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Mark Balestra

Nambling Notes - Sep 22, 2000

22 September 2000

Word from the House -- With midnight closing in quickly, Rep. Bob Goodlatte has begun his final push to get the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act brought up for another vote. According to National Journal's Technology Daily, Goodlatte and House Rules Chairman David Dreier have engaged in discussions regarding concerns about the bill's ISP provisions. Goodlatte is said to be working with House leaders to sort out procedural issues regarding ground rules for how to bring the legislation up for another vote. A date for such a vote hasn't yet been targeted.

Don't forget there are two other bills floating around out there as well: Justice's amendment to the Wire Wager Act, HB 5020, and 4419, the Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act. Don't be surprised if one of these bills, particularly 4419, come back into the picture.

Meanwhile, National Journal's Congress Daily reports that Republican leaders, fearful not settling issues regarding the annual budget by the House's Oct. 6 adjournment target, are considering sending rank-and-file members home to campaign while appropriators, leaders and the White House negotiate. If this happens, legislators would be summoned back for the year's final votes upon the completion of negotiations.

New Stuff -- Global Entertainment Holdings/Equities, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, Interactive Gaming and Wagering, NV (IGW), has completed the development of its Customer Loyalty Program. The incentive-based program is designed to enable sportsbook and casino operators to promote retention of customers, increase overall website activity and attract new customers who seek participation in receiving free gifts and prizes while simply playing online. The company believes that the program is a step above similar programs because it has partnered with the likes of American Airlines, Discover France and "The program works similar to the frequent flyer programs offered by the airline industry," Global IGW Chairman of the Board Bryan Abboud explains. "The end user is able to access his individual account status pursuant to the amount of incentive points he has accumulated within the Loyalty Program and can access it from a sister site to the primary gaming property." The Customer Loyalty Program can be utilized to offer special incentives for events such as the Super Bowl, World Cup Soccer, NCAA football and basketball championships. So far, IGW has developed two Loyalty sites on behalf of its licensees located at and The end user receives rewards and accumulate them over time to be exchanged later for products and services such as airlines tickets, sports merchandise and gift certificates.

According to, Gaming Internet Plc revealed Monday its intention of launching a 24/7 greyhound racing betting business over the Internet, interactive television and mobile telephone systems. The company's subsidiary has already acquired exclusive Internet, interactive television and mobile telephone broadcasting rights from several worldwide greyhound racetracks, including in Britain, the United States, Australasia, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Africa.

Go Call Inc. subsidiary Go Cash Inc. has announced the implementation of processing for a new sportsbook called Rhino's Book. Located at, the site will use updated sportsbook software that will also be used at most of the company's future sportsbook sites. The site is the second in a series of new sites to be announced over the next few weeks.

Tidbits from Down Under -- Lasseters Online recently reported impressive profits for its second fiscal year and the company has indicated that it won't let the Australian federal government get in its way. Newsbytes reports that the company would likely move its operations offshore and consider legal action against the government if a ban is implemented. "We have built up too much goodwill amongst players and worked to hard to establish a strong revenue stream to give it away," Managing Director Peter Bridge told Newsbytes. "One alternative would be to move offshore and provide the same services from jurisdictions supporting online gaming. . . . We would also consider legal action against retrospectively banning what is currently a licensed and lawful service in Australia. This action would jeopardize 45 full time jobs, an A$10 million investment in technology and more than 3.5 years of research, development and operation. It also restricts competitive trade given that Australians will still be able to access the multitude of international online gaming sites that are now available."

The Victorian Government this week introduced new legislation for lotteries which, according to Minister for Gaming John Pandazopoulos, will deliver better and more products and create Australia's most competitive lotteries environment. The "Public Lotteries Bill" will result in the removal of a 10 cent tax on Tattslotto (Tattersalls) tickets. It also provides the legislative framework for Labor's football tipping competition, seeks to ensure that Victoria adopts a national approach to lottery license issues, extends Tattersall's lottery license to 2007 and provides the means for the introduction of a national lotteries market. Additional lottery licenses will be issued starting in 2004.

Makin' Deals -- The AAP reported today that eBet Limited, an Australian provider of multiple Internet gaming services, will pay $3 million to acquire ACT-based sports betting company City Index Australia. The deal calls for eBet to pay the $3 million to acquire all of the issued capital of City Index, to be satisfied through the issue of $2.5 million in eBet shares and the issue of a convertible note for the balanec. "City Index is in profit and showing strong upward trends through diligent risk management according to accounts presented to us,' eBet COO and CFO Ed Foy said. "It has cash reserves of around $A500,000 which, with the added resources and interactive betting experience we bring to the table, will provide a strong platform for growth and profitability." The deal, which brings eBet's customer base up to roughly 20,000 registered users, also calls for eBet to assume City Index's current debt for $900,000. City Index Australia is majority owned by City Index UK, the UK's largest index betting operator. City Index UK and U.K. online sports betting operation are 100 percent owned by Garban-Intercapital.

United announced this week that it has finalized the sale of the first three licenses for its proprietary sportsbook software, resulting in a total profit to the company of $300,000. The sportsbook software complements the company's casino games software package, for which were licensed to the same three licensees earlier this year. The casino contracts resulted in $750,000 in profits to the company.

U.K. bookmaker William Hill announced the implementation of Retail Logic's Solve/SE software to speed up the process of betting over the Internet. The credit and debit card online payment solution was introduced for the Euro 2000 football championship, where between a quarter and a third of all bets with William Hill on the outcome of the final were placed over the Internet. The amount of Internet wagering at William Hill during this period was much higher than expected, but the company says Solve/SE performed without problems. They will now utilize the service to handle the expected increase in demand generated by the Olympic Games.

On the Technology Front -- Sir Richard Branson's U.K. cellular network, Virgin Mobile, has teamed with Ericsson to launch what it calls the world's first mobile phone-based e-wallet (m-wallet) service in London. Introduced this week at the Live 2000 exhibition, the new service can be used with a Virgin Cola dispensing machine, which allows users to deduct 50 pence from a Virgin Mobile account instead of using cash. The cola machine will be relocated to Virgin's flagship London store in the West End and will be available for use by regular customers with mobile phones. Ericsson has been developing its m-wallet technology for 18 months. Of note to those with gambling interests: Should Branson's The People's Lottery win its bide to operate the U.K. National Lottery, the new technology could provide a very lucrative means of distribution.

Miscellaneous Tidbits -- Gaming e-commerce solutions provider eConnect has announced plans to re-launch its recently-acquired Top Sports subsidiary as a publicly traded Internet-based gaming company. Shares of the new company, Global Internet Cash Games Inc., (GICG), will be distributed to eConnect shareholders on a pro-rata basis upon completion of the spin-off, planned for spring, 2001. eConnect earlier this year completed its acquisition of Top Sports S.A., a non-Internet walk-in gaming operation based in Santo Domingo, and is currently developing host processing systems in the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Hong Kong and Australia, The four countries are intended to be international gateways of eConnect's Bank Eyes OnlyTM secure online electronic payment system for transactions originated by the company's eCashPad. Upon activation of the Dominican Republic eConnect host, Top Sports, which already operates walk-in wagering locations, will gain an online Internet presence though the launching of in October. As part of its business plan, GICG will also develop "The International," a lottery in which consumers can use the eCashPad to initiate ATM card-with-PIN Internet cash payments. Initially, the game will be held simultaneously in the four nations with eConnect host processing systems, although the company ultimately plans to expand it to Asian locations beyond Hong Kong. The company also says that GICG will develop additional multiple online cash games of chance and skill. GICG's service fees to gaming merchants will be 5 percent of each wager initiated by an eCash Pad transaction. GIGC will pay eConnect Host Systems a transaction fee per eCashPad, for each eCashPad-initiated gaming transaction. Top Sports is pursuing and testing new casino and sportsbook software for a betting service to be launched in the current fiscal quarter.

A Businesswomen from Surrey last week won what's being called the biggest ever online casino win in the U.K. while gambling at King Solomon's online Casino. The $137,000 jackpot was one though MicroGaming's highly successful Cashsplash progressive slots system.

In the spirit of keeping things interesting, and perhaps slightly controversial, is giving odds on which countries will lose medals because of athletes failing the IOC's new drug test. The online bookmaker has named China with 5-6 odds as the early favorite to get pegged.

Revolving Doors -- Border Capital Corp. has announced the appointment of Eamon Hoey as chairman of the board of directors. Hoey succeeds Ottovavio Boffo, who will devote more time to other business interests and personal matters. Hoey was an active director of TeleBackup Systems Inc., a publicly traded supplier of enterprise data storage management software. He participated in the creation of significant shareholder value when TeleBackup was sold to Veritas Software Corporation.

The company also announced the election of two new board members--E.V. Di Massa, Jr. and Ken Green--subject to regulatory approval. Di Massa, the former senior vice president for programming and development at King World, was the executive in charge of production for the TV shows "Wheel of Fortune," "JEOPARDY!" and "Oprah." He also produced "The Mike Douglas Show," "The Regis Philbin Show" and has written and produced shows for Arsenio Hall, Jerry Seinfeld, Joan Rivers, David Copperfield, Billy Crystal, Alan Thicke and Tony Orlando. Green is a gaming industry consultant and a professional accountant with extensive business experience. He is a former vice president of Manitoba Lottery Foundation, a provincial lottery organization in Canada, and was responsible for the development of Manitoba's existing online video lottery terminal systems and two government-operated casinos. He was also directly involved in the opening of several of the largest casino projects in North America, including the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, Soaring Eagle in Michigan, Sac & Fox Casino in Kansas and Windsor, Niagara Falls, and the Blue Heron Casinos in Ontario. Border has granted stock options to the new directors, subject to regulatory approval, for a total of 400,000 common shares at an exercise price of $0.70 per share, exercisable for a period of two years.

Gocorp Limited just announced that its directors have chosen to relocate its corporate function to the company's head office in Bundall, Queensland. Further, the company will review the requirements of its senior finance function. Given the relocation and changes in requirements, the directors have accepted the resignation of Arthur Gillen, who terminated his employment September 1 and resigned as a director September 12 upon the cessation of the company's corporate activities in Sydney. Michael Head, currently the company's financial controller and company secretary, will take Gillen's place until a replacement is found. Inc. announced that shareholders have approved the reelection of five directors to the company's board. The five directors are Robert M. Fell, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of since June 1998; Caesar P. Kimmel, private investor and an original founder and former executive vice president of Warner Communications Inc.; Alan W. Landsburg, founder and CEO of The Landsburg Co. and Alan Landsburg Productions; Charles D. Peebler Jr., chairman emeritus of True North Communications Inc., the world's sixth-largest advertising agency holding company and William H. Roedy, president of MTV Networks International.

eBet Limited has announced that Frank Favretto has resigned is board seat with the company and that Michael Hale has resigned his Coms2l Limited board seat to facilitate the separation of the two company's affairs ahead of the distribution in-specie of Coms' eBet shareholding. Favretto has been the nominated representative of Coms2l Limited since the spin off of eBet from Coms2l last year.

Nambling Notes - Sep 22, 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.