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Casinomeister - Online Casino Information
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Online Casino News

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

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

This Month:
TOP OF THE PAYOUT POPS 30 August
WIZARD GAMES GUIDE 30 August
MOUNTIES IN COSTA RICA? 30 August
LAND GIANT HOLDING OFF ON THE INTERNET 30 August
BUT THE VENETIAN GEARS UP 30 August
TOTAL SELLING OFF INTERNET ASSETS 30 August
FAREWELL ALDERNEY 30 August
GREEF DISPUTE CONTINUES 30 August
LADBROKES EXEC FORMS NEW GAMBLING COMPANY 30 August
DEEPER PAYPAL COMMITMENTS 30 August
ANOTHER PAYPAL ALTERNATIVE 30 August
TIGHTER FINANCE IN CR 30 August
DEDICATED OPA FORUM 30 August
STORED VALUE CARD 30 August
PAYPAL SHUTS THE DOOR 23 August
COOL CASINOS 23 August
END OF THE ROAD 23 August
OUT FOR THE COUNT 23 August
CURRENCY CHANGE AT LASSETERS 23 August
THE EMPEROR JOINS REWARDS GROUP 23 August
CASINO CAUTIONS 23 August
SOMBRE OUTLOOK FOR BLACK RHINO? 23 August
JESUS ON THE PRESCRIPTION? 23 August
VIRTUAL EXPOSURE PART II 22 August
INTERNET GAMING COUNCIL? 22 August
IN DEFENCE OF RTG 16 August
LITTLEWOODS AT LAST 16 August
MGM SYSTEMS FACING A LAWSUIT? 16 August
COPYCATS 16 August
ANYTHING TO DECLARE? 16 August
WU-HOO! HITTING THE JACKPOT 16 August
ALL CHANGE AT EXTREME GROUP 16 August
CHANGING GUARD 16 August
COOL CASINOS 16 August
CASINO CAUTIONS 16 August
ANOTHER WATCHDOG 16 August
BIG WINS 16 August
SERIOUS SPEAKERS 16 August
NEW PAYMENT METHOD FOR LADBROKES 16 August
ATLANTIS AHOY 16 August
LUCKY FIND 16 August
VIRTUAL EXPOSURE 15 August
MONTE CARLO MILLIONAIRE 9 August
INET CASINO PIRATES 8 August


TOP OF THE PAYOUT POPS
30 August 2002

A spread of softwares in the top five

International audit company Price Waterhouse Coopers released their latest percentage payout list this week, covering the payout activities of some 36 quality-end online casinos.

Boss Media powered Atlantic casino topped the list this time around with an impressive 99.33 percent payout, followed closely by Cryptologic's William Hill casino on 98.69. The remaining three operations in the top five were all pretty closely ranked with Micrgaming's Royal Plaza on 98.47, Orbital (also MGS) on 98.32 and Cryptologic's Intercasino on 98.21.

Bottom of the percentage totem pole with a still creditable 95.60 was Floridita Casino powered by Microgaming.

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WIZARD GAMES GUIDE
30 August 2002

Craps, roulette and BJ players read this!

Michael Shackleford, a widely recognised Got2bet guru also known as The Wizard of Odds has been doing some evaluations to help readers of the print magazine The Casino Player to find the top games, so if you are into Blackjack, Roulette or Craps and you're looking for the best place to play, listen up!

Shackleford assessed eleven of the most common Internet casino software packages, including AquaOnline, Boss Media, CryptoLogic, Microgaming and OddsOn, to determine which offered the best odds on individual games. He selected Casino On Net (software by Random Logic) for Best Craps. The casino offers three-times odds on any point; most Internet casinos offer only two-times odds. "They also correctly let the player lay odds relative to the amount the player can win," said Shackleford. "For example, the player can lay $60 on a point of 4 or 10 after a $10 Don't Pass bet."

In the roulette category, Shackleford singled-out CryptoLogic. "Only CryptoLogic offers roulette with the European half-back rule on even-money bets if the ball lands in zero or double zero." The house edge on CryptoLogic's game is 2.63%, even better than the single-zero roulette found at some other casinos.

Shackleford concluded that the old Version 1 Boss Media software offers players the most favorable blackjack game. That's tough, because Boss Media casinos have switched to Version 2 software and the older game may be hard for most players to find!

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MOUNTIES IN COSTA RICA?
30 August 2002

Gambling company raided

Here's a strange tale from The Prescription about an Indian selling toothpaste and the Mounties raiding a Costa Rican sportsbook. Intrigued? Read on!

The Canadian government, working closely with the Costa Rica police, raided CRIS sports book this week, locking employees out and confiscating cellphones and other material.

Where does the Indian with the toothpaste fit in? Well, he scammed investors in Canada out of something like $40 million with an investment scheme based on a new tooth whitener he claimed to have invented. Unfortunately, this was a hoax and everyone who gave this man money ended up with zip in the way of returns.

The crook was eventually arrested, but before the Mounties caught up with him he had lost millions gambling offshore. Although he bet with several different sports books, BCBETS enjoyed the lion's share of his action. And because BCBETS had rented office space with CRIS up until a few months ago, CRIS was the focus of the raid as officials tried to locate the fraudster's money. They also want to talk to one Chuck Garber, the previous owner of BCBETS who is on the run with a warrant of arrest hanging over his head. The article emphasises that CRIS sports book hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing, and its operation will open again within the next 24 hours.

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LAND GIANT HOLDING OFF ON THE INTERNET
30 August 2002

But Station Casinos is still interested...

Disappointing news this week from the Las Vegas Sun is that Vegas giant Station Casinos Inc. has decided to defer its planned $5 million purchase of an Got2bet enterprise over concerns that Internet gambling regulations under development in Nevada aren't clearly defined enough. The gambling group has changed its purchase deal of a fifty percent interest in Kerzner Interactive Ltd. into a $4.5 million option to buy, according to a recent quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Kerzner Interactive, the Got2bet business of Kerzner International Ltd., was formerly known as SunOnline Ltd.

Station, together with MGM Mirage, which is developing its own Internet gambling site, has been one of the most aggressive Las Vegas casino operators to pursue online wagering opportunities abroad.

After a series of hearings that began in early summer to discuss Internet gambling, Nevada gaming regulators "couldn't clearly articulate the standards that Nevada licensees would be able to be held to," Station Casinos' Chief Legal Officer Scott Nielson said.

Last year, state lawmakers approved legislation allowing regulators to craft rules governing Got2bet for Nevada license holders. Station Casinos' investment applies to betting activity outside the United States, where the debate on the legality of Internet gambling still rages.

Station Casinos remains committed to pursuing Internet gambling ventures, a company lawyer revealed.

"We still have a great deal of confidence in Internet gaming (and) we want to be a leader and first mover in that segment." The company also is bullish on Kerzner International, he said.

Kerzner International, controlled by South African casino developer Sol Kerzner, owns Casino Atlantis Online, an online casino based on the firm's Atlantis casino resort in the Bahamas.

The move allows Station to extend its option through 2004, though the company hopes regulations will be defined before then.

Kerzner Interactive holds one of three Got2bet licenses issued last year by the Isle of Man, a small island nation off the coast of Britain that has developed its own regulations governing Internet betting. MGM MIRAGE has said it expects to build an Internet gambling site, based in the Isle of Man, by the end of the year.

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BUT THE VENETIAN GEARS UP
30 August 2002

Internet plans revealed in SEC filing

Is the highly respected Venetian hotel and casino group going for the Internet? That would seem to be the case following an SEC filing that a company affiliated with the top Las Vegas group has invested in an Internet gaming operation.

Venetian Casino Resort Athens LLC has applied for an Internet gambling license in Alderney in the British Channel Islands. Alderney, an island 8 miles off the coast of France, already is home to several licensed Internet gaming firms.

The information was disclosed by the company in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week. A company spokeswoman said there would be no further elaboration beyond the SEC filing.

According to the notification, Venetian entered a joint-venture agreement earlier this year "to assess the feasibility of and develop an Internet gaming site." The filing did not identify any partners.

"We have applied for an Internet gaming license in Alderney, but have not yet established any operations," the filing says. "We estimate that we are committed to contribute approximately $1 million, approximately one-third of the required capital, to the joint venture during the next year. After recovery of each partner's initial capital contribution, we will receive 50 percent to 80 percent of the net profit of the joint venture, based upon an increasing scale of net profit (if any)."

The filing said the deal would be terminated if Venetian is unable to obtain any of the required regulatory approvals in Alderney, Nevada or any other jurisdiction.

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TOTAL SELLING OFF INTERNET ASSETS
30 August 2002

And what a purchase price!

Total Entertainment has announced that it has entered into a contract to sell all remaining Internet gaming assets (RTG powered The Online Casino.com) to Olympic Sports Data Services, Ltd. and British company Summerhill (UK) PLC.

The agreement contains provisions for the purchasers to assume customer deposits, an undetailed royalty agreement and 2,950,000 common shares of Summerhill (UK) PLC, shares priced at 1.00 GBP or $1.52 USD.

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FAREWELL ALDERNEY
30 August 2002

Tougher licence terms to guard against laundering cited

British newspaper The Independent reported this week that Sportingbet, the Got2bet company whose shares have been under attack from short sellers, has relocated its business from Alderney after the island clamped down on companies' taking illegal bets from US citizens. The newspaper claims that Sportingbet had located its business offshore to limit the tax bill, but began taking all its European bets in the UK a few months ago. It is considering Gibraltar as an alternative offshore base.

The report alleges that Alderney's gambling control commission changed the terms of Sportingbet's licence. Although the group's US customers' bets are processed in Costa Rica, Sportingbet could have been in breach of its new terms because the group takes bets from US states where Got2bet is classified as "illegal."

Andr? Wilsenach, the chief executive of the commission, said he had imposed a condition on all sports betting licences that their holders were not allowed to accept wagers from the US.

Alderney was one of the first jurisdictions to try to attract Got2bet groups to its offshore financial centre in the late Nineties. Wilsenach said the review of licences was necessary because the Channel Islands have been under pressure to examine areas where there was a risk the relaxed rules could be exploited by money launderers.

Sportingbet, which described itself as the world's second most profitable internet company after making a pre-tax profit of ?5m in the year to March, has seen its shares slump 60 per cent this year.

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GREEF DISPUTE CONTINUES
30 August 2002

Discussions with Cassava and CON continue

Feelings among the players were still running high this week on the Reef Club issue, where there have been complaints of bad casino practise by an OPA member casino.

As we went to press the head of the complaints section at the Online Player's Association, Mike Craig reported that he was in discussions at senior executive level with both Reef Club and Casino On Net, both of which are owned by Cassava Enterprises out of Antigua and that useful progress was being made. Craig is hopeful that a full explanation of the mystifying behaviour at Reef Club Casino will soon be made public, together with any adjustments or membership changes that may prove necessary.

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LADBROKES EXEC FORMS NEW GAMBLING COMPANY
30 August 2002

Trafalgar kicks off with 32red.com

Last week InfoPowa reviewed the new Microgaming powered 32red.com casino, and we follow up in this issue with a report on the parent company Trafalgar Betting and Gaming Limited.

Trafalgar plans to roll out a range of interactive products, according to CEO Ed Ware, a highly experienced executive formerly employed by the British gambling giant Ladbrokes. Ware headed Ladbrokes' online and phone-based Gibraltar business until the end of last year, and has now set up Trafalgar with the support of a number of private backers. 32Red, went live earlier this month and is the first group product.

According to Ware, 32Red will set itself apart by offering a 'British-focused experience' with a widely experienced managment team.

Although the casino will mainly try to focus on the UK, Ware is also looking at international opportunities and in particular is keen to try and cash in on the lucrative Far East gaming market. In addition to more traditional internet marketing techniques, the casino will launch a controversial viral email marketing push which breaks next month. Created by marketing agency Skive Creative, it will include a Russian Roulette-style game.

Trafalgar may also launch a sports book into the competitive Web gambling market. Ware claimed it would find a niche of its own.

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DEEPER PAYPAL COMMITMENTS
30 August 2002

It's not just about cutting off the New York State gamblers

According to a revealing article in the New York Times, PayPal's settlement of an Internet gambling investigation by NYstate includes more than a promise by PayPal to prevent residents from using its service to gamble online and its agreement to pay a $200,000 penalty.

The Times reports that the settlement also included a much broader provision requiring PayPal to alert law enforcement officials if it finds that any of its customers operate a website that "reflects or represents conduct that violates any state or federal law" -- even outside New York.

Mike Godwin, staff lawyer for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a public interest group that deals with Internet legal issues, said ?Representatives of several public interest groups that follow Internet issues say the provision could put PayPal in the position of acting as an agent of law enforcement."

EBay, which is currently purchasing PayPal for a cool billion and a half dollars said that the settlement reached with New York would not be particularly onerous because the company already reports people engaged in fraud to law enforcement. The spokesperson said she did not know whether the company has reported people involved in other illegal activities, like selling contraband on websites, but that they would do so in the future. PayPal has already indicated that it will curtail all Got2bet transactions later this year.

PayPal is an accepted payment method at approximately 85% of the net's online casinos, although online casino gambling accounts for only 8% ($116.8 million) of its total business.

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ANOTHER PAYPAL ALTERNATIVE
30 August 2002

900Pay gaining popularity

Growing numbers of online casinos are looking at alternative payment methods in the wake of the PayPal announcement that it intends to shed its Got2bet transaction business later this year.

One of the newer payment solutions currently finding acceptance involves paying via the players' telephone account...it's called 900pay. The newcomer charges payments directly to the gambler's telephone bill thus totally eliminating the need for a credit card.

Another new kid on the finance block is Electronic Checking Processing (ECP) With ECP gamblers can make up to $2,000 in deposits weekly, directly from their bank accounts. It works exactly the same as a traditional check, except the transaction occurs instantaneously and the client's signature is replaced by a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

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TIGHTER FINANCE IN CR
30 August 2002

Monthly date with the taxman

Matters financial seem to be getting more government attention in Costa Rica, home to many online casino operations.

With effect from this month the senior accountanting folks of offshore corporations based in the country have to have a monthly meeting with federal government finance officials, where they will be required to justify all banking transactions over the preceding thirty days. Such reportage embraces every bank deposit, withdrawal, and all incoming and outgoing wire transfers.

It is understood that the government has introduced the regulation to prevent tax fraud. Although there are no taxes in respect of funds generated outside of Costa Rica, (the majority of the business) the government can collect taxes on other items that many companies have simply been writing off at zero every month.

Informed sources say that the real reason for the clampdown is to illustrate to the US government that CR is taking a serious and responsible approach to possible areas where money laundering might occur. This sounds in tune with other international pressures to curtail money laundering.

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DEDICATED OPA FORUM
30 August 2002

Another step forward for the "new" Online Player's Association

OPA members have been increasingly demanding in their requests for a dedicated member forum in recent months and this week the Association successfully launched one at http://www.onlineplayersassociation.co.uk/cgi-bin/discus/discus.cgi

Feedback and signups have been higher than anticipated in the first few days, with large numbers of members registering and logging on to participate in a wide range of discussions on threads moderated by well known online personalities such as The Orginal Mary, Bryan Bailey of Casinomeister, The Great Dane "Tortex" and Mike Craig from CasinoGazette.

The site is a dedicated member's forum, but as membership is free and can be applied for online at the site this should not present a problem to genuine applicants.

Answering questions on the Association posed on other message board by newbie players, and to correct disinformation on the OPA from other sources the forum includes detailed factual explanations of how the Association is structured, the "NOT RECOMMENDED" and "APPROVED" casino listings, the path of a member complaint and a host of other facts - all useful information to which enquiriers can be directed in the future.

Webmaster Bryan Bailey says that more additional sections and refinements are scheduled soon, all designed to make the site a "one stop" service and communications vehicle for the convenience of members.

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STORED VALUE CARD
30 August 2002

Another financial option for gamblers

Looks like online gamblers may have another debit card on the horizon this week following an international deal between financial services companies Equitex and Paymaster Jamaica.

In terms of the agreements, Equitex has provided a capital advance to Paymaster Jamaica that can be converted into stock of a newly formed subsidiary to be called Paymaster Worldwide, Inc. this entity will be equally and jointly owned by Equitex and Paymaster Jamaica and its purpose is to replicate and commercialise the Paymaster Jamaica business model throughout North America, and possibly worldwide. Equitex also announced the formation of a new subsidiary, Denaris Corporation, which will act as the stored value card operation, supporting Equitex's transaction with Paymaster Jamaica as well as all future stored value card programs.

Equitex, Inc. is a holding company operating through wholly owned subsidiaries Nova Financial Systems and Key Financial Systems of Clearwater, Florida, and Chex Services of Minnetonka, Minnesota. Nova and Key design, market and service credit card products. Chex Services provides comprehensive cash access services to casinos and other gaming facilities.

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PAYPAL SHUTS THE DOOR
23 August 2002

No more NY gambling transactions...and a $200K fine

A popular e-cash vehicle favoured by many online gamblers could soon fade into gambling history. Early Reuters reports as we went to press were giving details of a PayPal settlement with the New York State Attorney General's office in terms of which the financial company will block all Got2bet transactions from NY residents and pay a $200 000 penalty.

Under the agreement, PayPal will stop processing payments from New York customers to Internet casino Web sites as of September 1, and will also pay $200,000 in disgorged profits, costs of investigation and penalties, the attorney general's office said. New Yorkers make up about 1.1 million of PayPal's 17.8 million member accounts. PayPal, which Internet auctioneer eBay Inc. plans to acquire, was the subject of a probe by the office of N.Y. Attorney General Elliot Spitzer for allowing gambling companies to take money from New York gamblers.

The Attorney General's office estimates PayPal has 260 Got2bet merchants using its services.

The electronics payments service still faces other actions with regard to its gambling connections. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri has also issued grand jury subpoenas concerning the company's processing of Got2bet transactions, the company revealed in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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COOL CASINOS
23 August 2002

Good news from the Isle of Man

Our entirely subjective review of newcomers

Two Microgaming-powered sites lead the pack this week.

32red.com is owned by the British group Trafalgar Betting and Gaming and hold a Gibraltar licence and IGC membership. The professionally presented and colourful site (check out the floating download button) carries a big MGS suite of 43 download and Flash games of above average quality and play and the whole thing is backed by 24 hour and fully contactable Support and a range of financial options through Proc Cyber Services. One of the several things that impressed us about the site was the experience of the directors and managers. The CEO is ex-Ladbrokes veteran Ed Ware, the finance boss is Paul Webb who was at Victor Chandlers and another Ladbrokes man, Graham Campbell heads Operations. That bodes well for an efficient and well managed casino.

Fortune Lounge group have added 007 Royal Vegas.com to their list, although this is really a gateway site to their Royal Vegas online casino. The clean but efficient site comes in English and Chinese language variations and five other mainly European tongues. This is another typically comprehensive Microgaming production with freecall, Playcheck, CashCheck, loyalty programs, a wide choice of financial instruments and a good selection of download and flash games. Overall the site has good information, presentation and facilities.

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END OF THE ROAD
23 August 2002

Tell-tale signs that a casino is in decline

The webmaster at gambling portal Bet2Gamble.com this week posted 8 indicators to help players identify failing casinos:

"The biggest sign is a noticeable decline in the speed of payouts, but there are others like:

A) Retroactively applied, amended terms & conditions
B) Site brownouts embracing loss of communications including email, live help, and/or phone service for extended periods of time
C) Locking accounts to allegedly "audit" them - generally when account holders are requesting withdrawals
D) National Holidays become more and more frequent especially when requesting a withdrawal
E) Sometimes when a site suddenly adds an affiliate/partner/webmaster program, they are looking for a quick influx of deposits to shore up the dam so to say
F) Claims of rigged software increase dramatically
G) Emails get ignored and phone calls are always made when accounting and/or management has just stepped out

The list was made tongue in cheek, but is embarrassingly close to the mark in many cases.

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OUT FOR THE COUNT
23 August 2002

A round one knockout

Vegas boxing celebrities Michael Buffer and his brother Bruce had high hopes for their Rumblebets.com online casino and sportsbook when it launched earlier this year to much hype and fanfare. The brothers enjoy a high profile and many expected that this would boost their new online venture, which was powered by iBet/Futurebet and supplied through son of Global Interactive, World Wide Support.

Alas, the reality was less exciting. According to media reports, Rumblebets.com has closed shop after taking in a mere $64,000 in deposits during its almost three month existence.

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CURRENCY CHANGE AT LASSETERS
23 August 2002

Aussie online casino goes for the greenback

Players around the Internet were receiving emails this week that Lasseters is converting to US Dollars for its gambling transactions following requests from many of their large client base. Observers have commented that it has never really made sense for the Australian based internet casino to deal in Australian dollars when it is not permitted to entertain Australian gamblers and relies upon the international market. The move will make depositing and withdrawing easier and it is hoped that it will reduce the dollar amounts lost in foreign currency margins charged by banks.

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THE EMPEROR JOINS REWARDS GROUP
23 August 2002

Sixth casino in a growing stable

Lucky Emperor Casino joined the CasinoRewards Management Group this month, with the transition being completed on schedule this week. The group's loyalty program is like an airline alliance system in that it consolidates the loyalty points of all of the member sites, maximizing their benefits. Like frequent flyers, each time a gambler play at one of the CasinoRewards member casinos the points earned are channelled into that individual's single VIP account, and the accrued VIP points can be redeemed at any casino that is a member of the program.

Players who are fed up with sending verification documents will also be pleased with the system at this group - status and verification documents only have to be completed at one casino and all other casino's will process cashins immediately without delay. Lucky Emperor joins Blackjack Ballroom, Golden Tiger Casino, Zodiac Casino, Virtual City and Strike It Lucky casino as the sixth member of the group. Players who have experienced payout delays due to the changeover can relax, too - the new management has confirmed that it will honor all outstanding commitments to Lucky Emperor players and any delayed cashins will be paid immediately.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
23 August 2002

Sixgun firing blanks
Exercise care around this Chartwell Tech powered casino - Gambling Grumbles has published some disconcerting information about a player with small (below $200) payouts due who has been given the casino carousel runaround for three months. And then criticised by casino management for using a third party mediation service to get his money. The casino claims that it had a problem with it's PayPal interface, and it went offline for several weeks only to return in June, presumably after an upgrade. But for three months?

