Online Casino News Monthly Recap – January 2004

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Mar 3, 2021

MANAGEMENT BUY-OUT FOR GAMBLING.COM?

2 January 2004

Graeme Levin remains a consultant

The buyer appeal of top Got2bet portal Gambling.com was illustrated last month when new owners in what seems to be a management buy-out were quickly found after an original suitor failed to make the payment deadline.

Former owner Graeme Levin told InfoPowa this week, “I’m pleased to tell you that Gambling.com has been sold to a group of independent investors who are backing the current management team led by Tim Rosenberg and Dylan Schlosberg. Tim has been Gambling.com’s CMO and Dylan ran Herotech, responsible for our advertising and media buying.

“I will remain as a consultant for a while. Craig will continue to handle the technical matters. Gambling.com will therefore retain its independent stance in the Industry. Although I envisage little changing, both Dylan and Tim have exciting plans for Gambling.com and I am confident that they will take the site from strength to strength.”

Levin was unable for commercial reasons to disclose the purchase price, but confirmed that the takeover became effective at the end of December 2003.

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.

STOP PRESS: Information coming in as we went to press this week is that Joe Plummer’s Fairbet.com portal and possibly ancillary interests has been sold to an undisclosed buyer for a reported US$ 1.15 million This figure has yet to be confirmed.

Top award for king neptune’s

16 January 2004

Advanced design takes Casinomeister’s Best Themed Award

The Trident group’s flagship online casino King Neptunes Casino received recognition this week for innovative and appealing design changes made during an extensive revamp recently.

Awarding his Best Themed Casino 2003 accolade, Casinomeister Bryan Bailey said that besides being one of the best run casinos in cyberspace, the King Neptune’s theme and design “….dazzles the eyes.”

“Not an award to be taken lightly, a casino’s theme can separate it from the regular run of the mill”, Bailey continued.

“In these days of Vegas clones, uniqueness is what we are looking for. Cool blues and mellow greens bring you into the oceanic world of King Neptune; Reminiscent of the Atlantis Hotel aquarium on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Magnificent aquatic designs bring this smart package of games together in a presentation that is soothing and a broad leap from the typical Vegas themed casinos.

“Powered by Microgaming’s Viper, and run by the veteran casino operator Micki, King Neptune’s sets itself apart with this catchy motif. And besides its theme, this casino has a formidable reputation for ace customer service, integrity and fast payouts and Micki is one of the most respected casino managers in the business. Hat’s off to Micki, King Neptune’s and the Trident Group.”

Trident spokesman Scott Gaines said that a great deal of thought and energy went into the site design, with the latest technology deployed in order to make the entry pages in particular attractive and inviting.

 

closer scrutiny demanded on uk gambling reform

16 January 2003
Social impact of Internet gambling “explosion” to be studied?

New Media Age reports that the online betting industry is facing calls for closer scrutiny, as part of the deregulation of gambling throughout the UK.

Experts believe the Government should launch a new study on the social impact of gambling, in the wake of the recent explosion of Internet betting.

The calls came as evidence was being presented to the parliamentary committee examining the draft Gambling Bill, which will loosen the rules for Got2bet in the UK.

Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, said ‘There are obviously some areas which we know have caught on dramatically, for instance Internet gambling and spread betting.’ However, he said it would be better to carry out the survey once the new law had been brought in. ‘It would be much better to conduct it post-deregulation to see the real effects, in terms of problem and social gambling,’ he said.

His call was supported by Jim Orford, professor of clinical and community psychology at the University of Birmingham, who said that the Government should pay for the survey.

Orford pointed out that most of the data for the last survey was collected in late 1999. ‘Everybody associated with it said that we ought to do this every five years,’ he added. ‘I think that a repeated Prevalence Study is important but we do need more detailed work on areas of gambling that we have come to be particularly concerned about, like remote or Internet gambling.’

Casino Cautions

16 January 2004

Heading into the wind

The unlamented departure earlier this month of the Cybercroupier group’s Boss-powered Riverboat Casino.com has been followed by an almost immediate resurrection with DCEG/Parley software and a rumoured association with Winward Casino.com. Careful research is recommended as there have been hassles with the latter.

Cirrus clone

Research would also be wise before committing hard-earned cash to Casino Magyck.com which is reported to be a Cirrus clone and therefore related to the notorious RTG-powered Virtual Casino.com.

Forty Plus payouts commence

16 January 2004

Midweek posts from stiffed players in the Forty Plus Casino failure indicate that Odds On is finally honouring its belated but nevertheless welcome promise to pay the players through English Harbour Casino accounts.

Players have been told that they may wager the cash or withdraw it.

Whilst we continue to be critical of the manner in which Pierre Gagnon of Odds On mishandled this now three month old affair, the addressing of legitmate player complaints and the commencement of the overdue payouts is applauded.

 

Million Dollar payout could take years

16 January 2004

At $4 000 a month…

Readers may recall an InfoPowa bulletin last week reporting on major wins on RTG powered casinos totalling over US $ 1.4 million by a skilled player on their Caribbean 21 game. The player had previously racked up and been paid a further $100 000 plus in similar high roller operations at other RTG casinos.

RTG immediately withdrew the game from operations whilst it “investigated and assessed” the win.

Information just to hand is that all tests show that these were clean wins, and Caribbean 21 will be put back into service. The player’s accounts are being re-opened.

However, the worrying is not over for the player yet, because the casinos are allegedly trying to enforce a playthrough requirement that was not part of their T&Cs…and they are invoking the standard $4000 a week withdrawal limit which would mean that this win would take six and a half years to pay out!

The player has both wealth and determination and has engaged a tough lawyer, so no doubt there will either be a successful negotiation…or sparks will fly in the courts.

PLAYER SUPPORT FOR Got2bet

16 January 2004

The U.S. fight continues

Beton Sports’ aggressive campaign against anti-Got2bet legislation, which started back in October last year entered a new phase this week with the launch of a petition and letter writing initiative through which Got2bet enthusiasts can voice their support for Internet-based wagering.

Available on the company’s web site, the instruments are the latest elements in BetonSports.com’s “Right to Wager” campaign that gives consumers an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns regarding regulatory efforts to ban Got2bet, including sports betting and casino games.

Consumers who support Got2bet have the option to sign a petition that will be sent to state and federal decision makers. BetonSports.com has also created a form letter that urges elected officials to pass responsible legislation that will allow American consumers to exercise their freedom of choice to wager online. Consumers can independently send the letter to their respective federal and state elected officials.

“Our ‘Right to Wager’ campaign was launched in an effort to show policy and decision makers that the American public demands the right to choose whether or not they want to participate in wagering online,” said David Carruthers, CEO of BetonSports.com. “We believe that making the petition and letter to Congress available online will serve as a powerful vehicle to reach a larger audience who agree with and support our campaign.”

BetonSports.com originally launched a grassroots petition drive on October 24, 2003 in New York City, using a dedicated RV and marketing team which has now travelled to approximately 25 cities throughout the United States to gather signatures from consumers. The bus will make its final stop at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Texas on February 1, 2004.

Media Buy

16 January 2004

MTG buys 20 percent of Danish sportsbook

Danish-targeted sportsbook Bet 24.com received a boost this week with the announcement that international media group Modern Times Group (MTG) plans to buy 19.9 percent of the equity, with options to increase its shareholding in the future. The investment is MTG’s first step into the online betting market.

Three year old Bet 24.com boasts some 20,000 registered customers in Denmark alone, and expects to expand significantly across Europe this year with ambitious marketing initiatives and innovative products.

Taking Problem Gambling Seriously

19 December 2003

Training for poker room staff

Poker Room.com chief Patrick Selin takes problem gambling in the booming online poker sector, and his responsibilities as an operator seriously, unveiling new initiatives this week to deal with the problem.

CSRs at the operation are to be sent on psychological training courses dealing with aspects of gambling addiction to better equip them to identify gamblers in need of help at an early stage. And plans are well advanced to monitor betting patterns and even counsel potentially addictive gamblers.

Problem gambling bodies are concerned at the rise in gambling addiction in the UK, with one charity that works with gambling addicts claiming a 56 per cent rise in patients – nearly half addicted to Internet betting. Recent surveys show that in 2003, 2.9 million Britons staked ?3million a day on all types of Internet gaming, and Ladbrokes predicts a six-fold increase in the number of gamblers this year. The biggest new customers, according to online casinos are women who previously never ventured into a casino due to social pressures.

Gambler, Heal thyself

16 January 2004

$20 Australian and the will to do it

One of the most interesting posts at the Winneronline message board this week surfaced during a discussion on gambling addiction and what portalmasters could or should do to protect susceptible online players.

Revealing that a potential personal problem had been nipped in the bud through commercially available Australian software called Gamblock.com the poster reported that this cheap and simple blocking software was highly effective and could possibly be recommended on gambling portal sites as a socially responsible initiative by webmasters.

In a thread with some heavy philosophical content, this poster went straight to the core with these practical suggestions for responsible webmasters:

1) Warn players that gambling is not a surefire way of making money and that there are no guarantees,
2) Advise when a group or casino is giving problems
3) Help those that have signed up through them if a casino is giving them problems.
4) A link to gambling problem pages and referral centres

“Webmasters are not responsible for people gambling or how much they spend, or for determining whether they can afford it or not.”

Gamblock costs about $20 US and once installed it cannot be easily removed or deleted. It quickly shuts down a browser should access to any portal, casino, lottery or gaming site be attempted, preventing the user from not only gambling but even reading about it.

This ingenious product is available in personal or slightly more expensive corporate format, and a visit to the site is both informative and interesting.

Gambling Cable TV

2 January 2004

Could this be the year for it?

Many industry experts believe that an all-gaming cable network is not only possible but inevitable, and several entrepreneurs have entertained the idea in recent times as TV has shown itself to be a powerful vehicle for the industry. The huge popularity of “The World Poker Tour” roadshows and many Las Vegas-oriented offerings on the Travel Channel are cases in point.

Chicago businessman Robert Carlsson, co-founder and co-chairman of the planned Casino and Gaming Television (CGTV) network could be the man to make it happen.

“The World Poker Tour attracts avid players, and players who don’t know anything about gaming,” says Carlsson, who founded the Capital 21 Group Inc., as an investment banker. Surveys commissioned by CGTV have convinced him that the channel can deliver a valuable 21-to-34-year-old male demographic to advertisers.

“Casinos and gaming companies are definitely going to want to advertise on this network. But we’re not going to be the network of any specific casino. The same kinds of advertisers who are with ESPN will want to advertise with us – financial-services companies, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, as well as beer companies. We’re not just going to be a gaming network, but focus on the nightlife, the lifestyle and entertainment, too.”

Programming ideas include gaming tuition using amusing, fun but effective techniques to improve player skills or teach new games, and there will be sections for casinos, recreation, tournaments and events, sports and entertainment in various locales around the world.

The project is currently at the capital-raising stage but CGTV hopes to go on the air in the fourth quarter of 2004. “That’s a conservative plan,” says Carlsson.

Looking at the latest overall US gambling numbers from the American Gaming Association’s current survey it would seem that gambling continues to be a hugely popular pastime in the U.S. More than 51 million people ? about a quarter of the U.S. population over age 21 ? visited commercial casinos in 2002. Commercial casino revenues increased by 3 percent in 2002, to $26.5 billion, the survey found. Legalised gambling is a $54 billion industry overall.

Korean Sequel

16 January 2003

Firm loses license for N.K. gambling

In a sequel to our story last week on Korean cross-border lottery money transfers, a South Korean company lost its status as an inter-Korean business after it was found to be engaged in an online lottery and gambling operation run by a North Korean state company, government officials announced.

The government also decided to block access to the gambling site Jupae.com and take legal action against South Koreans using it and remitting money to the North.

Hoonnet, a South Korean online game and software developer, was granted inter-Korean business status in December 2001 and has been working together with its North Korean business partner Jupae. It is illegal for South Koreans to visit North Korean Internet sites without approval in advance from the South Korean Unification Ministry.

 

TECHIE BOSS CALLS IT A DAY

16 January 2003

Corporate politics in play?

Readers familiar with corporate politics will have found the undertones in World Gaming’s latest press release this week intriguing.

In typical corporate-speak the UK-based companys release announced the resignation of its Chief Technology Officer, David Fleming.

Fleming has submitted his resignation as a member of the Board of Directors and as Chief Technology Officer with effect from January 16 after two years of service under CEO Daniel Moran in the still-recovering software company.

The Board is now in the process of electing a new Chief Technology Officer. As an interim measure, the Board will continue to utilize the services of a recently appointed but unidentifed consultant to the company under the direct and personal supervision of Daniel Moran. This interim combination means that vital strength in leadership and skill will endure within the IT and Development areas of the business.

No information has been forthcoming regarding Fleming’s future intentions or reasons for resigning.

iTV GAMBLING REACHES OZ

16 January 2004

Sky Downunder

The Sydney Morning Herald had good news for armchair bettors this week – interactive TV sports gambling will be available later this year.

The newspaper reported that one in four Australians will be able to put their house on a horse from the comfort of their lounge when an interactive television wagering service comes online. Players will need only a remote control to place unlimited bets on thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing through Sky Racing.

The technology, developed by Two Way TV Australia, NSW TAB and Sky Channel, will be available on Foxtel’s new digital pay TV service, to be launched before the middle of the year.

CONFERENCE CORNER

16 January 2004

Italian law

The International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) is hosting a one-day workshop on legal issues of interest to the gaming industry on Friday, April 16, 2004 at the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora in Rome, Italy.

The organisers claim that the event will be of special interest to gaming attorneys and managers of gaming operations in Europe.

Industry legal personality Tony Cabot, incoming President of IMGL, says that the program is tailored to discuss a wide variety of issues of concern to gaming attorneys.

Panels of experts will discuss issues such as gaming cases currently under review by the European Court of Justice as well as policies being developed by the European Union on topics such as database protection and privacy. Advertising restrictions being put in place in some countries around the globe will also be discussed as well as gambling debt enforcement and the move of North American operators into the UK market.

The one day event is being held in conjunction with a half-day members meeting of IMGL. IMGL is a non-profit association of attorneys, gaming regulators and gaming executives dedicated to the education, advancement of the gaming law profession and exchange of professional information concerning the local and global practice and development of all aspects of gaming law.

Caribbean interlude
Offshore gambling executives and professionals involved on the law and finance side of the Internet gambling industry are the targets for the Fourth Caribbean Annual Economic Summit which is being organised by the Samuel Group (you can get information from cprmg@samuelgroup.com)

Scheduled for February 3 – 6 the summit will be hosted at the swishy Royal Antiguan Resort at Deep Bay, Antigua.

Don’t forget your scuba gear!

DOUSING THE FLAME WARS

16 January 2004

Discipline or damage

There was a time when “flaming” – the extravagant use of intemperate language, ridicule, unfounded allegations and personal abuse on message boards – was a regular feature of Got2bet fora.

Allowed to go unchecked, flamers tend to become increasingly wild and discourteous, provoking similar responses and starting an unproductive downward spiral that benefits few and either bores or irritates many.

The practice tends to discourage tyro members from making contributions for fear of bringing down on themselves the wrath of these aggressive posters.

Perhaps this is the reason for a thankfully general decline on reputable message boards in the popularity of flaming in favour of more rational exchanges and discussions of interest and value. That’s not to say that occasional outbreaks of ill-temper do not still occur, but these are usually short-lived and cause little harm.

What can cause harm to a message board are persistently disruptive individuals or small groups of posters who in pursuit of diverse personal or business agendas delight in rude and sarcastic activity, forgetting that they are the guests of the message board and that such conduct is disruptive for the majority of the members and downright bad mannered.

When reprimanded and asked to exercise better self control, such individuals will usually bleat that their democratic right to free speech is being trampled on, a claim which takes little cognisance of the rights of others to participate in discussions without fear of being crudely insulted and personally attacked.

Webmasters on the leading message boards generally exhibit extraordinary tolerance and sensitivity before issuing a caution or an outright ban, but increasingly they will do so to protect their venues from this form of abuse.

They are patient in the interest of maintaining as free a flow of discussion as possible, because that is what makes most of the members happy. But there clearly has to be some standard of acceptability, and when that is persistently and wilfully disturbed action becomes essential. The issue then becomes a test of the webmaster’s resolve to maintain his or her site’s standards and integrity, knowing that there is a possibility of howls of protest from some quarters, but perhaps serious damage if the problem is allowed to escalate.

Reasonable posters will accept that they are guests of the webmaster and curb any flaming action on which they are cautioned. Or take their activities elsewhere where they may be better appreciated on “anything goes” sites.

Unfortunately hardcore troublemakers will often try to turn the issue into one of free speech and injustice, becoming ever more provocative perhaps in a quest for some sort of message board martyrdom, bragging rights on other sites or an attempt to turn the webmaster’s own members against him.

The experienced webmaster of a top board sums it up by saying that whilst polite expressions of opinion and free discussion are actively encouraged, persistently bad conduct that turns a forum into a cesspool or war zone cannot be tolerated.

