, who will perform community service and be on probation for 18 months, told investigators he was "under the gun" because he hadn't gotten all ten letters from prominent Floridians he was supposed to get.

In a move that arguably exemplifies U.S. lotteries' inevitable adoption of home-based electronic, interactive games, the Iowa Lottery this week became the first lottery in the country to feature "Treasure Tower," a scratch game that's played on a personal computer. Treasure Tower players buy scratch tickets as they would in any other instant game, however, they additionally receive free Treasure Tower CDs. Upon installing the game on a PC, a player can use an access code on each scratch ticket to activate the game and set a password to keep others from accessing it. Treasure Tower has for months been a big hit in Quebec, Belgium and Switzerland.

A Tidbit from the Far East -- The status of Internet gambling in the Philippines has been up in the air for weeks as Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) has gone forth with the operating of an online casino, despite adamant disapproval from the government. President Joseph Estrada last week issued a policy statement that the government is getting out of legalized gambling and ordered the sale of Pagcor, currently a government entity. Pagcor originally operated only land-based casinos, but has expanded to issue jai alai, online bingo and Internet casino franchises. Yesterday, President Estrada ordered Pagcor to close, within 48 hours, of all jai alai, online bingo and online casino gaming facilities and outlets. According to an article in Business World, "The President additionally asked Pagcor to seek the assistance of the Philippine National Police and all local government units in carrying out his directive." Pagcor has received heavy criticism from both the President and the Senate for its aggressive expansion of gambling in the Philippines. A recent resolution signed by 16 senators condemned the group for encouraging gambling, "which is slowly devouring the morals and values of the Filipinos." The statement continued, "With the use of television and internet technology, Pagcor and certain private companies have devised ways and means to bring gambling to communities and homes."

Breakin' Deals -- This week's most talked about story has been the unexpected split between Golden Palace, one of the Internet's oldest and most successful casinos, and its longtime software supplier, MicroGaming Systems. Golden Palace, thus far, has remained tightlipped about the identity of its new supplier. MicroGaming, meanwhile, issued a very brief statement confirming that Golden Palace was no longer its licensee, but company officials haven't offered further comments.

Makin' Deals -- dot com Entertainment Group, Inc., through its dot com (Antigua) Ltd. subsidiary, announced this week that it has entered into a license agreement with Punta Barajas, S.A. of Costa Rica in which dot com will deliver and install a complete Internet bingo and Internet casino system for use by Punta. The agreement encompasses dot com's first sale of Internet casino technology. The Punta group of companies currently operates two Internet casinos which dot com says have an active player base in excess of 40,000 players. Punta initially plans to convert a portion of its current Internet casino operations to dot com technology, while at the same time establishing an online bingo presence using dot com's Internet bingo technology. As part of this agreement, Punta will pay to dot com up-front license fees along with an ongoing royalty interest.

Wiremix Media Inc., a firm that handles marketing for Starnet-licensed online casinos, announced this week that it will also conduct marketing and Web development for, Inc.'s online casino clients. this week signed an agreement to license online casinos developed with Starnet's casino software.

U.K. media group 365 Corporation has signed a two-year deal with online bookmaker in which 365's Football365 website will link to's online sportsbook. The company will receive sponsorship payments via users who click through to from the site and place bets. will have a presence on Football365's site, email products and within its editorial content. Likewise, will integrate Football365's content within its websites.

New Stuff -- If Internet gambling ever becomes a reality in South Africa, GGS-AU, one of five testing facilities licensed to test gaming machines, casinos and other gambling equipment in Australia, has positioned itself nicely to cash in on the region's game auditing market. The company announced this week that it's in the process concluding an agreement with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to form GGS-SA, a South African joint-venture company that will offer testing and consulting services to the gambling industry in South Africa. The new company will combine the world class knowledge of standards compliance testing of the SABS with the ISO9002 certified methodologies of GGS. SABS has sole legislative responsibility for the certification of gambling equipment in South Africa and has service agreements in place with numerous testing organizations to supply testing services. SABS previously partially out-sourced its game testing to GLI. GGS's managing director, Steve Toneguzzo, heads an Internet gaming task force established by the Internet Industry Association., one of the Internet's first and largest sports betting sites and online casinos, announced yesterday the completion of a new online casino website for GITM, LTd. The new site, Orient Casino (, offers 22 casino games and has been customized to appeal to eastern culture. It's currently available only in English, with a Chinese version planned for the near future. "We are excited about this partnership and the opportunity to expand our horizons around the globe," said Simon Noble, executive director and co-founder of "Orient Casino will offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy the most sophisticated, fair and user-friendly casino games on the Internet. At the same time, it's a successful business proposition for, customizing casinos for other owners who market the product as we manage it." The software for the Antigua-licensed casino was developed by MicroGaming Systems.

iCrystal Inc., a designer, developer and licensor of Internet-based casino gaming software, announced the successful launch of its new "2001 Millennium Edition Software Packages." The new software is showcased at and

A Tidbit from the Rock -- The lowering of Great Britain's betting tax is considered by many to be the only solution to the migration of Internet and phone wagering businesses to offshore locations, a trend that's clearly hammering the U.K. betting industry. Some relocated U.K. bookmakers claim that a tax cut could bring them back, and an article in Panorama, Gibraltar's online daily paper, points out that such a scenario could be devastating to life on the Rock. The offshore betting industry provides jobs to over 500 people on the Mediterranean peninsula, home to Victor Chandler's and Ladbroke's Internet and telephone betting operations.

A New Face -- Go Call Inc. announced this week the election of Michael Meyer to its board of directors. Meyer, a chartered accountant since 1974 and a senior partner for the firm Good, Meyer, Litt, and Schwartzentruber of Stratford, Ontario, Canada since 1977, brings with him 27 years of accounting and consulting experience.

Nambling Notes - Oct 20, 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.