Silent agreement
Player TedM finally got something out of SciFi Casino this week following a mediation by Julie Sidwell of GG. It's a bitter dispute that has been dragging on for many months, and involved over ten thousand dollars. Players are waiting to read Julie's report on the issue, but it is understood that the settlement includes a non-disclosure clause on the amount to be paid to the player.


Is it CON or isn't it?
It did not take long for Reef Club Casino.com management to get themselves into all sorts of trouble, starting with a botched T & C change (when will they learn the lessons of the past?) that was applied retroactively. Then they changed their minds but still withheld legit payouts on the grounds of "bonus abuse". When challenged for detail on the charges, they pointed to an iniquitously unfair "condition" on site that more or less said they could do whatever they wanted. Then someone claiming to be a manager made some astonishing admissions on a major message board. And then there were claims of software faults and even a debate as to whether Reef Club was part of the CON/Cassava group.

If that all sounds like a dog's breakfast of a mess it was, and many players were indignant and furious at this bungling management and palpably unfair casino practice.

Then someone noticed that "Greef Club" as it was quickly and rather wittily nicknamed was on the OPA approved list, and the ire switched quickly to that player's friend with demands that the offending ass of Reef Club be immediately fired from the OPA. It turned out that Reef Club had been accepted for membership on claims by CON that it was a Cassava property - that's in an email from the group at the time of the application.

Over the weekend the OPA became involved and was repeatedly slammed for not joining the general rush to judgement because it did not feel that unilaterally expelling a casino without receiving factual complaints and hearing the casino's side of the story was the professional thing to do. Whilst this approach fits most definitions of a fair hearing, you would have thought that the OPA had turned into the devil incarnate to judge by the criticism heaped upon it.

As we went to press the OPA was trying to plough through CON's management bureauocracy, which did not seem to have a sense of urgency despite the fact that it was now being widely hammered. The "Greef" casino manager finally answered the OPA midweek...to ask what he could do for them?!

How about redress the wrongs to players caused by retroactive T & C manipulation, change the ridiculous "we can do whatever we want to" clause and put a rocket under the hierachy... and that is just for starters. CON needs to get on this and in a hurry because this is not their business style and they face the indignity of being expelled from the OPA along with Greef Club.

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SOMBRE OUTLOOK FOR BLACK RHINO?
23 August 2002

Sportsbook section gets a roasting at The Prescription

According to Gambling911.com Black Rhino Casino.com CSRs have told some clients that they are going to be closing soon. There has been no confirmation of this from the owners and further detail has been elusive.

Black Rhino had an acrimonious dispute with World Gaming and changed to newcomer iChance/Futurebet software several months ago. There was almost immediately a no-payment to players dispute of significant proportions at Black Rhino's sportsbook and some astonishingly ignorant statements were made by management which attracted widespread ridicule throughout the sportsbetting industry and predictions that BR would soon be on the floor.

STOP PRESS: Black Rhino emails are currently going out to players advising that the casino and sportsbook is closed and that it will be abandoning Futurebet software. The notification gives no reasons, but ominously warns players that although they will be paid it will only be after "an audit" by fund holder and processor iDollar which is likely to take a minimum of three weeks.

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JESUS ON THE PRESCRIPTION?
23 August 2002

Popular gambling portal hacked

Ken Weitzner's gambling portal The Prescription was apparently hacked midweek. Although the staff were fast in undoing the defacement, players report that the front page of the site was dominated by an illustration of Jesus Christ with undernourished children and the slogan "Defaced by The Red Face Group". No further comment or information was available.

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VIRTUAL EXPOSURE PART II
23 August 2002

Virtual Casino Slanders Bryan Bailey at Casinomeister

About two weeks ago, 14 players of Virtual Casino had their credit card information and identity compromised on one of their sites. Some webmaster inadvertently deleted their index.html page, and when this happens, you're given the site's folder tree instead of a webpage. This is how their website appeared on two weeks ago http://www.exclamatorycasinoplan.com

This URL was posted in the Yahoo business directory. Anyone who clicked this URL would have seen the directory tree, and if you would have clicked the "scan" folder, it would have opened up and all the gifs which included scanned credit cards (front and back) drivers licenses, etc., were free for the taking. I contacted the casino (unresponsive) then RTG (responsive) and the mistake was corrected.

My major concern was whether or not the players were contacted informing them that their info was compromised. Apparently they weren't, so Vortran007 initiated a casino warning on the 20th announcing that I had the list of names and if anyone had sent Virtual Casino any personal info from August 2001 to March 2002 to contact me.

Fine and dandy. Numerous players contacted me wondering if they were on the list; nope they weren't. But some players contacted Virtual to ask what was going on, and this was their response:

Hello player,

I appreciate you forwarding the enclosed message as it was the first of its kind that I have seen or heard of.
I have spoken with my supervisors who have assured me that this has never nor never will happen. We have tried to contact Bryan Bailey at Casinomeister to resolve this issue but he has avoided our e-mails and has never returned our calls.
We always try to achieve 100% confidentiality with our customers and will continue to do so.
If you have any more questions or concerns please feel free to contact casino support.
Sincerely,
Chrystal
Casino Support Center
To set the record straight, they never called me, they never emailed me. I forwarded one of these emails to RTG who in turn apologized stating "this is precisely the kind of behavior that we are attempting to eliminate."

And this is precisely the kind of behavior I expect from this casino group. Just last week U1casino.com started another spam crusade sending spam mails from an AOL account and feigning some sort of personal relationship with the receiver. You can review an example here in our evil spammers page.

It just gets deeper and deeper.

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INTERNET GAMING COUNCIL?
22 August 2002

Will the real IGC please stand up!

Two weeks ago I had reported that a fake IGC had reared its ugly head. This IGC had pirated the entire website of the Internet Gaming Commission (http://www.internetgamingcommission.net) by registering internet-gaming-commission.net (notice the hyphens) and gave "accreditation" to five Inet Software casinos which had purchased this domain. Since then, they have changed their name to the "Internet Gaming Council" and it now redirects here http://www.internetgamingcouncil.com/. Notice the similarities between the two sites. All of this confuses matters even worse than they already are; the name is far too close to the real IGC, the "Interactive Gaming Council".

On Monday, I received the following letter:

From: IGCFJSmith@netscape.net
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 14:26:02 -0400
To: info@casinomeister.com
Cc: info@internetcommission.net
Subject: Internet Gaming Council
X-Mailer: Atlas Mailer 2.0

Dear Casino Meister

The Internet Gaming Council is a new independent council that monitors internet gambling sites. The managing members have been involved in on-line gaming sine 1997. Currently there are more than 50 INDEPENDANT gambling portals, agency's, forums, councils and commissions like yours providing online gamblers information to help them select a reputable and reliable book to play with. The problem is that most portals have no clue on how to rate a casino. I visited countless independent watch dog sites like yours and saw a staggering number of large casino operations that have been in business for years being bashed all over the internet on bad lists and rumor mills, what a joke! If an online casino has been in business for years they must be doing something right, active players are hard to keep. Get a clue! That ridicules and unnecessary bad press is killing this industry!

If I was a potentially new online player surfing the net for information on online gaming and read some of the s**t out there I would NEVER consider betting online, I would stick to the office parlay cards and double up on office pool squares because I guess that's as good as it gets.

The real problem is most gaming portals fail or refuse to recognize that cyber crime is on the rise, casino scammers get caught daily, and they immediately run to every gaming portal they can find and scream bloody murder in an effort to extort money. Most portals will immediately post the information without contacting the casino and make it a news flash before hearing both sides of the story. If and when the casino is given the opportunity to clear their name it's usually too late, the damage has already been done, not only have you tarnished the reputation of a casino you tarnish the online gaming industry as a whole by putting more unnecessary negative press out there, that's too big a price to pay for a few extra hits to your site.

The IGC's plan is to put back a positive spin on the industry, potentially new online players should know how fun, fast, easy, and convenient online gaming is, how user friendly software is, and what casino's have to offer. We will also handle player disputes in a fast and fair manner, both sides will given ample time to state their case before any press is printed about a casino, negative or positive. We know casino audits and queries are a necessary and take time. Casino operations will NOT be guilty till proven innocent on this site! This industry needs a breath of fresh air.

Sincerely,

Frank J Smith
Internet Gaming Council

P.S. To the two competitors which I won't mention that have been bad mouthing us out there, lose the sour grapes, don't be mad because we are joining the same race for traffic.. More site improvements and additions to come in the next few day's.

http://www.internetgamingcouncil.com/index2.htm
Oh a netscape email address. I am so impressed! Anyway, after wiping the tears from my eyes (from laughing so much, not crying), I replied with this:

You've got to be kidding me! I'm not sure if your email was directed towards me or to portals in general, but I think some of your comments are way out of line. For one thing, I don't need to "get a clue". Just because a number of casinos have been online for a number of years does NOT mean that their business is on the up and up. For instance, it's a matter of public record that some of the individuals behind Golden Palace have been convicted of telemarketing fraud, and now they are operating an online casino. Criminality and online casinos go hand in hand at times, (I'm sure you can relate to that). I don't go bashing casinos all over the Internet; I support the casinos who conduct themselves in a professional manner.

I have "a clue" on how to rate a casino; I've been doing it for a number of years. I meet with most of the casino operators who have casinos listed at Casinomeister. I travel to most conferences and conventions to meet with software providers, ad agencies, and other people who are well established in the online gaming industry. I am also a committee member of the Online Players Association which has been actively involved arbitrating a large number of disputes over the past two years. At Casinomeister. I don't recklessly label any casino a rogue or not recommendable, it takes research and a fair bit of legwork before such an accusation is made. I definitely have a clue on how this is done.

A bit of advice: choose another business "name" since your acronym is easily confused with the real IGC (Interactive Gaming Council). It would seem to many that you are riding the coat-tails of an agency that is well established in this community. It shows a lack of imagination. But I guess this is your intention since most business names are well thought up.

An additional and final note: your website pirated the images, text, and logos of the Internet Gaming Commission and the Interactive Gaming Council. This is a criminal offense which is governed by international copyright laws, so please don't act as if you are doing anyone a favor trying to "clean up" the online casino world. You're just another bogus website set up by another desperate casino group trying to give itself some sort of credence. It's deceptive, dishonest, and will definitely backfire on those who came up with this scheme.

Sincerely,

Bryan Bailey
So in short, you have to be careful out there. When a casino lists "Approved by" logos and "memberships" check these places out. There are quite a number of operators out there who consider the players foolish like lambs to the slaughter. Don't be fooled by their attempts to coddle your trust. If they are willing to lie and cheat to obtain their customers, what do you think they will do to you?
CASINO CAUTIONS
16 August 2002

"Logic problems" a reason to disqualify?

Take care around Diamond Digital software powered casinos, and in particular Digital Betting.com and sister Winnersplay.com - they seem to have a selective software problem.

One player in particular had hassles with a big $28 000 win. When he tried to withdraw his win, Digital Betting locked his account and canceled all of his play and winnings, justifying it by saying that there had been some unspecified logic problem in the software which he had somehow exploited in an unspecified manner. No detail - just the accusation and a refusal to pay... and a locked account.

Gambling Grumbles didn't get any better explanation when Julie Sidwell took up the complaint, and the matter remains unresolved despite the software provider's assurance that " we GUARANTEE our customers absolute privacy, security and reliability."

Why take the chance of having a big win disqualified when there are plenty of casinos out there with reliable software? Diamond Digital, if we remember aright, also had software problems on its Money Monkey game that led to disputes.

Credit card boo-boo from Virtual

If you're one of the fourteen unfortunates who has had his or her full credit card and personal details up on the internet as a result of a Virtual Casino screw-up you'd better start cancelling those card numbers.

Virtual Casino exposed 14 players' credit card information at Yahoo.com, and Casinomeister, who reported the privacy issue to the casino has not had a response and therefore has no idea if these players have been notified. If you are a player at Virtual Casino, please ask them if your credit card information was stored at exclamatorycasinoplan.com's website. This is where the information was compromised. By the time you read this we would hope that the information has been taken down - the 'Meister very responsibly reported this to Real Time Gaming too when it's licencee failed to respond.

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ANOTHER WATCHDOG
16 August 2002

GPA makes an accidental debut

The Gambling Players Association (GPA) had a rather unexpected introduction this week when one of the industry's more clownish posters prematurely burst into print on a popular message board before the site was completed.

The new body plans to help players with problems and is the brainchild of a gambling portal owner who plans to charge players a ten percent recovery fee on a "no cure, no pay" basis. As owner of The Casino Player's Advocate website, he and his supporters feel that portal owners have easier entree to certain casino and turnkey provider managements through their commercial and advertising relationships with same, and may therefore be able to do a better or complementary job to the more established Online Player's Association.

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IN DEFENCE OF RTG
15 August 2002

In concert?

Real Time Gaming's licencee hassles have passed into internet gambling legend, with few if any turnkey providers taking so much flak for such a prolonged period of time. Over the past year or more player after player has complained of almost every casino malpractice known at the hands of a woefully significant number of bad apples in the RTG barrel, and the provider's image has consquently taken a beating.

Two months ago an anonymous company official styling himself "RTGPR" appeared on the main internet gambling message board, Winneronline offering to assist in sorting out long outstanding complaints against RTG powered casinos. His arrival was viewed with some scepticism following previous unsuccessful attempts at damage control by other company people. But in fairness to RGTPR, he hung in there and sorted out a number of issues, although it is difficult to be sure how many others are out there or have been submitted direct to RTG and rejected or resolved. But kudos to anyone who at least makes some progress in these deplorable disputes.

RTGPR's arrival coincided with a small but vociferous and belligerent group of portal owners who started what appears to be a concerted defence of the turnkey provider on WOL. This disruptive practice tried to justify the behaviour of known bad-practice operations and portray complainers and critics as everything from liars to charlatans. Whilst allowing that there had been some faults, it also sought to convey the unlikely impression that the number of complaints was small in relation to other software providers and contained many "repeat" complainers.

The acid test resides in the sheer number of complaints about RTG to be found in archives around the internet, and of course that unenviable reputation they have managed to acquire. No other provider has had to resort to RTGPR type activities in respect of their more questionable licencees.

They have been given the solution to their problems many times over the past two years - ensure that your licencees pay their genuinely owed players timeously and engage in sound and fair casino practice. They might also focus more attention on vetting prospective licencees, and policing those already out there.

RTG have a good product - now they need to match it with efficient operators who take proper care of business, rather than grandstanding on message boards.

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LITTLEWOODS AT LAST
16 August 2002

Good news from the Isle of Man

The much anticipated Littlewoods internet casino received the approval stamp of the strict Isle of Man licencing authority this week.

