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Vicky Nolan

Nambling Notes - Nov 3, 2000

3 November 2000

Tidbits from Down Under -- According to an AAP article, the battle against the interactive gaming moratorium would be included in the Council of Australian Governments meeting, which was held Friday. ACT Chief Minister Gary Humphries vowed to make sure the subject was included in the COAG discussions, especially with the possibility looming that Communications Minister Richard Alston might reintroduce the gambling moratorium bill before the Senate. "The ACT has one of the nation's most stringent regulatory regimes governing the territory's gambling providers," Humphries said. "We have long argued that interactive gaming can best work in a controlled, regulated environment, as proposed in the ACT, but the Commonwealth has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the realities of the situation." A slew of representatives are working feverishly to battle the moratorium, adds the Australian Financial Report, which lists efforts by Anthony Benscher, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister John Howard as well as representatives from the Australian Casino Association, Lasseters, Crown and Jupiter's casinos and Tabcorp and the Internet Industry Association.

Tidbits from the UK -- Combatants continue to fight over media rights for British horse racing. Go Racing, a joint venture equally owned by Arena Leisure, British Sky Broadcasting and Channel Four Television, looks like the winner over Carlton Communications. Go Racing most recently offered £750 million over 10 years, including £400 million guaranteed funds and £50 million in cash, Reuters reported. This overshadows Carlton's offer of £400 million cash. Arena had previously made a £320 million offer on its own, which expired in October. Arena's finance director said the Go Racing deal "brings together the advanced digital television technology of BSkyB, Channel Four's award-winning television coverage and Arena's Internet and global interactive pari-mutuel wagering system."

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, a recent entrant to the Internet, is adding interactive betting services via the TV to its lineup. According to news reports, the company has signed a partnership agreement with British cable operator NTL to provide the interactive betting service, set to go live in 2001. In addition, two new non-executive directors have been appointed: Peter O'Grady Walshe and Ian Armitage.

Gaming Internet Plc has linked up with Pure Entertainment Games Plc to offer a selection of browser-based sports games and an online casino, reports Ananova. Under terms of the deal, Pure Entertainment will host on its site five free-play browser-based games to be supplied by SportsMAD, a Gaming Internet division. Freeloader would then receive a percentage of receipts for players who follow links to the SportsMAD site for real-play games. Users would be able to download Gaming Internet's ZapCasino software from the freeloader site, generating additional funds for Pure Entertainment. "The benefits for of this type of deal are obvious - we get excellent new content for our site that will extend our appeal to an even wider audience," explained Pure Entertainment's chief executive Harry Holmwood. "We also get a second and proven revenue stream in the form of online gambling and betting which will compliment the revenues we receive from our unique targeted advertising."

Tidbits from the Far East -- Explaining that the court had seen "the merits of our case because we have a valid contract with Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.)," Sports and Games Entertainment Corp. (SAGE) President Johnny Antillon celebrated a 20-day restraining order issued by the court October 27 that prevented the closure of the Philippine online casino, reported. The casino, operated by SAGE, was temporarily shut down President Joseph Estrada on October 14 ordered all gambling venues closed.

A Tokyo bank will sell lottery tickets over the Internet, reports Lottery Insider. Account holders with the Dai-Ichi Bank starting in December will be able to purchase lottery tickets issued by local governments, and deposit their winnings in their bank accounts via PCs and i-mode Internet-capable mobile phones.

Tidbits from the US -- With the convening of Congress until November 13, Internet gambling proponents could be forgiven if they take a sigh of relief. Despite numerous efforts on Rep. Bob Goodlatte's part to reintroduce his Internet Gambling Prohibition bill somehow, somewhere, the bill has yet to show up for vote. Time is running out for the 2000 session, and surely Goodlatte's energy has to be running low, too. We'll find out in just a couple weeks time, when Congress comes back with a list of additions and subtractions on its rolls. Election Day is November 7 and the winners of the national vote could also be the make or break of the prohibition bill.

Lotteries in the United States are lagging way behind their international counterparts when it comes to maintaining a presence on the World Wide Web, but the Iowa Lottery is trying to buck that trend. The lottery announced this week that its players will have a chance to win cash prizes and coupons for free lottery tickets in a new promotion involving local television stations and the website "The Powerball Game Show Sweepstakes" will run from Oct. 30 through Dec. 4. Players will enter using tickets from Instant Powerball TV Game, the scratch game that can make you an on-air contestant on "Powerball - The Game Show." Last week, the Iowa Lottery became the first lottery in the country to feature "Treasure Tower," a scratch game that's played on a personal computer.

On the casino end of American gaming arena, MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment are battling feverishly for pole position in online gambling race. The latest move comes from Mirage Resorts via software titan Microsoft Corp.. Microsoft recently released "Microsoft Casino," a suite of PC computer featuring computerized versions of Bellagio, the Mirage and Treasure Island casinos--all Mirage Resorts properties. Gamers can play real casino games in simulated version of all three casinos. Games include blackjack, Pai Gow poker, Caribbean Stud poker, baccarat, craps, roulette, The Big 6 Wheel, video keno, video poker and slots.

Just in time for the Christmas holidays--the season of joy and brotherly love--Harrah's Entertainment also wants to offer up its revamped customer loyalty program featuring a electronic gambling card and newly designed website. With the holidays traditionally considered a slow gambling time, Harrah's officials are hoping to boost business thanks to their efforts, reports Internet Week. The company will collect information on its customers to cross-sell its products, promote hotel rooms and attract even more clientele. Customers activities will be tracked via their Total Rewards card used to pay for slots food and rooms, which will detail how long customers play, how much they bet, what games they prefer and whether they win or lose. The Total Rewards system was developed for Harrah's by matchFIRST, to allow members to access current account information, check reward level score and peruse a menu of complimentary items available at any of the 21 Harrah's properties. Total Reward members can also access the Harrah's new free-play virtual casino. The revamped site will also alert customers to last minute deals, eventually branching out with alerts via cell phone and pagers.

To Net or Not? -- Las Vegas officials are dithering about whether to lend out the city's name and seal to, a potential Australian-licensed online casino, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Last Monday Mayor Oscar Goldman favored a three-month test run of the lend-lease program, which could generate as much as $90 million for city coffers, noted gaming attorney Anthony Cabot pointed out. James Jimmerson, the attorney for the casino executives fronting the vegasone plan, wasn't sure that a three-month trial period would pass muster. "My suspicion is that they would support it," he said, "but I don't want to overstep my bounds." Las Vegas would lease its name and city seal to the site, according to the proposed deal, in return for five percent of the gaming site's gross revenues and 25 percent of its profits.

New Faces -- Global Entertainment Holdings/Equities Inc. has appointed Donald J. Lisa to take over as company president and chief executive officer. He replaces David Wintroub who resigned his position on October 31. Wintroub remains a director of the company. officials foresee a huge increase in business following the release of its new software and start of its partnership deal with Starnet Communications International, and have brought in a few helping hands to lighten the load. Joining the company is Christa Taylor as chief financial officer and director; as well as unnamed staff members filling webmaster, sales and vice-president of marketing roles. Taylor replaces Charlo Barbosa, who left to pursue other business ventures.

Makin' Deals -- The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft may invest more than $1 billion in News Corporation's Sky Global Networks, the recently formed unit that consolidates all of News Corp.'s global satellite assets and investments. If negotiations materialize, Microsoft will own a 3.5 percent stake in Sky Global, and a public offering, originally scheduled for this fall, will be deferred until next year. Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch. How's that for an entry? eLot, Inc. and MDI Entertainment are forming a joint venture to develop websites that will allow lottery players to turn in losing scratch tickets for another chance to win. MDI will market eLot's product and services to its clients. The deal will cost eLot one million common shares in exchange for 444 convertible preferred stock in MDI's stock, which is convertible to 444,444 common stock. In addition, eLot received a warrant for the purchase of another 555,556 MDI shares for $3.50 each. eLot also announced the launch of its enhanced lottery results website, Registered players will receive their state lottery results via email every day, and can get lottery news, archived results, tips for playing the lottery and use a random number generator on the new site., a provider of alternative mobile entertainment, is providing a suite of games for more than 15 Internet-ready Sprint PCS phones. "Our goal at Indiqu is to entertain the mobile phone user, and this is one of the first steps in reaching that goal," said Robert Lezec, Indiqu president and CEO. Indiqu is also developing additional entertainment channels accessible by wireless phone users. World Gaming Corp.'s newest online casino, Dynasty Casino, has opened and it's targeted to the burgeoning Asian player market. Transnet Service, Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Xirtrix Gaming Technologies Inc., developed the Java casino, which will also feature multi-player progressive Pai-Gow poker.

While many companies are counting the days till the New Year, the folks at Boss Media are busily hatching new casinos faster than a chicken can lay an egg. Their newest site is Mini Vegas Casino, which is owned and operated by CyberCroupier Ltd. (Wonder if they considered any licensing deals with the city of Las Vegas?) Players can play blackjack, roulette, Caribbean poker, video poker, keno, the "White Pearl" slot machine and a progressive slot machine either for fun or real money. The casino uses Webdollar, an online payment system, to process secure transactions and dispatch winnings to players. A 24-hour customer service center is available to players via toll-free phone and e-mail.

TrackPower has signed a letter of agreement to acquired all outstanding shares of Compurace, with the transaction slated to close before November 17. Compurace operates a video archiving and Internet broadcasting service, and has exclusive and non-exclusive replay and live broadcast agreements with major tracks from New York, California and Kentucky. Under the agreement's terms, TrackPower will acquire all outstanding Compurace shares for $750,000 in a combination of cash and common stock. In addition, the current managing partner has agreed to a two-year contract to remain with the company.

Online Gaming Systems, Ltd. is branching out. The company has added Internet hosting to its line up, and has already signed two agreements. "We are pleased to see that the hosting service, for play for fun sites, has been readily accepted by the marketplace," said Gary Ramos, OGS president and CEO. "We plan to aggressively market this service to Nevada and U.S. gaming and wagering operators. Our service will allow licensed gaming operators to quickly and cost-effectively enter into the world of interactive gaming. The company will be able to leverage both its in-depth experience along with its software and Excel's Mini-Touch portable product-line in implementing the new service and gain a monthly recurring revenue stream."

Nambling Notes - Nov 3, 2000 is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan