Online Casino News Monthly Recap – April 2004

NEW STYLES FOR OLD FAVOURITES
30 April 2004
Five exciting new games in April offerings from Microgaming

The rumours of exciting new games have been going the rounds for several days, and this week turnkey software provider, Microgaming, confirmed them with the launch of their April 2004 new games.

The release includes 5-reel versions of progressive jackpot favourites Cash Splash and Major Millions. Additionally, two brand new five-reel, nine-payline video slots and a Jacks or Better addition to the popular x10 Power Poker series have been released.

The classic Cash Splash slot that pioneered the big win progressives’ rush on the Internet now has a trendy companion in Cash Splash Progressive Video Slot. The difference from the original game is striking, as the new game not only features fresh, vibrant graphics and high speed action, but is a five-reel, nine-line gaming experience with a wild multiplier and scatter symbol that can double the jackpot.

The Major Millions progressive that created several instant millionaires is now available in an exciting new 5-reel version, too. Players can choose between the original three-reel format of this progressive and an extensively upgraded five-reel video slot platform that offers players 15 paylines for a maximum bet of $3 – that’s fifteen chances to pull The Big One in Internet gambling! Both the 3-reel and new 5-reel versions are linked to the same progressive jackpot through the trusted Jackpot Madness network giving players more choice and more chances of seriously big wins.

For 5-reel, 9 payline video slot players, Skull Duggery offers scatter and wild symbols in an amusing, high spirited pirate treasure game. This new game has a humorous Caribbean flavour, filled with oddball characters and luscious “wild” fruits.

Vinyl Countdown is a new 5-reel, 9 payline video slot that is bound to strike a chord with the rock n’ roll generation of the 50’s and 60’s. With its fun retro-theme, catchy tunes, great sound and bright and breezy graphics, rock n’ roll enthusiasts are sure to be pleased.

Video poker players can enjoy ten times the fun…and ten times the reward on a brand new Jacks or Better game just added to the x10 Power Poker gambling suite. Gamblers can play ten hands at once, with a different 52 card pack for each hand. There is plenty of opportunity in this game as players can wager between 1 to 5 coins per hand and as little as one cent to two dollars for a chance to win jackpots up to US$80,000.

Behind the razor sharp, high quality graphics and fast gameplay on all the new games is Viper, Microgaming’s state-of-the-art gambling software that empowers the player with a host of optional assists, features and analytical information to enhance the gambling experience. No other software on the market offers as wide a range of facilities as this.

Editor’s note: Links to these Microgaming Viper casinos can be found in Casinomeister’s Reputable Casino section.

CASINO CAUTIONS
30 April 2004
Suspicious interview
The largely unknown Lucky Chance Casino.com made some pretty extravagant claims in a press release this week that featured a rather stilted interview with the supposedly winning player of a $237 000 random draw. The heavily sales biased “interview” did nothing to assuage our suspicions, and we contacted the casino to ask a few pertinent questions about this draw and the winner. That was some days back, and to date we have yet to receive a response, which makes us even more sceptical. This casino has featured unflatteringly on the message boards and is a relative newcomer powered by a previously unknown software branded Gaming Mastery, apparently out of Luxembourg. This doesn’t look good in terms of credibility.

Presidential appeal
Bringing some welcome levity to the scene this week was a little fun with an Internet picture from Iraq showing a cheerful US Marine with a couple of young boys holding a placard. Various wags have been altering the wording on the placard with some hilarious comments…and not a few barbs as this picture shows http://www.ryano.net/iraq/?32070 “Mr Bush, please help me get paid by Futurebet” Other offerings took a swing at Golden Palace.

An unnecessary letter…
Golden Riviera critics had a field day this week when an aggrieved player claimed on two leading message boards that his payout was bring unreasonably delayed by an unnecessary demand from GR for a bank letter telling them his account was in good order. The slow pay history of the group was resurrected once again, and it’s recent acceptance by eCOGRA criticised. The thread grew out of all proportion to the real issue, which consisted of one complaint which was in mediation by a player advocate. As we went to press a resolution was in sight.

 

BET365 CHOOSES PRIMA FOR POKER
30 April 2004
Major UK sportsbook and casino joins global network

Bet365, one of the most successful casino and sportsbook sites on the Internet has entered the booming online poker sector with the announcement that it is now operational as a member of Microgaming’s Prima Poker global network. The network is currently achieving a significant 25 percent a month growth rate, almost double that of the industry standard.

The new poker room facility can be accessed from the main bet365 site at Bet 365.com . It has a stand-alone Prima Poker infrastructure with 24/7 action and support distinct from the Boss Media software that powers the casino and sportsbook side of the site.

John Coates, Chief Executive of bet365, noted “PrimaPoker.com have established the leading poker network on the Internet and we are looking forward to making this fully integrated product available to all our sportsbook customers.”

Bet365 becomes the twenty fourth member of the fast expanding network, which serves thousands of simultaneous players around the world, and around the clock with Texas Hold’Em, 7 Card Stud, and 5 Card Stud games. Extensive promotions are continually running like Sit and Go tournaments, multi table tournaments and major initiatives such as the Hendon Mob world tour.

All expenses sponsorships for winning players are a recurring feature, and continually send significant numbers of players to land-based, world-class poker competitions.

A Prima Poker spokesman says that the network is both pleased and proud to be the supplier of choice for an operation of the calibre of bet365’s entry into the poker market.

“This leading casino and sportsbook site is not the first to have selected Prima for its poker ambitions whilst using another software in its general operations,” he said, commenting that the hi-tech Microgaming poker software has been specifically designed to meet player demands for fast, robust and easy to use poker with razor sharp graphics. New advances in effective, real-time detection of collusion have been incorporated in the software to counter this threat to fair and enjoyable gaming.

The Prima Poker network has been moving steadily up the list of top ten online poker venues over the past year, and is currently achieving monthly growth rates around 25 percent. More players and more tables means better action and excitement for gamblers at every level and on every game.

The network offers a wide choice through its twenty four poker rooms, many of which are well established and trusted names such as King Neptune’s, Riverbelle, NordicBet Group, 32 Red, Expekt.com, The Gaming Club and BetonUSA.

Internet gamblers have taken to poker in a big way, and extensive media coverage has ensured that the game attracts growing numbers of both casual players and seasoned professionals. The Internet poker market has increased six-fold in the past year alone to an estimated 10 percent of a US $5 billion revenue, global online gaming market with the top ten poker rooms accounting for approximately 90 percent of revenues in the sector.

 

GET A PIECE OF GOOGLE
30 April 2004
Share auctions could be a great opportunity

MSN reports that Google is about to go public, and shares will be available on auction.

After weeks of buzz, Google Inc. has filed to sell about $2.7 billion of common shares and said it will offer them by way of a five-stage auction. The number of shares was not specified in the Form S-1 filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The offering came on a day when stocks generally stumbled with the Dow Jones industrials, down as much as 100 points, finished down nearly 70 points.

And average investors may be able to get in on the deal; some, and perhaps all, of the available shares will be offered in a public auction over the Internet, Google’s filing says

Such offerings remain unusual, but perhaps that’s OK with the company. “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one,” its founders say in an introduction to its filing.

Google’s much-anticipated public offering filing includes a number of details about the company, including:

The company generated $105 million in net profit on revenue of $961.9 million in 2003. In the first quarter of 2004, the company earned $63 million on revenue of $389.6 million.

The structure of the offering will leave control of the company largely in control of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, top management and original investors. The stock will have A and B shares; the latter will be in the hands of management and insiders and will have 10 votes per share. Class A shares will have one vote.

Mountain View, California-based Google said it would seek to list on either the Nasdaq market or the New York Stock Exchange.

 

GAMING CLUB POKER RECORD
30 April 2004
Serious sponsorships from Gibraltar

The poker sector received another record breaking sponsorship this week when The Gaming Club, part of Belle Rock Gaming group and a major online casino and poker room, in conjunction with Las-Vegas-Casinos.US, announces its sponsorship of The World Poker Championship in a two year deal.

The group claims that the agreement is the largest poker sponsorship deal ever made in Europe and is worth in excess of one million Euros. Starting with the 2004 tournament, the event will take place in Dublin, Eire, over 23rd – 27th June and will be broadcast as a ten part television series on Sky Sports later in the year.

To be called The Gaming Club World Poker Championship, the tournament will see the cream of the world’s poker professionals, including 9 times World Series Champion Phil Hellmuth, 2004 British Open champion Dave Devilfish Ulliott, The Hendon Mob and Europe’s leading female poker player Lucy Rokach pitting their skills against a hungry new breed of challengers from all over the world. The competition boasts the biggest ever first prize in land-based Pot Limit Hold’em seen by many as the most skilful variation of poker at $250,000 and a massive total prize fund of over $730,000, based on a maximum of 128 players.

The tournament format and payout structure has been devised by international poker legend and two-time World Series Champion Mel Judah, who is tournament director. 128 players will be split into a series of two-table heats consisting of eight players per table, with the eventual winner of each 16-man heat going through to the final. The eight runners up will then contest a semi final to join the winners at a nine-man final table for the chance to bag the $250,000 top prize. Every player who reaches the semi final will be in the money under the pay out structure, meaning one in eight entrants will walk away wealthier than when he or she sat down.

Carmen Media CEO and Chairman, Tim Johnson commented on behalf of Las-Vegas-Casinos.US: “Our customers are playing more and more poker online, and so sponsorship of the World Poker Championship by the Gaming Club gives us the opportunity to offer them something really special. The prizes and the competition will be world beating, and those who can’t make it to Dublin: either as players of spectators will be able to share in the excitement by watching it on the Sky Sports television coverage.”

NEW LOOK FOR GOM
Popular print magazine get a fresh global website

30 April 2004
Gambling Online Magazine (readership 200 000) has revamped its website. A traditional print magazine dedicated to the online gambler, the company has re-launched its online presence at (www.GamblingOnlineMagazine.com) to allow instant global access to its award winning content.

The group plans to use its new online platform, not only to provide a more complete archive of its content, but to allow more interaction with its reader base. The site is now live with the GOM Reader?s Choice Poll, with categories that range from Best Online Casino to Best New Concept, attracting tens of thousands of online gamblers who determine the winners by online ballot.

?The new website is a much welcomed complement to the print magazine, which is currently enjoyed by more than 200,000 gamblers. The website will allow us to reach into remote corners of the world, where our print magazine doesn?t go, and will allow us to interact with our readers more closely with interactive polling, message boards, and of course the now famous Gambling Online Magazine Reader?s Choice Poll,? says editor Michael Caselli.

Eric Morris, Vice President of the magazine, is ?excited that the site?s new layout will be easier for readers to navigate and more effective for advertisers in driving traffic.?

LADBROKES RACES TO SAVE THE ALBATROSS
High flying action for a good cause.

30 April 2004
The Ladbrokes group is participating in a “Save the Albatrosses” initiative where players can bet for a good cause.

The world?s first albatross race got under way this week as celebrities, bookmakers and ecologists joined forces to highlight the plight of the majestic and endangered seabird. Visitors to www.ladbrokes.com can now bet on their favourite bird and track the eighteen electronically tagged high flyers as they undertake their epic migration from Australia to South Africa.

Sadly, not all of the birds may make it to the finishing post, as every year up to 300,000 albatrosses are killed by longline fishing. Thousands of baited hooks dragged behind boats drown the birds by dragging them for miles underwater. However, by identifying exactly where the birds fly, scientists hope they will be able to observe where the biggest threat from long lining is, and then apply international pressure to put an end to it.

Each of the Tasmanian Shy Albatrosses is ?owned? and named by a celebrity (ranging from Brian May to HRH Queen Noor of Jordan). All profits Ladbrokes make from the race will be donated to albatross research and conservation projects.

LUCKY BRIT
30 April 2003
Record Got2bet win at Will Hill – from a stake of GBP 3 sterling

Celebrations were in order for one William Hill player from Milton Keynes in the UK this week – he’s just scooped a record win of ?436,220.39 from just a ?3 play on the William Hill Casino slot game, Millionaires Club. The lucky Millionaires Club logo earned him a chance to gamble for the big bonus and all the reels just fell in to place for him from there – and it happened just as the Jackpot stood at it’s highest level ever, over ?436,000. Hills spokeswoman Jennie Prest said, “This is the biggest online game win we’ve ever heard of, so as well as winning himself a pretty packet, our client has gone in to the record books too. With the Jackpot fund so high there was always the potential for a William Hill punter to scoop a really big prize and this gentleman has done it – at odds of over 145406/1.”

Millionaires Club is a slot machine type game available on www.williamhillcasio.com, where customers spin for cash prizes – or the chance to enter the bonus game and play for the progressive Jackpot, where the prize fund gets bigger and bigger until some one wins. However now it has been won there is still a pretty hefty prize – the Jackpot has been reset to a starting value of ?175,000 and will grow until the next lucky William Hill winner comes along!

POSH POKER
30 April 2004
Cryptologic opens another poker room

The Ritz Club London Online, a prestigious UK gaming brand, has debuted its new poker room at The Ritz Club London.com, licensed by CryptoLogic subsidiary, WagerLogic Limited. This is the seventh poker room license issued by Wagerlogic. A licensee since 2002, the UK site has added online poker to expand its global reach into one of the Internet’s fastest growing markets.

Online poker continues to enjoy exceptional popularity around the world, having risen to account for more than 15% of the $5.7 billion global online gaming market last year. With online poker driving the exciting growth of many online gaming businesses, CryptoLogic is benefiting from its expanding roster of international brand name licensees expanding into this large, emerging game segment. As a result, CryptoLogic aims to grow online poker to 15% of its overall revenue in 2004.

“We are excited to introduce live person-to-person Internet poker and offer our customers the latest in online gaming entertainment,” commented Malcolm Graham, Managing Director, The Ritz Club London Online.

The Ritz Club London will offer the newest version of WagerLogic’s online poker software. Customized to the Ritz’s exacting brand standards, the site offers the most popular games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha High, Omaha High/Low and 7-Card Stud. Players can get a game at their preferred stake around the clock, while enjoying live poker action with real money players from around the world. No Limit/Pot Limit games and multi-table tournaments are recently added attractions that increase player appeal and traffic.

GPWA FOR SALE
30 April 2004
Carley calls it quits

The controversial Gambling Portal Webmaster’s Association (GPWA) is up for sale, according to a communication sent out by its General Manager and owner, Cynthia Carley.

The sale is open to GPWA members, but with reports of troubled relationships and a declining membership, the GPWA is thought to have lost much of its lustre. Carley’s communication says that she is selling up to pursue new ventures, and that the remaining membership will have to approve the new buyer. A price has not thus far been mentioned, so presumably all bids are welcome. Carley will remain a member, she claims.

For the Association it’s business as usual until a definite buyer is announced, and the intention is to maintain the “operating philosphy.”

BULLISH SPORTINGBET REPORTS GOOD RESULTS
30 April 2004
And the US regulatory field is looking better, too

Sportingbet was taking a bullish view of US regulation whilst announcing record results this week.

The online bookmaker posted record 12-month profits and said it was encouraged by regulatory moves in its main American market.

Profits rose 557pc in the 12 months to March 31 to a record ?9.2m, boosted by its European activities, reversing last time’s ?2m operating losses to post ?1m profits.

Nigel Payne, chief executive, said the past 12 months had seen sports bets rise 30pc to 28.5m.

Sportingbet operates in a legal grey area by using an offshore base to take bets from American customers. Mr Payne said he was encouraged by “positive developments” in America which could lead to a more liberal approach to gambling in the US.

Washington state has introduced a bill to allow horse racing bets to be legally taken over the internet, while the World Trade Organisation backed the rights of Antigua to take bets from US citizens.

MORE ON MOBILE
30 April 2004
mCasino debut

Wired News reported this week that a Nevada company is hoping to win the business of gaming operators around the world with a new technology it says could port casino games onto mobile phones.

The so-called mCasino technology is intended to give casinos a way to keep customers happy — read: playing and betting — even when they’re away from the tables.

“It’s a simple concept when you think about it,” says Peter French, communications director at Casino Phone Technologies, the company developing mCasino, “and what makes it fly is that both the casino industry and casino users want the product.”

It remains to be seen if casinos will truly get on board, as French notes that the company doesn’t yet have any publicly named partners. But it’s easy to imagine why operators would want such technology: It could effectively extend casinos’ games from the floor to restaurants, hotels and possibly anywhere else a mobile phone can go.

He says Casino Phone Technologies has already conducted a trial in Cambodia and hopes to eventually partner with operators in countries all across Europe and Asia, as well as with Nevada and Native American casinos.

PUBLISHER AND WEBMASTER SQUARE OFF
30 April 2004
Latest GIGSE Sumo bout announced

Good natured taunts were flying this week between Lyceum Publishing boss Michael Caselli and Casinomeister’s Bryan Bailey.

The duo are the latest Sumo wrestling pair who will fight for charity at the upcoming Toronto GIGSE bash.

The proceeds of this year’s inaugural event will be designated for the U.K-based not-for-profit organization GamCare. GamCare has a “commitment to promote responsible attitudes to gambling and to work for the provision of proper care for those who have been harmed by gambling dependency” (http://www.gamcare.org.uk). Organizers River City Group have pledged a US$1,000 donation to kick off the charity event.

Sponsored by Golden Palace, the Sumo wrestling card will include 5 “grudge” matches between various I-gaming industry characters who will use this forum to settle some rivalries.

They will wear rubber sumo wrestling costumes and compete in best of 3 match rounds for this charity event.

Current gladiatorial match-ups include:

-Sue Schneider (River City Group) vs. Chris Costigan (Gambling911.com)
-John Wallis (Sunny Group) vs. Jay Stubina (Mohawk Internet Technologies)
-Peter Kjaer (Dr. Ho) vs. Peter Bridge (Lasseters)
-Steve Ives (BetFair) vs. Michael Carlton (Victor Chandler)
-David Carruthers (Bet On Sports) vs. Cole Turner (Bo Dog)
-Bryan Bailey (CasinoMeister) vs. Michael Caselli (Lyceum Publishing)

All GIGSE attendees will be given play money for the event. At the end of the final match, the member of the audience with the most play money will win a free Full Summit registration to GIGSE 2005.

Alan Weinrib and Mark Blandford of SportingBet.com will function as “celebrity” bookmakers so members of the audience can bet on their favorite to win.

Kevin Smith of River City Group will serve as the ring announcer and Keith Furlong of the Interactive Gaming Council will be the referee.

The word in the business this week was that Bailey’s arch casino foe Warren Cloud was originally invited but declined. Perhaps Bailey’s past as a 107 jump US paratrooper deterred him.

FORTUNATE DINNER
30 April 2004
Italian flair for the players

Fortune Lounge online casino group has been making a name for itself in the States for some time now with dinners for players hosted by senior company people. But don’t take our word for it – this is a report on the message boards today from one of the guests:

“Last Saturday, April 24th, I had the honor of having dinner with the Fortune Lounge Group. At the dinner, I met Jorn (VIP Relationship Manager), Lou (CEO) and David (one of the Founders of FL). Besides the fact that they were three good looking guys, they were such nice, sweet and decent people.

“I also met about 10 other players from the FL site. Being from New York, the dinner was held at Patsy’s Italian Restaurant on West 56th St. (If anyone loves italian food like I do, you have not lived until you have eaten at Patsy’s). It is a very well known eatery here in the city, and many stars frequent this restaurant.

“Let me start by saying that Fortune Lounge spared no expense on this dinner, as Patsy’s is somewhat pricey. This restaurant has two levels and is very cozy. FL could not have picked a place better than Patsy’s for this dinner, the atmosphere is warm and each worker goes the extra mile to make sure that each customer is satisfied.

“Since my babysitter was late, Barry and I arrived almost one hour into the dinner and as we were being introduced to everyone Barry spilled a glass of wine on an 8 year old little girl. (so much for classy entrances…gotta remember to send Barry to finishing school…lol). Each of the three gentlemen from FL were so courteous.

“However, they wanted very much to know any problems that any of us were having with the site. Barry sat next to David and they spoke about the poker site. Since Barry has been in the business for quite some time, David was eager to hear Barry’s experiences with online poker. What amazed me the most, was that Jorn reminded me of a problem that I had with a customer service rep a while back, which I had totally forgotten about. Jorn was very quick to tell me that the CSR had been reprimanded and to contact him directly should I ever have a problem again. Like every restaurant in NY, Patsy’s is a non-smoking place. So a few times a couple of us got up to go outside and have a cigarette. It was at this time that I was able to get to know the players. We were discussing our favorite games and slots was number one, by far.

“As a token of FL’s appreciation for everyone who attended the dinner, the invitee got $200 (deposited into the casino of your choice) and your escort was given $50 to be used the same way. I immediately stole Barry’s $50 and had my money put into Platinum Play. They also had a drawing for $1050. The way it worked was everyone picked a card from a deck and the highest card got $500, second highest got 250, third highest got 150, fourth highest (Meeeeee) got 100, and fifth highest got 50. These credits were also put into the casino of your choice. One player that I met was a woman named Gretchen and she brought her daughter with her. Being that she was from Saratoga, FL put her up for the night at a very classy hotel. Unfortunately, Gretchen had to wait five hours for her room, so FL immediately compensated her with $1000. I thought that was wonderful.

“FL is a class outfit. From their conversation, you can easily tell that they REALLY care about all their players. They want to know if anyone is unhappy or has a problem. I know that many people complain about not receiving replies to their emails. Therefore, if you do not receive a response, write to (deleted) and you will definitely get an answer.

“I have been gambling online for about 8 years and have never felt so valued as FL has made me feel. I am very confident that any problem will be handled as quickly as possible. Lastly, they gave each of us a beautiful parting gift. It is a diamond about the size of a baseball. I have it proudly displayed in my curio.”

The only question left is how high a roller do you have to be to get on the next invitation list!

SPAMMERS BEWARE!
First prosecutions under new laws reported

30 April 2004
There might, at last be an end in sight to those tons of irrelevant electronic junkmail with which Internet users are daily showered.

Associated Press reported this week that U.S. authorities have charged four people in Detroit with e-mailing fraudulent sales pitches for weight-loss products, the first criminal prosecutions under the government’s new “can spam” legislation.

The four were accused of disguising their identities in hundreds of thousands of e-mail sales pitches and delivering e-mails by bouncing messages through unprotected relay computers on the Internet.

Court papers identified them as Daniel J. Lin, James J. Lin, Mark M. Sadek and Christopher Chung, all believed living in suburban Detroit.

Chung and Sadek appeared in U.S. District Court and were released on unsecured bonds, said Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Lins have not been arrested.

Authorities said their company sold a weight-loss patch under the corporate names AIT Herbal, Avatar Nutrition, Phoenix Avatar and others. The companies allegedly operated out of Detroit and nearby communities of West Bloomfield and Birmingham.

“These people were sending spam e-mails to at least a million people,” Balaya said.

Officials at the Federal Trade Commission, who planned to announce the arrests in Washington, told U.S. postal investigators they had received more than 10,000 complaints about unwanted e-mails sent by the company.

Investigators said they consulted Dr. Michael D. Jensen, a medical professor at the Mayo Medical School, who confirmed that ingredients in the weight-loss product sold in the disputed e-mails wouldn’t work.

The “can spam” legislation, which went into effect January 1, requires unsolicited e-mails to include a genuinely operational mechanism so recipients can indicate they do not want future mass mailings.

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SKULLDUGGERY COMES TO KING NEPTUNES!
Super-progressives, pirates and rock ‘n roll added to games selection

30 April 2004
There’s a fresh look to the King Neptune’s Casino games suite this week following the launch of five new games in answer to player demand.

The selection includes two upgraded big win progressives, two brand new five reel, nine payline video slots and a Jacks or Better addition to the popular x10 Power Poker series.

For 5 reel, 9 payline video slot fans, Skull Duggery offers scatter and wild symbols in an amusing, high spirited pirate treasure game full of bold graphics and entertaining sounds and animations. It has a humorous Caribbean flavour, filled with oddball characters and luscious “wild” fruits which is sure to appeal to most players and comes on the heels of the hit movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

But the real fun comes in the Booty Bonus, where players select 1 out of 5 possibilities. The Pirate Captain has found valuable items missing from his personal treasure trove, and the usual suspects from his motley crew have been hauled up on deck for a lineout, and what a scurvy gang they are! The thief can expect a short stroll off the gangplank into shark infested waters, and the captain will richly reward the player with plenty of pirate plunder for identifying the guilty party.

The three reel Cash Splash slot that pioneered the big win progressives rush on the Internet several years back has an up-to-the-minute companion in Cash Splash Progressive Video Slot. The difference with the original game is striking, because the new game not only features fresh and vibrant graphics and high speed action, but is a five reel, nine line gaming experience with a wild multiplier and scatter symbol that can double the jackpot. It is completely in sync with the latest playing trends established by ongoing research.

The Major Millions progressive that has created several instant millionaires also gets a new lease on life The three reel format of this progressive has been extensively upgraded to an exciting five reel video slot platform that offers players 15 paylines for a maximum bet of $3 – that’s fifteen chances to pull The Big One in Internet gambling.

The look, digital quality sounds and feel of Major Millions will be familiar, but there’s a bigger thrill factor that includes a x3 wild multiplier to add to the excitement.

The original three reel versions of these hugely popular progressives remain in service, with both versions linked to the same progressives through the trusted Jackpot Madness network in order to give players more choice whilst retaining the prospect of seriously big wins. Jackpot Madness led the industry in introducing progressives and has paid out a total of over $100 million in prizes through its eleven games over the years.

Vinyl Countdown is new 5 reel, 9 payline video slot that is sure to strike a chord with the rock n? roll generation of the 50?s, 60?s and others. With it?s fun retro-theme, catchy tunes, great sound and bright and breezy graphics it should have great appeal

The game is the latest feature-rich, advanced slot from Microgaming and has the wild, scatter and x3 Multiplier opportunities that have made The Big Kahuna such a hit in Got2bet, all presented in a big, bright package with tons of fun.

Video poker players can enjoy ten times the fun…and ten times the reward if their luck’s in…on a brand new Jacks or Better game just added to the x10 Power Poker gambling suite that enables gamblers to play ten hands at once, with a different 52 card pack for each hand.

Players get plenty of flexibility with this game and can wager between 1 to 5 coins per hand, or up to fifty coins at a time in denominations ranging from as little as a cent to two dollars. With top jackpots of US $ 80 000 possible the new game has good potential for some truly spectacular wins

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WPT CHAMP CROWNED
30 April 2003
Record prize goes to Swedish player

New poker prize records were set this week at major championships.

Swedish player Martin Dekenijff won the biggest-money event in poker history this week, collecting $2.7 million when he captured the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Dekenijff’s pair of 10s beat the Ace-high hand held by Downey, Calif., player Hasan Habib in the $8.34 million prize-pool, no-limit Texas hold’em event.

The Stockholm resident’s win passed the $2.5 million prize collected by 2003 World Series of Poker championship event winner Chris Moneymaker. The top slot will likely be short-lived, as this year’s WSOP champion is expected to collect at least $3 million.

The tournament was held in Bellagio’s Fontana Bar, a move MGM MIRAGE executives said was intended to provide spectacular images for the event’s tape-delayed broadcast on the Travel Channel. One taped sequence had the Lake Bellagio fountains perform to the WPT TV show’s music theme while the camera shot looked across the lake and through the wide open doors of the Fontana Bar, to the tournament’s final table.

Habib collected $1.3 million for his second-place finish. Bronxville, N.Y., native Matt Matros took third place and $706,903. Las Vegas resident Richard Grijalva finished fourth, collecting $457,408; Maryland’s Russell Rosenblum was fifth, getting $332,660; and Reno’s Steve Brecher finished in sixth place, winning $232,862.

Meanwhile, at Binion’s Horseshoe not a single Nevada player made it to the final table of the World Series of Poker’s first open-to-the-public event, the $2,000 buy-in no-limit Texas hold’em tourney that took place last weekend.

London’s James Vogl conquered the 834-player field, winning $400,000 and beating a nine-person final table that included five Californians.

Las Vegas got some redemption in the next event, the $1,500 buy-in Seven-card Stud tourney that concluded last Sunday night, as Bellagio cash-game specialist Ted Forrest won $111,440 to beat the event’s 258-player field.

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MOBILE SUPPLIER PHANTOM TAKEN OVER
30 April 2004
RTG deal will continue

Phantom Fibre Corporation, which has been working with several Got2bet technology companies such as RTG to provide mobile gambling, has been taken over by Pivotal Self-Service Technologies Inc., a provider of secure wireless technology and mobile solutions.

As part of a share exchange agreement, will issue 137,410,735 shares for all the issued and outstanding common shares of Phantom Fiber Corporation and 30,000,000 common shares and warrants to purchase an additional 15,000,000 common shares to the holders of $1,200,000 of convertible debentures of Phantom Fiber Corporation.

The formal closing of this transaction is subject to the approval by the shareholders of the corporation, including increasing the authorized number of common shares from 150,000,000 to 400,000,000 and a change in name from Pivotal Self Service Technologies Inc. to Phantom Fiber Corporation. Concurrent with closing, all of the Company’s officers and directors will resign and will be replaced with nominees of Phantom Fiber. In order to attract and retain quality management, the Company will also seek to increase the number of shares issuable under the stock options plan from 3,000,000 to 20,000,000.

John Simmonds, Chief Executive Officer commented; “I believe the proposed Phantom Fiber acquisition presents an excellent opportunity for the shareholders of Pivotal. Opportunities in this field are creating a lot of interest and I’m pleased that we were able to structure what I believe was a fair deal for all concerned. I’m confident that this transaction will meet with the approval of the shareholders and look forward to watching the future unfold under new management.”

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KIOSK FEARS IN NEVADA
30 April 2003
Regulators ask if casino games are next

Gambling kiosks in bars and other public places were under the microscope this week, as the Nevada Gaming Commission approved an application by a user to install four more kiosks to allow bettors to place their wagers through terminals.

State gaming officials are concerned that rapid advances in technology could generate problems in regulating the Nevada casino industry. Dennis Neilander, chairman of the state Gaming Control Board, said that technology is becoming more affordable and there are policy questions to answer. VirtGame Corp., a software development company based in San Diego, is testing kiosks in bars in Las Vegas. The kiosks allow wagers on horseracing and sporting events.

Peter Bernhard, chairman of the Gaming Commission, questioned whether casino games may be the next to be placed on kiosks.

The player inserts his cash, picks the horse or the team and then receives a ticket in return. If he wins, he collects from the cage at the casino or he can leave the winnings in the kiosk to make further bets. The largest bet so far was a $1,000 bet on the Super Bowl. The machines accept up to $3,000 in wagers before they shut down and have to be restarted.

VirtGame Corp., which received a permanent license from the commission, has developed a kiosk that is being tested in taverns. Under the system, a bar patron can use the kiosk to place bets. But the bettor must have money in an account in the casino where the bet is placed. The kiosk that is a joint venture of VirtGame Corp. and United Games has access to the latest information and odds from various casinos.

Tony Cabot, attorney for VirtGame, said kiosks are an extension of telephone betting on sports and horseracing. A person with an account in a casino book can call in his or her bets.

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NETELLER PROBLEMS
30 April 2003
Bad news from the USA again

Handicapping services based in United States are no longer permitted to have Neteller as a merchant according to brief and officially unconfirmed reports coming in as we went to press. “The U.S. government is treating handicapping services the same way they are treating gambling operations,” Neteller stated.

Further details are being sought.

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MORE SEALS FROM eCOGRA
23 April 2004
Player safety initiative gathers momentum

Following the announcement of the first 23 ultra-safe eCOGRA seal casinos only weeks ago, the player protection organisation has published a list of a further 16 successful candidates.

The board of directors of eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) approved the new seal-holders after extensive independent testing and inspections by professional teams from international audit group PricewaterhouseCoopers to ensure that they met the stringent requirements of the organisation regarding operational efficiency, fair gaming and player protection.

The latest casinos awarded the seal are:

Arthurian Casino
CasinoUS
Cinema Casino
Crazy Vegas Casino
777 Dragon Casino
Sun Vegas Casino
Ruby Fortune Casino
Spin Palace Casino
Roxy Palace Casino
Jackpots in a Flash
Mummy’s Gold Casino
Piggs Peak Casino
Desert Dollar Casino
Diamond Casino
Havana Club Casino
Platinum Play Casino

Editor’s note: Links to these casinos can be found in Casinomeister’s Reputable Casino section.

“The current batch of seal-holders is a mix of successful first time candidates and operations which did not initially meet our eGAP requirements and have had to reorganise their systems in order to fully comply”, eCOGRA CEO Andrew Beveridge reports. “We are now satisfied that all operational and business aspects are in line with our eGAP principles”

Beveridge said that a further batch of casinos was currently under examination, and that the eCOGRA initiative to present the Got2bet community with a wide range of safe, honest and efficient online casino venues was steadily gathering momentum.

“The latest seal awards bring to 39 the top class casinos who have voluntarily submitted to our genuine self-imposed regulation”, he said. “More casinos are currently being inspected, and interest in the eCOGRA standards and implementation is growing in the industry from players, casinos and software providers alike”.

Meanwhile, business conditions at the first batch of seal casinos are looking promising. Scott Gaines, spokesman for the Trident Entertainment group which owns King Neptune’s, Trident Lounge and VegasUSA casinos reports, “The Seal provides a comfort level to existing and potential players. We are seeing some improvements in visits and activity”

eCOGRA requires that approved casinos are financially stable and have adequate reserves to cover wagers. The probity of casino management is scrutinised, together with player protection measures, payout times and financial facilities, games fairness, responsive Support and general operational efficiency. Policies have to be in place for communicating with clients and dealing with player complaints, and satisfactory technical capabilities and anti money-laundering systems are critical.

The new list of seals was augmented for the first time by additional awards to Jackpot City Casino, Havana Club Casino and King Neptunes Casino, which successfully presented their foreign language sites for inspection, too.

To guarantee eCOGRA’s autonomy from software providers and operators, the seals compliance committee is comprised of three independent directors who are not representative of the member software providers or casino operators. These directors are Michael Hirst OBE, former Chairman and CEO of Hilton International; Bill Galston OBE, former Chief Inspector of the Gaming Board for Great Britain; and Frank Catania, a former Assistant Attorney General in the State of New Jersey and former Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
23 April 2004
An appalling deal from Futurebet
The latest misadventure at Futurebet continues to draw slings and arrows from outraged players in the Indio Casino affair. A number of players have been trying to get their payouts for months, but have seemingly been caught in a buck-passing timewarp between the owners of Indio, Futurebet and the (allegedly) third party service provider Player Support.com. Indio closed its doors on April 6 and is currently seeking a new software provider after problems with FB over Player Support performance and over an abortive attempt by FB to develop download software with Indio investment money. The owners of Indio claim that FB was unable to return the funds, and that an agreement was made whereby FB looked after the unpaid players and Indio walked away from the mess. After more prevaricating, FB’s CEO Jeff Hurley and his sidekick Ron Katz came up with a shockingly bad deal for the players FB should have been helping. Accounts, with a ten percent bonus were opened for them at Sportsbookusa, graveyard for many FB sites and the owed amounts credited. Then came the sting in the tail – before withdrawing anything the players had to complete a x10 wager through! Caught between a rock and a hard place, and without any liklihood of fair redress, the players were reluctantly taking up the offer as we went to press….and early reports indicated that their credits were not surviving the WT. Futurebet has been in enough scrapes to make its licensees (and it is rumoured that they are in many cases their own licensees) a risky bet.

Not much of a choice
There’s still no sign of life at Choice Poker this week with emails going unanswered, and still many unpaid players. One guy is owed thousands and most are thirty or more days overdue on their payouts. All in all it is starting to look like a disaster for players and the skin owners alike. What is so wrong here beyond the non-pays is that they still continue to accept deposits, not that there is a game to play in. According to Poker Pulse there was $0 in the 24-hr Ring Game Pots. Until matters are a whole lot clearer, be warned.

VC=Very Congested
Although Victor Chandler has a great reputation, we’re hearing some alarming stories of too many slow pays over three weeks at their poker operation. We are told that Golden Palace runs the back end of this room for the skins and GP. Encouragingly, there are as yet no “no pays” but three weeks is too long for standard payouts. Another cause for concern are reports that GP is disqualifying freeroll points from those players who complain about the long payout delays.

No busses for these two
RTG powered Giant Vegas and Kiss Casino have not been under new ownership very long yet there are already complaints appearing on the message boards that tell of 32 day outstanding slow-pays. Amusingly, one player was told by a CSR that his cashout had to join the queue because it was a “very large amount”….we’re talking $1000 here!

Isla Bonita roars “Don’t call us….”
Some weeks back we warned Danish players in particular about slow-pays and linked shenanigans at the Playtech-powered Scandinavian site Isla Bonita Casino.com, and Got2bet mediator Bryan Bailey was all over a manager there called Roar. Roar certainly had an interesting repertoire of excuses for the delayed payments, which mainly centred on which bank was doing what and where, but the players remained unpaid. Then the site disappeared and with it Roar as emails were bounced in the middle of the negotiation. However, this is the Internet where you can run, but you can’t hide unless you’re very smart and it wasn’t long before observant players noticed that Isla had undergone a quick identity change and a was sporting a brand new url – La Isla Bonita Casino.com. Bailey was on them in a flash, and perhaps recognising the inevitable, Roar had the Danes paid. Why the identity change? Well, the casino was not too specific, citing that great catch-all “Security reasons”. But it was revealing that their notification of the new url was sent to everyone….except the mediator and Danish players. And Danish players are no longer welcome. Caution is indicated here – your nationality could be next!

Evil borrower…
Speculation was rife on one message board this week when the webmaster posted this enigmatic notice warning his members:

“It has been brought to my attention that a board member has been contacting other trusted members of this board in order to borrow money. This individual apparently is not paying this back. If you have been approached by ANY member of this board asking to borrow money, please contact me immediately.”

Attempting to borrow money like this is an unprecedented low for message board conduct, and if members of other forums have been hit up in similar fa shion they are urged to contact the forum webmasters immediately.

Evil spammer
“Hoist by his own petard” was the phrase that came to mind at the news this week that the notorious Belgian spammer and fraudster Jeroen Puttemans has been “visited” by the authorites in that country.

InfoPowa has previously reported Putteman’s vindictive and unprofessional behaviour especially in a feud with other webmasters recently. Now reliable information to hand is that this individual was raided at home recently and computer equipment has been confiscated pending his court appearance in Belgium soon.

Without substantial defense it is very likely he will face a jail term.

Hopefully this will serve as a warning to those who see the internet as a free license to scam and spam that you will be held accountable for your actions

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BetCBSports FIGHTS OFF DDoS
23 April 2004
Raiders described as “gutless hacks”

Costa Rica-based BetCBSports.com is the latest Got2bet site to survive a DDoS attack, according to Senior Odds Maker, Dan “The Man” Johnson.

“Luckily, we have a tremendous team of technical experts working for us and we were able to triumph over these gutless hacks,” he revealed this week. A denial of service attack overwhelms the target with information but does not usually result in the theft of data or other security loss. These kinds of attacks, however, can cost the target person or company a great deal of time, energy and money.

According to Johnson, the raiders demanded $50 000 for a one year “protection” contract, and were told in no uncertain terms that such a payment would not be forthcoming. When the attack commenced, the sportsbook’s security strategy swung into action and minimised the damage.

BetCBSports is collaborating with the authorities and with other books in exchanging information and tactics for future defence initiatives.

STOP PRESS: News of another DDoS raid successfully beaten off was surfacing as we went to press this week. In an email to clients, Speedbet advised that it was under attack but coping, and apologised for any delays.

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BIG WIN AT GOLDEN PALACE
23 April 2004
David beats Goliath

David P. changed his life by winning an incredible $603,211 playing a progressive slot machine at Internet casino GoldenPalace.com this week.

He was playing Gold Rally, a wild-west themed slot machine that is one of several Progressive Games included in the Playtech software package offered by Golden Palace.com. This whopping jackpot ? which David won by wagering the $16.00 maximum bet ? is the biggest single win ever recorded in the seven-year history of the online casino.

?Although we?ve paid out millions of dollars over the years, this is the biggest single amount we?ve ever paid out to any one individual,? said GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe. ?In fact it?s been quite a month for jackpot winners. Just a few weeks ago, Kyle A. hit it big with a $320,000 jackpot playing ?Let Them Ride? Poker. That?s almost one million dollars in jackpots paid out in a single month to only two players! 2004 is shaping up to be a record year for jackpot winners.?

?This is unbelievable,? said David regarding his huge win. ?When I saw my win on the screen I didn?t think it was real. I figured it was too good to be true and there must be some mistake. Now that it?s finally sunk in, I?m deciding what to do with the money. I?ll be paying off my mortgage and all my debts. I feel elated?like a big burden lifted. Makes you feel good, it really does.?

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NEW GAMES AT LASSETERS
23 April 2004
Joining the Nickel Zone

Lasseters celebrated its 5th birthday this week with the launch of new free spin featured flash games. The richly themed free Spin slot games on offer are “Aztec”, “Hollywood Legends” and “Psychedelia”, with players having the choice to play up to 9 lines from a low 1? bet!

Additionally players can either try their luck with a new flash scratch-card game, titled “Rollercoaster” for as little as $1 per game or enjoy the new flash versions of Baccarat, Blackjack and Roulette, now available in the Lasseters.com VIP “Club Lounge”.

These new games come on the heels of the recent rollout of the Lasseters.com “Nickel Zone” which has proved to be popular with players.

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NETELLER LISTING SUCCESSFUL
GBP 30 million raised

23 April 2004
Neteller’s delayed AIM London listing seemed to be working out well this week. The company that provides online payment services for most of the sites in the Got2bet industry announced that it had raised ?30 million since listing on the Alternative Investment Market, giving the company a market capitalisation of about ?200 million.

The company, based in the Isle of Man, provides services for Europe and North America, but plans to expand into Asia next year. Company CEO, Gord Herman said that Neteller had hitherto kept a low profile, but this was all about to change.

“It’s now up to us to get the story out there because a lot of people don’t know who NETeller is,” he said.

Herman revealed that the company plans to use the money raised for website development, working capital and acquisitions.

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IGH – SPORTINGBET IN DEAL
Erstwhile buyers of Gambling.com involved

23 April 2004
It appears that IGH is still in there batting, and has teamed with Sportingbet.

The last we heard of IGH was their aborted attempt to buy Gambling.com from Graeme Levin late last year. We have heard nothing further on their at that time failed attempt to get an AIM listing. The Gambling.com sale was lost to IGH when they could not come up with the cash, and Levin eventually did a management takeover deal. InfoPowa reported as follows at the time:

“In October last year a little known portal group called Interactive Gaming Holdings announced that it was to take over Gambling.com for an impressive purchase price of GBP 2.5 million.

“The deal was that GBP 500 000 would be in cash but the remainder would presumably be in the form of equity or profit sharing once the company has successfully been floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London, England. IGH hoped to raise some GBP 8 million through this listing, enabling it to add more websites to its network of Got2bet and betting operations.

“IGH’s goal was to become a one-stop destination for online bettors, and despite its low profile claimed already to control over 1100 gaming related sites. Driving the IGH listing project as chairman was experienced Got2bet executive Craig Marshak, a former director of Schroders and the co-founder of CV Holdings, the developer of the successful Be The Dealer private label casino gambling platform.”

In the current deal, Reuters reports that Interactive Gaming Holdings has entered into a revenue-sharing deal on one of its 1,100 gaming Internet sites with leading online betting firm Sportingbet.

IGH said that Sportingbet, which has over one million customers, would operate betting on its oneworldsportbook.com Web site in return for a monthly payment based on net revenue.

IGH does not take any bets on its Web sites itself and is therefore not exposed to the financial risks, a spokesman said. It derives its income from running back-end operations and from advertising revenue.

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INTERNET GAMBLING NOT FOR THE WORKPLACE
23 April 2003
And the boss doesn’t like nasty emails, either

According to a new study released by IRS (relax…we’re talking about the research firm, not Big Brother!) Internet gambling is most likely to top your boss’s list of banned online activities in the workplace.

Got2bet was regarded as on a par with ?emails denigrating colleagues? as the top banned activity, at 63 percent. The next most-banned activity was accessing email services such as Hotmail and Yahoo, on 46 percent.

The bad news for work-surfers comes from another new survey conducted among personnel managers and presented by the Croner organisation, which claims that only 15 percent of companies have no online usage policy for employees. The Croner survey reports that 85 percent of organisations now have an Internet policy, but only 42 percent monitor it. 38 percent were more trusting, and respondents said that the management expect staff not to abuse the Internet on company time.

Croner?s Richard Smith, said: “Internet access is now commonplace in our workplaces and has become an essential part of the way we work. However, it offers a host of distractions, not to mention the temptation of popular sites such as Hotmail, eBay and Amazon.

“While the survey shows that most organisations have some sort of internet policy, if it’s not enforced then it may as well not exist.”

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TS&B CONUNDRUM
23 April 2004
A rather coy new kid on the block

The press release from “TS&B” sounded important, but noone knew who they were, and the release didn’t elaborate on the acronym. The company claimed to be on the threshold of entering the Got2bet market, but wasn’t too specific, saying:

“TS&B Gaming & Entertainment Corp, the subsidiary of TS&B Holdings, Inc. today announced its plans to enter the multi-billion dollar Got2bet space, later this quarter.” The company said it was currently reviewing several online platforms and software including blackjack, roulette, craps, pai gow and slots, among others. TS&B said it would also “acquire” an online gaming software provider over the next few months.

?We are very enthusiastic about positioning the new subsidiary into the multi billion dollar online gaming sector and exploring possible acquisitions in the gaming and entertainment sectors. With funds we have received from Compass Capital Group, we are now expanding our gaming and entertainment division,? said James E. Jenkins, the CEO.

Intrigued, we contacted the email address to ask who they were, what their background was, how well funded they were and which software providers they were considering.

Sadly, there has been no response and no bouncebacks.

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MALWARE ADVICE
23 April 2004
Scrubbing out spyware

A feature article on spyware that appeared this week currently has particular resonance for the Got2bet industry due to a widespread discussion across several message boards on spyware appearing on players’ compluters from the Golden Palace marketers. InfoPowa reported the incidents some weeks back.

Computer security experts have reported that a recent influx of spyware, adware and browser hijacking by malicious online companies is creating new privacy and security concerns.

Spyware programs, which generally come bundled with free software capture personal information, track Internet and PC usage, to stream them to the advertisers and direct unsuspecting customers to porn and gambling web sites, and allowing access to computer hackers.

Experts warn that spyware comes disguised as useful software with even supposedly anti-spy software being used as a Trojan horse. McAfee, one of the leading computer security vendors reports that in the past eight months its monitoring labs have recorded more than forty million incidents of nonviral ?malware?.

“Nonviral threats are very serious concerns for consumers. With more than a hundred million installations of adware, and we see those numbers increasing, I guarantee we will see virus writers taking notice,” warns Bryson Gordon, senior manager, McAfee ? which has recently added spyware protection to it?s consumer product line.

Nonviral threats consumed 12 percent of all tech support, said Maureen Cushman, a spokesperson for for Dell’s consumer business segment. Industry experts believe that many consumers still do not understand the differences between adware, spyware, worms, and viruses.

John Gilroy a columnist with The Washington Post reported that while cleaning up a friend’s PC, he discovered a spyware file holding 3 gigabytes of unsecured personal information and data.

The best way to tackle this nuisance, say experts is by installing trusted and free anti-spyware software cleaners such as Spybot and Ad-aware. Other reliable methods to beat the menace of adware include: avoiding the usage of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and use Mozilla or Opera, which are not integrated with the Windows operating system; update Windows frequently; reject attachments in e-mail; and use a personal firewall and updated antivirus suite.

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VIRTUAL RACING FOR WILL HILL
23 April 2004
New site is Greenside Park

Brit bookmaker William Hill unveiled a Virtual Reality Racecourse, called Greenside Park this week, according to NetImperative.

The betting giant is working with Inspired Broadcast Networks, a UK-based digital entertainment company, and software company Red Vision to offer virtual racing to the firm’s 250,000 online client base.

Winners at the Virtual Greenside Park Racecourse are selected by a random number generator, which produces a computer-animated race. Customers are able to bet and receive their winnings in the same manner as they would with real live racing according the company.

“Greenside Park, allows customers to place both their bets along with those on traditional events such as real horse racing, greyhounds, football, golf, F1 etc. Unique to William Hill customers is their ability to place multiple bets on Greenside Park and/or other events, something that no other bookmaker allows at this time, 24 hours a day,” explained Sheila Preston, William Hill Internet sports book operations director.

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BOSS HELPS TRISSLOTTEN GO MOBILE
23 April 2004
New mobile gaming platform sure to generate interest

Boss Media announced that it is involved with the Swedish government Svenska Spel and scratch card provider Trisslotten in a mobile gambling project this week.

Trisslotten, Sweden’s biggest scratch card provider is the start of what Svenska Spel and Boss Media hopes will be a successful offering of mobile gambling to the Swedish market.

Bettors will be able to use the same account from their home computer and mobile telephone. The new gambling channel will strengthen the relationship between the gambler and his gaming card.

‘Mobile gambling is the next logical step from computer-based online. Digital distribution methods have enabled us to extend the use of our previous development work. We simply add new distribution channels to the same basic platform’, says Mikael Franz?n, the head of Svenska Spel’s Internet gambling shop.

‘Mobile gambling marks a watershed in the gambling world, as it enables players to choose when, where and how they want to gamble. From a regulatory point of view, too, it is a step forward, as it is easy to set limits for how much you can play and because you always know who is playing if you choose Svenska Spel’s solution’, says Peter Bertilsson, President and CEO of Boss Media.

Bertilsson confirmed that Boss already has BJ, video poker and slots with mobile capability and will soon launch new products to the market with other clients.

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POKER IPO
23 April 2004
Taking the game public

Lakes Entertainment and WPT Enterprises are banking on the soaring popularity of the game of poker, according to the New York Post this week.

WPT, which produces the World Poker Tour, filed for an initial public offering late last week. The company is seeking to raise anywhere from $20 million to $28 million in an offering underwritten by Feltl and Co., a Minneapolis-based investment bank.

The company is majority-owned by Lakes Entertainment, a publicly-traded yet speculative gaming company that develops, constructs and manages casinos. Lakes Entertainment doesn’t actually do any of that – yet. Despite that their Indian gaming contracts have pushed the stock up sixty percent this year, giving it a valuation of $255 million.

“Lakes Entertainment was kind of a middling, speculative company,” Roger Gros, editor of Global Gaming Business, “But with this poker thing, they’re taking it to the next level.”

Lakes’ sole source of revenue last year was the World Poker Tour. Now the company, along with the new WPT Enterprises, has grand plans to turn a television show into an icon.

“Our objective for the World Poker Tour is to establish a premier brand that is similar to the brands created by popular professional sports leagues, such as the NASCAR and the Professional Golfers Association,” WPT Enterprises writes in its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

WPT Enterprises’ fate rests partly in the hands of the Travel Channel, which holds options for the show for the next five seasons. The second season of the “World Poker Tour” TV show began airing last month – and for now, at least, it appears that the bulk of WPT’s revenue stems from its TV presence.

According to the company’s SEC filing, the Travel Channel will pay the company approximately $8.2 million in license fees in 2004 for the show’s second season; another $600,000 will be derived from fees that casinos pay WPT to be featured on the program.

Additional revenue could come through syndication, licensing opportunities and sponsorships. WPT Enterprises has retained worldwide distribution rights, and the company is also pursuing licensing opportunities for the brand, including board games, casino games, video games, scratch-off lottery tickets, books, apparel and poker accessories – with those last two beginning production during the second quarter of 2004.

Though poker’s popularity seems to be increasing every day, the WPT Enterprises IPO is the first time that the game will test the public markets.

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ESCALATION HOT LINE
23 April 2004
A positive move by Fortune Lounge group

The troubled Fortune Lounge group has been taking heavy flak over the past two weeks due to CSR mix-ups and a confusing new bonusing policy, and the VP Operations has been working overtime trying to stamp out bushfires and placate enraged players.

One of the problems has been trying to make sense of inadequate CSR responses which have left complainers frustrated and vocal on the message boards, and this week the company moved to introduce an easy-to-find escalation channel.

We’re surprised that more casinos don’t do this, because most hassles can be resolved once a player is in contact with staff who are more experienced and have greated decision authority than the lowly and often badly briefed CSRs.

Fortune Lounge communicated the news thus:

“In order to assist players who have not received satisfactory resolution to their queries or who have not received the service they deserve, we are creating an escalation channel on our websites which should be a great help.

“The facility will be available under the “Contact us” tab on our casino websites.”

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HOPE YET FOR THE GREAT WHITE NORTH
Could this herald the start of online casinos in Canada?

23 April 2004
The Atlantic Lottery Corporation in Canada had the message boards abuzz this week when it announced that it wants to turn its new eClub Reward site into one of Canada?s first legal online casinos, and implied that it could successfully circumvent any anti-gambling legislation.

The club, which has 24,000 subscribers, currently offers competitions and ?light-hearted? games, such as online air hockey, in return for submitting personal information.

According to the agency?s president, Michelle Carinci, it is being used to create a database of potential online gamers.

?If we were to go online, yes certainly we would have a database of players that have already shown an interest that we could open up the market to fairly quickly,? he told the Canadian Press.

The database, which includes players? ages, addresses and even mothers? maiden names, would, should the project go ahead, allow the corporation to offer gambling without violating the Canadian prohibition on inter-provincial sales, as they could use it to prove that its gamblers are of legal age and from the region.

Speculation abounds that other provinces are planning similar schemes, with the Canadian Press pointing out that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is asking customers to either mail, e-mail or fax personal information and a credit card numbers to the corporation when selling subscriptions.

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LADIES (POKER) NIGHT
No cigars, but real good bluffers

23 April 2004
The rising pre-eminence of female poker players was recognised by Victor Chandler Poker this week in a press release. According to the UK-based poker website, Victor Chandler Poker, the operator of Vcpoker.com, traditional male-dominated poker is now giving way to the fairer sex.

The website reported that one in six new players joining VCPoker.com are women ? up from virtually zero just two years ago. The typical female player tends to be between 24 and 25, Internet savvy, shop online and has a professional business career, the web metrics suggest.

“Women are being increasingly attracted to the excitement of online poker. Many professional women now shop extensively online and it?s natural that they should explore other ways of having fun and spending their money online,” said a spokesperson for the poker site.

Related research from Cambridge Professor, Simon Baron-Cohen in his book ?The Essential Difference? suggests that men and women do show different personality traits. Dr.Cohen says these traits undoubtedly influence how both men and women play poker.

Internal company research suggests that, with increased media attention, poker tournaments, TV shows, poker is finding new fans in the women?s segment. Adding to it, is the Internet which creates a safe environment.

“Logging on to a poker website is nowhere near as intimidating as walking into a male-dominated casino. Good online poker rooms are moderated, mostly by women,” reports VC Poker.

InfoPowa thinks that the best baseline to this story comes from a new female-targeted poker site, where a member was recently quoted as saying that women were natural poker players. “We’ve been bluffing men for years!” she said.

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GRAND FINALE
23 April 2003
World poker champ to be decided tonight

The second season of the World Poker Tour (WPT) culminates tonight, Friday, April 23 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas when one winner will walk away with $2,728,356, the largest-ever prize paid to the first place finisher in a televised poker tournament or North American sporting event.

The WPT Championship attracted 343 players to Bellagio for a record-smashing $8.6 million prize pool, the highest ever in tournament poker, with the player finishing 50th earning $33,266. The buy-in for the tournament was $25,300, the largest in the sport. Last year’s WPT Championship at Bellagio drew 111 players with victor Alan Goehring taking home a $1,011,886 slice of the more than $2.6 million purse.

Last Saturday, a satellite tournament at Bellagio (leading up to the WPT Championship) established an all-time record as poker’s first $1 million super-satellite tournament with 447 participants.

The 2004 first place prize money for the WPT Championship exceeds the first place money paid to the winners of tennis’ U.S. Open ($1 million), the PGA’s Players Championship ($1.44 million), the LPGA Championship ($1.6 million), Daytona 500 ($1.4 million) and the Indianapolis 500 ($1.35 million).

“We are proud of our partnership with the World Poker Tour and what we’ve accomplished for poker and its players in just 15 months,” said Doug Dalton, director of poker operations at Bellagio. “We appreciate the contributions of everyone at the WPT and all of our supporters to help pull off the most successful finale in the history of poker. It is the highlight of the year for Bellagio, our poker players and guests.”

The WPT Championship caps a second season, 14-tournament tour that saw the total prize money increase from $10 million in the first season to an astonishing $30 million. The season-sending WPT Championship, which began earlier today, concludes Friday with the filming of the final table featuring the top six tournament chip leaders. The show will air on The Travel Channel Wednesday, June 30. The World Poker Tour airs every Wednesday evening from 9-11 PM (ET/PT), also on The Travel Channel.

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CONFERENCE CORNER
23 April 2004
ONE FOR THE OPERATORS
Barcelona bound…

If you were wondering what happened to the respected Vahe Baloulian of CON, well he’s still with Cassava and will be a key speaker at a major casino operator conference scheduled for sunny Barcelona next month.

Industry professionals from Europe?s leading casinos will gather in Barcelona on May 13-14 for the International Casino Operator Forum.

Organised by ATE Conferences, this year?s event has already secured a significant number of high profile delegates from land and Internet operations right across Europe.

With a strong focus on income building operating techniques, the line-up of Forum speakers boasts a wealth of experience with experts including Vahe Baloulian (Director, Gaming and Industry Relations, Cassava Enterprises), Michael Boettcher (President & CEO, Storm International), David Wilson (Partner, Joelson Wilson), Tim Cullimore (General Manager, Casino Crans Montana), Yves Devin (Director of Operations, Casino de Montreal), Ander Galvensjo (CEO, Casino Cosmopol), Heliodoro Giner (Secretary General, European Casino Forum), Ian Gosling (Vice Chairman & COO, Regency Casinos), Jon Harris (CEO, Xanadu Casino Group), Armin Karu (CEO, Olympic Casino Group), Pieter Remmers (MD, Assissa Consultancy Europe), Paul Renney (Partner, Addleshaw Goddard), Jan Rodrigo (Executive Managing Director, Amorim Entertainment & Gaming International) and Jonathan Strock (Gaming Manager, Accor Electronic).

In addition to country-specific case studies from France, Russia, Baltic States and the CIS, major topics will include US ventures targeting Europe, ?Total Experience? gaming/leisure models, future prospects of state-owned casino companies, innovation in marketing and promotions, online gaming applications for land-based operators and social responsibility issues in continental Europe.

The English language conference program will be simultaneously translated in French, German, Spanish and Italian, whilst delegates will benefit from a range of social networking events arranged across three days (May 12-14) as part of an all inclusive package.

The International Casino Operator Forum takes place at the Hotel Gran Melia Sitges, Barcelona, Spain on May 13-14. For more information, including speaker lists, conference programme, networking opportunities and online delegate registration, visit www.ATEOnline.co.uk/Conferences

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BODOG GOES TO VEGAS
23 April 2003
Handicappers Conference a must….

The Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas is the venue for the Bodog Handicapper Conference schedule for July 29 and 30 this year, and the program and networking opportunities are looking promising.

Delegates will learn and participate in discussions on a wide variety of topics – ranging from the fundamentals of the handicapping business to successful marketing strategies to minimizing legal liability when operating a handicapping business in the U.S.

Speaker sessions feature personalities such as Marc Lawrence from Playbook and Carl Giordano from The Gold Sheet who will share their insights into the industry. Other topics covered include “How to Minimize Criminal and Civil Liability”, “How to Turn Sports Content into your site’s best sales tool”, “The Business of Selling Picks Online”, “Real Time Online Marketing for Customer Acquisition”.

And look at these additions to the program:

Legal issues behind recent federal charges against individuals running Player’s Edge, Inc. and National Sports Consultants in Fort Myers, Florida.

Recent WTO ruling on the trade dispute of Antigua and Barbuda vs. the United States

The Department of Justice subpoenas issued to companies accepting gaming advertising in the Eastern District of Missouri

Legal expert Joseph Kelly will speak to these issues and on “Handicapping – How to Minimize Criminal and Civil Liability” when operating a sports handicapping service in the United States. A must-attend seminar for new and seasoned operators.

The legendary quarterback Joe Montana of the NFL Hall of Fame will be attending the conference and delivering an address.

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TORONTO TIME SAVER
23 April 2003
GIGSE is nigh…

Save ten percent on your delegate registrations to the 6th annual Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo (www.gigse.com) by taking advantage of Early Bird Pricing. You only have until midnight (U.S. CDT) April 23 (that’s TONIGHT) to receive the discounted rate.

Click Here to Register Online: https://secure.rivercitygroup.com/secureforms/step1.cfm?summitid=16

A hotel room block is available at the elegant Royal York Hotel, one block from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. When booking your accommodations, don’t forget that registration is on Monday, May 17 since the conference portion of GIGSE starts on Monday for all delegates with Full Summit registrations. More information is available at: http://www.gigse.com/2004/index.cfm?page=travel

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LICENSING JURISDICTIONS EXPLAINED
23 April 2003
London comparisons a must for offshore execs

The iGaming Jurisdiction Showcase is a highly focused information seminar allowing iGaming operators, suppliers, analysts, law firms and those considering opening an iGaming business to get a complete picture of the world?s major iGaming jurisdictions in a like-by-like comparison.

Key information to be addressed includes telecommunications infrastructure & facilities, company law, policy & taxation, and specific iGaming licensing facts.

Get your golf shoes out for the following day for a day of charity golf at the beautiful Hampton Court Palace Golf Course on June 2nd with lunch following the 18 holes. If you?re interested in participating, please ensure to check it off on your registration form. All proceeds from the event will be donated to GamCare.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004 at 9:00am

Natural History Museum, London
Earth Galleries, Flett Theatre

June 1st Agenda:

9:00 Registration & Arrivals Reception

10:00 Opening Remarks from Chairman George M. Mangion, PKF Malta

10:15 Showcase Begins

11:35 BREAK

11:55 Showcase Continues

1:05 LUNCH with Wine Tasting

2:30 Showcase Continues

3:50 BREAK

4:30 Showcase Continues

5:30 Closing Remarks from Chairman George M. Mangion, PKF Malta

+44 (0) 207 828 2244

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LITTLE NEW IN JENSEN INTERVIEW
16 April 2004
Surprising lack of depth in some answers

Sports 911 put up their rather evasive interview with Main Street Vegas casino group owner and The Prescription partner, Marty Jensen this week.

Our immediate reaction was one of surprise that this prominent industry figure did not display the level of industry insight one might have expected in his responses, and the apparent lack of an in-depth strategic view of the industry and the issues that confront it.

InfoPowa was originally asked to interview Jensen as an independent third party, but we withdrew after he declined to conduct the interview by email. Chris Costigan of 911 then underetook the telephonic interview using some of InfoPowa’s sixteen questions along with others of his own.

The interview is disappointing in that it reveals little that is not already known, but here are some of the interesting points:

Some light was shed on Jensen’s Canadian background, although peripheral questions about his family life went unanswered. He told Costigan, “I’ve had a public accounting practice for about ten years in Vancouver. I’m (also) in the hospitality industry. I have a bar and restaurant in Vancouver. This is all in conjunction with other stuff. We have the (online) casinos I’m sure you are aware.” The “other stuff” was not specified.

He became involved in the online casino business six years ago during his involvement in a Costa Rican land deal, and he started out as an operator in August 1999.

He is apparently unconcerned about possible legal problems such as those being experienced in the USA, saying, “Up here (in Canada) it is an entirely different mentality. Canadians are much more liberalized. You probably have seen in Canadian news, legalizing marijuana, gays can and do get married. In Vancouver, they just set up intravenous shops for guys with serious heroin problems with the thinking it will cut down on AIDS and of course Bush is not happy about our liberal attitude and that extends down to internet gaming. You never hear anything about trouble up here with exception of Starnet but that was supposed to have involved child pornography. It is a much more relaxed environment.” We thought that was an optimistic rather than strategic posture, but it is understood that the casino interests are operating out of Costa Rica, which would appear to give a measure of protection as things presently stand.

Jensen was “incensed” at an InfoPowa question that suggested that Jensen was perceived to be uncommunicative. “I am very open and a good communicator,” he insisted without elaborating.

The event which triggered the interview process was widespread allegations on the Internet that one of Jensen’s casino managers had enjoyed a carnal relationship with an affiliate portal employee who had travelled to Vancouver for a visit.

The relationship aroused some salacious interest, but the core of the complaints was that the casino manager had passed on private player information – a cardinal sin in Internet gambling circles.

Asked about this, Jensen admitted that a liaison had taken place, but denied that information had been leaked. “I am 100 percent certain that there was no information passed from (employee name withheld) to this individual. I am also a player and play on internet casinos and I would be absolutely unhappy if I knew my information was being bandied about. We really go the extra mile in protecting people’s privacy. There are only a few people with access to this information. If there is any misappropriation of this information, that person is terminated immediately, and that includes everybody. I’ve also known (employee name withheld) for 15 plus years and have known his family and he is – you may not always agree with him – but definitely a man with integrity.”

This part of the interview was marred by a light-hearted but inappropriate detour into the sexual antics alleged, and did little to debunk the allegations describing the specific information that had previously been posted on several message boards. Later in the interview, Jensen revealed that his business interests had terminated the (affiliate) business relationship with the woman, saying, “I don’t even want our casinos to be on her forum any more. There is just no longer any business relationship with this individual.” Unfortunately, this statement is in conflict with some postings that suggest that the affiliate was the one who did the pulling following this scandal.

The historical disputes with Danish players over two years ago was also the subject of a question. InfoPowa asked, “The Danish bonus and winnings disqualifications two or more years back created a great deal of hostility to MSV among Danish folks and the playing community in general. In more recent times we understand that you have admitted this was a mistake, and that you have now paid all claims made within your deadlines for this incident? Are Danish players now welcome at your casinos, or are any “special” conditions applied to them (ie no bonuses or heavier wager thru’ requirements?)

Jensen answer tended to meander somewhat, but the essence is that Danish players are welcome but face tougher “player requirements” at his operations, along with “….groups in the Russian territories that we’ve identified as “high risk” also. So if the normal (W/T) requirement is say 10 times, those in the “high risk” groups will have to roll over 20 times. You know, we are protecting ourselves. If they come in and win, they get paid and all is good.”

How these high risk groups are identified was not clear from the interview, although Jensen did reveal that his software provider “…has a lot of tools and we are just looking for particular groups that are working together.” He admitted that good gamblers are occasionally caught in the crossfire, but said that Playtech is “….fine tuning their software and in the future I believe we are going to be a little more exact in terms of areas which we ban.”

The banning decision would seem to have a shotgun approach, however. Jensen commented that after being hit by a group of 30 players from Fargo who all knew each other, “We banned that whole city.”

Jensen believes that the main threat to Got2bet in the USA is the current (Bush) Administration, but is optimistic about the rest of the world without going into detail. He is concerned about unscrupulous operators, particularly in Russia, and the lack of Industry regulation but feels that the eCOGRA initiative is not credible. “If it is truly independent every casino on there is Microgaming. Same for Safebet, a similar organization set up by Real Time Gaming. The principal behind that was Michael Staw so it’s a bit of a farce.”

Internationally, he made the point that having sites in regional languages is not effective unless it is backed by the right customer service geared toward the countries being targeted.

Asked about the most promising areas of opportunity in terms of legal, gaming and new technology development Jensen gave little detail in generalising that the potential for the market was tremendous and expanding, with more people comfortable with the concept of using computers and spending money via the Internet.

Payout delays, always a source of contention for players was another subject that was broached. Jensen claimed that effective this week his MSV group would begin paying players within 48 hours despite the extra staff and costs that this incurs.

He revealed that, “There is a group of good casino operators that believe if you lag the payouts for two weeks – I think the number (of these players) is 30 percent – the players will deposit money during that intervening two week period. So the thinking from a business point of view is you are better to lag for those two weeks to get the money in. I know several casino operators who do just that. We experimented with that for a while but I really think that the new policy we have in place now is superior.”

Jensen was reticent on his part ownership of The Prescription portal, other than the fact that he does have an (undisclosed) partner who is not active in the industry itself. The purchase price is confidential and when asked if it was worth it, he said to ask him in six months.

The Focus: “Faster, more secure and much more stable (especially in light of the recent Denial of Service attacks). We’ve spent a lot of money upgrading the servers and have good people working for me.”

Goals: “Increase traffic and improve our live lines feature.”

“Ken Weitzner (aka “The Shrink” and original owner) is committed 100 percent to the future growth of TheRx.”

Conflict: “They are two separate businesses. Casinos and sportsbooks are two different animals and TheRx.com will remain a sportsbook portal. Will not get involved in the online casino aspect of the industry.”

Would it remain a watchdog site?

“Yes I believe this is a good model.”

Jensen does not want to saturate The Rx advertising space, and has turned down advertisers since coming on board. “It hurts turning away money but sometimes it is the better decision. It is not a healthy thing to have a book that’s only been around six or eight months going down.”

The issue of Costa Rican “licensing” for Got2bet came up and Jensen agreed that the present situation was a mythand “rhetoric” but he nevertheless has hopes that Costa Rica will allow operators to continue to operate from there. He is of the opinion that the government favours online casinos over sportsbooks, perhaps because sportsbook owners are regarded as a rougher crew.

RTG powered sites’ claim to be fully insured was also discussed and Jensen said that he does not believe such insurance in CR exists. “Let’s just say hypothetically I’ve been a terrible business man and have blown all the money, there is no insurance for the players if we were to go down and I am quite sure that 98 percent of the online casinos out there are the same way.”

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CASINO CAUTIONS
16 April 2004
More than just kissing cousins…?
Argentina-based IGS turnkey provider was in the firing line yet again this week as it’s allegedly outsourced Support, Playercenter.com was pilloried on the message boards for rudeness to a stiffed Islandjoes Casino player. The player had been given the runaround after the owner of Islandjoes apparently ran out of cash and was removed from the IGS licensee list. Finally losing patience, the player posted on the Casinomeister board and had this thrown in his face when he next spoke to Playercenter. He reported “….the account “manager” told me to get my withdraw from Bryan. That’s right, she said, and I quote “why don’t you ask the operator of the forum you posted on to pay you, because we won’t”. She went even farther as to quote to me some of my posts on this forum slamming Playercenter.com.

When Playercenter was approached for an explanation, it was not Playercenter that responded, but IGS PR assuring us that the exchange was all a “misunderstanding”. Surprising, because this was a complaint specifically about a Playercenter employee, and yet this “third party company” referred it to IGS.

IGS told us, “The process is as follows, since we terminated IslandJoesCasino.com contract due to his inability to meet certain criteria, the Player Center operators are supposed to forward all requests to the owner or his new software company. If he refuses to pay, then Player Center will let us know and we will step in to mediate and work out payment. Player Center is a third party company and only distributes the funds the casino owner sends to them to pay his players. If he does not send the money, then Player Center cannot pay him. That is when they contact us to let us know. If this persists we would terminate the casino owner’s contract and work with the players in getting paid. WE NEVER ABANDON THE PLAYERS!”

Since it would appear that this bureaucratic tail-chasing rather than actually helping stiffed players is part of the operational procedure at these two companies, it is necessary for us to again place them in Casino Cautions. As we went to press the player remained unassisted and unpaid.

Countering good fortune
“For withdrawals over the weekly withdrawal amount player is required to keep an active account, meaning that he must wager at least the amount of his balance through that period”

The above is yet another casino move infuriating players as Cirrus Casino.com continues to sound like a venue to be treated with great caution. Who needs all this nonsense? This is an iniquitous rule clearly designed to deprive winning players of their good fortune. They were already paying the price this week as players all over the Internet criticised them.

Operational problems
The Fortune Lounge group continued to take flak this week over snafus in it’s bonusing program and various other player complaints. Regrettably, the group’s VP Operations who is normally on these issues in record time was on leave and the situation escalated as posts remained unanswered. Better late than never, however the FL exec returned and started dealing with the complaints in his usual upfront manner, defusing the situation by apologising, redressing issues and explaining that operational staffing problems had played a role in some of the questionable bonusing decisions. It is to be hoped that FL resolves its problems, because it is presently generating more opprobrium than all the Microgaming-powered casinos together.

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TRIDENT LOUNGE STEPS UP A GEAR
16 April 2004
More power and greater choice with Viper upgrade

Quality online casino Trident Lounge moved up a gear this week with a Microgaming upgrade to the latest version of the advanced Viper gambling software platform.

The new software significantly boosts the playing experience with more power, faster play, a wide choice of player assists, high quality graphics and statistical capability. The latest examples of 120 Flash and download casino games including power pokers, high-win progressives and slots are featured in the gambling suite.

Trident Lounge’s well established Support, fast payouts and loyalty program will remain unchanged.

Easy to use Viper is the current top-of-the-line gambling software that has been described as revolutionary and ahead of its time in that it empowers the player with optional advice, statistical information, gaming level choices and an autoplay facility. Players are given multi-purpose tools that can be set to their personal levels and preferences, leaving them at all times in control of the gambling experience…and their money.

Expert Mode or Regular Mode can be selected by the player. In the former the games are faster and can be played to a chosen strategy and on autoplay, a time-saver when meeting wager-through requirements. Bet frequency and wagering levels can also be pre-set by the player. ‘Quick Spin’ for Slots and Roulette is available in both modes.

Strategies for table games are at the player’s fingertips, and gamblers requiring personal ‘coaching’ can set Viper up to guide them in basic strategy and other options. The software additionally offers a wide range of statistical information to the player on demand, for example to assist him or her to analyse play before taking decisions on individual bets and actions.

Finally players can enhance their gambling experience with a selection of top quality music, sounds and graphics.

Trident group spokesman, Scott Gaines says that the Viper suite has proved extremely popular with players on sister casino King Neptune’s, leading to the decision to upgrade Trident Lounge.

“Customer enjoyment and playing satisfaction are a critical business concern for us, and this was the main motivation for the change to this cutting edge technology that offers the player so much more”, he said. “There are some exciting games on the horizon, all based on the Viper platform so the change makes it possible for us to remain in synch with the latest in gaming developments.”

To celebrate the improved features, Trident Lounge is offering its players a 20% bonus, up to $100, when they purchase and wager on Viper’s most popular games: the multi-bonus feature slots Big Kahuna, Thunderstruck and Spring Break, as well as on Double Magic MegaSpins and the new Aces & Faces 10 Play Power Poker. In addition, players can earn triple cash-back Trident Points when they play any of the new games on Viper!

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NOKIA GOES GAMING
16 April 2004
New mobile launched

Reuters reported from Helsinki this week that the world’s largest cellphone maker, Nokia had launched a new gaming phone in a second attempt to crack the fast-growing mobile gaming market.

The launch of the “N-Gage QD” follows a disappointing performance by Nokia’s first gaming phone, N-Gage, which was widely criticised by users.

The new console, which will have a maximum price of about 200 euros or U.S. dollars, will be available in Europe and Asia in May and in the Americas in June, a company spokesman said.

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ALL GO AT GAMING CORP.
16 April 2004
Sites for regions and events

Staffers at Gaming Corporation have been burning the midnight oil to launch a series of new affiliate and casino initiatives it appears. In a long press release this week CEO Justin Drummond announced the latest moves.

The company owns Casino.co.uk a Brit casino portal, and launched a number of new casinos as part of a new affiliate marketing strategy.

Casino Ireland
Launched in conjunction with Irelands Number 1 online casino address, Casino.ie is a site specifically targeted to the Irish online casino market. The website has an existing customer database and effective search engine placement in place.

Casino Wheel
Casino Wheel.co.uk will be promoted both within the UK and Europe, taking advantage of access to an existing customer base. Marketing will be the responsibility of the partner who in addition to Casino Wheel, also operates a large online ticket agency within the UK.

In addition to these moves, the company intends to launch a network of themed casino websites as part an ongoing cost effective customer acquisition model.

To mark the start of the new Formula 1 season, the first in a series of themed casino websites has been introduced. Formula 1 Casino found at F1casino.co.uk acts as the affiliate site for motor sport and formula 1 related web sites. The site has already attracted several affiliates which include the F1 supporter?s association which currently has over a million registered users and a weekly e-mail newsletter that reaches 50,000 motor sport enthusiasts.

The second themed casino, Grand National Casino.co.uk was launched to coincide with the Grand National race earlier this month. The website is targeted to the horseracing enthusiast and is being promoted to horse racing tipsters and associated high traffic sites.

Next to launch will be a themed football site World Cup Casino.co.uk.

Commenting on the new sites, Justin Drummond, Chief Executive said;

?An effective affiliate marketing strategy is essential for success in the highly competitive and rapidly growing online gaming market. Our business model has a fixed cost base and as such future growth will be driven by our ability to recruit new players with innovative new products in a cost effective way.

?It is our intention to launch several new affiliate casinos each month. These will be branded casino websites promoted by an experienced commission driven affiliate sales team.?

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MUSICAL MARKETING CHAIRS
BTD gets Playtech exec

16 April 2004
Playtech’s loss is BTD’s gain it appears from a release this week from the latter. Be the Dealer (BTD) has recruited Esther Abramowicz as its newest addition to the company management.

Abramowicz, former Marketing Director for Playtech has joined the company as Senior Advisor to the Group Chairman and will be responsible for Business Development.

She has over 3 years experience in the gaming industry, and was Playtech?s Marketing Director for over 2 years and then managed several projects in the gaming industry involving the introduction of newcomers to the industry using her (unspecified) marketing and business skills.

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TOP COLLEGE POKER PLAYER?
A new tournament by a poker expert

16 April 2004
Riding on the crest of the poker popularity wave this week came an announcment from professional poker player Lou Krieger, author of Poker for Dummies and Internet Poker, who plans to host the First Annual College Poker Championship.

The goal is apparently to find the best college Texas Hold ’em, No Limit poker player in the world in an event designed to bring college poker players together from all over the world.

Sponsorship funds have been pledged by online (Prima network) poker room Royal Vegas Poker, and US$50,000 cash prize money will be up for grabs. The competition also promises to offer a charitable donation of US$10,000 to an organization of the winner?s choice.

Entry into the tournament is entirely free, with no purchase required of participants.

Internationally, poker is one of the fastest growing games, with young adults perfecting their skills across dorms, fraternities and sororities, and campus recreation areas.

“Poker is a game of skill and not of random chance. Its value is increasingly being recognized by university professors around the world as a game that encourages strategic thinking and competitive analysis,” adds Krieger.

And it’s fun, too!

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COLLEGE GAMBLING PROBLEM OVERSTATED
16 April 2003
New Harvard study

The Las Vegas Sun reported this week on a new Harvard survey of student gambling patterns that shows that college students don’t face a higher risk of gambling problems than other adults, The research was sponsored by the National Center for Responsible Gaming.

In a study finished late in 2003, professors Richard LaBrie, Howard Shaffer, Debi LaPlante and Henry Wechsler used data from a 2001 national survey of college students to determine the students’ gambling behavior.

According to the survey, 42 percent of college students gambled in the past year, while 2.6 percent of students gambled at least weekly during the school year.

Those numbers compare with the most recent survey of adult gambling patterns, which found that 82 percent of adults gambled during the past year, while 23 percent of surveyed adults said they gambled weekly.

The findings “do not indicate that college students are a group at increased risk for gambling problems compared with their adult counterparts,” the NCRG noted in a statement.

The professors also concluded that the number of students who were disordered gamblers “isn’t likely to be higher than the” 2.6 percent of students who reported gambling at least once a week during their school years.

Past studies that suggested college students are at high risk for gambling-related problems suffered from several shortcomings, the survey said.

Prior surveys didn’t study responses from a large, representative sample of students, and some surveys measured responses taken from adults recalling incidents from their distant pasts, including their college years, rather than surveying current students only.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas gambling researcher Bo Bernhard said he had yet to read the report in detail, but a cursory analysis left him encouraged about its methodology.

“The data are very sound, and the analysis is sound,” Bernhard said. “This is significant, because it’s the first representative survey of collegiate problem gambling behavior.”

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism Activities Bill Saum said that he had yet to review the study, but said its findings were surprising.

“Other studies, and other evidence indicate that college students are at a risk-taking age and are more susceptible to gambling (and other risky activities),” Saum said.

He declined to comment on the Harvard study until he had a chance to read it.

The NCAA conducted its own study on campus gambling activities, surveying more than 20,000 college student athletes last year, Saum said.

Those results are now being tabulated and analyzed and will be released soon, Saum said.

The study itself noted that students may gamble more as new gambling options become available.

“The promotion of gambling aimed at college students and a greater acceptance of Internet gambling could change the current situation,” the professors’ article noted. “The current rates (of gambling by college students) are related to the number of available gambling venues. Should those increase, as has been the case thus far, the rates may very well increase.”

Carol O’ Hare, executive director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, wasn’t immediately available to comment on the survey.

The study was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a casino-industry funded problem-gambling research and education group.

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BELGIAN BETTERS
16 April 2004
Millions spent every month on Internet gambling

According to a report released this week by the Belgian Gambling Commission, more than 25,000 Belgians play on Internet casinos on average every month.

The report estimates that more than 150,000 active gamblers spent an estimated 27 million euros (US$32.4 million) on Internet gambling in 2003 alone, with the number expected to grow substantially in 2004, as Internet, TV and tele-betting take off.

A large portion of this gambling is still unregulated and is not controlled by the state authorities, which gives scope to under age gambling warns the report.

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THE BIG FREEZEOUT
9 April 2004
Justice officials finally intimidate the search engines…

In the USA, the DoJ continues to tighten the media noose – Google, Lycos, Overture and Yahoo have all announced that they will not carry Got2bet advertisements in the immediate future according to Reuters reports and an article by Matt Richtel that appeared in the NY Times and The International Herald Tribune over last weekend.

The new developments, which the companies said would go into effect by the end of April, come as U.S. prosecutors are threatening action against American companies that do business with Internet casinos that are based abroad.

Many media companies have been sent letters warning that carrying internet gambling advertising “may” be illegal, or have received Grand Jury subpoenas demanding the production of extensive records.

The prosecutors are arguing that the American companies are “aiding and abetting” offshore Internet casinos, whose operations they claim are illegal in the United States.

Executives from Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, and Google, based in Mountain View, California, declined to say whether they had been subjects of the investigation. The fact that both companies announced the change in policy on Friday appeared to be coincidental.

Jennifer Stephens, a spokeswoman for Overture, a Yahoo subsidiary that sells paid sponsored links for Yahoo, said the policy change was the result of a “lack of clarity” in the legal and regulatory environment.

Overture also provides advertising links to MSN, the Internet access division of Microsoft. Stephens said that it would no longer provide casino advertising to MSN, and MSN confirmed it would, as a result, stop running the advertisements.

Stephens said Yahoo would cease running casino advertisements on its U.S. web site, but it would continue to run online casino advertising on its web sites published in dozens of countries where Internet casinos are legal.

Google executives, however, said Friday that they would stop running Internet gambling advertisements in all markets. A spokeswoman for Lycos, another large search engine, also said that the company had decided in the past few months to stop running gambling advertisements.

“The Department of Justice is being very effective,” said Sue Schneider, publisher of Interactive Gaming News, an online newsletter focusing on the Got2bet industry. “It’s unfortunate. It doesn’t leave many outlets” for casinos to reach American customers.

The new policies angered some representatives of the Internet gambling industry who contend the search engine providers were bullied by prosecutors wielding an untested legal theory.

“I urge these search engines and other service providers to stand up for themselves and challenge these pressure tactics by federal prosecutors,” said David Carruthers, chief executive of BetonSports.com, an online casino and sports betting site based in Costa Rica.

Critics of the grand jury investigation, including several legal experts, said that American companies were within their free speech rights to publish online casino advertisements because they were disseminating information.

But companies do not appear eager to test the aiding and abetting theory. Several major media companies – including the radio giants Clear Channel Communications and Infinity Broadcasting and Discovery Networks – have recently stopped taking Got2bet advertisements.

“There’s been a general message sent to publishers from various agencies in the government that the legality of this advertising is unclear,” said Dakota Sullivan, vice president for marketing at LookSmart.

“There’s been a general shift in the atmosphere,” he said. “There’s a question of whether it’s legal, and, beyond that, whether it’s right.”

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PARLIAMENTARIANS COMMENT ON UK GAMBLING BILL
9 April 2004
Implementation urged “…without delay”

Making the headlines from London to Las Vegas this week were reports on the generally positive comments of a parliamentary scrutiny committee that has been studying the proposed reforms in the UK gambling reform Bill.

The Independent was one of many publications that carried the story, reporting that the movement towards more liberal gaming laws took a step forward with the endorsement of the pre-legislative scrutiny committee, made up of MPs and peers from all political parties.

The committee suggested a number of restrictions and improvements to gaming regulation but left the main thrust of the Government’s legislation, including recommendations for regulated Internet gambling, intact.

It has recommended tighter regulation of betting exchanges and Got2bet in general while calling for the National Lottery to be regulated by the Gaming Commission, the new regulator envisaged by the Gambling Bill.

Significantly, it urged the Government to press ahead with the legislative process as quickly as possible.

The committee also recommended a cap on slot machines in all types of casinos. However, fears that the recommendation would deter investment by American operators in new UK casino developments evaporated during the day. Most experts agreed that, while the industry had not been handed carte blanche to develop casinos to rival the Las Vegas “strip”, there was plenty of scope for acceptable returns to encourage investment and job creation.

The committee proposed an upper limit of 1,250 machines for so-called “resort” casinos with a second tier of “large” casinos having a cap below that. Lloyd Nathan, a managing director of MGM Mirage, one of the most active US casino operators in the UK, said: “Certain limitations on the number of gaming positions have always been a part of the discussions and contemplated by most of the gaming companies that have made submissions.”

John Greenway, the chairman of the committee, said: “Reform of the law on gambling is long overdue. We have made constructive criticism of the Government’s proposals, we now urge the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to adopt our recommendations and introduce this legislation without delay.”

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FAIR GAMING ADVOCATE APPOINTED BY eCOGRA
9 April 2004
Experienced executive to handle player disputes

The board of directors of player protection body e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) has appointed Tex Rees as Fair Gaming Advocate operating from the London office of the organisation.

She will be responsible for the fast and fair investigation of all player disputes involving seal-holding eCOGRA casinos, and has already successfully resolved a number of issues.

Ms. Rees (33) is an eCOGRA executive with wide management and customer relations experience in both land-based and Got2bet businesses, including UK-based sports betting groups. She has studied business economics and industrial psychology and is well versed in relevant computer packages, including the development of Got2bet software.

“I?m very conscious of the importance of my role in representing genuine player concerns and seeking efficient and fair resolution of disputes,? Ms. Rees said on her appointment. “We have made an on-site complaint facility available at www.ecogra.org/disputes and our only stipulation is that the complainant must have made an honest attempt to resolve the issue with casino management before coming to us.

“Our seal casino managers are very aware of the need for player-sensitive conduct, and have the authority to better settle issues that might be the result of Support personnel misunderstandings. If a resolution at that level is not possible and the player remains unhappy, we will investigate. Of course, there is no charge of any sort for a player to use this service?.

eCOGRA is an independently governed non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom that has laid down clear and demanding requirements for affiliated casinos regarding player protection, fair gaming, the efficient and honest conduct of business and financial stability. Candidate casinos are subject to tough inspections by international audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and ongoing monitoring to ensure that compliance is consistent. There are currently 23 quality, seal-holding casinos with more under examination. The list of seal-holders can be accessed at www.ecogra.org/casinos.

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REACTIONS DIFFER ON WTO RULING
9 April 2004
Kyl tries to turn it to his advantage, but opinions differ

Last month’s ruling against the USA in its dispute on Got2bet with the Antiguans continued to generate stories this week.

A three-member WTO panel declared on March 24 that U.S. prohibitions against Internet gambling are an unfair trade barrier.

Sen. Jon Kyl, longtime foe of Internet gambling, said this week that the ruling may spur Congress to finally approve legislation to prevent Americans from wagering at offshore Web sites. “This could demonstrate the need for the United States to act and demonstrate its resolve,” Kyl said. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick described the ruling as deeply flawed and said there would be an appeal to the WTO’s seven-member panel of trade judges.

But according to Joe Kelly, a law professor specialising in business affairs at the New York State university the ruling may make it more difficult for Congress to pass Internet gambling legislation this year.

“I think a lot of very thoughtful senators are going to ask themselves if they really want to ignore a WTO ruling,” said Kelly, who helped write Internet gambling regulations for Antigua. “The WTO is not popular, but how can the United States ask other countries to obey WTO’s rulings if it will not?”

On the other side of the world, the Chinese press speculated on whether Hong Kong will change its position on banning offshore casinos following the ruling, claiming that America?s stance bears strong similarities to that of Hong Kong.

Two years ago, the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed a law that made it illegal for a Hong Kong citizen to place a bet with an offshore Internet company. This followed intensive lobbying by the Jockey Club which, with the exception of mah-jong, has a government monopoly on all gambling in the territory and takes bets on its own Internet site.

Thus far both the government and the Jockey Club have remained silent on the ruling. Margaret Ng, the Legislative Council member representing the legal constituency, told the Chinese Standard: ‘We should try and conform to the rules of the WTO.’

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A DINKUM SHOCKER
9 April 2004
These advertisers need to be named and shamed…

Here’s a real shocker from the Australian news site SBS News – Radio News that will be ammunition for people like Senator Kyl for sure – we have not yet been able to establish who the culprits are.

Gambling addicts visiting an Australian self-help website are logging on to find a constant series of pop-up advertisements for online casinos.

The advertisements are suspected to have been linked to the Gamblers Anonymous message-board by offshore online casinos, using keywords like “gambling”.

Gamblers Anonymous is unable to block the ads, but has posted a warning at www.gamblersanonymous.org.au urging visitors to avoid clicking on any advertisements at the site.

Australian authorities are powerless to act against the strategy, which has been criticised by experts as insidious.

InfoPowa clicked through to the site at www.gamblersanonymous.org.au and logged into the message board but could find no trace of these pop-ups. However, the following warning was up in large red letters, and we have therefore asked the organisers to identify the online casinos concerned in order that they may be named and shamed.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE POP UP ADVERTISEMENTS IN THE TOP PANEL OF THE MESSAGE BOARD. SOME OF THEM ARE FOR Got2bet, AND IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU DO NOT CLICK ANY OF THE LINKS. THE ADVERTISEMENTS ARE BEYOND OUR CONTROL.

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MEDITERRANEAN GAMBLE
New Got2bet regulations to be published soon

9 April 2004
Following many months of preparation, the Mediterranean island of Malta is about to join the list of international gambling jurisdictions.

The new Got2bet regulations for the island were due to be released to the public as we went to press this week, opening up new opportunities for the island to increase income and employment at island Support centres.

It is expected that the governing Maltese Lotteries and Gaming Authority will issue the first new licenses soon after the publication of the regulations.

George M. Mangion, whose company, PKF Fiduciaries has been promoting Malta as an e-betting and e-gaming base, says the licences could be a much needed tool to stimulate the economy and generate sustainable employment.

?Malta potentially qualifies as a low-cost, high-tech domicile for online casinos and e-gaming operations, he said in a press release. ?Malta understands the commercial realities facing the e-gaming industry and therefore has adopted a commercially realistic approach towards regulating the industry. Certainly it combines a stable political and communications structure with a competitive tax structure.?

According to Mangion, licensees will have to operate to strict standards, with authorities examining the probity of management and owners, and the financial position and background of the company.

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DENIAL EXTORTIONISTS STILL ACTIVE
Payoffs don’t help…

9 April 2004
Two known cases of attempted extortion under threat of a Distributed Denial of Service attack were reported this week, showing that organised criminals are still trying to intimidate even well-protected sites into paying them off.

Matthew Wilson, chief technology officer for V.O. Group, a company in Malta that runs MVPsportsbook.com and other gambling sites, revealed that despite having paid off the crooks in a round of negotiations last year they are still receiving demands. Fortunately the company has significantly beefed up it’s defences and will not be paying.

And as we went to press reports were coming in from Casino Euro, which has contacted affiliates to tell them that it has been under attack and offline as a consequence.

Most of the available evidence from the many international law enforcement agencies tracking the criminals suggests that they are in Brazil and Eastern Europe – especially Russia.

“There’s at least five groups out there doing this now. It’s a sophisticated crime syndicate,” said Barrett Lyon, chief technology officer with DigiDefense International, a network security firm that many of the gambling houses have hired as a shield. DigiDefense protects its customers by rerouting and filtering their Web traffic, making its own heavily fortified system the target.

At its headquarters in San Jose, DigiDefense goes to extreme physical lengths to ensure the safety of its facility and personnel : shotgun-toting guards are stationed on each floor of the building and bodyguards travel with everyone in the company.

“This is not only a digital threat,” Lyon said. “I would call this terrorism. Some of the e-mails are incredibly vicious.”

Sporting Options, the UK-based online betting exchange has reportedly also been hit by a denial of service in the ongoing assault against online bookies affecting more than 15,000 customers in an attack timed to coincide with Britain’s biggest betting race — the Grand National — and the FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Law enforcement officials say the casino operators were threatened about the disruption of the site unless 40,000 Euros was sent via Western Union.

“We ignored these demands. The matter has now been turned over to Britain’s National Hi-Tech Crime Unit for investigation. We can assure our subscribers that their personal details remain safe despite the attack, which did not affect the integrity of its site,” said a Sporting Options customer service representative.

The site has now been restored to normal operation after remedial security action by Sporting Options and its ISP.

Other major online bookies such as William Hill, Totalbet and UKbetting and several sites have experienced similar attacks.

Although cyber-extortion is a relatively new crime, the criminals’ weapon is not. To make good on their threats, the thugs use so-called distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks. Simply put, the hackers infiltrate the computers of unwitting users, commandeering tens of thousands of “zombie” machines to bombard the targeted website with requests. The barrage blocks access by legitimate visitors and often crashes the site by simply overwhelming it with data.

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EC ASKS DANES TO EXPLAIN
9 April 2003
Gambelli case prompts EC enquiry

In what appears to be another step forward in the European Community Got2bet “sovereignty” debate, the Danish government has been asked for an explanation on new legislation reserving its gambling market to itself.

The European Commission sent Denmark an official request for information on its legislation, adopted on 26 March 2003, which prohibits the supply or advertisement of, and the facilitation or participation in, gambling services offered by providers licensed in other Member States. Danish law restricts in particular the provision of sports betting services.

The Commission wants to verify the compatibility of the ban in question with the provisions of the EC Treaty on the free movement of services and on the freedom of establishment. The Commission’s request takes the form of a letter of formal notice, the first step of an infringement procedure under Article 226 of the EC Treaty.

Denmark is asked to respond within two months. If the Commission is not satisfied with the response, it may send a formal request (known as a reasoned opinion) for the legislation to be changed. And if Denmark refuses to comply, it could find itself before the European Court of Justice.

The prohibition introduced by the Danish Act on Certain Games, Lotteries and Bets (Lov om visse spil, lotterier og v?ddem?l, Law no 204 of 26 March 2003) renders it illegal for any service provider, operating under a gambling licence of another Member State than Denmark, to advertise, facilitate participation in or supply gaming services. The prohibition of advertising and the sale of advertising space to gambling providers applies to printed media, radio, television and information society services.

The Danish law also prevents suppliers of the services concerned from providing them into Denmark from another Member State. The Commission is concerned that this could contravene Article 49 of the EC Treaty on the free movement of services.

The Danish legislation also makes it impossible for EU based providers of sports betting services to establish a presence in Denmark for example by setting up an office and to supply their services via that presence. In the Commission’s view, this could contravene the principle of the freedom of establishment set out in Article 43 of the EC Treaty.

The Commission is therefore concerned that, on the basis of the available information, the Danish legislation in question could give rise to restrictions on establishment and on the cross-border provision of services which are disproportionate to general interest objectives recognised by the European Court of Justice (such as the protection of consumers or the maintenance of public order).

The Court’s case law (C-243/01, Gambelli) provides that national measures that may give rise to restrictions must seek to protect general interest objectives such as the protection of consumers or the maintenance of public order and that such restrictions must, in any event, seek to limit gaming services in a consistent and systematic way.

In particular, the Court’s case law indicates that a Member State cannot invoke the need to restrict its citizens’ access to gambling if at the same time public authorities in that Member State incite and encourage people to participate in lotteries, games of chance and betting to the financial benefit of the public purse.

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“LIVE OVER THE INTERNET” LICENSING DISPUTE
9 April 2004
But didn’t these guys sign an agreement?

Home Gaming Network – i2Corps head honcho Mel Molnick has a reputation for pumping out press releases at every opportunity to reinforce his claim to hold the patent for the concept of “live over the Internet” gambling, and he surprised industry observers this week by turning what seemed to be a dispute with Casino Web Cam, the biggest licensor of “live” online casinos around into a public issue.

Some months ago, Molnick and Adam Anhang from CWC issued press releases announcing a commercial agreement through which HGN granted a license to CWC to use the concept and sub-license others. HGN and CWC inked an agreement on this, and it is understood that HGN has already accepted certain royalty payments.

This week, Molnick, in an apparently unilateral move and through the medium of a press release said that his company had ” ….terminated its relationship with CasinoWebCam.”

In surprisingly abrasive terms, the press release went on:

“HGN and Mel Molnick no longer have any relationship with CasinoWebCam. “CasinoWebCam has no rights to use the HGN patent nor does it have any rights to sub-license the patent to gaming operators, and there is no association between Home Gambling Network and Mel Molnick in efforts to enforce the patent.

“CasinoWebCam and its licensees will not benefit from the protection that our patents afford. In fact, CWC and their licensees as of now may be infringing on our patent and we are considering our legal options.”

Molnick and HGN strongly “suggest in the spirit of good business relations” that any operator believing they are covered under the 268 patent with CasinoWebCam and their foreign counterparts contact Mel Molnick immediately to correct this situation.

HGN has successfully protected its patent on all occasions in the United States Federal Courts and currently www.DrHo888.com, Dr. Stanley Ho’s internet casino, is the only licensed operator not in breach of U.S. patent 5,800,268 or counterparts in foreign countries.

STOP PRESS: As we went to press, CasinoWebCam was responding to the Molnick press release with one of its own insisting that their agreement with HGN was still in effect and that they intended to enforce it.

CWC exec Adam Anhang confirmed that CWC’s exclusive, worldwide master license agreement with Molnick and Home Gambling Network is in full force and effect, and has been so since November 2003. This agreement is evidenced by a signed license agreement with Mr. Molnick in his personal and corporate capacities.

CasinoWebcam will vigorously enforce its rights under the agreement.

Anhang claims that CasinoWebcam is the leader in live online gaming software and services, and currently powers 15 licensees with over 25,000 players.

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CHARTWELL OPEN IN LONDON
9 April 2004
New office and experienced staff

Canadian turnkey provider Chartwell Technology’s subsidiary Chartwell Games Corp opened the doors of its first European office near Heathrow airport, London this week. Aideen Shortt was named as Commercial Director.

Ms. Shortt has extensive industry experience, which includes previous positions at Flutter.com, Coral Eurobet and most recently as Marketing Director at Skybet. She joins recently appointed Chief Executive Lee Richardson and Director of Marketing Fiona Stuart who has previously held positions with Victor Chandler International as a key member of the online gaming division.

From the new office Chartwell Games will continue to expand its base of clients and leverage its position as a technology partner in the deployment of new gaming products and platforms including multiplayer poker and bingo, mobile, kiosk and interactive TV (iTV).

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POKER MOVIE
9 April 2004
Star sponsorship

PokerStars was quick off the mark in sponsoring the world premiere of the new poker movie “Shade” by RKO Pictures. The event took place at The Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, CA on April 6th.

The movie features plenty of stars and great poker action. The cast includes Stuart Townsend, Gabriel Byrne, Thandie Newton, Jamie Foxx, Melanie Griffith and Sylvester Stallone.

“Shade” opens in limited release on April 9th and will see wider release at the end of April.

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GAMBLING WAGES DEBUTS
9 April 2004
Silver Arrow marketers making it happen

Silver Arrow Marketing announced this week that it is launching its affiliate program Gamblingwages.com.

The program has been created to provide affiliates with a “one stop shop” for earning profits from several different operators and software providers. Having already signed some well-established sponsoring casinos, including Cirrus Casino, Gambling Wages will also promote impressive newcomers Cool Cat Casino and Wild Vegas Casino. Sports book (BetRoyal.com) and two Bingo sites (Bigbonusbingo.com and Bingoknights.com), make for a well rounded line-up.

“We are very confident in the infrastructure that we have in place. From our diverse group of wagering properties to our team of experienced industry professionals, Gambling Wages has all the tools needed to build affiliate success stories.” said John Hartley, Director of Affiliate Marketing.

The Gambling Wages program is unique in that it will not be exclusive to one software provider. While current providers include RTG (Real-Time-Gaming) and Parlay Entertainment Group, the program plans to add several others to its roster as it continues to seek out more gambling operators.

In another move to gain a competitive advantage, Gambling Wages extended a $100 bonus to all webmasters who sign up for the program. The bonus will be added to the affiliate’s first payment.

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EURO iTV MARKET HOTS UP
9 April 2004
New survey showcases a positive future

In a press release issued by research company Screen Digest, a bright future is painted for Europe’s iTV betting market.

Turnover is forecast at ?4bn by 2007 with gross margins of ?709m, according to the new study.

The report, iTV Betting and Gambling, says that the UK accounts for 76 per cent of this market currently, although this share will drop to 65 per cent by 2007.

Sports betting will account for 40 per cent of the European total in 2007, but won?t be the largest sector in the UK.

Further, bingo and casino games are a big earner in the UK and Ireland, but in no other European markets, according to the Screen Digest analysts.

From 2004, lotteries will start to generate revenues in the iTV space in Finland, France and Italy.

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DIAMOND GAMES SUITE IMPROVED
9 April 2003
Six new games from Canadian provider

Turnkey provider Diamond’s no-download and download gambling suite of over 50 casino games was given a boost this week with the release of six new offerings.

“Our latest slot machines, HIDDEN LOOT and DASH FOR CASH feature game-within-a-game bonus rounds for maximum player enjoyment and player retention,” said Nicholas Gabriel, Diamond’s Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve added the dice game ON A ROLL to our popular instant play lotto soft games platform, and updated ON THE BALL in response to player requests. And the release of Pontoon and Pirate 21 brings two more preferred Blackjack rule variants to the casino.”

The introduction of these games support a long-term strategy to provide players with a constantly replenished set of offerings to keep both new and repeat player demand at optimal levels.

The games are available in both instant-play and download formats.

“We’ve increased the player’s odds of winning the progressive in our update On the Ball version 2 by reducing the number of required matching selections from 6 to 5”, said Gabriel, “and a new Quick-bet panel now makes repeat betting even easier”, he added. These and other modifications cement Diamond’s position as the leading Lotto soft-games provider. The Diamond Lotto platform can be purchased with the online casino and soon to be released multi-player poker platform or as an independent plug-in to a licensee’s existing casino or Sportsbook.

In the coming quarter, Diamond plans to release a multiplayer poker network product, and several exciting new additions to its soft-game platform. Rounding out these exciting new game deliveries is “Chase the Cheese”, a completely new video slot format with a dynamic bonus round.

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WORLD GAMING TURNAROUND CONTINUES
9 April 2004
Latest quarterly shows sustained improvement

The turnaround at WG continues it would appear from the latest Fourth Quarter results issued this week from London. The results cover the three months and full year ended December 31, 2003.

Highlights include:

Full year net profit of $2,958,000 or 7 cents per share vs. loss of $5,318,000 for the same period last year or a loss of 16 cents per share.

Net profit for the quarter of $2,934,000 vs. loss of $593,000 for the same period last year.

Full year profit before interest and related items and depreciation of $5,245,000 (12 cents per share) vs. loss of $2,197,000 (loss of 6 cents per share) for the same period last year.

33% increase in wagering volume in the quarter when compared to the same quarter last year.

Royalty revenue grew 7 percent for the year ended December 31, 2003.

Operating expenses including interest and depreciation down 34% for the year ended December 31, 2003.

Settlement of certain legal claims and capital lease obligations.

Working capital deficit reduced from $5,581,000 at December 31, 2002 to $126,000 at December 31, 2003.

New Casino games and Virtual Games released during the year with further products scheduled for release.

In February 2004, the Group closed transaction processing and customer service divisions of the business. This closure affected less than 6% of total deposit volume on behalf of licensees and is expected to contribute a further $600,000 in profits through shedding this ineffective and loss making aspect of the business.

There was no revenue from new licenses for the year as the Group continued to focus on existing licensees during the year. As the enhancement of its platform and product suite continues, the Group expects to widen its focus to once again include marketing to new licensees, but only to the extent the Group is in a position to fully support such licensees.

For the year ended December 31, 2003, total system-wide wagers grew 12% to $3.8 billion from $3.4 billion in the prior year.

Salaries and wages decreased 10% or $670,000 despite severance costs incurred on a number of senior employees in the year.

Professional fees declined 22% or $390,000 as litigious matters requiring third party advice declined and other advisors were not utilized or changed.

Other corporate overhead including occupancy costs, board expenses and travel declined 30% or $1,314,000 when compared to the same period last year through initiatives such as relocation or closure of offices and renegotiation or changes in certain supplier accounts. As a result of settling a number of significant capital lease obligations in the year, the company derived other income of $981,000 through write-backs of amounts previously accrued in respect of these obligations.

On-line security risks through Denial of Service Attacks that were prevalent throughout the season have been mitigated through the implementation of new filtering hardware and Internet traffic routing. Further security measures are being reviewed and implemented across the system with the key result to bring system outages to an absolute minimum. The Group?s expanded horseracing product is in the final stages of testing with licensees and is expected to be released in April 2004. In addition, WG plan to continue developing the horseracing product thus giving licensees the ability to better manage their risk and enable improved yield on this product.

Multi-player poker remains a significant priority of the Group. Further stages of development have commenced under a partnership with a third-party supplier. The multi-player poker product is expected to add a significant revenue stream to our licensee?s product suite and we expect to have this available in the third quarter of 2004.

Daniel Moran, World Gaming?s CEO commented:

“The Group has undergone a number of changes in the year including implementation of a new executive Board early in the year, restructuring of certain aspects of the business and closure of those areas that the Group could not effectively maintain or were inconsistent with our core software development business. This continued into the first quarter of 2004. Many of these changes have streamlined the business and enabled it to turnaround and produce the results that we see today. ?

?The Board?s resolve remains that of growing the business through enhanced products and infrastructure as we continue to act in a culture of heightened fiscal responsibility. The benefits of this strategy are beginning to show as the Group?s financial position begins to strengthen.” Return to Top

APRIL FOOLS SOME BUT NOT OTHERS
2 April 2004
Pranks and tricks on the portals

Yesterday, April 1 was All Fools Day and as usual it caught the unwary with some clever webmaster pranks.

Probably the outstanding efforts were from Gambling911 and Casinomeister, where webmasters Chris Costigan and Bryan Bailey pulled out all the stops with a little fun leg-pulling.

Costigan chose the very topical DDoS attacks on which to base his own elaborate scam, which involved writing fun interview and news copy and redesigning his pages as though Russian hackers had taken over the site and reconfigured it in Cyrillic script. It really had some folks going on his forum, although one or two took the English-language taunt at the head of the page “American Pigs” a little too seriously, perhaps miffed at missing the trick at first blush.

Bailey’s joke was a little more subtle. He *closed* his site down with a notice that he had been bought out by the “Doloplex Casino Group” and would soon be back online. He even took the trouble the night before to send scam “press releases” on the “deal” to a few media people! If Doloplex rings a bell, it’s because it is a company associated with Bailey’s arch adversary, the infamous Warren Cloud! And no, there was no deal…

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THE GREAT GIGSE SUMO WRESTLING GRUDGE CONTEST
2 April 2004
Now for something light-hearted and well intentioned…

We’ve hinted at it in some of our bulletins but it is now official – The Great Sumo Grudge Contest is on, and look at the line-up!

River City Group is planning a charity fund-raiser for Wednesday, May 19 (4PM-5PM) at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C, as part of the Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo (http://www.gigse.com).

The proceeds of this year’s inaugural event will be designated for the U.K-based not-for-profit organization GamCare. GamCare has a “commitment to promote responsible attitudes to gambling and to work for the provision of proper care for those who have been harmed by gambling dependency” (http://www.gamcare.org.uk). Organizers River City Group have pledged a US$1,000 donation to kick off the charity event.

Sponsored by Golden Palace, the Sumo wrestling card will include 5 “grudge” matches between various I-gaming industry leaders who will use this forum to settle some rivalries.

They will wear the rubber sumo wrestling costumes and compete in best of 3 match rounds for this charity event.

The fight card is still being developed, but current match-ups include:

-Sue Schneider (River City Group) vs. Sting (Gambling911.com)
-John Wallis (Sunny Group) vs. Jay Stubina (Mohawk Internet Technologies)
-Peter Kjaer (Dr. Ho) vs. Peter Bridge (Lasseters)
-Steve Ives (BetFair) vs. Michael Carlton (Victor Chandler)
-David Carruthers (Bet On Sports) vs. Cole Turner (Bo Dog)
-Bryan Bailey (CasinoMeister) vs. To Be Announced

All GIGSE attendees will be given play money for the event. At the end of the final match, the member of the audience with the most play money will win a free Full Summit registration to GIGSE 2005.

Alan Weinrib and Mark Blandford of SportingBet.com will function as “celebrity” bookmakers so members of the audience can bet on their favorite to win.

Kevin Smith of River City Group will serve as the ring announcer and Keith Furlong of the Interactive Gaming Council will be the referee.

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US MEDIA INTIMIDATION CONTINUES
2 April 2004
Sportsbook adverts affected

Some of the big portals like Yahoo may well have successfully stood up to attempts by the US authorities to scare the media into rejecting Got2bet adverts, but these questionable moves are still frightening the bejasus out of less powerful publications.

According to the Tico Times this week, MVP Sportsbooks has had $1.7 million in print ads and $1 million in radio ads for the upcoming NFL season negated by U.S. advertising companies as a result of the pressure by U.S. government officials. MVP also lost a $400,000 contract with Fox Sports Radio, a $250,000 contract with Sports Digest, a $175,000 contract with Athlon and dozens of smaller contracts.

So far no one has legally challenged the wideranging actions of the authorities, despite many legal experts opining that there are grounds for opposing these warnings and subpoenas.

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NUMBERS GAME
2 April 2004
Latest CCA predictions

The huge CNN news organisation was one of many that reported the WTO ruling last week in major feature articles.

In the CNN story, the latest stats from research and analysis specialists Christiansen Capital made encouraging reading and showcased an Got2bet industry still forging ahead despite the many official and unofficial attempts to cripple it.

2003 Market sector distribution:

Sportsbetting: 46 percent

Casino betting: 28 percent

Lotteries: 19 percent

Other: 7 percent.

2003 total revenues: $5.7 billion, an increase of 42 percent over 2002. Estimated 50 percent + from the USA.

Projected by CCA for 2004 – another 30 percent increase, followed by double digit increases per annum right through to 2010, when the market prediction is $18.4 billion.

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C.O.N. GET A BIG ONE
2 April 2004
Not quite a million but, hey…who’s complaining!

One lucky player has scooped a massive $886,720 at Casino On Net’s 888.com casino and poker room.

Etta Shaw, a medical transcriptionist from South Carolina claimed a major online slot wins after being a member of the casino for 3 years.

Commenting on the win Ms. Shaw said: “I play on 888.com two or three times a week, usually either roulette, poker or black jack and have always done fairly well. However this fantastic win by far surpasses my expectations and I’m now looking forward to spending it on a new house and on my imminent retirement. But when it comes to playing the slots at 888.com, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. The truth is I never thought I could win something as big as this but trust me, it is real.”

Marketing Manager, Matt Robinson said: “We see winners as good news and quite simply, the bigger the better. So, this win for Etta is great news for us and proves that anyone can win and more importantly anyone can win big. We’ve had a crazy month on the slots at 888.com, with jackpot winnings reaching the $1.5 million for the first time.”

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CASINO CAUTIONS
2 April 2004
For Norwegian gamblers, an early word of warning about new arrival Isla Bonita.com. Reportedly owned by a Polish pyramid scheme similar to WGI called Club Platinum Inc., this is an interesting new Norwegian language online casino from Playtech. Although the gambling suite is varied and impressive, the site presentation good and the facilities up to acceptable standards, the bad news is that complaints from Scandinavian players are revving up the message boards in that region…and they are not very complimentary regarding slow-pay hassles. There is also what appears to be a false claim that they are Antiguan licensed, although no trace of them can be found on the official site. A Euro 50 signup is currently on offer.

Futurebet is back in the Casinomeister’s bad book after failing to meet promises from CEO Ron Katz that players would be paid, it is believed. Indio Casino is the latest scandal. Futurebet apparently promised to take care of a couple of Indio players – in return Casinomeister removed Futurebet from his rogue section. 3 months later he discovered they had not come through and had done zip to help the players – so they’re blacklisted again.

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FLAKEY MARKETING
Fruitloops have nothing on this disc

2 April 2004
Our first reaction on reading this story from The Australian newspaper was that it was an elaborate April Fool’s Day scam, but we are assured that the article is genuine.

Australian politicians were “gobsmacked” (aghast; astonished) to learn a children’s computer game in Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars links children to a U.S. online casino. State Minister of Parliament Nick Xenophon expressed his outrage to The Australian midweek regarding the apparent guerilla marketing tactic used by the unidentified casino.

“I was gobsmacked that a kid’s computer game handed out on cereal packets has a link to an online casino,” Xenophon said. “It’s particularly insidious that this online casino is hidden on a kids’ game site — many parents would have no idea that their kids were being entrapped because of the ‘G’ rating.”

Kellogg’s Australia told the newspaper it was aware of the casino link, but officials thought it was inactive. However, parents report the link does, indeed, work.

Kellogg’s is now offering a full refund for Nutri-Grain if the games are returned, the newspaper said.

A federal investigation has also begun into whether Kellogg’s breached federal interactive gambling laws.

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ANOTHER CASINO FOR CWC
2 April 2003
Europa beckons…

CasinoWebCam (CWC) landed another prime licensee this week in a deal that looks like an agreement with the top landbased outfit in Costa Rica, which became their 16th licensee.

The largest land-based casino group in Costa Rica, Casinos Europa adopted the catchy slogan “bricks to clicks” in describing their arrangement with CWC this week whereby their new Casino Europa Webcam.com site will use state of the art technology and the internet to bring a land based casino gaming experience to players at home.

The new site features live blackjack, roulette, Caribbean poker, baccarat, and sic bo with all games available instantly. Using real time webcast, players will be able to see, hear, and play live casino games run by Casinowebcam’s croupiers and floor supervisors in accordance with industry standards for fairness and integrity.

Adam Anhang, CEO of CasinoWebcam’s licensing arm said, “Casinos Europa is our first licensing agreement with a traditional, land based casino group. Our software and services are the logical way for Casino Europa to extend its land based brand to the internet, since their customers will be able to enjoy the same experience at home that they now do when they visit Casinos Europa’s properties in person. We are delighted to be working with Herman Lang and his team.”

CasinoWebcam is the bona fide leader in live online gaming software and services, and currently powers 15 licensees with over 25,000 players.

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GET EDDIKATED
2 April 2004
University course for casino managers

Experienced players often bemoan the apparent lack of gambling knowledge and casino marketing expertise at many online casinos, but here’s a solution for owners…send ’em to college!

Education for land and online casino staffers is a very interesting development, as gambling, both online and off, edges toward respectability in the UK, with the proposed liberalization of the gambling laws even attracting the attention of casino giants from Las Vegas.

The University of Salford is now offering what it claims to be the only post- grad course specifically aimed at the gambling industry in Europe. With bigger casinos and an overall expansion in gambling in the UK, the rationale is that there will be increased demand for management.

Until September last year, Salford had a part-time course for people already employed and licensed by the gambling industry. Now it is now open to anyone, with recent graduates encouraged to apply.

“The gambling industry is about to experience the most almighty shake-up – for the first time big prize slot machines will be allowed in the UK, and the whole industry is going to come out into the mainstream. Got2bet is also set to explode, and most industry observers suggest that the power will be concentrated among fewer, larger organisations who will be looking to introduce new management regimes,” said Salford department director Peter Collins.

Collins said the 60 credit course lasts two semesters and covers all aspects of management in the gambling industry. Outside of the four days of attendance, students will be in contact with tutors by phone or email.

“In some ways it is quite similar to an MBA in content, but with a heavy bias on managing in the gambling industry. Students will leave with a thorough knowledge of the licensing system, a strong knowledge of financial reporting, good business strategy skills plus human resources and man management techniques,” he concluded.

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CREDIT CARD HASSLES
2 April 2004
CC companies working with the US authorities

The unremitting pressure on Got2bet transactions by credit card is continuing, according to recent directives from the Mastercard and Visa conglomerates.

MasterCard International recently issued a bulletin to its member financial institutions emphasizing the necessity of compliance with all MasterCard standards to prevent the use of its system for illegal activities.

MasterCard general counsel Noah Hanft stated, ?Transactions that present heightened risks of potentially illegal activity include Internet payments for transactions involving gambling, pornography, and prescription medications.”

The bulletin also noted that a member that fails to comply with its standards may be suspended or terminated and required to absorb the cost of any illegal transactions.

The key standards outlined by MasterCard urge its members to practice due diligence, placing the burden on them to ensure that the business is not illegal, that the transactions are properly identified, and that they comply with all applicable laws.

MasterCard revealed that it is working closely with law enforcement officials in efforts to combat illegal activity. It acknowledged that it is cooperating with a variety of federal and state agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Secret Service, the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Visa has issued new procedural rules to its clients as well. Visa has instituted a new procedure for adding new sites to client portfolios. Effective immediately, IPSP?s are required to submit all new domains requesting credit card processing to Visa for approval. No longer promising the same day set up for new URL?s, Visa expects this new registration process to be fairly expedient and believes that site approvals should only require two business days.

By closely monitoring the transactions that are taking place, credit card companies are making an attempt to ensure that businesses that utilize their services are not involved with Internet gambling.

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TOUGH TIMES WITH CYBERCRIME
2 April 2004
An expensive business…

It is not just the Got2bet sector of the Internet that is experienced fraud and DDoS hassles, it appears…

McAfee Security has released a report that reveals that Internet viruses are overwhelming Europe’s small business sector with 22 percent of these companies closing down operations to recover from recent attacks. The security vendor estimates that more than 14 million businesses with less than 20 employees have been affected to some extent.

The study findings nearly match a recent survey by the UK’s National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, which estimated that in 2003 alone, cyber crime cost British, companies hundreds of millions of pounds.

With thousands of online casinos operating across Europe, the company estimates that each Internet virus attack costs operators more than US$6,090 in lost output and clean-up, with the annual cost of all cyber crime at more than US$20 billion for western Europe.

The worst hit countries were France and Italy where 50 percent and 30 percent of small businesses respectively were brought to a standstill by outbreaks, while 20 percent of the Spanish small businesses in the survey reported files were irretrievably lost or damaged by digital security breaches.

?It looks to be getting worse. This year, we’ve seen more virus outbreak alerts in the first quarter than in all of 2003,? says Jack Clark, technology consultant for McAfee.

With cyber fraudsters send dubious e-mails or create spoof online casinos and hoping to entice users to hand over banking details or passwords; blasting Got2bet sites with crippling data barrages, known as a distributed denial-of-service attacks and threatening to take the website out of service unless money is paid, online casinos are battling more than ever to maintain operations and fight competitors.

Despite the virus barrage growing in intensity, a majority of small European businesses are not updating their anti-virus software. In UK for instance, more than 60 percent of businesses are vulnerable to attack says McAfee.

?Overall, the sector is suffering from a lack of awareness,? warns Clark.

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NETELLER IPO LATE
2 April 2004
But Brit listing is imminent

The British AIM listing for Neteller suffered a hiccough this week and was temporarily delayed. The electronic payment system company was due to launch its London stock market flotation and raise ?50m on AIM this week, giving it a market capitalisation of about ?250m, but now looks likely to float next Thursday as its prospectus was only published on Monday.

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CHARTWELL MACHINE RUNNING WELL
2 April 2004
Another good quarterly from the Canadians

Calgary-based turnkey provider Chartwell Technology Inc. Has released another good performance with its financial results for the first quarter ended January 31, 2004.

Highlights of the quarter included:

Revenue of $2.3M compared with $1.7M during the same period in fiscal 2003;
Operating income of $604K or $0.04 per share and net income of $559K or $0.04 per share compared with operating and net income $348K or $0.03 per share during the same period in fiscal 2003;
Software license fees of $1.9M compared to $1.2M during the same period in fiscal 2003;
Cash flow from operations of $821K compared to ($35K) during the same period in fiscal year 2003;
Working capital of $7.4M.
“We have consistently provided earnings over the last five quarters and our continued growth in sustainable recurring license fees gives us the means to accelerate our growth during fiscal 2004”, says Don Gleason, Chief Financial Officer. “We are continuing to expand our portfolio of games and through new delivery channels like mobile we expect to broaden our customer base and drive incremental revenue for the remainder of the year.”

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CRYPTOLOGIC OUTSOURCING
2 April 2003
Wagerlogic gets puzzling new multi-media technology

Industry observers were trying to decipher a rather enigmatic release from industry leader Cryptologic this week.

In the release, CryptoLogic Inc revealed that its subsidiary, WagerLogic Limited, has entered into a technology license agreement with Dr. Scott Lewis, a developer of Internet applications, to use Lewis’ “…patented optimization technology for online gaming products.”

But it failed to elaborate on the detail.

“This technology license will enhance our ability to deliver high quality multimedia information to our customers, which is in keeping with our strategy to offer exciting and engaging online gaming entertainment,” said Lewis Rose, CryptoLogic’s President and CEO.

Dr. Lewis added, “I am pleased to have CryptoLogic, a global leader in online gaming software, as a licensee utilizing the latest in our multimedia and Internet technologies.”

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MONSTERMOB GOES MOBILE
2 April 2004
Lotto company offering cell phone games, too

Known more for its lottery action on mobiles, mLotto has just launched a new Spin 2 Win brand for a suite of pay to play betting games for cellphones and PDAs.

The company has a U.K. betting license, and has inked a deal with gaming giant Monstermob who will market the Java-based games to 3.6 million customers.

The games will offer cash prizes of anything up to ?100,000 from fixed stake prices of 25 pence. The first, a three reel slot, will launch later this month, closely followed by numerous card game and racing products.

Monsterbob md Martin Higginson says: “This is an exciting departure for Monstermob into the high growth, high margin, fixed odds betting market. The new service is aimed at the mass market of consumers who have an occasional flutter on pub fruit machines, the National Lottery, the Mobile Lottery or on sporting occasions such as the Grand National. This is a further step in consolidating our market lead in mobile content and personalisation.”

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IMMEDIATE BENEFIT
2 April 2004
WTO ruling gives shares a lift

Sportingbet.com was an early beneficiary last week of the good news that the WTO had ruled in favour of Antigua in its dispute with the USA on Internet gambling obstacles.

One of the industry’s largest online sportsbook, it saw its shares jump by nearly nine percent as a direct result the World Trade Organisation?s ruling, The Times Online reported.

Observers commented that while the actual effect in real terms that the decision will have on the online betting industry is not yet known, the widespread positive reaction to the news was an indicator that there is a strong groundswell of opinion that favours a more liberal and realistic approach by the US administration.

Sportingbet has disclosed that it draws two thirds of its current ?360 million turnover from the US, which it handles through an offshore subsidiary in Costa Rica.

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BUT SOME U.S. POLITICOS DON’T LIKE ITC
2 April 2004
Furious reaction in Washington

Not everyone applauded the WTO decision, according to AP, whose report on reactions to the ruling achieved extensive mainstream coverage.

Washington?s response in the wake of the World Trade Organisation?s historic ruling has been one of incredulity and indignation, the report revealed. The decision, which stated that the federal government?s restrictive policy toward Antigua?s online casino industry constituted a violation of international trade agreements, clearly came as a shock to a nation used to getting its own way in matters of trade and commerce.

‘It’s appalling,’ fumed Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. ‘It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue.’

Meanwhile, online casino operators are jubilant and filled with a kind of vindicated zeal. Dennis Rose, Senior Vice-President of Antigua based CasinoFortune.com, took the opportunity to publicly denounce U.S policy:

?As a licensed and experienced operator in the online casino business, CasinoFortune.com has been forced to constantly cope with the hypocrisy of American pressure imposed on the industry.?

He praised the new ruling as a victory for civil liberties stating: ?CasinoFortune.com is disappointed that the American government…sought to tell its citizens what they could and could not do on their own home computers. For almost ten years, many online casinos have been forced offshore in order to operate. It’s time to let these operations come home and let them be licensed, regulated and taxed by the United States Government…his ruling is a victory for all Americans who value their civil liberties and believe that they are free to do whatever they choose, so long as it does not hurt others.?

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GUERRILLAS ON SKATES
2 April 2004
GP does it again

Golden Palace guerrilla marketing may be reaching its sell-by date, but it is still alive and well and streaking in Germany it appeared this week.

In a breathlessly gushing press release preoccupied with self-backslapping, the GP marketers boasted of their latest adventure without taking cognisance of the disruption to athletes’ concentration at world class events that these commercial raids cause.

But as one observer pointed out, there is one useful angle – the repreated GP raids have highlighted the need for better security to prevent access to the real stars of the show – the top world athletes who’s performance is so cynically being interrupted.

This time around the target was the Ladies Free Program event of World Figure Skating Championships 2004 in Dortmund, Germany, where habitual streaker Ron Simon bulled his way on to the ice wearing a golden tutu, ski goggles and the inevitable Golden Palace.com tattoo.

Champion U.S. skater Michelle Kwan retired as a safety measure whilst the unsteady Simon was bundled away, having secured appropriate press and TV coverage for his masters.

Golden Palace seems intent on carrying on with the disruptive tactic judging by the self-congratulatory comments of CEO Richard Rowe.

“Our marketing strategy is…unique to say the least,” he joked. “Our ad tattoo is the perfect example. What began as a small marketing stunt has snowballed into a phenomenon. People have taken streaking to new heights.”

Yeah, right…or depths.

STOP PRESS: As we went to press this week an interesting tailpiece to this story was appearing in the media regarding the GP streaker who interrupted the Superbowl earlier this year. The British man who infamously took to the grid-iron at the Super Bowl intends to enter the rather timid plea of not guilty of trespass at his upcoming court hearing in Houston. Mark Roberts had stripped down to a thong and a tattoo advertising GoldenPalace.com. Roberts claims that he is innocent of trespass because “…no one told him he couldn’t do it.”

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POMPOUS SAVIOUR
Keith gets a raspberry

2 April 2004
Keith Kane, the head man at Connect To Casino.com was the butt of not a few jokes and many industry raspberries this week after pumping out a truly pompous “From the Desk of the CEO” notice this week.

Kane, who was conspicuously silent and totally absent from the forum scene whilst the now infamous Hampton vs The Pirate scandal raged earlier this year, tried to turn his recent takeover of the Hampton Casino hulk into a personal truimph by implying that he had been behind the resolution eventually and belatedly brokered by Real Time Gaming boss Michael Staw.

“There has never been one single complaint that has shook (sic) this industry at it’s heels.” Kane proclaimed. “I personally believe that if the Hampton – pirateofc21 saga had not been resolved our industry would have been scarred forever. That is why we stepped up to the plate and resolved this feud.”

The most accurate sentence in the missive was that the damage to casino cred inflicted by the scandal can only be healed with “… straight forward policies like fast payouts, fair games and fabulous customer service.”

Connect To Casino will hopefully be practicing what it preaches, which has not always been the case in the past.

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TILL DEATH DO US PART
2 April 2004
But these winnings are mine, baby!

Quirky story of the week was a report in the UK tabloid The Sun about a Ladbrokes player who has elected to remain anonymous in order to keep all of his winnings.

The Sun reported that a player who won over ?250,000 playing online poker with Ladbrokes decided to keep his identity secret as he is about to get divorced.

The unknown player, a salesman from Sussex, claims to have started with an initial wager of ?20 on horseracing before switching to ?50 stake poker following a series of wins. According to The Sun, the mystery winner was dealt a royal running flush, ace high in hearts, which is the highest hand that you can get in the game.

The top hand is thought to have earned its recipient over ?260,000 as the rolling jackpots accumulate more money the longer that they are unclaimed.

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PANAMA MAY HAVE TEETH!
2 April 2004
Jurisdiction acting on gambler complaints?

Surprisingly in an industry where there are so many so-called licensing jurisdictions that care little for the player, it appeared this week that Panama is acting on complaints.

The licensing authorities in the country have been putting the heat on Bet Pan Am.com, a sportsbook with more than its share of troubles. So effectively, in fact that the owners have been writing to players offering to pay the amounts they are owed in return for a promise to withdraw their complaints with the Panama Gaming Commission.

It suggests that the Panama commission is not just another two bit, money grabbing, toothless watchdog. Hats off to Panama if that is the case.

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BUSTING THE DEALER
2 April 2004
A real feel-good story…

We thought this story of poetic justice on the lowest of the low crooks was the best news this week:

The Canadian newspaper National Post gleefully reported the case of the dumb drug trafficker.

Apparently the cocaine dealer attempted to launder his drug money through a casino, according to the report Money Laundering in Canada: An Analysis of RCMP Cases.

After giving $7,000 in cash to his son and $20,000 in cash to a friend, both were told to go to a casino, purchase chips, play a few games, and then cash out by requesting a cheque for the amount of the chips.

Unbeknownst to the drug trafficker, his friend had a serious gambling problem and compulsively bet until he lost the entire $20,000 at the craps table…

About the Author... Total Posts Written: 1,900
Brian Cullingworth

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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