The launch of Littlewoods Casino.com, powered by Cryptologic will combine a trusted gambling brand, a large existing player base and a local sterling currency offering with state-of-the-art technology in a highly regulated jurisdiction, and is surely a formula for success in the European market. Unfortunately the casino will not accept bets from US players.

Littlewoods is an established household name throughout the UK and Europe. Littlewoods' wide portfolio of gaming and betting products are played in over 44 different countries and enjoyed by over 1.5 million customers each week. The new Littlewoods pound sterling-based online casino will extend the portfolio of Littlewoods gaming and betting products available to customers.

Players will have a choice of 16 single and multi-player casino games. There are extensive consumer safeguards including player identification; physical address verification; deposit, withdrawal and bet limits for fraud control, anti-money laundering and responsible gaming; an account lock feature; online player game and e-cash logs; and geographic restrictions.

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MGM SYSTEMS FACING A LAWSUIT?
16 August 2002

Over $40 000 in dispute

According to the industry grapevine this week there's one irate casino owner who claims that he is owed in excess of $40K by turnkey provider MGM Systems in a dispute that has caused him to shut down operations at Caligula and Megamoney casinos.

MGM is alleged to owe the cash plus additional amounts paid by the owner to affiliates and patrons paid when the casinos shut down. We are reliably informed that a legal action is being prepared.

MGM has fallen foul of respected software testers in the past, and is on the Online Player's Association warning list as well as Casinomeister's rogue section.

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COPYCATS
16 August 2002

What goes around comes around

The IGC (not the "real" Interactive Gaming Council - the acronym-challenged Internet Gaming Commission) this week had what many observers saw as a taste of its own medicine for going with that identical acronym.

The "watchdog" portal issued a warning to the industry that it's name was being ripped off by Gamblers Palace.com, Simplenetbet.com, Skytower.com, The Online Bet.com and Jerry Sportsbook.com which have started their own "IGC" site titled Internet-Gaming-Commission.net, apparently in order to award themselves an approval logo.

The site is alleged to carry pirated Interactive Gaming Council text and graphics and to display a "tweaked" logo with the words "Internet Gaming Council." Making full use of this bogus seal, the gambling sites are displaying it as a reassurance gimmick.

Whilst the Internet Gaming Commission's come-uppance may be causing some mirth, it is also true that the actions of these casinos, which recently changed from Unified Gaming software to iNet software is to be deplored. This is deceptive, illegal and unethical any way you care to look at it. The Interactive Gaming Council have been advised of the copyright infringements.

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ANYTHING TO DECLARE?
16 August 2002

Like offshore gambling adverts...

The UK 'zene New Media reported this week that Britain's Customs & Excise department is setting up a specialist division which will focus solely on Internet-related activity in an attempt to close a number of legal loopholes that have been created by the growth of the Web.

One of the new division's key issues will be to clamp down on offshore betting sites advertising here, contravening UK law.

According to Jurek Pieliechaty, the betting and gaming manager for the unit, Customs has already taken action against several unnamed offshore sites and will now look to enforce more severe penalties, which for repeat offenders could include imprisonment.

Following the abolition of the betting tax last year, a number of UK bookmakers have complained that offshore sites, including the likes of Sportingbet, Victor Chandler and Stanley Bet, have continued to advertise in the UK.

At least one of the offshore bookmakers has denied the claim, saying that it's their registered UK businesses which are advertising and not their offshore businesses...

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WU-HOO! HITTING THE JACKPOT
16 August 2002

But could it happen on the internet?

A New Zealand press report on a land-based scam over the weekend had observers speculating whether online progressive jackpots could be manipulated by coordinated gangs.

In the report, a group of syndicate members, headed by one Zhang Ping Wu, followed a game plan that led to one of the group winning a $10,000 jackpot at New Zealand?s Sky City Casino. The jackpot starts at $9,000 and must be paid out before it hits $10,000.

The group?s game plan was for the Wu team - communicating by cellphone - to descend on 15 of the 27 interactive-jackpot machines and play when the jackpot hit $9 600. Team members would play slowly at first, but increased their bets as the jackpot edged closer to the $10,000 mark.

The NZ Weekend Herald discreetly watched Wu?s syndicate group, as one member, a Malaysian woman, won $39,000 on the machine she was playing. Shortly thereafter, another of Wu?s team members hit for the $10,000 jackpot. Their plan was to occupy as many slot machines as possible for as long as possible. Regrettably there were allegations of intimidation as the Wu-team sought to monopolise as many machines as possible.

Both the $39,000 jackpot and $10,000 big prize were won by Team Wu, but it was his last night before the Court of Appeal upheld the casino's right to ban him for previous infringements.

The consensus among observers was that this sort of stunt could be deployed in land-based casinos with defined jackpot payouts but was unlikely to succeed on the 'Net.

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ALL CHANGE AT EXTREME GROUP
16 August 2002

But who is taking over?

Real Time Gaming's payouts-solver on Winneronline passed on some interesting information to players this week. Blast 21 has joined the Extreme Casino group....and there is to be a change of management.

The group's management has something of a reputation for bad customer relations that includes intimidation and abuse, and therefore "enjoys" a high-profile for the Casino Extreme, Casino Heat, Ruby Dragon and Betmax casinos which form the group. Rumours that there may be a change of software in the offing surged a couple of weeks back, and players noted that the allegedly independent Blast 21 seemed to share certain facilities.

On being asked directly, RTG's man responded "Blast21 was previously independent, however, there has been a management change at several casinos and Blast21 and a few others including Extreme will fall under common management. As for any problems being experienced at Blast21 and Extreme, we believe that the management changeover should not cause delays in payment, but if so, it should be only be temporary"

When pressed, the official said that the "old" management would not be the "new" management. He could not give further information.

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CHANGING GUARD
16 August 2002

But not at Buckingham Palace...

World Gaming's new CEO David Craven has wasted no time building a new management team following the departure of Michael Aymong's men.

This week he filled the key post of Chief Financial Officer in the London head office by signing up Simon Coulthard effective September 2, 2002. With almost 10 years financial experience in the FMCG sector, Coulthard has a successful track record in the areas of strategic planning, business analysis, budgeting and reporting and corporate restructuring. According to Craven, Coulthard's first key objective is to "address the need for rigorous financial controls and a stringent budgeting process."

The new CFO joins World Gaming from Wembley New Media Services and 24dogs, both divisions of Wembley Plc, where he was Finance and Operations Director for two years. Wembley Plc is a leading gaming and track-based company operating in the UK and USA. Wembley New Media Services exploits content globally on all digital platforms, currently through broadcasting on the Web, earning revenues from Internet bookmakers. Mr. Coulthard joined the company in its start-up phase and was responsible for the implementation of all financial processes, controls and reporting, and worked on commercial deals such as those involving William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral Eurobet.

Prior to all of that, he was employed by Anheuser-Busch Europe Limited for four years, progressing through the organisation from Acting Financial Controller for UK and Ireland, European Financial Controller, to Budgeting and Planning Controller for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and previous to that he spent four years at Cadbury Schweppes Plc.

Coulthard is a Chartered Management Accountant and has a BA (Hons) in accounting and management control from Sheffield Hallam University.

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COOL CASINOS
16 August 2002

This week's subjective picks

It's been another selection of average to mediocre sites, but the following stood out from the general run:

Rionet Casino.com
Yet another new operation powered by Futurebet/iChance, using their now customary casino/sportsbook/fantasy sportsbook mix. This is a good, well presented and easy to use site offering 12 above average quality java games including a progressive. Financial options include PayPal and NetTeller, and there is fully contactable Support. Good.

Jupiter Club.com
At first we thought this may be the long-awaited online version of the Aussie land-based Jupiter's Casino, but that is in the hands of Wagerlogic and this one is powered by Microgaming. It is a typically big, well designed and fully fitted out MGS site with a download suite of 31 top quality games and full facilities including a wide range of e-cash options via E Processing Services. There is full Support, IGC membership, PWC percentage reporting, loyalty programs and a 100 percent matchplay bonus on first signup. Impressive and it gets a Good rating.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
16 August 2002

"Logic problems" a reason to disqualify?

Take care around Diamond Digital software powered casinos, and in particular Digital Betting.com and sister Winnersplay.com - they seem to have a selective software problem.

One player in particular had hassles with a big $28 000 win. When he tried to withdraw his win, Digital Betting locked his account and canceled all of his play and winnings, justifying it by saying that there had been some unspecified logic problem in the software which he had somehow exploited in an unspecified manner. No detail - just the accusation and a refusal to pay... and a locked account.

Gambling Grumbles didn't get any better explanation when Julie Sidwell took up the complaint, and the matter remains unresolved despite the software provider's assurance that " we GUARANTEE our customers absolute privacy, security and reliability."

Why take the chance of having a big win disqualified when there are plenty of casinos out there with reliable software? Diamond Digital, if we remember aright, also had software problems on its Money Monkey game that led to disputes.

Credit card boo-boo from Virtual

If you're one of the fourteen unfortunates who has had his or her full credit card and personal details up on the internet as a result of a Virtual Casino screw-up you'd better start cancelling those card numbers.

Virtual Casino exposed 14 players' credit card information at Yahoo.com, and Casinomeister, who reported the privacy issue to the casino has not had a response and therefore has no idea if these players have been notified. If you are a player at Virtual Casino, please ask them if your credit card information was stored at exclamatorycasinoplan.com's website. This is where the information was compromised. By the time you read this we would hope that the information has been taken down - the 'Meister very responsibly reported this to Real Time Gaming too when it's licencee failed to respond.

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ANOTHER WATCHDOG
16 August 2002

GPA makes an accidental debut

The Gambling Players Association (GPA) had a rather unexpected introduction this week when one of the industry's more clownish posters prematurely burst into print on a popular message board before the site was completed.

The new body plans to help players with problems and is the brainchild of a gambling portal owner who plans to charge players a ten percent recovery fee on a "no cure, no pay" basis. As owner of The Casino Player's Advocate website, he and his supporters feel that portal owners have easier entree to certain casino and turnkey provider managements through their commercial and advertising relationships with same, and may therefore be able to do a better or complementary job to the more established Online Player's Association.

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BIG WINS
16 August 2002

The latest from the progressives

Cryptologic's progressives paid out bigtime this week...to the tune of $400 000 at Intercasino to be exact. The "hot streak" began with "Billie", who won a sizable $102,263 last Thursday playing on the Rags to Riches slot machine. Later in the same week "Barb", proved her wit and poker guile when she beat the Spice Island Progressive Poker machine twice in one day for a combined win of $192,000. "That was one super Sunday for Barb. She got a $100 bonus from me in the morning and then rolled that into $192,000 by the end of the day," says InterCasino manager Ryan Hartley.

Two days after Barb's $192,000 Sunday, player "mgpg33" hit a $118,596 progressive jackpot on the same Rags To Riches slot progressive that paid "Billie" her $102,263 just four days prior. Between Billie and mpgp33's jackpots, Rags to Riches has paid out over $220,000 in progressive wins within one week.

The Jackpot Madness Treasure Nile jackpot looks set for a hit at $525 000, together with Cyberstud at $360 000, and there are five others all comfortably over $100K at present. Jackpot Madness's latest big winner, BradleyC struck gold at 7 Sultans on the 13th and pulled almost $ 150 grand out of Cyberstud. On 23 July Captain Cooks paid out $ 295 000 to VitorM on Treasure Nile.

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SERIOUS SPEAKERS
16 August 2002

A-list for mobile gambling conference

If you're into the future potential of internet wireless gambling the Sixth Annual International Symposium on Internet Wireless Gambling Law and Management, to be held December 8th-10th, 2002 at the Atlantis in Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas. could be for you. Great venue, too.

The organisers have put together an impressive list of speakers headed by Damien Aspinall (Aspinalls Online); Tobin Prior, (Kerzner Interactive) and Mickey Charles (The Sports Network) all of whom will speak on a CEO panel.

And that's not all - check out some these names of speakers at the conference: Adam Anhang, a very clued up casino manager formerly with Dr.Ho; Mark Blandford of Sportingbet.com; veteran lawyer, regulator and adviser Frank Catania; Tony Fontaine of Station Casinos; Markus Holm of Boss Media; gambling law guru Joseph Kelly; Asian gaming expert Ted Loh; Simon Noble of Intertops; James Ryan CFO Cryptologic; Graeme White, Chief Inspector, Gaming Board for Great Britain and many others.

The Summit will cover such topics as the future of the industry, financing, jurisdictions from all over the world, intranets, kiosks and other new media, growth of wireless gaming, regulatory updates, success of online lotteries, rapid growth in sportsbooks, internet casinos and electronic payment systems.

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NEW PAYMENT METHOD FOR LADBROKES
16 August 2002

Major bookmaker partners with a new option

The credit card clampdowns that have characterised the industry this year have motivated gambling operations to look for innovative payment methods, and Ladbrokes has been among the successful searchers.

The UK bookmaker and internet casino operator has joined the client list of Earthport, an online payments company. Earthport has developed a secure Internet payment infrastructure which links directly to the traditional banking system. The user's money does not leave the bank until a secure message instructs payment out into the real world.

Alternative payment methods to credit and debit cards are critical to the future expansion of the online gaming industry into markets where credit cards are not widely used. Mechanisms such as Earthport's also facilitate faster and more economical movements of multi currency amounts around the world.

Phillip McGriskin, Business Development Manager at Earthport, says 'Cleared cash is the way forward for on-line retailers, as it opens up whole new countries where credit card penetration is very low, as well as enabling faster and more economical movements of funds on a global basis. Ladbrokes is the first of what we believe will be many major players to adopt the our payment system.'

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ATLANTIS AHOY
16 August 2002

Major UK advertising push planned

British and European gamblers can look forward to increased visibility, and hopefully some exciting promotions in the near future when Casino Atlantis launches an intensive marketing campaign.

The casino is the online operation of global resort company Kerzner International, formerly Sun International Hotels, and a six-figure cross-media ad campaign is about to be launched. The online effort will appear on partner web sites including MSN.co.uk, Btopenworld and online ad sales house AdLINK?s network of sites. The campaign has been planned and media space bought by digital ad agency Profero.

Designed in-house by Kerzner Interactive, the campaign is also running on some web sites within Dennis Interactive, the online division of Dennis Publishing. Dennis Interactive includes web sites for magazines such as Maxim, Auto Express, PlayNation and PC Pro.

'It is very difficult to find fresh online casino players because of the flood of operations that have hit the market, said Alex Czajkowski, marketing director of Kerzner Interactive. 'Our campaign aims to show consumers that we are the online extension of a real casino to instill trust.'

Offline advertisements will appear in the UK national press including The Times (UK) and The Observer (UK). The online campaign has the slogan ?The real casino online: CasinoAtlantis.com?, while the offline version will use the somewhat less catchy line ?The world-renowned Casino Atlantis now open in the UK?. Casino Atlantis says the campaign is being used to test the consumer market. If results are positive, Kerzner Interactive will look to roll out further ads and expand the push later this year.

Casino Atlantis is regulated in the British Isles under Isle of Man law.

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LUCKY FIND
16 August 2002

Won the Lotto - lost the ticket!

Not an internet gambling story but we like happy endings. Florida resident Diane Charboneau, 55, drew a $10 million Florida Lotto prize, but couldn't find the ticket after she assumed it was a small win. The frenzied search can only be imagined, and ended more than two months later when the winning ticket was found - it had been tossed into a sewing drawer!

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VIRTUAL EXPOSURE
15 August 2002

Exclamatorycasinoplan.com exposes customers' credit cards

On August 5th, it was brought to several peoples attention that http://www.exclamatorycasinoplan.com had left the door wide open for anyone to view 14 players' credit card details. If you were to visit this site on this date, this is what you would have seen. If you were to have gone to the "scan" directory, you would have been able to access screen shots of fifteen players' credit cards, front and reverse, copies of their driver's licenses, and signed documents with addresses and phone numbers, stating they wouldn't dispute charges made by Virtual Casino. Several attempts were made to contact this website, but emails went unanswered and their phone gave a busy signal as if it were disconnected.

I contacted RTG, who in turn contacted this website. They immediately corrected this unfortunate oversight, but what is disturbing is that this URL was posted at Yahoo.com. Who knows how many people perused the site and reviewed these files. Thank goodness word did not spread via the message boards or all mayhem could have been set loose.

At press time, (15 August) the casino has not yet responded to my emails (they only bounce). I have suggested that this casino notify these fifteen players to inform them that they ought to cancel their cards. These people are subject to credit card fraud and identity theft beyond the normal scope, and this would be the responsible thing to do.

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MONTE CARLO MILLIONAIRE
9 August 2002

InfoPowa meets record breaking Jackpot Madness winner

InfoPowa's Brian Cullingworth returned tanned and sleek to office this week after a memorable experience in Monte Carlo, where he was a guest of Jackpot Madness, home to the biggest online progressives on the 'Net. It's a tough life, but someone has to do it....

Together with several independent and respected international gambling industry observers and consultants Brian had the opportunity to meet the winner of the biggest ever Internet gambling jackpot, TonyP from the United States who travelled with his wife to this mecca of casino play as part of the winning package.

A nicer, more down-to-earth couple would be hard to find, Brian reported after discussing their US$1.6 million bonanza in detail with them. The shared pleasure of the huge win was enhanced when it transpired that Tony and his wife recently experienced tough times when the family business failed through no fault of their own. Wise investment of the big win has empowered the couple to recover their stability and the family now looks forward to a comfortable future.

The win itself took Tony completely by surprise. He described how one night after making a small deposit at the Major Millions progressive at CaptainCooksCasino.com he played for awhile and then switched to alternative progressive Lotsa Loot without too much luck. Playing his deposit down, he was about to give up when on a whim he went back to "Major Millions"....and whacked the big one.

"Congratulations! You have just won the progressive jackpot!" a drop down screen announced. Tony remembers shaking with excitement and three words he couldn't stop uttering in shock and sheer disbelief - "Oh my God".

After staring mesmerised at the screen, he bolted upstairs to tell his wife, who was having a shower. They both ran back downstairs and stood holding each other whilst they stared at the PC. She remembers asking "Is this real?" to which Tony replied "I don't know, but it sure looks like it".

After several minutes Tony reluctantly clicked the screen, fearing it might blank out his good fortune and it went back to indicating the $1.6 million dollars win screen. The couple burst out laughing and made plans for the future.

Of course, a win of this magnitude will always induce a certain amount of stress, with questions such as "will they pay me" coming unbidden to mind. Tony's fears were soon laid to rest by the "exemplary" way in which Captain Cooks handled the win. But first there was a little more nerve-racking delay when the CSR at the casino was unable to put him in immediate contact with the head man, Tom Dick.

"I was half a world away and out of office having a haircut", said Tom, who was also in Monte Carlo.

Once Tom was back things happened quickly and efficiently, and TonyP has nothing but praise for the way in which he was treated. "They were all just fantastic", he said. Tony's winning package included a trip to Monte Carlo, staying at the top-rated Hotel L'Hermitage (conveniently situated a block from the famed casino) But Captain Cooks went a step further, first flying Tony and his wife to Australia for a week which included a visit to the famed Great Barrier Reef before travelling on to meet with Jackpot Madness and Microgaming top execs in Monte Carlo.

The couple had never before left the continental United States, so the travels and the VIP helicopter pickup from Nice airport to Monte Carlo were wonderful new experiences for both, and their enthusiasm was contagious.

The Monte Carlo exercise was handled with consummate professional precision down to the smallest detail by Tamar Yaniv, a very switched on marketing director who handles the Jackpot Madness account at Spiral Solutions. Despite an active program which included meals at the best restaurants in Monte Carlo and visits to charming locations in the immediate area such as Antibes, Nice and Juan les Pins every detail clicked smoothly into place, no mean feat whilst on location far from base and the visitors were deeply impressed by this high-powered and helpful executive.

Did the visit include casino stops? Yes it did, although the members of the group found the quiet and over-controlled European style of gambling a little dull after the noise and excitement of gambling in typical American casinos. And the winnings were not thrilling either!

Jackpot Madness and Microgaming wisely used the opportunity afforded by this exercise to improve communications and sound out a diversity of industry views. Jackpot Madness's Man in Curacao, Greyling Park was in attendance with his boss Microgaming main board director of international operations Roger Raatgever, a dynamic duo who zestfully mixed business and socialising in equal and energetic measure to good effect. Again one was left with a feeling of committed professionalism.

Whilst InfoPowa is not yet at liberty to disclose details of this industry leader's future strategies, we can say that some very relevant, exciting and innovative research and planning has been going on at MGS which augers well for the maturing Got2bet industry and its clients.

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INET CASINO PIRATES
8 August 2002

INET Casinos Stoop to an all time low

Apparently, several INET Software asino sites, have nailed the lids on their own coffin. They have pirated the Internet Gaming Commission's site to wheedle players into thinking they are an establishment worthy of players. Beyond being a gross violation of copyright laws, it is probably the worst example of conduct exemplified by a group of online casinos.

http://www.gamblerspalace.com
http://www.simplenetbet.com/
http://www.skytowercasino.com/
http://www.jerrysportsbook.com
http://www.theonlinebet.com/
These licensees of Inet Software have pirated the Internet Gaming Commission's website in order to give themselves an approval logo that is not warranted. In August 2002, they set up a fake "Interactive Gaming Commission" at http://www.internet-gaming-commission.net (notice the hyphens), where they pirated the Interactive Gaming Commission's text, graphics, logos, etc. In addition, they even changed the Internet Gaming Commission's logo to "Internet Gaming Council." Thus associating themselves with the "Interactive Gaming Council" What they are attempting to do is set up their own stamp of approval by unorthodox and illegal means.

Also, they have appropriated the "Interactive Gaming Council's" logos as well. If you go to the homepages of http://www.simplenetbet.com/, and http://www.skytowercasino.com/ you'll notice that these well known logos have been posted which link back to the fake IGC http://www.internet-gaming-commission.net Internet piracy in a worst case scenario!

Who set up this fake site? According to whois, it was "John Smith" of ecasinoadds.com. Who set up ecasinoadds.com? The folks at Gamblerspalace.com.

Beyond being downright against the law, this is one of the worst cases of deception that has ever reared its ugly head in the world of Got2bet. Shameful.

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Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

Watchdog of 2002
Top Watchdog of 2002










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