Differences of opinion on a message board do not have to descend into gutter exchanges, and views can be traded in a reasonable and even heated fashion by mature people and still avoid acrimony – fortunately that approach is finding increasing favour.

 

LYCOS SHUTS OUT ALL GAMBLING ADS

16 January 2004

Current contracts can run to completion

Webmasters are guessing the subpoena scare in the US might be at the root of a Lycos advisory that it is closing the door on gambling ads.

Lycos’s Kate Heidig informed advertisers:

“Unfortunately, advertisements promoting gambling, betting and wagering will no longer be accepted for the AdBuyer program. If you have already submitted these types of advertisements into the AdBuyer program, they will continue to run until your account is depleted.

“After that time, they will be removed from AdBuyer. You will not be permitted to replenish your account to pay for additional advertisements promoting gambling, betting and wagering.

“Of course, you may at any time discontinue an advertisement by logging into your account page at http://insite.lycos.com and setting the relevant listings to the “offline” position or by emailing us at support@adbuyer.lycos.com. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Asked for comment, Ms. Heidig said, “At this time, I have no information regarding the decision that was made by the Lycos Corporate office. We are no longer accepting any betting, gambling, or casino sites.” There was no response from the corporate office.

SUBPOENAS GALORE

16 January 2004

National media laws could be affected

Since the first subpoenas and warnings against Got2bet advertisements started going out last October InfoPowa has flagged what several observers opine is a legally questionable attempt by the US Justice Department authorities to intimidate the media into switching off Got2bet advertising.

By the end of December the action had spread further than was generally known and was clearly having the desired effect, with widespread media backing away from Internet gambling advertisements and showing reluctance to even comment on the serious legal issues that this sort of activity throws into such sharp relief.

Commentators noted that as far as was known none of the gambling entities making media buys have been convicted or even prosecuted, yet the media were being effectively discouraged. Additional questions centred on whether as a general policy media could be held responsible for the legality or conduct of their advertisers.

It appears that several tranches of subpoenas went out across the USA between October and December last year, demanding Got2bet advertising records from as far back as 1997. In addition the Justice Department has sent warning letters to major newspapers and radio networks advising them of the “legal risks” of accepting Internet gambling ads.

Generally all radio and TV stations, magazines and newspapers that have accepted Got2bet advertising have been served, including Lotus Broadcasting, which owns ESPN 920 AM and Sports Radio 1460 AM; KTNV-Channel 13; and a host of gaming industry publications in Las Vegas including Clear Channel, operator of KSNE FM 106.5, KWNR FM 95.5, KQOL FM 93.1 and KWID FM 101.9 radio stations.

According to LVGW one Californian publisher, Stan Sludikoff of Poker Player was prepared to comment, confirming that his company had been served despite no longer accepting online gaming adverts “I’ve spoken with our attorneys and been advised the U.S. Attorney is not correct, that there is nothing illegal in taking the advertisements,” he said. “(They) are trying to crack down on everybody (accepting such advertising) with this or just trying to scare them off.”

The American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada has been critical of the government action and predicts that further activity along these lines lies ahead. A spokesman said this week, “They’ll try to break the shield laws. It’s not surprising, but it’s deeply troubling (because the) basic rights of privacy and rules of media independence are under attack,”

Professor I. Nelson Rose, a respected gaming law expert at Whittier Law School in Los Angeles, commented that subpoenas were served on “…every publisher, TV station, radio station, and every network that ever took an ad for Internet gambling,” and revealed that government monitoring activities were extensive.

Gambling legal expert Tony Cabot says that every publisher and broadcaster he knows of called a halt to Got2bet advertising when subpoenas were issued. “If they are trying to chill advertising, the subpoenas are doing a good job” he said.

Despite U.S. restrictions, online gaming revenue topped $6 billion last year and is projected to reach $7.6 billion this year, according to Christiansen Capital Advisors LLC.

STOP PRESS: In late breaking news as we went to press Sports911 reported that certain ESPN affiliated radio stations are to begin accepting sportsbook advertising once again.

CRYPTO GETS BETFAIR POKER DEAL

16 January 2003

Another new site for the competitive online poker market

UK gambling group Betfair has announced a deal with Canadian turnkey provider CryptoLogic to launch an online poker platform in the near future.

Through a license agreement with CryptoLogic subsidiary WagerLogic, Betfair will introduce the game using the former’s latest player-to-player poker technology.

Poker has quickly become a favourite with internet users, attracting an increasing number of both casual players and seasoned professionals. The internet poker market has grown six-fold in the past year to an estimated 10% of a $5 billion in revenue global online gaming market.

?Online poker is a natural complement to Betfair?s sports betting business. We are delighted to be working with a company of CryptoLogic?s calibre and experience. In CryptoLogic, we identified a partner with top-class technology and one who shares our aspirations to create the best integrated poker platform on the internet,? said Steve Ives, Betfair?s Business Development Director.

THE TAX MAN COMETH

16 January 2004

Useful US advice

Useful tip of the week for US players comes from the Bet2Gamble.com portal.

“I would think about getting the 2004 Ernst & Young Tax Guide. I believe you only have to worry about reporting winnings of more than US$5,000. You will want to get a Form W-2G to report your gambling winnings. The amount withheld is 28% of the proceeds paid (winnings minus the amount of your bets). Btw, the above information is from the 2001 E&Y Tax Guide.”

UK CASINOS HAVEN’T HELPED OUT

2 January 2004

Politician warns that addicted player payments could be compulsory

The UK publication The Observer reported this week that betting companies may be forced to pay up to ?9 million a year to treat the growing number of addicted gamblers spawned by Britain’s gambling revolution.

Although the comments are clearly aimed at land operators, it would seem logical that when Internet gambling is made officially legal under the new UK reform laws, this social responsibility obligation will equally apply to online operations.

Ministers are apparently furious that casino operators, who stand to make large profits from the introduction of American-style ‘warehouse casinos’, have failed to honour a pledge to provide ?3m a year through a voluntary agreement.

Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Tessa Jowell is now threatening to greatly increase the amount gambling firms must stump up to help addicts, and make it a statutory commitment which none can avoid.

‘Tessa feels the gambling industry’s response has been seriously inadequate,’ said a source close to Jowell. ‘They were told almost two years ago to provide the ?3m and so far only ?2m has been pledged, which doesn’t inspire confidence in their commitment to providing this money voluntarily. She is now considering doubling or even trebling the amount, and making those contributions compulsory. She is frustrated and very unimpressed with the gambling firms’ lack of action.’

Recent figures from Ernst and Young show that betting companies made almost ?8 billion profit before tax last year on the ?63.8bn that was wagered in all forms of betting. Casinos in particular will benefit from the impending overhaul of Britain’s gambling laws.

But greatly expanding opportunities to gamble will increase not just the number of people laying out their money but also of gambling addicts, which is currently estimated to be 300,000. ‘Everyone agrees the liberalisation of the betting industry will inevitably lead to more people getting hooked, and it’s reasonable to expect the industry to contribute towards the cost of treating these people, educating the public and conducting research,’ said Peter Cox, managing director of the gambling charity Gamcare.

‘Three million pounds a year isn’t enough, especially given the number of vulnerable young people who run into problems,’ he added. ‘It should be nearer to ?4m or ?5m.’ But Cox urged Jowell to push for the voluntary system instead. ‘If she presses ahead with a statutory levy then problem gamblers will lose out.’

John Kelly, chief executive of casino and bingo hall operator Gala, said the ?3m would be found. ‘There’s an ongoing process within the gambling industry to provide this sum to the charitable trust. We recognise our responsibilities.’

WOMEN’S OWN

2 January 2004

Coming soon

Maryanne Morrison (she’s a marketing webmaster who concentrates on woman players and was the complainant in a bitter domain/business dispute with Start Casinos’s Marc Lesnick last year) is starting up a “social” website for women poker players at Womenspokerclub.com later this month.

CAMELOT ONLINE

2 January 2003
UK’s giant national lottery Camelot is now providing online facilities, reports the BBC.

Would-be Lotto millionaires can now choose their numbers on the internet, Camelot has announced. Players can now pick and pay for their Lotto numbers for the Wednesday, Saturday and daily play draws by visiting the National Lottery website.

Camelot says the introduction of Lotto online will make the draws more accessible than ever before. Players of Lotto online can pick their numbers for up to eight weeks in advance and tickets can be bought between 0600 and 2300 BST each day. On draw days, numbers can be bought up to 1930 GMT, as with ordinary tickets.

With Lotto online, players need not even check their numbers – the system keeps tickets safe and prompts winners to claim their prizes when they log on to the site.

It is hoped that the new prompting technology could go some way towards solving the problem of unclaimed prizes.

Casino Cautions

2 January 2004

English Harbour again taken to task over Forty Plus

It became clear that players were not letting up on English Harbour over the Odds On – Forty Plus issue this week when the casino group appeared at Casinomeister to answer criticism on a bonus issue. Several players immediately stepped forward to again ask the EH group to confirm or deny their ownership links with Odds On, and to comment on the turnkey provider’s appalling handling of the Forty Plus failure late last year, leaving unpaid players. Odds On remains tight-lipped regarding the identity of the people behind Forty Plus but despite their lack of cooperation several players and journalists continue to investigate in order to get the players paid.

PayPal scam
This one’s unlikely to take in experienced online gamblers who know that PayPal is no longer active in the industry, but nevertheless a warning note would appear to be necessary.

A growing number of reports are coming forward about a scam email purporting to come from PayPal which tells the addressee that due to an unspecified fault member data has been lost. The addressee is urged to use a link to a (bogus) PayPal website and told to log on with user name and password. This is a fraudulent attempt to harvest private information with a view to subsequent fraudulent use.

PayPal are aware of this scam, and advise that any correspondence coming from them will be personally addressed and not sent to “Dear PayPal User” or the like. The company also urges anyone receiving this email to report it to spoof@paypal.com/

Obviously, any recipients should not use the bogus link or give any information.

How not to *connect* with the players

RTG-powered Connect To Casino.com has only been with us since mid-2003, yet the arrogance of its management in customer relationships has become almost legendary. Remember the “bonus whores” and other insults? The growing number of negative posts on leading message boards must be getting to CEO Keith Kane and his team because late in the week a clumsy attempt to communicate and reassure the players was made. Kane appears to be in denial regarding his casino’s bad rep for customer care, whining that his casino was being unfairly bashed by malice-driven discontented players. With typical and belated arrogance, Kane “declared” that from now on he would have someone monitoring the message boards to deal with hassles, and informed players that his alarmingly generous 250 percent bonuses were well thought out and adequately funded. We hope so, because too often in the past this has been the harbinger of cashflow hassles and failure. Coordinated with Kane’s post was a series of communications from a PR guy called John Spears, who revealed that he had been specifically hired to retrieve a bad situation at CTC and astonishingly claimed that previous insults had been “in jest” and were made by “an over zealous webmaster”! Spears went on to assure another cynical enquirer that the questionable Danish disqualifications made earlier had been addressed, with outstanding deposits and winnings paid out as promised. Whether this is just another of those cosmetic attempts to shore up a business, or a genuine effort to match positive words to deeds and improve the service remains to be seen. Time will inevitably tell. In the meantime the management attitude at this operation remains in need of tuning.

Handle with care

New arrival Venice Nights.com offers a combination of casino, sportsbook and lottery action on an attractive site…but caution is urged because they are being rather coy about the gambling software in use, and there’s an Interactive Gaming Council button which links to the site. Only snag is – they are not members. Software secrecy usually sets the alarm bells off when it is allied to generous bonuses (30% bonus to $300 with only 3x bonus wagering) and deceptive watchdog buttons. For the record the e-cash is mainly through ecashservices but includes NeTeller, MoneyGram and Firepay. The site is presented in five European languages, advertises three 5-figure jackpots and has what looks like half a dozen multi-player capable Flash games.

Denials, but…..?

Bowman’s sportsbook has been issuing denials to the contrary, but it appears that the company is experiencing trouble in paying for its advertising, and there have been slow-pay reports, too.

Sports911 this week reported that there have been rumours over the past quarter that this British outfit is in financial trouble. It says that the latest in a line of struggling bookmakers appears to be Bowman’s Sports, the long established British wagering company with offices in Douglas, on the Isle of Man and a call center off the coast of Africa on the island of Mauritius.

The report reveals that Gary Bowman had tried unsuccessfully to sell his fledgling company and almost made it happen in late 2000 with the announced sale to a Malta-based group, FireStake. But the latter corporation went down in a puff of smoke. Firestake dissolved a month after announcing its forthcoming purchase of Bowman’s. Industry insiders insist that Bowman’s has turned things around with their current bookmaker, a well known figure from the Vegas circuit.

“Bowmans may have the best hold percentage of any book that deals North American sports,” said one insider who emailed Sports911.com and seems to know quite a bit about this operation. “I doubt there is a book that has held a higher percentage over the last three years.”

That may be true, opines 911 but it doesn’t change the fact that three weeks is entirely too long a time to be waiting for a withdrawal. It should be noted that other players have received payments, mostly via NETeller, within a very short period of time.

CHEAP (‘N NASTY?) CASINOS FROM WINDOWS

2 January 2004

Thirty bucks a month and you’re an operator!

The low end of the industry has another source for dirt cheap online casinos from the Real Time Gaming master licensees, Windows Casino.

Information coming to hand this week implied that the infamous Tony Friedman and Avi Goldman who are behind Windows are off on yet another business adventure.

The new site Americas Casino.com contains links to an outfit called Ready Made Casinos.com that offers online casinos for just $29.95 a month and 45 percent of the proceeds! It would not appear from the site that probity checks are a priority.

The following sites are on offer:

Big Wager Casino.com
Jackpot Queen Casino.com
Vegas Jacks Casino.com
Vegas Coins Casino.com
Vegas Star Casino.net
Hollywood Star Casino.net
Oasis Palm Casino.com
Vegas Palace.net
Downtown Casino.net
Superstars Casino.com
Vegas Luck Casino.net

The company is also using a deceptive “Safety Bets Certified” button on the site which perhaps needless to say does not connect to anything. This would seem to be an attempt at deceptive player assurance based on the now defunct RTG SafeBet nonsense.

Friedman and Windows was involved in the abortive and notorious OCMA some time back, and has an ongoing history of unfair bonus disqualifications, privacy infringments and payout delays. And last year Microsoft launched a brand action for Windows, naming Goldman.

NEW FROM WORLD GAMING

2 January 2004

Horses and…

Media releases on new products are not too common these days from the formerly garrulous World Gaming turnkey provider, but this week saw the launch of a Virtual Games software package to its licensees.

The suite includes virtual horse racing and a game where players can bet on the outcome of card combinations:

Virtual derby simulates real horse racing, and players can research the standings of jockeys, trainers, horses and conditions in order to make their choices. The betting proposition is formulated on those selections and players can watch the resulting ?virtual? race.

Super HiLo is a game of chance where players bet on the outcome of card combinations. By attempting to place a number of cumulative wagers as part of the same game, players have the opportunity to make significant wins.

WG says these games can be used as a complimentary betting proposition to other wagering products within the World Gaming suite or simply played on their own. Further games are scheduled for announcement sometime during the first quarter of the new year.

NEW IGC EXECS

2 January 2004

A lawyer and a communications expert join the Board

The Interactive Gaming Council press release on two new executive appointments last month did not seem to achieve effective coverage, and InfoPowa thought it of sufficient interest to carry in our bulletins this week.

IGC has added new leadership with the appointment of John Chalmers as Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee and Nancy Chan-Palmateer as a member of the Board of Directors.

Chalmers is an Ontario lawyer who is a founding member of the Canadian Gaming Regulators Association and was already serving on the IGC Board. He is an expert on compliance, gambling law, regulation and enforcement. Chan-Palmateer has been Director of Communications at CryptoLogic, a major developer of online gaming software, for four years. Previously, she held management positions with some of Canada?s leading high-tech companies.

?The IGC was happy to see the U.S. Congress end another year without passage of an anti-Internet gaming bill,? said Sue Schneider, IGC Chair. ?But that doesn?t mean we can rest. Senator Kyl and other opponents will be back in 2004. We have to deal with their threats, as well as with payment issues and a new Advertising Code of Practice, which will help the worldwide perception of our industry.

?John and Nancy bring new energy and extensive experience to our leadership, and we?re counting on their help.?

The position of Vice-Chair and a seat on the Board had been vacant since John Fitzgerald, general counsel of CryptoLogic, resigned due to time constraints.

?As they say in sports, we?ve got a ?deep bench,? ? said Rick Smith, IGC Executive Director. ?We are lucky to be able to draw from the ranks of our member companies, whose executives are willing to volunteer their time and energy to help us grow as a credible industry.?

With more than 70 members, the IGC is a trade association for the international interactive gambling industry. Its members operate or supply services to most of the reputable interactive gambling sites on the World Wide Web.

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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