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Online Casino NewsCasinomeister's News
January 2005

The leader in Online Casino News

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa news service.


WTO TIMELINE 21 January
TRIDENT STAFFERS MAKE TSUNAMI DONATIONS 21 January
ONLINE GOLF FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF 21 January
TSUNAMI DOLLARS FROM ENGLISH HARBOUR, TOO 21 January
BODOG CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS SCHEME DROPPED 21 January
C.E.S. PULLS ANOTHER GOOD DEAL 21 January
AND SKILLJAM CLIENT LAUNCHES, TOO 21 January
COOL CASINOS 21 January
CASINO CAUTIONS 21 January
ONLINE CASINOLAND - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE INTERESTING 21 January
600 ARRESTED IN CHINESE NET GAMBLING BUSTS 21 January
GREEK DEMONSTRATIONS 21 January
SPORTINGBET'S BIG WINNER 21 January
NEW YEARS POKER EXTRAVAGANZA 21 January
POKER OVER THE ETHER 21 January
CITY POKER TOURNEY LAUNCHED 21 January
MILLIONTH CLIENT FOR BET AND WIN 21 January
TEXAN MAKES LANDMARK 100 MILLIONTH WAGER 21 January
PUTTING ON THE RITZ ...THAI STYLE 21 January
TRIBECA OPENS IN EUROPE 21 January
84 CASINOS NAILED IN ONGOING CHINESE BLITZ 21 January
IGW SIGNS UP WITH PHANTOM 21 January
COMING HOME 21 January
BETTING EXCHANGES COULD FACE TAX HIKES 21 January
BRIT iTV CASINO GOES GLOBAL 21 January
CONFERENCE CORNER 21 January
$111K RAISED FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS 14 January
WHO SAID THIS INDUSTRY HAD NO HEART? 14 January
SPORTSBOOK.COM DOUBLES CUSTOMER DONATIONS FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF 14 January
NEW GAMING BOSS IN ANTIGUA 14 January
REVERSAL OF (MIS)FORTUNE 14 January
BIGTIME FOR BODOG 14 January
WHO PLAYS BETTER POKER? 14 January
COOL CASINOS 14 January
CASINO CAUTIONS 14 January
SPORTING OPTIONS SEQUEL 14 January
MORE POKER TV 14 January
MUSICAL CHAIRS AT LASSETERS INTERACTIVE 14 January
LITTLEWOODS ORDERS BOSS CASINO 14 January
iGGBA GETS ITS FIFTY FIRST MEMBER 14 January
CHINESE CLAMPDOWN ON I-GAMBLING CONTINUES 14 January
A GOOD YEAR FOR CHARTWELL 14 January
NEW SITE AND FACILITIES FOR POKER MAGAZINE 14 January
POKER TURBO TABLES THE LAND CASINO WAY 14 January
LADBROKES EURO ONLINE POKER CHAMPS 14 January
2005 VC POKER CUP SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 14 January
SEE THE PAD, PLAY SOME POKER 14 January
CONFERENCE CORNER 14 January
WELCOME NEWS FROM THE ISLE OF MAN 7 January
US GOVERNMENT TO LODGE WTO APPEAL 7 January
CRYPTOLOGIC FOUNDER IN FORTY MILLION DOLLAR DEAL 7 January
SPEAR AND THE 'MEISTER GATHER AID FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS 7 January
CASINO CAUTIONS 7 January
ABSOLUTE POKER MAKES TSUNAMI DONATION 7 January
CASINOFEED LAUNCH IMMINENT 7 January
TAKE A LOOK AT THESE ODDS 7 January
YOU BET YOUR LIFE... 7 January
STANLEY'S HI-ROLLER IS HIMSELF A STORY 7 January
COOL CASINOS 7 January
VIKING WANTS A HARLEY 7 January
NEW POKER PORTAL 7 January
LOTS OF SLOTS 7 January
MAJOR BJ TOURNEY 7 January
AUSSIE POKER PLAYERS LEAD AT LADBROKES 7 January
FIFTH EPISODE OF CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN DUE 7 January
GOOD GROWTH FOR ABYSS 7 January
LOWERING THE BOOM ON SPAM 7 January
BELGIAN GAMES COMMISSION CALLS FOR I-GAMING REGULATION 7 January
SPORTXCTION IN DEAL WITH TURKISH SPORTINGBET SITE 7 January
NEW OPS HEAD FOR ANGELCITI 7 January
INTERNET GAMBLING IS EVIL: CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR 7 January
CONFERENCE CORNER 7 January


WTO TIMELINE
21 January 2005

Several readers have asked how long it will take for the WTO to hear the US government appeal against it's ruling on Internet gambling. The appeal was lodged January 7 this year, and must be heard within 90 days by the WTO.

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TRIDENT STAFFERS MAKE TSUNAMI DONATIONS
21 January 2005

Trident Entertainment Group, operators of King Neptunes Casino and Trident Lounge, Vegas USA, and Trident Poker are personally and collectively making donations to Doctors Without Borders at: http://www.doctorswithoutborders-usa.org/donate/

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ONLINE GOLF FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF
21 January 2005

Red Cross comes up with a novel fund-raiser

The American Red Cross organisation has come up with a novel way to raise cash for the Tsunami Relief Fund - online golf.

Online gamers nationwide will have the opportunity starting this month to help victims of the Tsunami disaster while they compete in a unique online golf tournament. The American Red Cross will receive all profits through December 30, 2005 from competitors who play in the online Red Cross Golf Tournament. The creators of the wildly popular game have teamed up with the American Red Cross to offer this one-time fund-raiser. All profits from participants who enter the tournament through December go to the American Red Cross. Over 100,000 golfers compete each week via the Internet, winning free trips.

All the information is here, so if you're a golfer, or even just a grass hacker, get on over to http://www.RedCrossGolf.com for a fun way to support a good cause. Paul A. Schneider, Program Director, Red Cross Golf, 314-503-5376, support is another source of information.

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TSUNAMI DOLLARS FROM ENGLISH HARBOUR, TOO
21 January 2005

Casino group to match player donations dollar for dollar

English Harbour New Ventures executives say the group will match donations made from their players who would like to contribute to the tsunami relief efforts.

The company will donate all funds directly to CARE USA. All donations will be earmarked to go directly to those most affected by one of the worst natural disasters in living memory.

With a claimed customer base of 3.5 million clients worldwide, English Harbour casinos are hoping to raise a generous contribution.

CARE USA is one of the world's largest private humanitarian organizations and is committed to helping people in the affected communities improve their lives. The organisation has sixty years experience in distributing supplies in times of need and has CARE USA staff on the ground in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Somalia.

The Tsunami Relief Drive commenced this week and will run through January 31, 2005. Any player from Englishharbour.com, Silverdollar.com, Millionairecasino.com, Caribbeangold.com, Allpokercasino.com, Superslots.com can make donations, which will be matched dollar for dollar, through Englishharbour.com. All Casinos are listed here.

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BODOG CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS SCHEME DROPPED
21 January 2005

Only limited response to $50 million game offer

The bold move by Bodog gambling group CEO Calvin Ayre to set up a thrilling competition between top US colleges by offering significant scholarship bonanzas has been abandoned due to an apparent lack of interest by the college bodies approached.

Bodog's ambitious plans to set up a $50 million college Champion of Champions meet was thwarted by lack of interest from the NCAA following a generous offer two weeks back which was reported in InfoPowa bulletins.

After sending direct offers to USC, Auburn and the NCAA, USC President Steven B. Sample was the only party to respond to the offer.

"Firstly, I would like to thank Mr. Sample for taking the time to respond to the offer in such a prompt and professional manner, it is a true reflection of his, and his school's professionalism," said Calvin Ayre, Founder and CEO of Bodog.com Sports Casino Poker.

"We have received a massive outpouring of support from people all across the United States and abroad and we were looking forward to the opportunity of hosting this matchup for the fans of the game."

Bodog.com had offered USC President Steven B Sample, Auburn University Interim President Edward R. Richards, and NCAA Director Myles Brand the opportunity to compete in one final bowl game, with a total prize pool of US $50 million.

The breakdown would have allowed both schools to immediately take a $15 million scholarship fund, with the winning school receiving a secondary $15 million scholarship fund. The final $5 million would have been given to the NCAA Minorities Opportunities and Interests Committee.

The deadline, which was clearly stated in the letters, was Tuesday, January 11, 2005. Myles Brand did not comment on this opportunity, yet in his yearly meetings noted that the average Division I university is expending $15 million a year. Bodog's offer would have secured an additional $15 million for two prominent schools in the system, along with one of the two schools receiving an additional $15 million.

STOP PRESS: There was some good news for Bodog this week, however - Bodog.com Entertainment Limited announced that a bookmaker?s license has been granted for the United Kingdom.

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C.E.S. PULLS ANOTHER GOOD DEAL
21 January 2005

Skilljam for GSN's "The Network for Games"

C.E.S. Software plc, a company driven by Internet gambling pioneer and Cryptologic founder Andrew Rifkin pulled off the latest in a series of major deals this week.

One of its wholly owned subsidiaries, SkillJam Technologies Corporation ("SkillJam"), has entered into an agreement to provide pay-for-play games to GSN, The Network for Games.

Jointly owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media Corporation, GSN is the only U.S. television network dedicated to game-related programming and interactive game playing. It features game shows, reality series, light sports, documentaries and casino games.

GSN features 84 hours per week of interactive programming, giving viewers a chance to win prizes by playing on GSN's televised games. The network is distributed in the U.S. through all major cable systems and satellite providers, and reaches 56 million Nielsen homes.

In terms of the agreement, SkillJam will build, host and manage a private-label skill-gaming platform for GSN. This will allow it to offer pay-for-play games, downloadable games and fantasy sports over its network. For the first time, GSN users will have the ability to compete against each other in popular games of skill for cash and prizes.

Lorne Abony, Chief Executive Officer of CES, commented: "Our agreement with GSN represents a substantial expansion opportunity for CES, and will help us augment our distribution and presence in the regulated marketplace".

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AND SKILLJAM CLIENT LAUNCHES, TOO
21 January 2005

Skill Kings site goes live

A deal between CES subsidiary Skilljam Technologies and Senticore produced fruit recently when the highly anticipated new Internet skill games went operational on Skill King.com.

CEO Jay Patel said the launch marks the first step in Senticore's entry into the world of Internet games and skill gaming, "....well ahead of our originally projected release schedule and offering a fun, user friendly, low-cost game site for Internet aficionados."

SkillKing.com is the end product of Senticore's two month old strategic alliance partnership with SkillJam Technologies Corp., reported earlier by InfoPowa. With dozens of games to choose from, including all the popular card games like poker and blackjack as well as trivia games, sports-related games and even arcade games, the site offers some solid entertainment.

Many of the games will offer both low and high-stakes tournaments, which are designed to cater to players of all skill levels, from novices to professionals.

Unlike casino games, otherwise known as games of chance, a skill-based game is defined as a game whose outcome is predominantly determined by the respective skill level of individual players. Skill gaming is one of the largest and fastest growing markets within the online sector because players feel they control their success. Several US law pundits have said that skill games hold a legality advantage, too.

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COOL CASINOS
21 January 2005

Vegas Poker Casino.com is the latest from Microgaming and has been built for The Vegas VIP Lounge group, where it joins Vegas 7, Colosseum, Vegas Country, Vegas Slots, Royal Plaza, Vegas Joker and Grand Hotel - all respectable names in the business. After some initial teething problems on the promotions available, the new arrival seems to have hit its stride following interaction between manager Adri Sinclair and players on the leading fora. Wagering in dollars, GBP and Euro is offered, backed by full Support and a choice of financial instruments that includes Use My Bank, Firepay, Neteller, Money Bookers, 900 Pay, eWallet Express, Payspark, ECO and Instadebit. The site will attract a wide spread of European players thanks to its availability in English, French, Spanish and Italian languages and the currencies available. Presentation is a little garish for our taste, but it is professionally executed and there are is a massive download and Flash suite of 175 games to suit all tastes.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
21 January 2005

Not the old audit excuse again?
RTG-powered Miss Millions Casino.com is deploying the old and very irritating *audit* excuse for slow payments to players, according to several complaints this week. This has often been the precursor to major disappointments in the industry, and caution is advised.

Another reason for being very cautious around this operation surfaced as we went to press, when players awaiting payouts started receiving an extraordinary email from this casino. If the comments on waiting for investor cash ring a bell (remember Kiss?) please hoot!

QUOTE In the last few weeks, we had to absorb some hard losses. We checked every winning and tried to find any problems by taking these winnings under fraud control. Meanwhile we also had to pay some players, the total of the amounts we had in our accounts.

We now know the reasons for these losses, so our investors will deposit more money in our accounts, and, as soon as the money is in, we will send your payments out to you. UNQUOTE

Ghosts of the past
Royal Dutch Casino.com underwent a complete change of software and ownership before re-launching earlier this (January) month, but it seems the ghosts of the past continue to haunt it. One player who reports that he has been trying to get a $2 700 payment due to him since June 2004 is not having a great deal of luck with the present management so far either.

After a number of excuses, Royal Dutch is denying responsibility on grounds that they have not been able to verify this claim through the old software logs, e-processor or owners, who will apparently not cooperate. And the present management claim that the accounts handed over to them do not reflect the transaction claimed by the player. The casino has so far not been prepared to disclose to independent parties seeking to check the facts any details on the former owners, e-processors or the player logs.

Rubbing salt into the wound, a casino manager has branded emails allegedly sent to the player by the casino *fabricated* despite full email headers being revealed. And in a new development, the Royal Dutch CEO, one Daniel Giordano has made the astonishing threat that he intends to sue the player! Negotiations are continuing, and InfoPowa will be reporting further on this case.

Another player had a happier experience after persevering with a bonus dispute. Royal Dutch casino staff had disallowed the bonus on the grounds that he had played excluded games before meeting the W/T on "allowed" games, yet nowhere in the T&Cs was this a requirement. Fortunately, casino management redressed the wrong and awarded the bonus.

Destination unknown
Few were surprised, or for that matter saddened by the news this week that RTG-powered Destination Poker.com is closing. This operation and its manager Jeffrey Wallace earned notoriety in a surprisingly short space of time last year following some pretty questionable bonusing decisions and lingering accusations that it had a common ownership with Connect To Casino - something that Wallace fiercely denied. The ructions led to an ignominious award in the just-released Casinomeister Annual Awards - that of "Worst New Casino of 2004".

February 18 is the closedown date, and it appears that the finale is being managed in a reasonable manner, with players being advised that they should play through their remaining account balances or cash-out in terms of the T&Cs. Customer services will be available for 10 days following the closure, but if players haven't cleared their accounts by February 28 their funds will be kept by the casino owners, who remain undisclosed.

Hasta la Largo
It appears that fate has finally caught up with Largo Casino.com and it's similarly Wager21-powered sisters Goldbetting and Lady Dream. This week the indications were that the three casinos - scene of much questionable behaviour and consequent player acrimony in 2003 and 04 - were no longer operating.

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ONLINE CASINOLAND - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE INTERESTING
21 January 2005

A look back at last year's heroes and zeros....

Most online gambling enthusiasts look forward to Casinomeister Bryan Bailey's nostalgic and often stinging annual round-up of the good and the bad in Internet gambling, so we're pleased to direct readers to the latest bouquets and brickbats here:
/bestworst2004.html

Just to give readers a taste, 32 Red.com walked away with the Best Online Casino accolade after being the subject of player praise all year. At the other end of the scale, the Worst bat goes to 1x2 and Bailey pulls no punches in telling why.

Other categories include Best Casino Group (Vegas Partner Lounge) Biggest Casino Scam, Worst New Casino, Best and Worst Player Experiences and plenty more.

It's an interesting and unbiased window on the industry and well worth the read.

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600 ARRESTED IN CHINESE NET GAMBLING BUSTS
21 January 2005

Millions of dollars in wagers involved

Associated Press reported as we were going to press that continuing nationwide police actions against illegal gambling in China has resulted in the arrest of 597 people in connection with an underground internet gambling network thought to involve funds totaling more than 500 million yuan ($A80 million).

The Ministry of Security said the gambling network, spanning 22 provinces and major cities, was allegedly run by a Taiwan-based company in collaboration with criminal syndicates on the Chinese mainland, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Altogether, 395 people suspected of organising the network and 202 suspected gamblers have been detained. In Shanghai, police detained 87 people suspected of involvement in the gambling ring, it said. In nearby Jiangsu province, 106 people were detained and 163 million yuan in gambling proceeds and suspected gambling proceeds were seized.

China launched a campaign against gambling last week, targeting overseas gambling, online gambling and illegal lotteries.

State-authorised lotteries, widespread throughout China, apparently are not affected by the ban. Nor are private gambling activities in people's homes, the China Daily said.

The popular custom of betting while playing cards or the traditional game of mah-jong with friends and relatives is regarded as a form of entertainment and thus also not subject to the crackdown, the newspaper cited Tong Jianming, a police official, as saying.

Tong said the government planned to issue documents soon explaining which activities were allowed and which were illegal.

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GREEK DEMONSTRATIONS
21 January 2005

Techies protest Internet gambling law

Internet, pinball machine and video game technicians demonstrated outside the Economy and Finance Ministry in central Athens this week over the government's refusal to overturn an anti-gambling law banning these types of entertainment.

Union representatives claimed that some 70,000 workers were without jobs because of Law 3037, passed in July 2002, which has been deemed unconstitutional in court. The law outlaws online gaming at Internet cafes and the use of machines that involve gambling, such as one-armed bandits.

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SPORTINGBET'S BIG WINNER
21 January 2005

A great start to a new year

What a way for SportingbetUSA.com player Jonathan M to start 2005. On New Years Day he hit the jackpot playing Bermuda Poker and won a total of $265,099.85 at the World Gaming-powered poker table!

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Jonathan says. "I'm not sure what to do with a huge chunk of cash like this."

Jonathan registered with SportingbetUSA last September and he's been a regular casino games player since then. Bermuda Poker is a solo version of the world's most popular card game, poker. Bermuda Poker pits the player against the dealer and is paid out according to the rank of the poker hand.

Sportingbet officials say that this is the second most popular casino game at the venue. The last winner of the Bermuda Poker Jackpot was Tim H who took home $233,704 in late 2004 when he hit a royal flush while playing the progressive bet.

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NEW YEARS POKER EXTRAVAGANZA
21 January 2005

$ 190k Tournament announced

Cryptologic-powered Caribbean Sun Poker.com is currently gearing up for what promises to be a major tournament on January 22, 2005 titled "New Years Extravaganza".

With a guaranteed prize pool of GBP 100,000 or roughly $190,000 that sounds about right. Although the tournament is in British pounds, customers can still play using account balances which are in US Dollars.

Management has promised that right up to January 22nd, there will be satellites for customers to win a seat in New Year's Extravaganza, for as little as GBP 10.00.

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POKER OVER THE ETHER
21 January 2005

New syndicated radio show will teach poker players

The many fans who seek ways to enhance their poker skills by watching the World Poker Tour (WPT) Wednesday nights on the Travel Channel will soon be able to get tips directly from the World Poker Tour on both radio and the Internet.

WPT Poker Corner, a 60-second audio feature with tips and trivia about the global poker phenomena will include everything from betting strategy to the latest tournament news. The content will cover such topics as poker schools, player profiles, how and where to enter tournaments, poker etiquette, poker book reviews, poker magazines, poker news, playing strategy, and life on the WPT as well as interviews with players and commentators.

WPT Poker Corner will be exclusively syndicated by 4thStreet Media Group as a result of a licensing agreement it has signed with WPT Enterprises, Inc. The audio feature will launch Feb. 1 on XM Satellite Radio and AudioFeast.com. Content is being made available to broadcast and satellite radio, subscription services, and Internet sites.

Network radio veteran Dan Forth is managing the effort ? his 4thStreet Media Group is developing, producing, and marketing the features. Forth has more than 25 years of experience with national and local radio. He is former President/CEO of Sony Worldwide Networks, VP Content Licensing for Launch Media, and Vice President/Group Direct of ABC Young Adult Radio Networks. Along with his partners, Forth produces and distributes a variety of audio content for broadcast, satellite radio, and the web.

"Over 50 million people in the U.S. play poker? and probably another 50 million talk about it every day," stated Forth. "I look forward to delivering powerful, entertaining audio content that will be both accessible to the beginner and compelling to the most experienced player."

National Sports Radio talent David Stein will host the audio feature. In addition to hosting radio programs for Fox Sports Radio and STUFF Magazine, Stein, an author and comedian, is also the creator and host of television's "It's Funnier That Way."

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CITY POKER TOURNEY LAUNCHED
21 January 2005

French Open and WPT seats available

The President of Midas Entertainment, Inc., George Gutierrez has announced that its Internet property, CityPoker.com will be hosting tournaments this year in which players could win entry to the EPT French Open Deauville Poker Tournament, February 15th through the 19th, and the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Poker Tournament, March 7th through the 11th.

Full details on the tournaments can be found on the website. City Poker.com is on the Prima Poker network.

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MILLIONTH CLIENT FOR BET AND WIN
21 January 2005

Euro 10 K in giveaways to customers

Bet And Win group, the Vienna based public company that is also a partner in the Betbull P2P exchange celebrated customer number 1 000 000 this week.

To mark the occasion, the group is giving away Euro 10,000 in cash to sports fans and betting enthusiasts. Anyone placing a bet with the betandwin group on the Internet between 15 and 31 January 2005 qualifies to take part, and full details are on the site.

Betting with the betandwin group now attracts twice as many customers as the population of the UK?s second city - Birmingham.

"We are thrilled that our products have been so well received by sports and betting enthusiasts the world over," comments Manfred Bodner, the betandwin Group's Co-CEO. "A million registered customers is a clear mandate for us to continue our successful strategy in the future. We intend to expand our extensive range of bets and improve our quality even further, with the result that our customers will continue to enjoy an exciting betting experience."

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TEXAN MAKES LANDMARK 100 MILLIONTH WAGER
21 January 2005

Sportsbook.com takes 8.3 bets a second

An unidentified sports enthusiast from Texas had no idea that when he placed his wager last week, he had not only made a successful bet, but had also made history as Sportsbook.com's 100 millionth wager, a first in US online gaming, claims the betting group.

"We're taking an average of about 8.3 bets per second," reports Alex Czajkowski, Marketing Director, Sportsbook.com. "No one else is even close to that volume, on any metric. This is a tremendous milestone."

The press release unfortunately did not say whether the sportsbook gave the player a special bonus to mark the occasion!

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PUTTING ON THE RITZ ...THAI STYLE
21 January 2005

Poipet Nine are now in a pickle

In a land casino raid evocative of last year's high tech hit on the roulette tables at The Ritz in London, a group of nine Thai gamblers, including a Chiang Mai socialite, have been detained in Cambodia after they were caught allegedly using hi-tech electronic equipment to fix bets at Poipet?s Vegas Casino. Casino staff said they had found two Thais with hidden micro-cameras on their persons while playing baccarat inside the casino. The devices were linked to GPRS and Bluetooth communication systems that sent signals to a notebook PC monitored by other group members staying in a hotel room upstairs, it is alleged.

The scam allowed the group to see the cards being dealt in the game and then relayed the information to members at the gaming table, they said. The group reportedly extorted Baht 90 million from the casino.

The gambling party crossed into Poipet on Monday. Sources said the nine had not been permitted to leave the Vegas Casino after officers caught them allegedly using the electronic equipment to fix bets.

?Three Thais managed to flee the casino with Baht 90 million, but nine were left behind,? a source said. Sources said that Cambodian police were trying to negotiate with the nine in an effort to get them to return their gambling winnings in exchange for their release.

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TRIBECA OPENS IN EUROPE
21 January 2005

Important online poker provider has Euopean aspirations

Toronto-based Tribeca Tables has announced that it is opening up in Europe - this poker software provider has built up an impressive network with over 40 poker rooms - some of them big names.

Making the announcement from London, the group said that the creation of Tribeca Tables Europe, Limited (TTEL) is to better serve Tribeca Table?s existing clients, and in anticipation of the growing European market for Tribeca Tables? products and services.

TTEL is registered in Alderney, a strict gambling jurisdiction located in the Channel Islands.

?The majority of our customers are based in Europe and we believe the growth of this exciting industry is just starting. With TTEL, we will be better positioned to help service our customer?s tremendous growth,? says Steve Cook, European Managing Director.

Tribeca claims it is the world?s first and largest independent aggregator of ePoker brands, committed to providing innovative and reliable software solutions to clients exclusively in the arena of ePoker. Customers include: Blue Sq, Victor Chandler, Doyle?s Room and Golden Palace.

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84 CASINOS NAILED IN ONGOING CHINESE BLITZ
21 January 2005

Land and Internet operations targeted

The Chinese anti-gambling crusade continues to gather momentum, affecting online as well as land casinos in neighbouring countries.

China's anti-gambling campaign has forced 84 casinos and small gambling operations based in neighboring countries out of business in the past two months, reported the Beijing News on Monday.

The casinos, spread along China's southwestern border with Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, were forced to close down as business shrank dramatically in the wake of an intensified blitz against gambling carried out by police in Yunnan province since last December.

Chinese gamblers compose the main patrons in these casinos, most of which are funded and run by Chinese citizens, the paper quoted an unidentified local police official in Yunnan as saying. Authorities in the neighboring countries have banned their residents from entering these casinos, he added.

With the help of its foreign counterparts, police in Yunnan have begun to hunt the Chinese casino owners, cut off banking services, and prevent Chinese gamblers from betting abroad.

Earlier this month Yunnan provincial government reported that 68 casinos in Myanmar and Laos were closed down, 14 others were operating suffering losses, and close to closure, while large number of Chinese staff in the casinos were persuaded to return home.

China has long banned gambling together with prostitution and drugs, but in recent years a growing number of wealthy Chinese, especially some corrupted officials, are gambling away millions in casinos outside Chinese mainland.

Offices and gambling Web sites set up by foreign companies were shut down, while telephone hotlines and a Web site were set up to report gambling.

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IGW SIGNS UP WITH PHANTOM
21 January 2005

Important fived year deal on wireless technology for online gambling sites

Phantom Fiber was in the headlines again this week.....this time in an important mobile deal with Bryan Abboud's IGW.

The deal involves a five year license arrangement in terms of which IGW Software will offer mobile solutions using Phantom Fiber's advanced wireless framework to its sportsbook, racebook and casino operators worldwide.

Phantom Fiber's strong reputation for delivering a robust, leading edge wireless framework that simply 'bolts on' to existing infrastructure fits perfectly within IGW Software's philosophy for delivering seamless and integrated product suites to its licensee base.

IGW's product suite includes a sportsbook, racebook and casino - key products integrated into one back-office environment and augmented by IGW's value-added add-on products. These independent tools work as standalone modules, or work in conjunction with the company's core gaming environments.

IGW's risk management suite, loyalty management engine, management information suite and other add-on modules deliver critical intelligence for gaming operators to make sounder decisions to increase the profitability of their on-line gaming business.

IGW Software's mobile solutions suite enables operators to extend their wagering service beyond the desktop PC or telephone through browser-based phones in addition to mobile devices powered by Windows Mobile's PocketPC Phone Edition and Smartphone, PalmOS, SymbianOS and RIM Blackberry - allowing them to market their wireless service to a global audience with access to mobile devices totalling 600+ models worldwide.

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COMING HOME
21 January 2005

Tax breaks will bring 'em back, study opines

The week started with an interesting view on UK gambling tax from Bloombergs, which reported that betting firms like William Hill Plc and Hilton Group Plc moved businesses back to Britain after gambling taxes were reformed in 2001, a study by U.K. government auditors has found.

"The big operators have repatriated their offshore businesses and secured additional employment within the U.K.,'' the report said, citing William Hill and Hilton Group's Ladbrokes subsidiary.

Under pre-2001 rules, customers had to pay 9 percent tax on each stake, making offshore gaming firms, such as Internet sites, cheaper. The reforms replaced that levy with a 15 percent gross profits tax on bookmakers.

Gambling duties collected fell to GBP 1.35 billion ($2.54 billion) in the year to April 2004 from GBP 1.53 billion in the year to April 1999. Still, "...it is likely that the reduction under the old regime would have been higher in the longer term had no change been made,'' a report by the National Audit Office concluded.

The UK govenment is currently trying to pass legislation to reform Britsh gambling law, allowing Las Vegas-style casinos, albeit in restricted numbers for the first time.

Government estimates predict the amount gambled in Britain will rise to GBP 12.5 billion a year within five years from GBP 8.7 billion in the year through April 2004, discounting inflation, if the proposed legislation is passed.

The gaming industry as a whole currently accounts for the equivalent of 100,000 full- time jobs in the U.K., according to the study of the Gambling Bill.

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BETTING EXCHANGES COULD FACE TAX HIKES
21 January 2005

Brit Chancellor is watching...

The possibility of a tightening of the UK tax screws on betting exchange sites was raised by The Register this week.

The report claimed that Chancellor Gordon Brown is expected to change taxation rules to squeeze more cash from websites which allow punters to place bets with each other.

The changes follow a National Audit Office report which found online exchanges paid a mere GBP 7.3 million in tax last year despite taking bets worth more than GBP 2.67billion. This compares to GBP 376 million paid by bookmakers on bets worth GBP 30 billion.

Quoting a "well-placed industry source", The Register reported: "The duty and the commission that exchanges make just doesn't add up. It's all pointing to the Treasury acting to stop this."

Traditional bookmakers pay tax on gross profits rather than individual gamblers paying tax on their winnings. But the growing popularity of betting exchanges has reduced the amount of revenue Customs and Excise has collected.

The NAO also raised concerns that Customs needs more technical expertise to help it ensure new types of gambling are compliant with legislation.

The mainstream newspaper The Observer also carried the story, pointing out that, "A change in taxation rules may hurt The Sporting Exchange Ltd., also known as Betfair, which controls 95 percent of money wagered on exchanges."

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BRIT iTV CASINO GOES GLOBAL
21 January 2005

Satellite channels open up new markets

The iTV casino Playmontecarlo will extend its reach into new geographical areas following an agreement this week with France Telecom satellite services subsidiary GlobeCast.

PlayMonteCarlo, from OpenTV subsidiary BettingCorp, will be available on BSkyB's platform, uplinked via Eurobird 28.5?E from GlobeCast's Brookman's Park teleport.

GlobeCast will also house the interactive servers that power PlayMonteCarlo's service. The servers will be controlled via a VPN, enabling remote access from PlayMonteCarlo's production centre in London.

PlayMonteCarlo is a fixed-odds games portal available on Channel 7 of Sky Digital's Interactive Main Menu (IMM). It is also available through the Sky Active and Sky BettingZone interactive portals. The 24-hour service offers a number of fixed-odds games such as roulette, slots, keno and dice in both play-for-fun or play-for-real-money modes.

Globecast now delivers more than 500 channels worldwide and many of these are looking to expand into new territories. The company is one of the top satellite services companies, operating a global network of satellite distribution platforms for broadcast on five continents, accessible through 15 teleports and technical operation centres in the world's leading media hubs.

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CONFERENCE CORNER
21 January 2005

London AGM for iGGBA

On 27 January 2005, iGGBA will hold its 4th Annual General Meeting from 10:00 ? 13:00 in the Cromwell Room, Earl's Court, London in association with the ICE-I exhibition.

The audience will be drawn from its general membership as well as associated guests.

The morning programme will feature speakers Sarah Thomas of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) who will speak about the developments on the UK Gambling Bill as it relates to remote gambling, as well as Nigel Payne, CEO of Sportingbet, who in his speech will consider the commercial future of the remote gambling market.

Following the morning programme, the Association will elect a new iGGBA Council and a new Chairman, in addition covering major topical issues affecting the industry.

IGGBA Director Wes Himes states, "This is tremendous time for the remote gambling industry with the UK draft Gambling Bill in full flow and the EU Services Directive making its way through the European Parliament. We will be touching on these issues and welcome guests who want to see what iGGBA is all about."

For further information, or if you wish to attend the AGM please contact Wes Himes at weshimes@iggba.org.uk or at +44-20-7620-2770 or visit our ICE-I booth 3084 during the show.

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$111K RAISED FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS
14 January 2005

Winning bid goes to highly respected online casino

As InfoPowa went to press this week the Casinomeister- Got2Bet advertising space auction in aid of the SE Asian tsunami disaster survivors was drawing to an exciting close that gave as much entertainment as online gambling itself.

Well known names like 32Red, Acropolis, Crystal Palace, iGlobalmedia, KingSolomons, Winward Casino, TheVirtualcasino, Poker.com, Wager Casino group and VIPCasino were dominant in the fierce bidding which ended in a close finish with a final bid of US $ 111 000 from a surprise last minute offer by the highly respected Intercasino.com.

Readers will have to wait a day or so for the official announcement, which will appear simultaneously on the two sites. In the meantime we're sure everyone will join us in a salute to portalmasters Ted Loh and Bryan Bailey for a truly worthwhile and effective fund-raising drive that will help make a difference to many unfortunate people caught up in this disaster.

Auction results can be viewed here.

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WHO SAID THIS INDUSTRY HAD NO HEART?
14 January 2005

Vegas Partners Lounge group joins fund raising for tsunami survivors

The Vegas Partner Lounge online casino group has joined the growing list of Internet betting operations trying to help the victims of the SE Asian tsunami disaster.

The group is donating 25 percent of online casino profits on two of their most popular games to help the stricken areas.

For one week all seven Vegas Partner Lounge online casinos (Crazy Vegas, Sun Vegas, Cinema, 777 Dragon, Maple, Casino US and Arthurian Casinos) will donate 25 percent of online casino profits on two of their games: Double Magic and Hi Five, to UNICEF, earmarked specifically for the disaster region.

UNICEF has already targeted the worst hit areas and distributed planeloads of supplies to affected families. The organisation is reportedly aiming to raise $81 million to cover the cost of basic care.

Meanwhile, the Casinomeister and Got2Bet advertising space auction in aid of the disaster passed bidding levels of $59 000 as online casino and poker companies vied for top spot.

On the sportsbook front Beton Sports.com showed its caring side as CEO David Carruthers announced that the company would match every customer dollar donated to the UNICEF Relief Fund for Tsunami Survivors. The book started the ball rolling with a $25 000 donation of its own.

The similar Pokerstars.com initiative we reported last week has reportedly raised well over $150 000 which will shortly be handed over to the Red Cross, we understand, and popular e-cash processor Neteller has set up a donations facility on its site for the same organisation.

Hollywood Poker.com is hosting a Tsunami Relief Tournament on January 25 and will match every dollar in the prizepool in a donation to the Red Cross Tsunami Fund - movie celebrity James Woods will be just one of a number of star personalities at the tables, pulling the players in.

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SPORTSBOOK.COM DOUBLES CUSTOMER DONATIONS FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF
14 January 2005

Partners with Northwest Medical Teams International

Sportsbook and online casino, Sportsbook.com is encouraging its customers to get involved in the Asian tsunami relief efforts by matching all donations made through its site 100 percent.

"A tragedy as vast and visible as the South Asia Tsunami touches everyone around the world," Alex Czajkowski, Marketing Director said. "We want to offer our U.S. customers a chance to support those ravaged by this disaster. Sportsbook.com will then match their generosity dollar-for-dollar."

Sportsbook.com has partnered with Northwest Medical Teams International, a non profit humanitarian aid organization working to reduce suffering around the world and in the Pacific Northwest.

The company chose Northwest Medical because 98 percent of the donations received go directly to their humanitarian programs and all of Northwest Medical supplies are donated by major U.S. medical and pharmaceutical companies.

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NEW GAMING BOSS IN ANTIGUA
14 January 2005

"Pivotal time" for Antiguan jurisdiction

The closing months of last year saw the low-key appointment of a new Director of Gaming, with the Financial Services Regulatory Commission in Antigua and Barbuda, one of the Caribbean licensing jurisdictions.

Kaye McDonald said that her appointment comes at a very pivotal time for Antigua?s gaming industry as the World Trade Organization (WTO) had found in favour of the island jurisdiction in its dispute with the United States over Internet gambling.

"We are confident that the Antigua gaming industry will continue to flourish and with this in mind we move on to other challenges in the industry," she said.

McDonald holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Florida International University and is a former banker with an eight year tenure at one of Antigua and Barbuda's leading financial conglomerates. Her tenure included five years establishing and managing International Business Corporations and Trusts. She has strong relationships and business experience with the industry as a consequence. She is presently pursuing a Masters degree in International Relations.

"Although considered a developing country, the government of Antigua took bold initiatives to further develop the country by adding choice, value and a working relationship with all stakeholders to drive the gaming industry and is proud to say that they continue to ensure Antigua's operators have arduous policies and guidelines in place," she says

As the new Director of Gaming, McDonald's paramount concern is to strike a balance between effective regulation and an efficient business environment, creating synergies with all stake-holders. She is committed to ensuring that Antigua and Barbuda's is internationally regarded as a Tier 1 jurisdiction of choice, and its regulations and regulatory enforcement remain first rate.

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REVERSAL OF (MIS)FORTUNE
14 January 2005

eCOGRA rules for player in bonusing dispute

Regulatory body eCOGRA showed flexibility and an even-handed approach to disputes recently following an argument on bonuses at Lake Palace Casino.com.

The casino offered a bonus with surprisingly generous and unlimited rewards that was exploited by a British player on six different occasions - all permissible in terms of the rules set by the casino. Significant sums of money were involved.

On the fifth occasion, the casino refused to pay the bonus due, and the player lodged a complaint with eCOGRA's Fair Gaming Advocate on the grounds that he had played completely within the T&Cs and that the bonus disqualification on grounds of bonus abuse was therefore unfair. He argued that at no time in the course of his previous and open claims on a single account had the casino indicated that he was not welcome to use the bonus and that he was therefore due the bonus in terms of the T&C.

Surprisingly, the FGA ruled in favour of the casino, and the player went to the message boards to publicly protest.

Soon after the posts were made, an uninvolved but concerned fellow player wrote to the CEO of eCOGRA protesting the ruling in a reasoned and businesslike letter reviewing the case. He received an immediate response from CEO Andrew Beveridge agreeing that the case deserved further consideration and advising that it had been re-opened and would be reviewed by him.

The player subsequently received notification that the FGA decision had been reversed by the CEO and he would be paid. He has since posted that this has been done and he regards the complaint as resolved. According to the player who instigated the appeal, eCOGRA also wrote to him with a report on the outcome of his activity.

The case sets a fair and useful precedent, namely that if a player has complied fully with the T&Cs offered to him or her on a promotion by a casino, they must be paid the promised rewards unless activities such as fraud, multiple accounts or other criminal activity supervene.

The onus is on the casino to ensure that promotions are professionally constructed in a business savvy fashion and that the consequences are carefully considered, because players can not subsequently be penalised for a casino's errors in construction.

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BIGTIME FOR BODOG
14 January 2005

$50 million offer to NCAA

Calvin Ayre's online casino, poker and sportsbook group Bodog.com made a seriously bigtime sports offer to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) president Myles Brand this week.

Bodog proposed a $50 million plus sponsorship to decide which of the two top NCAA teams is the best of the best. The issue is undecided since Auburn took the Sugar Bowl and USC truimphed in the Orange Bowl last year.

In a letter to Myles, Ayre pledges that his group will donate a $15 million scholarship fund to each of the colleges involved, with the winner harvesting a further $15 million fund. The remaining $5 million will go to the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee for use at their discretion. The offer is on the table until January 11 2005.

Bodog will arrange an appropriate stadium venue, broadcasting rights and ancillary support in this bold deal which is likely to generate huge amounts of money in commecial agreements and wagering.

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WHO PLAYS BETTER POKER?
14 January 2005

GSN's Battle of the Sexes should settle the question!

Do men have the advantage over women in the game of poker? GSN, the network for games broadcast to 56 million American homes, will try to find out by pitting twelve of the world's top professional poker players together in an innovative, no-holds barred poker tournament on January 21.

Poker Royale - Battle of the Sexes is the rather melodramatic but eye-catching title for this seven episode invitational tournament hosted by syndicated radio personality Tom Leykis, who is known for defense of the male species. He is joined as host by Kennedy, the sassy TV and game show veteran, who proudly represents the female voice.

The play-by-play commentator will be Robert Williamson III, one of the most respected and skilled poker players around.

The tournament will break new ground when it premieres on GSN's new Friday Casino Night at 9:00 pm ET/PT. It's going to be a gambler's night in, because immediately following Poker Royale is World Series of Blackjack featuring the world's finest blackjack players vying for their chance to win a $250,000 grand prize.

"Based on the success of our first poker series, we wanted to follow with a second installment with a unique twist. Poker Royale: Battle of the Sexes is entertaining and engaging for players at every skill level," says Ian Valentine, Senior Vice President of Programming at GSN.

"There's a real ongoing debate in the poker world as to whether the women are as good as the men. We sit our viewers right at the table to watch the play and hear the banter."

The player list includes the world's top players including Chris Moneymaker (2003 World Series of Poker 1st place), Paul Wolfe (2003 World Championship Online Poker final runner up), Greg "Fossilman" Raymer (2004 World Series of Poker 1st place), Amir Vahedi (2001 No Limit Texas Hold'em Player of the Year), Layne Flack (5 Time World Series of Poker Champion) and Antonio Esfandiari (World Poker Tour first place champion). In the women's corner are Kathy Liebert (2002 Party Poker Million champion), Jennifer Harman (World Poker Tour Bellagio 4th place), Evelyn Ng (World Poker Tour Ladies Night 2nd place), Karina Jett, Kristy Gazes (2001 World Series of Poker Shoe 5th place) and Clonie Gowen (World Poker Tour Ladies Night champion).

In each of the first six episodes, three men and three women from the teams of men and women will play a game of No Limit Texas Hold'Em. Every episode champion wins $10,000 and six points. The player who finishes second receives five points, third place receives four points, fourth place receives three points, fifth place receives two points and last place receives one point. In the seventh episode's final match, the top three point leaders for the men and women will face off for the championship.

The winner of the tournament takes home $100,000 and wins an extra $30,000 to be split among the remaining team members.

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COOL CASINOS
14 January 2005

The latest production from the Chartwell Technologies studios, Lottery Extra Casino.com is pretty basic in presentation but has all the usual Support and financial option facilities backing the no-download software. Built as an extension of the Dublin-based Lottery Extra Limited site, it offers casino gambling in dollars, euro and GBP sterling and has a sensible 20 percent signup bonus on deposits up to 500 currency units, with a WT requirement on the deposit of x8 before the bonus is granted. After that, players have to wager at least the value of the bonus awarded to cash-out.

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CASINO CAUTIONS
14 January 2005

What's so secret?
We were trying this week to get a few innocuous details on a new site called Poker Mountain.com, which is apparently operated by a group called Balo Net Services, who boast that the software (identity undisclosed) is subject to RNG testing by an outfit called Gaming Association - no links and again a body with which we are not familiar. This was not a matter of requesting commercially sensitive details - simply the ID of the software and the network, if any. Yet despite three attempts there was no response. This sort of reticence usually indicates that caution might be a good idea.

Unlinked accountants
New poker site Poker Lover.com is intriguing and bears watching, too. Launched at the tail-end of last year, the rather basic site is operated by a Costa Rican outfit called Meson de Peregrino SA and uses *proprietary* download software with a focus on Texas Hold Em. What troubled us was the amateurish and inactive "British Auditors and Accountants" logo on the landing page, and claims that this organisation audited the casino in an unspecified manner in the body copy - but that, too was a dead link. Whilst checking Poker Pulse out for more information on these folks we noted the continued growth of this sector - PP has noted that there are 234 online poker rooms on 55 networks!

Laura gets to work...
Last week we listed Skyline Casino.com in our Casino Cautions section following a growing number of complaints by players on several fora. A casino manager name that will be familiar to players who had hassles with the Angelciti group surfaced, too as it transpired that Skyline's manager w.e.f. January 3 is one Laura Chacon. In this case Laura brought a positive presence to the Skyline scene, however as she urged any complainants to contact her and started resolving several of the outstanding and mainly bonus-related disputes. As we went to press it was too early to make a valid judgement call, but things were definitely looking rosier on the Skyline front.

Is this virus from 1x2?
The 1x2 sportsbook and casino has featured in this section before, but on this occasion to be fair they may be the disguise chosen by unscrupulous virus despatchers on a spoofed email address. Whatever - it still merits a safety warning. Several players have reported receiving an email, ostensibly from 1x2 and with an attachment containing a virus. Unfortunately noone has yet thought to check the email headers, but in any event the old "don't open attachments" discipline might be a good idea here.

Slots Alley spam Part 2
Last week InfoPowa reported on spam emails emanating from Slots Alley interests using spoofed email addresses of respectable casinos. Recipients were being misled into opening these emails, thinking they were from respected operations. The activity continued this week, but those guilty of this underhanded technique may have chosen the wrong man to spoof - Ted Loh of the influential Got2Bet.com portal! The email contained a promotional blurb regarding an operation called Casino On Liner. Watch for the fireworks soon!

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SPORTING OPTIONS SEQUEL
14 January 2005

Betting exchange owed GBP 5.4 million say administrators

In earlier InfoPowa reports we covered the collapse of the UK betting exchange Sporting Options. At the end of last week Menzies Corporate, administrators of the failed betting exchange published their report, revealing the full extent of the firm?s failure.

According to Menzies, the betting exchange ceased trading with debts of GBP 5.4 million, including GBP 3.5 million owed to its customers. The report also reveals that Kevin Griffiths, the founder and managing director, lost GBP 1.1 million of his own money by 'seeding' Sporting Options in an attempt to create liquidity.

The administrators report that the seeding process started in 2002 soon after the launch of the Sporting Options. This meant that the company was operating more like a bookmaker, with money at risk, as opposed to a betting exchange.

?After the launch," states the report, "It became immediately clear to management that in, order to develop, it would be necessary to seed the markets to create liquidity and attain a critical mass of clients to support the business model."

When administrators were called in, the company had only GBP 100,000 left of the ?ring-fenced? GBP 3.6 million clients' accounts, and owed GBP 250,000 to the taxman. Following rival betting exchange Betfair?s rescue package, however, all money owed will be repaid. Betfair has already paid out over GBP 1 million to Sporting Option?s customers.

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MORE POKER TV
14 January 2005

Harrahs and ESPN negotiating

Land casino giant Harrah's Entertainment Inc. has hired a sports television consulting firm to help the company negotiate a broadcast agreement with sports TV group ESPN and develop new programming related to the World Series of Poker tournament.

Pilson Communications Inc., a company run by former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson, has an impressive track record, including successful negotiation on a $2.4 billion network television agreement with Fox, NBC and Turner to air NASCAR events and a structured $2 billion agreement to air the Olympics on NBC. Other clients include Major League Baseball and the Arena Football League.

"I think poker is perhaps the hottest sport on television right now," Pilson said. "The ratings, I think, have surprised both Harrah's and ESPN and the entire industry." The World Series of Poker is also attracting demographic groups attractive to advertisers, especially young men ages 18 to 24, he said.

Pilson declined to speculate on the kind of broadcast deal that might emerge from the talks and whether it would yield more money for Harrah's. He also declined to say whether other networks were interested in airing the tournament.

"Harrah's has a terrific relationship with ESPN and we're looking to work with them," he said. "I think it's in ESPN's interest and ours to maximize coverage of the sport but at the same time we don't want to dilute the basic presentation of the World Series of Poker, which is the dominant brand in televised poker today."

ESPN has aired the poker tournament, held at Binion's Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas, for the past seven years and has broadcast poker on television since 1994. Harrah's took ownership of the tournament last year, the same year of record turnout for the event as well as ESPN's highest ratings for the tournament.

The existing broadcast contract with ESPN predates Harrah's purchase of the poker tournament.

More than 2,500 players competed in the final no-limit Texas hold 'em championship game of the World Series of Poker last year. Harrah's is expected to host 5,000 players for this year's tournament, which runs through July 15. Harrah's recently created a separate World Series of Poker Tournament Circuit, a series of five poker tournaments that will run prior to the final championship event, to transform the month-long event into a year-round sport. ESPN will also be taping the main events in the circuit, which kicked off Friday in Atlantic City.

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MUSICAL CHAIRS AT LASSETERS INTERACTIVE
14 January 2005

Corporate tactics start off the new year

Corporate-speak press releases from Lassters, the respected Australian gambling group seemed to indicate some complicated manoeuvring this week involving the Lasseters interactive interests.

Lasseters International Holdings Limited, listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange is to acquire all of the shareholding in Lasseters Interactive Gaming Pte Ltd, ("LIG"), an unlisted Singaporean company which owns 73.72% of the shareholding in LCL.

The deal involves negotiations with the famous Malaysian Tan brothers amongst others.

The option agreement entered into with the Tan Brothers gives Lasseters Interactive the opton to acquire the entire issued share capital of the company. LIG is an investment holding company incorporated in Singapore and owns 73,720,000 ordinary shares representing 73.72% of the issued share capital of LCL (which comprises substantially all of LIG's assets).

Another agreement with Dato' Kuan gives Lasseters Interactive the option to acquire 2,280,000 ordinary shares representing 2.28% of the issued share capital of LCL.

Cost of the deals was finalised and determined to be an aggregate of S$9,284,825 (S$9,006,280 for the LIG Acquisition and S$278,545 for the LCL Acquisition). This will be met by allotting and issuing ordinary shares in the capital of LIH at the issue price of S$0.28 per share to the Tan Brothers and Dato' Kuan.

If LIH exercises the options and upon the completion of the acquisitions, the number of shares and the persons to which such shares shall be allotted and issued to are:

Dato' Jaya J B Tan 10,743,205

Kamal Y P Tan 10,711,041

Tajuddin Joe Hok Tan 10,711,041

Dato' Kuan Peng Soon 994,803

Total 33,160,090

The Tan Brothers will be issued an aggregate of 32,165,287 Consideration Shares and Dato' Kuan will be issued 994,803 Consideration Shares, making a total aggregate of 33,160,090 shares.

The proposed share issue is subject to the approval of the Singapore Stock Exchange and of the shareholders of LIH. The proposed exercise of the options is also subject to the approval of the Singapore Exchange, the Minister for Racing and Gaming in the Northern Territory of Australia and (where required) shareholders of LIH.

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LITTLEWOODS ORDERS BOSS CASINO
14 January 2005

Casino and poker games for a million clients

Swedish turnkey provider Boss Media AB has signed an agreement with Sportech PLC, the parent company of Littlewoods Gaming to provide an online casino and poker room system for Littlewoods Bet Direct Internet gaming site.

Sportech PLC is a leading UK home gaming company, providing a variety of gaming and betting opportunities to customers through wholly owned gaming and betting business Littlewoods Gaming. Sportech has a full listing on the London Stock Exchange and recorded a turnover of GBP 207.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2003.

Littlewoods Gaming provides betting and gaming opportunities to over a million customers, and strives to be in the forefront when it comes to using new technology and new channels of distribution to bring more games to more players in the home.

Boss is to supply a casino system with GBP sterling as the base currency. The casino will be available in both a download and in a web-based version. The poker room element will link into the existing Boss Poker network community. Existing Bet Direct punters will be able to log in and play both casino and poker games using their present playing account.

"When looking to develop the casino and poker products for Bet Direct we were conscious that the products needed to utilise the existing account offered on the Bet Direct Sportsbook. Boss Media have proven expertise in this area and this coupled with their excellent product offering made them the natural choice," says Phil Kissane, Director of Internet Gaming at Littlewoods Gaming.

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iGGBA GETS ITS FIFTY FIRST MEMBER
14 January 2005

Euro Gaming signs up with trade association

Britsh and European trade association iGGBA's latest member is Euro Gaming Ltd., a licensed Malta gaming operator focusing on the European market with gaming products such as bingo and lotteries.

iGGBA believes that by supporting a broad and diverse membership base, reaching from content developers, testing companies and law firms to operators, every business aspect of Interactive gaming can be represented. This premise has proven especially helpful in iGGBA?s latest liaison between industry and government to further the developments of the UK Gambling Bill.

Santiago Asensi of Euro Gaming said that his company encourages responsible gambling and uses age and identity verification systems. "We wanted to join a reputable association and iGGBA?s proven track record, its code of conduct, and the number of high-profile members made them the clear choice for us," he said

Andrew Tottenham, chairman of iGGBA said that the association represents responsible companies that have chosen to work towards a sensible framework for regulation of the remote gambling industry in Great Britain and Europe.

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CHINESE CLAMPDOWN ON I-GAMBLING CONTINUES
14 January 2005

Officials who gamble will be punished, says senior cop

The People's Daily reports that China continues its "....relentless strike" to crack down on rampant gambling and punish players.

Government officials and state-owned company executives in particular will suffer severe consequences, said a police chief in Beijing this week.

The Chinese State-Councillor and Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang urged police departments across the country to work together in a battle against gambling, which has "...seriously undermined socio-economic development and fundamental interests of the people."

The nationwide campaign will mainly focus on defined problem regions, and any Communist Party and government officials or state-owned organization chiefs who are caught in the drive will receive heavier punishments, he said at a teleconference.

The Minister singled out gambling in overseas lands, on-line gambling and illegal lottery purchases as the major targets of the strike, emphasising that "...the campaign will try to block the channels through which many Chinese go abroad for gambling".

Offices and gambling websites set up by foreign gambling companies will be identified and shut down, he said.

Three hot lines and one website address were released at the teleconference for people to report gambling activities to the police authorities.

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A GOOD YEAR FOR CHARTWELL
14 January 2005

Provider ends 2004 on a high note

Canadian turnkey provider Chartwell Technology rounded out a consistently successful business year with some impressive numbers this week.

The Company has reported a 66 per cent rise in revenue to $12.2 million compared to $7.3 million in 2003 and earnings per diluted share have doubled to $0.24 compared to $0.12 in 2003. The company celebrates two consecutive years of profitability with the results.

?We are very pleased with our fourth quarter and fiscal year 2004 results?, states Don Gleason, CFO. ?We ended the year with significant revenue growth, increased our profitability by 139 percent, doubled our earnings per share and generated in excess of $4.0 million in cash flow from operations.

"Our investment in product development, sales, marketing and business development gives us confidence in our ability to drive continued growth in the expanding market for our products. We are extremely proud of the hard work and accomplishments of the entire Chartwell team and we look forward to 2005 and carrying this momentum throughout the year.?

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NEW SITE AND FACILITIES FOR POKER MAGAZINE
14 January 2005

Card Player site offers analytical software, too

Card Player magazine, an influential poker publication, has launched a new Web site that offers expanded content, customization tools, and an enhanced version of its proprietary software enabling amateur and professional poker players to track and analyze their tournament play results.

The magazine is inaugurating a new monthly freeroll No-Limit Hold'em tournament with a $1,500 prize and a grand prize competition for the year's top 100 players. Players automatically qualify for the monthly tournament by posting to site message boards, shopping at the online store, or ordering a magazine subscription.

Visitors to the new Web site can register for free membership that qualifies them to create a personalized home page comprised of modules tailored to their specific needs and interests. Module choices range from poker news, a poker odds calculator and a poker room directory to Player of the Year, World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker updates. Members will also receive their own free CardPlayer.com email address, 50MB of storage space and calendaring capabilities.

The site's proprietary Card Player Poker Analyst software provides a variety of filters enabling users to analyze both their live game and tournament performance based on whatever data is most critical to them, including location, placement, winnings and game type.

Content upgrades include a new section that lists and describes every special tournament, with ongoing updates that will include Card Player web TV programs, major tournament reporting, player profiles, Card Player's Poker Schools, a blog section, and a specialized women's area. Expanded data on World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, amateur poker, and tournament results is also planned.

"With these upgrades, our Web site will continue to be the primary destination on the Internet for anyone who loves the game of poker," said Barry Shulman, publisher of Card Player magazine. "It is simply the most comprehensive, customizable and informative online resource dedicated to poker, hands down, and it's still entirely free."

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POKER TURBO TABLES THE LAND CASINO WAY
14 January 2005

100 hands an hour and a fifteen second clock

The Australian media reported on the debut of the land equivalent of turbo tables this week. Speed poker, the newest, made-for-TV variation of the grand old card game, made its Australian debut at Melbourne's Crown Casino.

The new game, which pits six players against two dealers and a 15-second clock, with up to 100 hands dealt an hour, is the brainchild of Keith 'Bendigo' Sloan - better known to some as Mr Poker.

