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Vicky Nolan

Nambling Notes - Mar 2, 2001

2 March 2001

On the U.K. Front -- With foot-and-mouth disease ravaging farm animals in England, Scotland and Ireland, government authorities have implemented a number of steps that may slow down the dreaded disease's spread. So far, thousands of animals have either been slaughtered or are awaiting that fate thanks to the highly contagious disease. And although horses are thought to be safe from it, they can help spread the disease to new places. As a result, the British Horseracing Board (BHB) and The Jockey Club ordered the temporary cancellation of all horse races in England through March 7. The decision has not been universally accepted. One critic of the decision is Warwick Bartlett, chairman of the British Betting Offices Association, who said, "My view is that the BHB has imposed this voluntary ban, which is meaningless. During the 1967 outbreak there were 24,000 cases and racing was banned for 4 months. Government concluded that the ban on horseracing did not help stop the spread of the disease so the decision to ban here was political and emotional." Bartlett added that with the loss of horse racing, which accounts for 70 percent of all betting turnover in the U.K., bookmakers have essentially lost 70 percent of their income during the ban.

The disease's toll on horse racing has also left some pondering whether computer generated racing could fill the niche left by cancelled meets, although This is London reports that a resounding cry of "No!" has been heard in the United Kingdom. "I'm not sure it would catch the public's imagination in the same way," admitted Victor Chandler International's Neal Wilkins. William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe commented, "We're not desperate yet, and there's still plenty of real action for people to bet on." He doubted whether punters would even believe in virtual racing. "I think with racing," he added, "people will be too cynical and will worry that the minute the bets are not looking favorable to the bookmaker, the virtual horse will suddenly take a fall at the last. I'm afraid there's no substitute for the real thing." Or, as This Is London noted, since virtual racing would require computer-generated horses, "it would just be racing's luck if it was hit by a virus."

Is Rank Leisure heading online soon? The company is reportedly ready to make that jump. "Twelve months ago, we were a sprawling conglomerate with too many competing claims on our financial resources and management expertise," CEO Mike Smith said. "We can now look forward to what we are building and not back at problems that need solving." Among those intended changes are plans to expand the company's casino and bingo activities with the launch of casino websites featuring its Hard Rock brand name.

Legal Stuff -- A U.S. judge last week ordered a Costa Rican Internet sportsbook operator to hand over the domain names “” and “” to Harrah's Entertainment Inc. subsidiary Rio Properties Inc. In his order, Judge Philip Pro last week, indicated that that the Costa Rican company, Rio International Interlink, had failed to comply with the discovery process. "It is apparent to this court that (Rio International) not only failed to comply with this court's order, but has no intention of doing so," Pro wrote. The company was also ordered to pay attorney's fees for both parties, and has been prohibited from making any future attempt to register domain names, e-mail addresses or trademarks "which incorporate the term 'Rio' or any confusingly similar term, mark or name."

In a similar case, the Las Vegas Sun reports that Station Casinos Inc. has sued NetraCorp LLC of Kansas City, MO and its owner, Shane Kinsch, in an effort to prevent the use of its Station Casinos domain name in advertisements for NetraCorp's online gambling and sportsbetting services. According to court documents filed by Station Casinos, the defendants in 1998 tried to sell to the company the domain name, which Station Casinos owns, for $15,000. "We've executed a settlement in late 1998. This suit is in violation of the settlement," the defendants said. "When the settlement was made, I stopped routing traffic to it. Station Casinos had all the legal paperwork to transfer the domain names to itself, but Station didn't complete transferring the name to themselves and the domain name expired and was released to the public."

New Faces --

Edward Starrs has just been named as vice president of gaming for Intersphere Interprises, the company responsible for bringing to the Internet.

Canadian Senator James Kelleher has agreed in principal to join the board of directors for Emerging Market Solutions, the company that will be formed by the proposed merger of Applied Gaming Solutions of Canada Inc. and CCA Companies Inc. Kelleher has served on the AGS board of directors since 1996.

Makin' Deals -- Starnet Communications International Inc.'s wholly-owned subsidiary, World Gaming Services Inc. has entered into simulcast agreements with Scarborough Downs and Miami Jai-Alai. Scarborough Downs is a harness track located in Portland, Maine, and is the state's largest and most active raceway. Miami Jai-Alai is owned and operated by the Florida Gaming Corporation, described as the largest jai-alai operator in the world. In addition, World Gaming has signed new one-year agreements with two existing track partners, Phoenix Greyhound Park and Monticello Raceway.

dot com Entertainment Group, Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary corporation, dot com (Antigua) Ltd. has entered into a license agreement with Gaming On-Line S.A. of Costa Rica to deliver and install a complete Internet bingo and online casino system, which should be finished later this month.

The Jamaica Lottery Corp. has entered into a $3 million agreement with Clearwire TM Technologies, a provider of fixed-wireless Internet connectivity, to build a turnkey wireless system in Jamaica. As part of the agreement, Clearwire will provide an end-to-end fixed-wireless solution for the lottery. The system supports 750 electronic-ticket sales agents for the lottery and later will deliver services including automated payroll, financial transactions and Internet access, through kiosks in the nation's 350 post offices.

In the Marketing Mix -- A new service that routes unused exit traffic between reputable casinos and gaming sites has been launched by Webstorm Media. Established casino and gaming operations can sign up for the free service, CasinoPopup, and benefit from the "wasted" Internet traffic of approved partners. According to the company, CasinoPopup affiliates gain one quality player from a partner site for every two visitors that leave. More information about the service can be found at the website.

A merger between two marketing companies is intended to create one full service Internet solutions company. As part of the deal, Wiremix Media Inc. will become a division of, working as the Canadian operations arm. NextLevel specializes in new media convergence, website design and development, while Wiremix is an Internet marketing agency that handles marketing for Starnet and casinos. "Having the Wiremix team join NextLevel means we can handle any project," said Benny Doro, NextLevel's CEO. "The fit between the companies is so ideal that there is no overlap or loss of employment from either staff.

Nambling Notes - Mar 2, 2001 is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan