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Casinomeister - Online Casino Information
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Online Casino News

All the online casino news that's fit to print!

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

This Month:
BOSS SPEAKS ON JACKPOT ALLEGATIONS 21 November
GOOD NEWS FROM CAPITOL HILL 21 November
GI OPTS OUT OF THE CASINO BUSINESS 21 November
COOL CASINOS 21 November
PAYPAL HACKED? 21 November
CASINO CAUTIONS 21 November
32 RED GETS A BIG WIN 21 November
SVENSKA LIKES BOSS 21 November
WHO'S LEAVING? 21 November
TOTAL POKER EXPERIENCE FROM SWEDEN 21 November
SWEDISH RIDDLE 15 November
POSITIVE BOSS BINGO 15 November
HOT SPOT 15 November
READER'S CHOICE RESULTS OUT 15 November
PLAYERS ROOM SEQUEL 15 November
CASINO CAUTIONS 15 November
FASTER AND FOR FREE 15 November
GOOD RETURNS FOR RANK ONLINE 15 November
EUROPEAN FOCUS WORKS FOR BETINTERNET 15 November
SAGE LICENSE FOUL-UP? 15 November
THAI TROUBLES 15 November
THAI LOTTO BUT NOT CASINOS 15 November
MOBILE GAMBLING DUE 15 November
SPORTINGBET WIDENS LOSSES 11 November
AUSSIE HASSLES 11 November
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE LOBBY? 11 November
SKY CASINO 11 November
COOL CASINOS 11 November
CASINO CAUTIONS 11 November
PLAYMATES NO MORE 11 November
FACELIFT FOR PROG SITE 11 November
CHINESE PULL IN THE 'NET 11 November
TIGER POKER 11 November
INTERCASINO, TOO! 11 November
WHITE HOUSE INTERVENTION 1 November
BARCELONA A SUCCESS 1 November
MEDITERRANEAN LICENSING 1 November
'THE PRICE IS RIGHT' FOR ONLINE CASINOS 1 November
LASSETERS' LOUNGE 1 November
AFFILIATES UNITE! 1 November
NEW FROM CHARTWELL TECH 1 November
CRYPTOLOGIC, TOO 1 November
COOL CASINOS 1 November
CASINO CAUTIONS 1 November
WILDJACK WIN 1 November
GSS SIX PACK 1 November
GAMBLERS LOBBY ROUNDABOUT 1 November
KOREA CLAMPS DOWN 1 November
PAYOUT PERCENTAGES 1 November
$1.8 MILLION LOSS FOR KERZNER INTERACTIVE 1 November
COLOSSEUM NAME DISPUTES 1 November



BOSS SPEAKS ON JACKPOT ALLEGATIONS
21 November 2002

Arrangments being made to redress the "oversight"

The message boards have been abuzz all week with the Boss Affair, following allegations that the top Swedish turnkey provider improperly removed upwards of $100 000 from its progressive jackpots at flagship Gold Club Casino and other licensees earlier this year whilst changing to a new server.

After almost ten days of silence, Boss issued a statement this week explaining that the missing funds were the result of an "oversight" on which it pledged to enlist the aid of internationally respected auditors Price Waterhouse Coopers and watchdog bodies in arranging log inspections and an appropriate and fair payment of the monies involved to contiguous jackpot winners.

The statement claims that in changing to a new "multi-linked" and bigger win jackpot system, the amounts in the old individual jackpots were removed to enable all participating casinos to start with a clean slate on the new system, a move which the company retrospectively accepts was not smart in a player perceptual sense.

To rectify the situation, Boss has announced the following action plan:

a) By Friday November 29, 2002, all Boss Media casinos that opted to join the new multi-linked progressive program will post on their websites the exact value that was removed on the date the progressive switch occurred. The value presented is the total progressive amount less the casinos initial seed of the Gold Pirates slot program and Caribbean Poker program in that selected casino.

b) To assure the public of our accountability, Boss Media will openly invite PriceWaterhouseCoopers and all gaming commissions, of which Boss Media is an approved software supplier, to examine our logs to ensure that we are stating the correct values to the public.

c) To ensure that loyal players of a particular casino had the chance to win the discontinued progressed amount, we will seek and find all players that won the first jackpot during the new program in each casino. The first winner of the Caribbean Royal Flush Jackpot or Gold Pirates .25, .50, $1 and $5 denominations in each casino will be paid an additional win amounting to the exact funds that were removed from that casino.

d) In the event a player has not won a jackpot to this point in a particular casino's Gold Pirate .25 .50, $1 or $5 machine or the Caribbean Poker Royal Flush Jackpot, then that casino will post on its website a notation to the public stating the additional funds that may be won if a player should win on the selected Gold Pirate denomination or the Caribbean Poker Royal Flush Jackpot.

e) To further assure the public of our accountability, Boss Media will openly invite PriceWaterhouseCoopers and all gaming commissions of which Boss Media is an approved software supplier to examine our gaming logs to ensure that the players that are due the additional win amounts are paid and that the gaming was genuine.

f) Lastly, as is common in online gaming, each casino will post the winners (public screen name only) on their website. These names will remain public for 30 days.

As we went to press the furore continued, with opinions divided between those who felt that the company was doing the right thing, and those who felt it deserved retribution for what they perceived as crooked conduct. The Swedish business press, tipped off by gamblers, carried the story and interviewed Boss CFO Markus Holm who revealed that the amounts involved were over US$155 000.

The disclosures started last weekend on Winneronline and soon spread to other internet gambling message boards. Poster "King888" who is believed to be either a former employee or associate of the Boss company alleged that:

"When implementing the new Jackpot server the company (Boss) was stealing the funds build up by the players. When one of the most frequent players asked support about where the money went, they declared that some players succeeded in winning all the jackpots at the same day.

"This was of course a lie, it would not be one chance in a billion it could ever happen. There was no reason given for why they did not unveil the “winners”. Normally it would be good marketing information.

"The company or someone in it took the opportunity to pocket all the money that was build up for years when resetting the jackpot. Of course a lot of players was disappointed. It all happened a few months ago at Boss Media's flagship Gold Club Casino"

Other sources independent of King888 confirmed the story from their own observations, and comment on the allegations was requested from Boss Media management.

The story immediately provoked shock and disappointment within the Got2bet community. Several observers pointed out that technically the large amounts of cash in progressives jackpots "belong" to the playing community who build them up in the hope that they will be the eventual winners.

Outrage followed, with forum and off-message board demands that in the absence of an acceptable explanation, the behaviour of Boss be brought to the attention of the IGC, The Netherlands Antilles licensing authorities, the Isle of Man licensing authorities (where Boss has been active) and the Swedish stock exchange where Boss is listed.

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GOOD NEWS FROM CAPITOL HILL
21 November 2002

Common sense at last from the man from Michigan

On the US legislative front there was the positive news that Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has proposed a new internet gambling Bill with a regulatory rather than prohibitory thrust.

Interactive Gaming News and Net Imperative both reported on the proposal as one that seeks to "create a five-member commission to study the feasibility of making Internet gambling legal in the United States." The Bill's main purpose is apparently to spark a discussion on how Got2bet could be regulated rather than prohibited as has been the case with legislative attempts to date. The creation of a commission to study possible regulatory approaches would go a long way toward putting the same kind of player protection that exists in the land-based gaming industry in the online gaming world.

"Such an approach would be more effective at weeding out bad actors and creating protections and safeguards in cyberspace gaming that exist in brick-and-mortar casinos," Conyers says in a press release, adding that the bill is aimed changing the fact that Congressional conversations about gambling tend to focus on prohibiting one form of it while promoting another form.

Nice to see a sensible approach at last on Capitol Hill to this perennial question of internet gambling legislation.


GI OPTS OUT OF THE CASINO BUSINESS
21 November 2002

Harrods, other casino interests being phased out

Under-performing Gaming Insight's troubles appear to be continuing. According to a report in NetImperative this week the group is axing some of its big money online casino operations despite years of development, in favour of concentrating on the racing sector.

The group's interactive TV greyhound racing channel Gobarkingmad is to be rebranded "Red Button Racing" which it says will allow a "more effective distribution of the service internationally" following a recent deal with the NSAB service in Scandinavia.

The move forms part of measures being put in place to cut GI's focus on operations "outside racing". Its joint online casino venture with Harrods Online, for which it paid the retailer £900,000 in shares when it was set up in 2000, has been closed, although the revenue sharing agreement arranged for the site will apparently continue to the end of next year.

The firm is also in the process of selling off its proprietary casino software, which was launched earlier this year as a means of providing a virtual reality, 3D casino environment online.

Comment on the move and the future of online casino partnerships set up with Altavista and Marco Pierre White's venues, The Mirabelle and The Stork Rooms, earlier this year was not available as we went to press.

The company claims that overall sales of the group should not be materially affected by the refocus, despite the closures. However, it said back in April that the casino division had generated £12m in sales.

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COOL CASINOS
21 November 2002

Chinese poker fans are going to enjoy Tigergaming.com, a new multiplayer online poker site powered by pretty cool Las Vegas From Home download software and owned by Antiguan-based Action Poker Gaming Inc. which we understand is backed by an Asian publicly quoted company. The site is no-nonsense clean and professional with all the information players need, and carries both Chinese Poker and Big 2 Poker games of good quality - further games are to be added soon according to the information section. There's limited 09h00 to 21h00 Support and an average range of financial options available, and the licensing is from Kahnawake.

The still-in-test-mode poker room site Totalpoker.com will appeal to Texas Hold 'Em and 7 Card Stud game fans with its Boss-powered quality download graphics and full 24/7 Support, backed by WebDollar financials. Designed and developed with Poker expert Andy Glazer as a consultant, the new site is easy to use and appealing with special features such as dealer’s voice, point-of-view seating, sit-out and reserve seating, and five-player turbo tables. . The licensing is Kahnawake.

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PAYPAL HACKED?
21 November 2002

Accounts cleaned out by fraudsters

The alarming news from several sites, including the forum at eBay is that there are an unknown number of PayPal account holders who have been scammed by criminals. Apparently sophisticated look-alike-sites and other criminal techniques have been used to obtain passwords and gain access.

A typical poster revealed "....someone got into my PayPal account, changed my email address, my password and mailing address. Cleaned out my bank account, credit line attached to checking account and my Visa account. I can not even log into my account to see what is happening. Beware and check your PayPal accounts closely. If you find that you have the same problem, go to www.consumer.gov/idtheft for help and advice. PayPal is on the case, as is the Federal Trade Commission and Police and I've placed a fraud alert with three Credit Bureaus. This just happened this past week. Just wanted to let everyone know to be ALERT.

Another poster reported, "This problem comes up daily, usually after a 'crook' obtains access to your PayPal password. This is usually done through email sent from a PayPal "look-alike".

If you look through this Board for threads of the last week or two, you will find several similar instances.

Start here: http://forums.ebay.com/dwd?50@@.ef8b1c3/24

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CASINO CAUTIONS
21 November 2002

Virtual alert

Virtual Casino and its clones, an RTG-powered group has regrettably featured in our casino cautions section before, but the antics of the management compel us to again warn players to be cautious around this operation. This week the fair and reliable Gambling Grumbles section at Gambling.com published a long list of complaints covering everything from bonusing irregularities to plain old slow-no pay (some over 4 months old) This was exacerbated by non-communication issues and CSRs who are apparently unhelpful and ignorant; in fact some of the customer relations allegations beggar the imagination! The casino is part of a group which includes U1 Casino, Party City Casino, Virtual Casino, All Aboard Casino, Teen Steam Casino and WinIt Casino, we're told. Like other concerned parties, Julie has brought the behaviour of Virtual to the attention of the licensor, RTG. She was assured that things were on the mend and subsequently invested a great deal of time in corresponding with an RTG official who had been given responsibility for the Virtual situation. Unfortunately, judging by the latest information at GG, her efforts have been one-sided and there appears to have been little action as a result. We would recommend that those interested should read Julie's report before getting involved at Virtual.

Editor's note: I've been dealing with a large number of complaints from these casinos as well.

Not even once...

A number of players were burned this week at an operation called 1 Time Casino.com, where the software allegedly likes to win....all of the time if the anecdotes of bruised players are to be believed. Adding insult to injury, the casino seemingly doesn't bother responding to emails, either and was certainly coy regarding it's gambling software when we tried to get a little information. The site design is actually appealing, so it is a pity that it turns out that this is one of those E-Cash Services operations using the much-criticised Avesta-Viadem software. These are all on the OPA NOT RECOMMENDED list.

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32 RED GETS A BIG WIN
21 November 2002

Lucky Andrew scoops the poker pot.

Microgaming-powered online casino 32red Casino brought home another big progressive jackpot this week when player Andrew T got lucky on the Jackpot Madness game Cyberstud Poker to the tune of a cool $166,280.72.

The break came on a handful of clubs - ten though ace - making it one of the first Royal Flush jackpots for the red-hot casino. With its very experienced management team headed by Ed Ware (ex-Ladbrokes) relative newcomer 32Red.com is making its presence felt with active marketing and what seems to be a happy player base judging by message board posts.

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SVENSKA LIKES BOSS
21 November 2002

More gambling work for Swedes

AB Svenska Spel, Scandinavia's biggest gaming company, is extending its online business links with Boss Media, which recently developed Svenska Spel's Internet casino - Casino Cosmopol - reserved for players throughout Sweden.

The turnkey provider has been asked to develop digital scratch cards, lotteries and other quick games - primarily for the Internet, that could be extended to include mobile telephones and digital TV applications.

"Svenska Spel is probably the most expert gaming operator in Europe. The fact that it is putting even more trust in Boss Media is of course great and very stimulating", says Peter Bertilsson, President and CEO of Boss Media.

The contract gives Boss Media an important reference customer vis-a-vis other big gaming companies in the world which, like Svenska Spel, are investing in a future involving a broad digital gaming portfolio.

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WHO'S LEAVING?
21 November 2002

Developer up for sale

Who do you know who is involved in the Got2bet industry as a casino supplier, has Curacao connections and is large enough to be asking upwards of $30 million as a buy-out?

That's the question observers were asking this week following the circulation from brokers River City Group of an offer to sell a "Leading developer and licensor of internet gaming software desires to sell all or part of their operation, licensed in the Netherlands Antilles.

"Sophisticated "jurisdiction control" technology allows blocking of selected jurisdictions on a case by case basis. U.S. and Canadian players are currently not accepted, which results in a significant legitimacy premium as there is no other platform/operator of the size and history of this company that has NEVER accepted US players.

"The company has actually experienced growth over the past year in spite of market trends. This company is a growth stage technology company with lots of investment in up and coming products. Price will vary depending on amount of purchase price paid in cash, cash equivalents or stock. US$30-60 million. Serious and qualified inquiries contact Lynn Schneider."

Unfortunately we can't tell you for sure who it is because Miss Schneider doesn't respond to emails, but the smart money is on Grand Virtual.

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TOTAL POKER EXPERIENCE FROM SWEDEN
21 November 2002

Beta testing on new poker site starts

Swedish turnkey provider Boss Media has launched the first beta version of TotalPoker.com, a new poker room site now open for Beta-testing. Players are invited to take part in the beta-test simply by logging on at the well-designed site. For testing purposes there is currently no real-cash play, participants play for fun and are encouraged to share their opinions and comments on all aspects.

One of the Internet's foremost poker experts, “Poker Pundit” Andy Glazer has worked with Boss in the overall development, product quality, and 24/7 support training of the site, which features Texas Hold 'Em and 7 Card Stud games with top quality graphics, backed by e-cash facilities from WebDollar.

Among TotalPoker’s features are: dealer’s voice, point-of-view seating, sit-out and reserve seating, and five-player turbo tables. Table limits range from $1/2 to $20/40.

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SWEDISH RIDDLE
15 November 2002

Could all the Boss Media jackpots have been won on the same day?

For the past week, the most senior echelons of Boss Media management have been silent over serious allegations that the company has snaffled the jackpots on its progressives. Repeated requests for an explanation went unanswered until just before we went to press, and the company's perspective on the issue, which knowledgable sources say could involve upwards of $100 000 remains unknown.

Company exec Markus Holm has promised an official comment, but this was not available as we went to press.

The disclosures started last weekend on Winneronline and soon spread to other internet gambling message boards. Poster "King888" who is believed to be either a former employee or associate of the Boss company alleged that:

"When implementing the new Jackpot server the company (Boss) was stealing the funds build up by the players. When one of the most frequent players asked support about where the money went, they declared that some players succeeded in winning all the jackpots at the same day.

"This was of course a lie, it would not be one chance in a billion it could ever happen. There was no reason given for why they did not unveil the “winners”. Normally it would be good marketing information.

"The company or someone in it took the opportunity to pocket all the money that was build up for years when resetting the jackpot. Of course a lot of players was disappointed. I spoke with one of the regular gamblers and she claimed to have lost over $30 000 at the casino. They could not even give her a decent or honest answer about the whole thing. The conclusion is clear. Never play at the Boss media Jackpots. They are totally manipulated. It all happened a few months ago at Boss Media's flagship Gold Club Casino"

Other sources independent of King888 confirmed the story from their own observations, and comment on the allegations was requested from Boss Media management.

The story immediately provoked shock and disappointment within the Got2bet community. Several observers pointed out that technically the large amounts of cash in progressives jackpots "belong" to the playing community who build them up in the hope that they will be the winners.

Outrage followed, with forum and off-message board demands that in the absence of an acceptable explanation, the behaviour of Boss be brought to the attention of the IGC, The Netherlands Antilles licensing authorities, the Isle of Man licensing authorities (where Boss has been active) and the Swedish stock exchange where Boss is listed.

The story has a way to run yet, it would appear and the Boss Media statement is awaited with interest.

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POSITIVE BOSS BINGO
15 November 2002

New from Sweden

More positive news from Boss Media this week concerns their new bingo release.

In the release, Boss points out that bingo is one of the world's favorite games in bingo halls as well as in game shows and lotteries. In the U.S., bingo halls apparently receive more than 1.2 billion visits every year. This can be compared with rock concerts with 40 million visits a year, sporting events with 32 million, or movies with 960 million visits each year. Bingo is one of the fastest growing market segments on the Internet and is expected to experience the same growth as online casinos did back in the nineties.

The new platform offers systems for casino games and has been expanded to include a turnkey bingo capability. The existing casino platform has generated more than Swedish Kroner 500 million since its launch in 1997. The bingo platform will be launched via Boss Media's own specialised portal, Bingoarena.com, and will offer a wide variety of games, slot machines and scratch lotteries. In addition to BingoArena.com, sales of whole systems to large state-owned and private gambling operators, media companies and charity organizations are expected to generate substantial revenues.

Boss claims that there is already huge client interest in it's bingo system, with requests from customers coming in from all over the world after a sneak preview at the Las Vegas Gambling Expo in September.

Bingo Arena provides players with a variety of Bingo games such as Big Ben -- 90 balls, Golden Gate -- pattern bingo, Acropolis -- European style bingo and Taj Mahal -- progressive jackpot bingo. Bingo Arena offers unique features that allow players to place side bets on fellow players who they think will win the game. Players also have the opportunity to play other games between rounds of Bingo, such as slot machines and instant winner "scratch tickets."


HOT SPOT
11 November 2002

Online gaming the favourite

The Got2bet industry in Europe received some welcome encouragement this week in a widely read Guardian Online article that described the application as "...universally identified as the hot stock area in e-commerce over the next five years, with expansion into gambling applications for interactive television singled-out as a potentially huge growth area."

The story used Channel 4's Late Night Poker show, which attracts more than a million viewers despite a graveyard slot as an example of one of many companies gearing up to ride the wave, and revealed that BSkyB is preparing to respond with a massive marketing push to boost its coverage of the upcoming Poker Million tournament. This is to be accompanied by a slew of services following the company's winning of an interactive gaming licence last month.

The major British bookie Littlewoods, is also reported to be preparing a big effort to plug their nascent iTV strategy.

Most encouraging comment came from Oscar Nieboer, vice president at US giants MGM Mirage Online, who says year on year growth, increasingly powerful technology and growing digital penetration means 'e-gaming clearly has the potential to become a huge market globally.

"The next few years will see great change, with more growth, more competition, more price loyalty rather than brand loyalty, and the emergence of broadband and multi-channel propositions," he adds.

The mobile phone industry is also keen: the Guardian says that gaming is increasingly being seen as the critical component of the entertainment-led 'killer-app' that will finally kick start the market for 3G services. According to one recent report from Alatto Technologies, gambling on mobile devices is set to become a significant earner; with sector revenues expected to reach $700m by 2006.

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READER'S CHOICE RESULTS OUT
15 November 2002

Microgaming, Casinomeister, Intercasino top the polls in GOM's annual event.

Gambling Online Magazine released the results of its latest Reader's Choice poll this week. The 60 000 print-run magazine devoted to internet gambling asks its readers to vote in a variety of categories each year.

Microgaming took the top gambling software slot, and Best Watchdog site went to Casinomeister, which pipped even the Online Players' Association this time around. Intercasino were as usual quick off the mark with their publicity machine announcing their election as top casino.

We picked a few of the more interesting categories...and the winners in each:

Best Sportsbook - VIP Sports

Best Portal - Gone Gambling

Best New Portal - Bet2Gamble

Best New Casino - Welcome To Our Casino, an RTG-powered online in the Angelciti group.

Best Payouts - Omni Casino (which also took "Best Loyalty Program")

Best Signup Bonus - The Sands

Best Service - Mapau Casino

Best Poker - Tie between Paradise Poker and Party Poker.

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PLAYERS ROOM SEQUEL
15 November 2002

Players Room open, but Stan stays schtumm

Last week we reported the strange case of Stan's Message, a posting on a prominent message board offering to sell the rights to The Players' Room gambling software for $100 000 as a result of a dispute between a UK-based developer and Global Internet Technologies the turnkey provider.

We have to say that whilst Alistair Assheton, top man at VIP Services that owns PR has been completely open and cooperative, the same cannot be said for the mysterious Stan, who does not answer emails to substantiate his allegations. The hotmail address and "unconventional" method of broaching this business subject were undoubtedly indications of someone who is professionally challenged and without credibility.

It has become clear that the dispute has nothing to do with VIP or PR, is an internal issue between developer and turnkey provider, and that Stan is something of a maverick who acted against prior agreements. For that, and his unorthodox conduct Stan is likely to pay a price once the Global legal eagles catch up with him.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
15 November 2002

Black Widow on the road to expulsion
The questionable promo disqualifications and slow-no pay disputes that have dragged on at Black Widow for some time reached a culmination late in the week when the Casinomeister site re-classified this badly managed Playtech-powered casino to "not recommended" status, and the Online Players' Association called for an expulsion vote following over two months of unacceptable casino practise involving a number of players. It is not known how this will affect sister casinos Grand Banks and Sterlinghouse.

Secretive software
Casino Neo Max on the url 777.com seems to have a problem with disclosing what gambling software it is using - always a bad sign. The company refused pointblank this week to identify it's software despite explanations that this was fundamental and publicly available information at most reputable casinos.

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FASTER AND FOR FREE
15 November 2002

But there are always strings attached...

Want a faster Internet connection? Now is your chance, courtesy of Big Dollar casino.

Internet gambling marketers are among the most innovative around thanks to the competitive nature of the business, and this week Big Dollar.com launched an interesting new offer to pay their clients' DSL or cable internet bills.

The casino management hopes that players will use this opportunity to try high-speed connections and thus enhance the quality of their casino play. But is it really free? They say that nothing is for nothing, and there are some conditions attached. The promotion is simple: players have to join the Casino's free VIP club and accumulate "a certain amount of points". At the end of each month, players can send in copies of their connection bills and receive reimbursement up to $50.

"Players with high-speed connections enjoy their time at the casino more," says Big Dollar Customer Care Manager, Nick Allwyn. "It's easy to see why - the action is more fast-paced and there's far less chance of disconnection. I have never heard of a casino offering to pay its players' bills. We think our players will really appreciate this unique offer."

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GOOD RETURNS FOR RANK ONLINE
15 November 2002

JQuick success for Brit group

The interactive arm of Rank Group, the British gaming and bingo firm, is attracting weekly gambling levels of more than £1.5 million online according to the London financial press this week.

Trading statements for the four months to 2 November 2002, show that gaming stakes and placed bets on Rank Interactive Gaming’s web sites exceeded one and a half million GBP each week.

Set up by the entertainment and gaming brand towards the end of 2001, Rank Interactive Gaming comprises fixed-odds betting and gaming site Rank.com and casino site HardRockCasino.com.

The latter was launched in July, after Rank Group was one of three companies awarded licences by the Isle of Man Government to operate an online casino. At present, companies cannot set up online casinos in the UK, although the situation is being assessed by the Gambling Review Body.

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EUROPEAN FOCUS WORKS FOR BETINTERNET
15 November 2002

US market too uncertain

Here's one online gaming company with no regrets about distancing itself from the US market...

Online gaming group Betinternet.com has cut full-year losses and increased its customer base despite pulling out of the US due to concerns over regulation.

Operating losses for the year to 31 May were £1.69m, down from £2.38m, and gross profit has increased by 139% to £2.87m.

Despite the closure of its fixed odds betting accounts in the US this year, customer accounts still rose 188% to 23,795, with internet betting sales surging 330% to £38.67m with the margin on those bets growing to 6.2%.

BetInternet's major area of focus continues to be the Far East, where gamblers generate almost three-quarters of its sales.

The ongoing debate over anti-gambling legislation in the USA has seen a number of firms targeting European and other markets as viable alternatives. The statement claims that consolidation in the industry is 'inevitable', and that BetInternet is consequently still 'actively seeking' partnerships or acquisitions to boost its sales." The company has tried to reduce its emphasis on more costly telephone betting for professionals by focusing on internet gambling. While its total sales rose to £53.01m, telephone-betting turnover fell 65% from £39.55m in 2001 to £13.95m in 2002.

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SAGE LICENSE FOUL-UP?
15 November 2002

Phillipines senator queries online casino process

Looks like there was a bureaucratic foul-up in the granting of the Sage Internet Casino license in the Phillipines.

Philippines Senator Robert Barbers is questioning the legal status of the online casino firm, saying such operators require prior congressional approval and that this was not granted.

Barbers has asked the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to clarify whether Sports and Games Entertainment, Inc. (SAGE) – which has been operating for the past two years – complied with all legal requirements. The politician said he had received several complaints demanding the suspension of Internet casino operations until Congress has decided if it will grant PAGCOR the necessary license to continue with the Got2bet scheme.

'Whether it is played through the computer or not, as long as it is supposed to be regulated by PAGCOR, it should pass through Congress and acquire the pertinent legislative consent governing the same. But as far as I know, any form of on-line casino or electronic gambling has never been a part of our agenda in the Senate,' he said.

As chairman of the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, Barbers said he could not recall conducting any public hearing on on-line gambling.

SAGE officials had earlier stated that their operation was legal since PAGCOR issued them a license to operate. But Barbers isn’t convinced that PAGCOR has the authority to grant such a license.

Senator Barbers hasn't finished with PAGCOR yet, either and says he intends to file a Senate resolution seeking a review of the body's powers as a government agency regulating gambling operations.

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THAI TROUBLES
15 November 2002

Are the cops exceeding their powers?

Here's some unusual and just breaking news on Ladbrokes. The following notice went up on their website this week:

"Sorry, the web site you are accessing has been closed by Royal Thai Police due to inappropriateness such as pornography, gambling or contain any information which is deemed to violate national security. For more information, please contact "Police Information System Center" Bld#19 2nd Flr, Royal Thai Police, Rama I, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330 Tel. 0-2251-0164,
email : webmaster@police.go.th
http://www.police.go.th"

We are reliably informed that the Thais are technically not supposed to be able to block access to sites. This is going to create quite a stir.

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THAI LOTTO BUT NOT CASINOS
15 November 2002

Another confused policy

Lotteries, yes....online casinos, no it would appear from this sequel to our story above concerning the Ladbrokes site.

According to Chaiwat Pasokpakdi, director of the Thai Government Lottery Office, Thai lottery tickets will be made available for online purchase by the middle of next year. The tickets, sold at 10 baht each, will require players to pick two and three digit numbers to capture first prize, the value of which will be determined by the number of tickets sold.

Although the tickets use online technology to complete the transaction, the Lottery Office’s plan is to sell tickets via public lottery terminals rather than over the Internet. 500 terminals are expected to be live by the middle of next year, and 20,000 are expected to be in place by 2004.

European countries are expected to see similar developments in their lotteries, and m-commerce is expected to spear-head the charge. Germans are already able to purchase their tickets through their mobile phones, and a pan-European SMS lottery may be laying in the wings.

If a proliferation of online lotteries becomes the trend, and customers become comfortable playing online, companies like PLUS lotto who have operated in this space for several years may finally see their international online lottery jackpots top all state and national lotteries.

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MOBILE GAMBLING DUE
15 November 2002

New game channel to debut soon

Cutting edge mobile technology is to be used by a cellular service provider for the first time to offer an interactive casino game channel.

Israeli content provider Zone4Play has announced it will be using the casino game system it developed for the cellular service provider Orange.

Integrated with other services, the interactive system provides subscribers with a wide range of content services, including various casino games, such as slots, video poker, blackjack, roulette and others.

Based on WAP, SMS and IVR technologies, and the advanced GVM and J2ME platforms, the system makes for stability and broad user base support options and incorporates server-client technologies that allow users direct access to support and monitoring systems from their cell phones or via the Internet. By keeping records of points scored and game history, Orange will be able to provide service upgrades, extend the variety of games offered and include such extras as user competitions, online tournaments and prizes.

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SPORTINGBET WIDENS LOSSES
11 November 2002

Currency, acquisitions, processing costs blamed, but things are looking good.

Sportingbet.com has reported larger first-half losses after the costs of processing customer funds rose by as much as 30%. But customer growth remains strong.

The company reported a pretax loss of £3.8m for the half year to 30 September, compared with £1.6m last year, but turnover grew significantly to £494.5m, from £293.2m, largely as a result of acquisitions.

Costs associated with the integration of recent purchases Sportsbook - which is now complete - and Sporting Odds were a factor in the increase in its deficit, with administration costs rising by nearly £3m to £13.5m. However, Sportingbet increased its cash position by £3.7m to £19.6m.

Customer numbers grew rapidly, from 194,000 to 753,000 - the company now processes more than 49,000 bets per day. The number of bets taken in the half year from the US leapt by 188% to 7.29m, while Europe showed even stronger growth, with bets up 410% to 1.18m.

However, Sportingbet is now looking at alternative ways of processing customer funds in the US after suppliers raised fees by 30%. It also pointed to adverse currency movements during the period as a factor in its increased loss.

The company, which has undertaken extensive lobbying to encourage the US gaming market to open up, believes that "the overall political and legislative trend in the US continues to be positive" and that "the only viable proposition for the authorities to take is one of proper regulation".

The US is fundamental in Sportingbet's strategy - it derives more than four fifths of its bets from the States.

The company's shares, which traded at 167.5p earlier this year, have been driven down by short sellers, led by Simon "Evel Knievel" Cawkwell, who have been borrowing Sportingbet shares to sell, in the expectation that they will be able to buy them back at a lower price. Sportingbet lost 25 per cent off the value of its shares on the results. They fell 14.5p to 45p.

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AUSSIE HASSLES
11 November 2002

This could set a dangerous legal precedent.

Adding to the troubles at Sportingbet is an unusual legal wrangle where a gambler defrauded his employer in order to gamble at the Internet bookmaker...and now the aggrieved employer wants its money back! Sportingbet may have to pay £1.3m to an Australian business that was allegedly defrauded out of millions by the gambling-mad employee.

A report in the UK Telegraph this week reveals that a former company secretary at Australian transport business K&S is believed to have stolen about £7.5m from his employers and to have lost a portion while betting with the online bookie. K&S is demanding the money back and is battling it out with Sportingbet in the Australian courts.

The rest of the money is thought to have funded an extravagant lifestyle, including a private yacht moored in Sydney harbour.


WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE LOBBY?
11 November 2002

New bosses or not?

For weeks now the rumours have been flying that the Gambler's Lobby Network of casinos is in trouble.

The You Go Girl, Gamble A Million and Gambler's Lobby casinos in the RTG-powered group started the speculation off when they stopped accepting deposits some weeks back, allegedly due to a pending change in software. Then the site and email contact went down, leaving anxious players wondering what was happening and posting on Internet message boards.

Posters claiming to be company spokesmen then announced that the group was going to stay with the RTG software "for the convenience of the players" but that there was to be a change of ownership. When asked for more detail, the wall of silence was firmly in place again.

As we went to press the casinos were pumping out badly written emails about their "exiting" (a Freudian slip perhaps?!) casinos, telling gamblers "Sir, first of all, we would like to inform that the casino has a complete new administration. We would like to assure you that our stuff is well trained in the customer service area. We are working as fast as we can to up date the long pending list that the old administration left. I'm afraid that at this point, we are only accepting credit cards deposits."

Looking on the bright side, it sounds as if the new "administration" will be clearing the outstanding debts of the former owners, but the apparent reluctance to disclose details of the new owners/management is alarming, and the absence of a businesslike media announcement is puzzling.

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SKY CASINO
11 November 2002

This high-flyer should be good...

British interactive TV broadcaster BSkyB has been awarded an online casino license from the Alderney (Channel Islands) Gambling Control Commission and is to launch a new and as yet unnamed online casino early-2003.

The license is the fourth to be issued by Alderney, which has a strictly applied licensing regime...other successful applicants have been Littlewoods Leisure, Ritz Interactive and Wagerworks itself.

The gambling software contract for the new site has been awarded to Wagerworks, says SkyBet md Nick Rust, but the company is still looking for service companies. SkyBet was previously known in the industry as Surrey Sports.

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COOL CASINOS
11 November 2002

Latest production from the Aquaonline - Instant Gaming Systems stable is Jungle Palace Casino.com, currently being spammed at a message board near you! The affiliates have a good product to promote in this one, which has a professionally executed site carrying a competent and large download game selection backed by full 24/7 Support, a loyalty program, free CD and a wide choice of e-cash options backed by Cyber Finance Investments. There's an eighty percenter signup maxed at $100, and Firepay are offering a $20 bonus to new accounts. The licensing jurisdiction is Kahnawake and the casino manager's name is entirely appropriate to the environment - it's Nick Lion!

If you haven't yet seen Microgaming's latest "big" casinos go take a look at Casino US.com and South Beach Palace.com which have different themes but are similarly well-equipped. Casino US has a strong "stars 'n Bars" flavour whilst South Beach takes gamblers along the Miami beachfront. Both carry thirty-plus download and Flash high quality games suites supported by loyalty programs and tollfree and email 24/7 help centres and e-cash facilities that cover NetTeller, Firepay, ACH and PrePaidATM. Kahnawake licensing and PWC payout reviews are common to both, and the owners are members of the "real" IGC too. There are generous signups maxed at $100, and Casino US is geared to accept both US dollars and British pounds sterling deposits and payouts.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
11 November 2002

Black Widow still dangerous
The slow or no pay fiasco at Black Widow casino apparently continues, with some players only now being paid after two to three months. The casino's communications leave a lot to be desired, but the Online Players' Association is on their case and it is hoped that they will do the right thing on the better late than never basis. In the meantime, with so many attractive alternatives around, players simply don't need the aggro here. Or for that matter at sisters Grand Banks and the new Sterling House casinos.

This gat misfires
Chartwell Tech powers Six Gun casino which shows all the classic hallmarks of a casino in trouble - delayed payments, ignored emails - the whole nine yards. Better safe than sorry...

Not a dream experience
$25 000-worth of complaints to the Online Players' Association in a few days is not a good advertisement for Goldbetting.com, and by association it might be a good idea to be very careful around Luckydogsports.com and Ladydream.com, too. Managed by a guy called Robert Hamilton, and owned by Netshare Inc., these are newcomers who seem to have generated a lot of adverse experiences in a very short period of time.

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PLAYMATES NO MORE
11 November 2002

Room for improvements in this relationship

The Internet...and the manner in which some businesses behave...is a constant source of astonishment to us. This week the strange tale of The Players Room Casino.com and its erstwhile software provider had everyone guessing as it broke on the message boards. A mysterious poster called Stan, using a hotmail address for goodness sake, tells the tale:

"In January 2000 our UK design studio was commissioned by a US company to create and code a series of shockwave casino games (craps, blackjack, roulette, slot machines and video poker) that are able to connect in real-time to a back end gameserver. A full implementation of the casino holding website was also created.

"We were not paid for our efforts by this company as they claimed to be having great problems with raising the funds and sufficient interest in the product. After much time and resource swallowing pursuit of outstanding payment, we decided to make best of what was left of our company and steer it in another direction completely

"The company in question hosts "The Players Room Casino" http://www.theplayersroomcasino.com and are currently receiving rave reviews for their(!) innovative 'no-download' casinos and are quite obviously making good. WE OWN THIS and after much wound licking, have decided that writing off our financial loss is no longer an option. Therefore the ownership of all source code, assetts and complete rights to the intellectual property are up for grabs. This 'casino package' was designed to be easily reversioned (graphically) so it can be sold many times over. All we want is to cover our development costs of $100,000... "

It's an unusual way to do business, and sufficiently important information is lacking to whet a news outlet's appetite so we contacted "Stan" and the allegedly defaulting casino for their respective sides of the story. And as our press deadline passed we were still waiting....

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FACELIFT FOR PROG SITE
11 November 2002

Jackpot Madness site gets a makeover.

Check out the new, user-friendly graphics, heightened interactivity, innovative features - and the latest information on winners and their jackpots this week at the Jackpot Madness.com site, which the boys in Curacao have updated and revamped to good effect.

Press agent Marilyn Glazier is hoping that Got2bet progressives fans will email any suggestions or comments to her before the new site gets its "hard" launch soon.

Whilst looking the dynamic and interactive new design over we noted that of the eleven JM progressives, eight were over the $100K mark, with Major Millions powering along over $360 000 and Treasure Nile well over the half million dollar mark. The payouts on this range of jackpots have now totalled almost 80 million dollars.

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CHINESE PULL IN THE 'NET
11 November 2002

Tighter controls

The mainland Chinese authorities in Jiangxi province continued to tighten up on internet cafe usage this week. Internet cafe users are now required to buy access cards that identify them to police, further enhancing official monitoring of who uses the Internet and what they do online, a police spokesman said. He revealed that a system was installed in all 3,200 Internet cafes in the central province of Jiangxi last month, linked into the police computer crime division in the provincial capital of Nanchang.

"This system gives us more power to prevent crimes and identify criminals on the Internet,' said the spokesman. Although China has 45 million regular Internet users, the communist authorities are intent on preventing the Net becoming a forum for free speech, and also block access to gambling, pornography and extremist Web sites.

Sites run by foreign media, religious and human rights groups are also blocked. In addition, webmasters are warned to cut off subversive talk in Internet chat rooms while a special police force filters e-mail and searches the Web for forbidden content.

Jiangxi's system requires customers to register their names, ages and addresses, information which is then loaded into a police database. Once this is done, they are given an access card, which is swiped on an identifying machine when they go online. That sends a signal to police, who continuously monitor the Web for people attempting to reach barred sites. Police can also block access to selected cardholders. More than 200,000 users have obtained such cards so far, the official said.

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TIGER POKER
11 November 2002

New software for the poker fanss

Golden Tiger Casino.com, a large and well-established online operation, has launched a brand new poker room. The Golden Tiger Poker Room is part of Microgaming's new Prima Poker Multi-Player Network, and offers the most popular poker games in a live multi-play format.

As one of the first Microgaming powered casinos to offer the Prima Poker Room, Golden Tiger management has created www.goldentigerpoker.com, as a first stop on the way to the action and excitement of live multi-player poker. Special matchplay bonuses have been constructed for the launch period.

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INTERCASINO, TOO!
11 November 2002

The poker trend is catchy...

The world's oldest online casino has launched a player versus player (P2P) poker room. InterCasinoPoker builds on six years of experience in the online gaming market and online payment systems to enter the cutting edge field of P2P poker.

Players will be able to log on to the poker software using their existing InterCasino or InterBingo accounts, and play using their existing balance.

Ryan Hartley, the manager of both InterCasino and InterCasinoPoker said "Poker has become the most ubiquitous card game in the world, played by players from all corners of the globe. To reflect this we are offering the world's first multi-currency poker room, with tables available in US Dollars, Euros and Pounds Sterling."

"Additionally" Ryan went on "we have continued our policy of the robot free environment we use at InterBingo, so instead we offer to pay our existing players $10 an hour to balance tables and start new ones. This Prop Player Incentive Scheme is available to all players, new and old and is unique throughout the Internet Poker market."

InterCasinoPoker are currently offering a $20 sign up bonus to all players.

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WHITE HOUSE INTERVENTION
1 November 2002

"Vote on Leach Bill this year"

News from RGT Online as we went to press this week is that US Got2bet may not yet be out of the woods this session as was generally thought.

The Leach Bill, which seeks to cripple American internet gambling by attacking the financial channels used by gamblers has apparently been dead in the water despite an affirmative vote in the House. The season ended before the Bill could go before the Senate, necessitating a fresh start for Leach next year. Unless, that is he could attach the Bill to some other urgent legislation being voted through in the special sessions in November known as the "lame duck" season.

And that is where the White House is urging Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to schedule a vote on an Got2bet bill before the end of the year, arguing "the illegal Internet gambling industry must be stopped."

"Internet gambling serves as a haven for money laundering and organized crime and, potentially, for international terrorism," White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey told Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., in a letter written early this week.

The White House cited "testimony by the Department of Justice and the FBI, and a recent interim report issued by the General Accounting Office" to substantiate its allegations.

"Congress has heard countless heartbreaking stories of families torn apart, careers ruined and credit ratings destroyed by Internet gambling. The lure has proven to be irresistible to the most vulnerable in our society - our youth and problem gamblers," Lindsey wrote.

The White House urged Daschle to schedule a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress on the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (the Leach Bill).

A spokeswoman for Daschle, whose office received the letter Wednesday, said, "Other senators have raised objections which always creates difficulty for considering legislation when you're dealing with a short period of time such as the lame-duck."

A spokeswoman for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said action is "highly unlikely" during the lame-duck session of Congress later this year. As Senate majority whip, Reid schedules consideration of legislation by the full Senate.

Bear, Stearns Co. Inc. analyst Michael Tew said the lobbying "makes it evident the White House thinks this is an increasingly important issue. (Still), the probability of the Senate taking definitive action this year is probably low."

Senate inaction, however, will condemn the sponsors of the Got2bet bill to start again from square one in the next Congress. Congressional sources said enacting legislation under those circumstances would be unlikely until late 2004 or 2005.

"There's no excuse for a handful of senators to be holding up Internet gambling legislation to appease pro-gambling forces in their states," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, whose committee originated the legislation.

"The bill protects families and gives terrorists one less place to hide their illicit funds. This legislation is just as essential to American families as homeland security and terrorism insurance," he said in a statement.

An unreleased analysis by the Congressional Research Service, however, recently found the proposed Senate bills fall short of the House version because they ignore Internet service providers, make no changes in the Federal Wire Act and do not address the need for international cooperation.

Tew, in a report last month, said Internet gambling is vulnerable to infiltration by terror groups.

The U.S. General Accounting Office, Congress' watchdog agency, followed with a similar finding.

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BARCELONA A SUCCESS
1 November 2002

European solution essential if the US will not show the way forward...

The recently completed inaugural European iGaming Expo in Barcelona has been described as well organised and useful by many delegates, with a good selection of speakers and stimulating exchanges.

The conference succeeded in bringing the continent’s online gaming fraternity together under one roof, providing a forum for lively and often-heated debate. The debates and discussions were complimented by an exhibition with 20 of the biggest name vendors in I-Gaming gathered to showcase their products.

"Interest and potential in the European market have never been greater," was the slogan for this first attempt to unite the pioneers of Europe’s internet gaming, and it proved to be the case. Organised by ATE and The River City Group,over 275 delegates from 22 countries met to confront the issues facing internet gaming and wagering, and confront they did. With the US stalling on regulation,and seemingly intent on blind and potentially problematic prohibition, it is being left to the European jurisdictions to fill the virtual void and steer the sector into highly regulated and better-controlled waters.

The main issues at the conference were undoubtedly prohibition, pan-European regulation and cross-border gambling.

The positive stance recently taken by the British government concerning online gaming, as well as the licensing of top land-based gaming brands in Alderney and the Isle of Man, presented Europe as the most likely region through which I-gaming can reach its full potential.

Land-based operators from Croatia and Germany have also taken the internet plunge emphasising the fact that European jurisdictions want to lead the way in transferring the traditional gaming experience online. It was also announced at the event that Malta (see next story) was preparing itself to be an online jurisdiction and that a series of internet licenses would soon be up for grabs.

Peter Sehestedt, Minsitry of Taxation of Denmark, risked the wrath of most of the delegates with his suggestions that a national approach to regulation was the only way that I-Gaming could proceed, prompting much debate about free trade and harmonisation within Europe. “Global I-gaming threatens the sovereignty of each individual state,” he suggested.

Peter Dean, chairman of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, justified the UK stance where the government has put itself forward as a keen advocate of strictly regulated online gaming. He said that the traditional safeguards for landbased gaming of keeping out crime, protecting the vulnerable and ensuring that the customer knows what to expect could all be applied to online.

Although licences shouldn’t be restricted to terrestrial operators, he said that the same parameters for probity should exist on the internet as they do for land-based operators. Sue Schneider, president of The River City Group, declared her hand stating that although harmonising differing legalities would be a pipe dream it was a noble move.“Where gambling has always been state controlled, the cross border concept has caused tension.Why with the European Union is it a free market until it comes to gambling products?” she asked.

For the vast majority, prohibition was a dark word which would only push Igaming into the grey hands of the unscrupulous. Roger Withers, chairman of Arena Leisure and council member of UK i-gaming association iGGBA,summed up the feeling that the US was moving in completely the wrong direction, although he added:“Prohibition is creeping into the States. It was the best advertising campaign for alcohol and I wonder whether this will ultimately be the case with I-Gaming?” One of the biggest threats to I-gaming is undoubtedly the US pressure on trusted payment methods which are the life blood of the industry, he said.

Steve Donoughe, managing director of the Gambling Consultancy, said that the restrictions being put in place from US-based credit card companies had the potential to completely ruin a legitimate industry. “We can’t rely on the US to sort this out,” he said, “we need a European solution."

Julian Perry, marketing director of Microgaming commented “The quality of speakers and delegates has been extremely high. It has been a good positive event, the first in Europe to really unite the IGaming industry, which can only be a good thing.”

With over 30 speakers the conference achieved an in-depth look at every aspect of I-Gaming in Europe that was much appreciated by a broad mix of people from online and terrestrial, lotteries,bingo,sports betting and casinos. Plans are already afoot to present a similar conference next November.


MEDITERRANEAN LICENSING
1 November 2002

Malta joins the industry

The island nation of Malta in the eastern Mediterranean is the latest country to offer internet gambling licensing services, and it looks like this one is set to join the more serious jurisdictions.

The Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority is currently putting together the legislative framework for a new licensing regime encompassing online casinos, sports betting, betting exchanges and lotteries, according to a report from the Malta Business Weekly.

The news service revealed that the framework aims to provide regulation which is "strong and serious but not unecessarily bureaucratic", ensuring vigorous protection for users of online gaming, and dovetailing with Malta's long-established and reputable financial services sector.

The new legislation is expected to be in place by the end of this year, with the first licences issued in early 2003.

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'THE PRICE IS RIGHT' FOR ONLINE CASINOS
1 November 2002

Wagerworks leads the charge

FremantleMedia, the production arm of RTL, is to adapt its game shows including the long-running The Price is Right for online casinos, after striking a licensing deal with content and technology supplier WagerWorks.

The deal will see WagerWorks immediately making content based around the programme, as well as other titles Press Your Luck and Card Sharks, available on the recently-launched, Isle of Man-based sites operated by its partners MGM Mirage and the Rank Group.

The Price is Right has already been adapted for traditional slot machines and, in July, by Lycos for an online version of the show on its Gamesville service.

WagerWorks CEO Andrew Pascal said "access to properties that have a built-in audience in the offline world" would be of major importance to the potential fortunes of its casino operating partners.

The company, along with UK firm Orbis, supplied the back-end technology and content to support US gaming giant MGM Mirage's casino site, playmgmmirage.com, which is being run out of the Isle of Man and being primarily aimed at the UK and European markets due to questions over the legality of online gaming in the US. Rank Group's hardrockcasino.com launched in July.

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LASSETERS' LOUNGE
1 November 2002

New thoughts from Aussie

Australian based and regulated Lasseters Online this week introduced what they claim is a whole new level of gaming to their Internet gaming operation. Club Lounge promises players "....an exciting gaming environment similar to those experienced in Las Vegas."

Players can choose from 10 additional games exclusive to the lounge, including 5 new slots, 2 Video Pokers and the new-look Roulette, Baccarat and Blackjack tables. Bronze, Silver and Gold members are virtually ushered straight through to the Club Lounge upon signing in to play at Lasseters.com. Bets range from a minimum of US$0.05 to US$1,000 and even first-time players can qualify for Bronze membership and access to the new facility - information is provided by the casino's Support centre.

All the old favourites casino games are still available to Lounge players, who simply click on the "Back to Main Games" link to return to the general casino.

We're trying to work out what the big deal is....

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AFFILIATES UNITE!
1 November 2002

One stop site and a conference ....and now an Association, too.

Last week we reported the new one-stop site for affiliate marketers Affman.com, and an upcoming dedicated conference. It seems that things are happening in the world of affiliates, because this week a media release from Switzerland announced the formation of the "Internet Casino Affiliate Marketing Association, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to Keeping it Fair in Casino Revshare." Catchy slogan.

It appears that affiliate programs and performance marketing are playing an increasingly important role in the online strategies of casino and sportsbook operators. Professional affiliates around the globe are driving traffic to Got2bet sites on a pay-for-performance basis. The rewards are high for both operators and casino affiliates who operate independently.

But....

Due to the success of the revenue share business model, the industry is being tarnished by unscrupulous operators and rogue affiliates. Urgent action is needed to establish a code of conduct and industry best practices. To this we would add "particularly in regard to indiscriminate spamming".

To do this, the association has been formed under the leadership of one Herby Olschewski, with several leading casino affiliate networks such as Fortune Affiliates, Casino Paycheck, Club Dice Casinos, Golden Star Network, House Winnings and ReferBack as charter members. And on December 5-7, 2002, the charter members are staging the first Internet CASINO Affiliate Marketing Summit at the Atlantis Resort & Casino on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Casino AffiliateFORCE/2002 will be an industry milestone where the ethics & standards will be determined by those who pledge to Keep it Fair in Casino Revshare.

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NEW FROM CHARTWELL TECH
1 November 2002

More languages and games, multi-currency capability and....poker.

Veteran turnkey provider Chartwell Technology Inc. launched version 4.0 of its no-download casino gambling suite this week.

The new software provides greater player reach through multi-language and multi-currency capabilities, together with new games. Red Dog and Casino War table games and a Cash Inferno 5 Reel Bonus Slot are backed by enhanced player game controls and game information.

Poker fans will be pleased to hear that in addition to the version 4 release, there is to be a beta launch of Chartwell's brand new multi-player poker software soon.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Chartwell to break into new gaming verticals", says CEO Darold Parken. "Our clients are seeing explosive growth in their online gaming businesses and an excellent compliment to their established player base is our multi-player poker suite". The poker suite contains five popular variations including Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Omaha high/low, which are playable as ring games or in tournament mode. Ring game players have their choice of poker tables based on table limit, number of players, speed of play or a combination of these variations.

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CRYPTOLOGIC, TOO
1 November 2002

Poker release from one of the industry leaders

CryptoLogic Inc. issued press releases this week introducing multi-player CryptoLogic Poker to its latest gambling software suites. The goal of Cryptologic and Wagerlogic designers has been to recreate the land-based poker room experience and transfer it live to the Internet. Built around a central poker room where all licensee casinos feed in to a single poker site, CryptoLogic Poker allows licensees the opportunity to be part of a large poker community, ensuring that players can always find a game at their desired stakes level.

Customized to meet the specifications of each licensee's casino brand, CryptoLogic Poker enables players to play in their preferred currency, US dollars, Great Britain pounds sterling or Euros, with the look-and-feel of their favourite casino brand. Players can use a single ECash account over the entire suite of products, simplifying payment and withdrawals for the player and site management for the operator.

The new product incorporates extensive security and anti-collusion features, including sophisticated algorithms within the software to flag suspicious activity, and poker experts monitoring hands to ensure fair play. In addition, a proprietary user-friendly log viewer allows players to track each hand they play.

Texas Hold'em and 7-Card Stud are on offer, with additional games including Omaha and Omaha Hi/Low coming soon. Tournament play and linked jackpot games will add player appeal and drive traffic through licensee sites. High quality graphics, a chat feature and WagerLogic support and service round out the package

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COOL CASINOS
1 November 2002

Rule Britannia!

The only new operation to stand out from the crowd this week is Sterling House Casino.co.uk, a brand new online casino from Playtech, that is owned by the Pair of Dice Limited group which includes Black Widow and Grand Banks casinos, and the recently closed Starblast. There is a large selection of good quality, download games including 7 card games, 3 table, 8 Video slots, 9 Progressives, 14 single line slots, 8 Bonus games, 8 multiline slots and 10 VP and keno games. The licencing is Curacao, and the gambling business of US and Canadian players is specifically excluded. The site has a workmanlike London-UK theme and there is a range of e-cash options using GBP and Euros. 24/7 fully contactable Support is through M2S2 as with Sterling House's sister casinos. On the bonus front they are offering a 100 pc signup maxed at GBP 100 with a minimum deposit of GBP25 and a x10 wagerthru' on the deposit and a x1 wagerthru' on the bonus. This rises astronomically in the case of Danish players to x40 (D+B) which is certain to cause some waves but is stated right upfront by the management. Good - but the current no and slow pay problems being experienced at BW and GB will not help this new operation.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
1 November 2002

Mercedes

Last week we reported the advent of eWorldwide Casino.com, powered by a small software company called Mercedes (nothing to do with the famous luxury car marque!) There were indications that the elusive Larry Thom has an interest in this casino, which has eventually responded to emails to deny any Thom involvement. Mercedes is pretty coy about giving out information, too. Sales manager Nancy Hennessy has a problem revealing the names of other casinos using its software, and maintains strongly that it has no obligations to the player as it is "just a software provider". Until April this year Mercedes also provided the software for another Thom enterprise called Grandmastersports, which has also apparently disappeared over the horizon. But they have no ownership record due to personnel changes. It therefore appears that players can expect little help from Mercedes in the event of licensee problems, and that the Thom trail has once again gone cold. We are told by reliable sources that the Palace Court Casino.com is also using Mercedes software, but we do not know of any others at present.

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WILDJACK WIN
1 November 2002

Sweet October for NancyE

Gamblers are often superstitious people, but one can understand why American player NancyE regards October as her special month - she has just pulled her second serious progressives jackpot for a total of US$ 150.599!

Nancy's first win was for $42 000 last October when she hit the Nile Treasure progressive at the Jackpot Factory group's First Web Casino. This week she was playing at sister casino Wildjack Casino when the magic happened on Nile Treasure once again, this time to the tune of $108 000 and some change.

The modest American player now joins a growing Jackpot Madness list of online gamblers who have won large progressive jackpots more than once. According to a recent article in RGT Online these lucky players constitute 24 percent of Jackpot Madness winners from some 65 casinos. Over $74 million has been paid out by the eleven progressives since launch in 1998.

Wild Jack staff tell us that they have recently added a suite of 51 Flash games to their download selection of 67. The casino also particpates in the group Autumn Lotto, currently offering a grand prize of $100 000.

Not to be outdone, Cryptologic-powered Intercasino also announced a big "Rags to Riches" progressives slot winner this week, naming player KST as the lucky gambler who took home $133 000 and a lot of change after only two months as a member at the casino "just playing for fun".

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GSS SIX PACK
1 November 2002

Halloween offers

Several disgruntled posters claimed this week that six GSS-powered casinos appear to have grouped together under the Internet Casino Network umbrella in order to pump out what they claim are unsolicited emails on their current bonuses. And internet gamblers are assured that they need open only one account to access all six casinos, implying that there is a common ownership or management arrangement.

Gambler's Fortune, Place My Bet, Only Winners, Jokers Casino, Casino Joe's and Roman Palace are offering various bonuses with up to a $100 signup and a 5 percent ongoing re-up bonus each time a player deposits. Wagerthru' requirements are up to ten times the bonus in a rather complicated percentage of bonus scale.

"Remove" gets an achnowledgement from Worldwide Internet Group.

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GAMBLERS LOBBY ROUNDABOUT
1 November 2002

Three GL sites staying with RTG software

For the past three weeks the Gambler's Lobby group, comprising Gamble A Million, You Go Girl and Gambler's Lobby casinos has apparently been stalling on answering questions regarding slow or no pay and unresponsive email service. The group started operating earlier this year and triggered speculation recently with announcements that it was no longer taking deposits.

In answer to media queries from InfoPowa made on the 16 October, a manager named Fred Harrison revealed the at that stage confidential information that negotiations were almost complete that would move GL to another software provider. At that time, an announcement was promised for some 5 to 7 days ahead but did not materialise. And there was no response to emails requesting an update on the situation.

This week a new GL name, Tony Bagley took the message board stage to announce that in fact Gambler's Lobby has changed hands, but that in the interests of the players the new owners had decided to stay with RTG software! As we went to press we still awaited the detail on the new owners, but Bagley did deliver the pleasing news that they would be meeting all payout commitments to the players and affiliates within the next sixty days.

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KOREA CLAMPS DOWN
1 November 2002

Suspensions for running real money games

According to the Korean Times, the Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) yesterday announced the suspension of a large number of online game services for running casino-like operations. Five separate providers of online games were hit with up to 60 days of suspended service, and are now under a mandate to change 15 games, including mahjong and poker, on which players can bet real money.

The KMRB stated that more and more games are in violation of the ratings and classification system, particularly games more geared toward children, such as Tetris. Payment on games can go directly into a user's bank account, or can take the form of Internet shopping vouchers or lottery tickets

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PAYOUT PERCENTAGES
1 November 2002

MGS leads the pack this month

The latest Price Waterhouse Coopers internationally audited percentage payout figures give results for 31 top-end casinos, with the best six payout positions dominated by Microgaming-powered operations.

Top of the pops this month is Fortune Room (MGS) at 98.83pc, Casino On Net (RL) at 97.78, Jackpot City (MGS) at 97.71, William Hill (Cryptologic) at 97.62, Ladbrokes (MGS) at 97.61 and King Neptune's (MGS) at 97.56. Bottom of the table this month is Home Casino (MGS) at 94.59.

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$1.8 MILLION LOSS FOR KERZNER INTERACTIVE
1 November 2002

Out of step with positive divisional results

Kerzner International Limited has reported net income for the third quarter, excluding non-recurring items and operating results from Kerzner Interactive, the Company's internet gaming venture, of $2.2 million as compared to a net loss of $7.5 million for the same period last year. On this basis, net income per share for the quarter was $0.08 as compared to a net loss per share of $0.28 in the same period last year.

These third quarter results excluded a net loss of $1.8 million from Kerzner Interactive and an extraordinary loss of $0.9 million related to the early extinguishment of debt. Non-recurring items in 2001 included pre-opening expenses related to the launch of Kerzner Interactive, net gain on sale of real estate at the Company's Paradise Island operations and restructuring and refinancing costs. The Company reported EBITDA for the quarter, excluding non-recurring items and Kerzner Interactive, of $25.9 million, a 44% increase over the September 11-affected results in the same period last year. In the quarter, EBITDA was marginally higher than the same period in 2000, when the Company reported EBITDA of $25.3 million adjusted to exclude Resorts Atlantic City. Butch Kerzner, President of the Company commented, "Atlantis continues to produce strong results despite a general downturn in the travel market. Our Paradise Island operations achieved record third quarter revenues and EBITDA as it continues to benefit from strong brand recognition and the broadening of its source markets."

In the quarter, the Company received a $4.5 million option payment from Station Casinos, Inc. ("Station"), arising from the previously announced agreement to restructure the potential sale of 50% of Kerzner Interactive to Station.

The Company recorded a net loss, including non-recurring items and Kerzner Interactive, in the quarter of $0.4 million, compared to a net loss of $11.7 million for the same period last year. On this basis, the Company reported a net loss per share for the quarter of $0.02 compared to a net loss per share of $0.44 for the same period last year.

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COLOSSEUM NAME DISPUTE
1 November 2002

Don't mess with Caesar

Park Place Entertainment, owner of the Caesars Palace resort on the Las Vegas Strip, is suing for the right to call part of the resort the "Colosseum." Park Place sued to stop Cyrus Milanian and his company, The New Las Vegas Development Co. LLC, from claiming rights to the Colosseum trademark.

Park Place said it has used the Colosseum name for more than 30 years to identify its convention, exhibition and entertainment center at Caesars Palace, and that Milanian is a "self-described Internettor" who had filed to register the Colosseum trademark almost immediately after Park Place announced plans last April to build a new Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

He allegedly threatened in June to bring trademark infringement claims against Park Place just before the March 2003 opening of the new Colosseum, where Celine Dion will perform beginning next year.

"He undoubtedly hopes to exploit this situation by filing a suit just before the March 2003 opening that would cast a cloud over (Park Place's) rights in the Colosseum mark, create unfavorable publicity, and then attempt to leverage that situation to extract a financial payment," the suit said.

Milanian has not responded to the accusations.

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Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

Watchdog of 2002
Top Watchdog of 2002










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