The new game has attracted plenty of interest ahead of this weekend's inaugural World Speed Poker Championship at Crown. Almost $300,000 worth of prize money will be available in this tournament, including $100,000 for the winner.

Billed as a "Poker Roller Coaster Ride", the speed version of the game aims to combine the pace of Internet poker with the thrill of the live game, where face-to-face, the elements of bluff, strategy, psychology and showmanship all come into play.

Games typically last for four to five hours, with up to 100 hands per hour played in that time.

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LADBROKES EURO ONLINE POKER CHAMPS
14 January 2005

Plenty poker ahead

Ladbrokespoker.com has announced the dates of its European Online Championship Of Poker, a series of major tournaments with guaranteed prize money taking place online at Ladbrokes poker from Sunday 24th April ? Sunday 1st May.

The prize schedule is pretty impressive, and Ladbrokes have clearly pushed the boat out - take a look at these:

Sun 24th $50,000

Mon 25th $50,000

Tue 26th $100,000

Wed 27th $160,000

Thur 28th $70,000

Fri 29th Super Satellite for Championship Event 10 seats

Sat 30th Championship Event $750,000

Sun 1st $30,000

Event winners will receive a winner's bracelet and free entry into the Ladbrokes Poker Cruise 2005 where they will play a $10,000 Tournament Of Champions Freeroll.

Satellite competitions feeding into bigger events (both multi table and single table) are available now, and raked hand freerolls and leaderboard freerolls will also be available offering qualification into the championship event.

There are many other prizes and competitions to be entered and won, and we recommend a visit to the website where interested readers can find all the detail.

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2005 VC POKER CUP SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST
14 January 2005

Sky Sports to broadcast coverage

VC Poker.com, the online poker room of independent Brit bookmaker Victor Chandler, has announced that the 2005 VC Poker Cup will be held at the Teddington Studios in the UK between 1st - 5th August.

Now in its second year, the event is one of Europe's most prestigious poker competitions and will feature top professionals, internet qualifiers and well-known celebrities playing for what is expected to be the region's biggest ever prize pool. The event is being filmed and will be broadcast in a ten-part series on Sky Sports.

Victor Chandler, Chairman of the Victor Chandler group, said: "We're delighted to confirm that the VC Poker Cup is to become a regular addition to the world poker circuit. But rest assured we're determined to build on the success of last year's tournament to deliver players, broadcasters and poker fans the biggest, best and most memorable tournament yet."

The 2004 Cup was won by London poker star Harry Demetriou after he beat off a field of 100 players to the GBP 250,000 first prize. Featuring such names as Dave 'The Devilfish' Ulliot, The Hendon Mob, Noli Francisco, Donnacha O'Dea and Hollywood hardman Vinnie Jones, the subsequent TV broadcasts have been watched by millions of people around the world.

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SEE THE PAD, PLAY SOME POKER
14 January 2005

New angle for poker TV program

With the plethora of poker shows on TV, producers are having to think up new wrinkles in presentation in order to catch the public attention. This March, E! is shuffling the deck on the celebrity poker genre with the launch of "Hollywood Poker Night."

The new hour-long weekly series takes viewers inside celebrity homes for more than just an innocent game of poker, boasts Ted Harbert, President & CEO, E! Networks.

"'Hollywood Poker Night' is E!'s signature take on the celebrity poker craze," said Harbert. "The series offers the fun and challenge of cards, but will also gives viewers a unique glimpse into the lives and homes of some of today's top young stars."

In the series, three stars and three of their best buddies ante-up for an evening of cards, conversation and good company. Each week, different celebrity hosts will take viewers on an televised tour of their home, sharing their favorite places to relax, work out, and find solace away from their busy Hollywood lives.

After the tour, the players saddle up for some real Texas Hold'em. Although most celebrities are poker-faced about their private lives, there's no telling what personal info they'll deal up as they kickback and chitchat amongst friends. From their love lives, to families, to friends, work and hobbies, these players lay more than just their cards on the table, says the blurb.

Featured celebrities in the series include numerous well known stars from leading movies and TV series.

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CONFERENCE CORNER
14 January 2005

Latin American interlude

SAGSE-Central America will open in Panama city on May 26 and 27, but has already achieved a ninety percent signup, reports event coordinator Pinky van der Hans.

?There are only a few spaces left, and the operators and manufactures? response has really surpassed all our expectations," he says.

Exhibitors from Argentina, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, United State, Canada, Per?, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Singapore, Taiw?n,... and of course from Panama have apparently been rolling in.

Among the companies who have signed up or reserved a booth at SAGSE-Central America 2005 are : Aristocrat, Recreativos Franco, Atronic, Unidesa, Orion Gaming, Baccarat Plus, Naipes Fournier, Gaming Partners International, , TCS-John Huxley, Casino Gaming & Suppliers, Waz Lian Gaming, Hispania Casino Equipment, Gemaco, Dek International, Copag, Gamey Industries, Casinogarage.com, Brintons USA, Caribbean Gaming Distributors, Casinos Groupe Tranchant, Casinos MRP-Ecuador, Magistre France, Merito, Panamericana de Juegos, Bison Group, Formanova, Azartr?n, Gusella Equipamientos, Foster Casino Supplier, Arwin Group, BS Group, Sielcon, Brabingo, Cirilo Ayling, CTC Argentina, Electro Chance, EloTouch-Argentina, Goody Group, Selton, M?nica Spodek.

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WELCOME NEWS FROM THE ISLE OF MAN
7 January 2005

Island licensees can take US players

Welcome new year news came from the Isle of Man this week, which has officially announced that it will not impose restrictions on companies within its jurisdiction on accepting bets from US citizens.

The decision, which has been anticipated through leaked information for some time, comes as a response by the island?s ruling Council of Ministers to a recent report by the Department of Trade and Industry, which outlined the potential economic opportunities for the island.

A statement jointly issued by the DTI and Treasury said the changes had been implemented to "make the well-regulated environment more commercially attractive". Other changes to legislation include the regulation of P2P poker, the scrapping of the need for a GBP sterling 2 million license bond and the need for all changes to software to be certified in advance.

The island hopes that the move will create favourable conditions to businesses looking to relocate to the island, amid speculation that industry leaders CasinoOnNet and PartyPoker are considering a move from Gibraltar.

DTI Minister Alex Downie said: "I believe that the Island will be the focus of increasing numbers of companies who are looking for a well-regulated and reputable jurisdiction and who are attracted by the superb telecommunications infrastructure and support services that we can offer."

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US GOVERNMENT TO LODGE WTO APPEAL
7 January 2005

International horseracing authorities will support Bush Administration

According to the Thoroughbred Times (horse racing publication in the USA) the "United States authorities have confirmed to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) their intention to appeal a World Trade Organization ruling condemning the United States for banning foreign online gambling operators."

The appeal, which is supported by the IFHA, will be filed the first week of January.

In November, a WTO panel ruled that the United States should drop its ban on Americans wagering with offshore Internet casinos, upholding a primary ruling it issued in March in a dispute between the United States and the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

The IFHA believes in the national integrity over betting policies and rules and supports the U.S. in the disagreement.

It could take until May to receive a final decision on the dispute.

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CRYPTOLOGIC FOUNDER IN FORTY MILLION DOLLAR DEAL
7 January 2005

CES bids for Don Best

Cryptologic founder Andrew Rifkin's company CES was in the news this week with a mega deal in the sportsbook industry.

Working through a Toronto-based company, British gambling technology firm CES Software PLC has conditionally agreed to acquire Corcom Inc. of Nevada and the assets of its Don Best Sports business.

Founded in 1989, Don Best is a widely used Internet sports information provider based in Las Vegas. The deal could represent a comfortable fit with the Betbull.com betting exchange venture which CES has embarked on with Bet&Win, a publicly quoted online gambling group out of Vienna.

The deal includes payment of $40 million US in cash, the issuance of one million CES shares (TSX:CES - news) on completion, and the issuance of up to one million more shares based on earnings performance.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Don Best lost $250,000 US.

Last August, Corcom agreed to sell Don Best to Celeus Capital Corp., part of JJR Capital Partners (TSX:JJR.P - news), a Toronto-based private equity firm.

JJR later approached CES with the opportunity to acquire Don Best. JJR has conditionally agreed to assign its rights to CES for 2.24 million ordinary shares. CES will also reimburse Celeus for $1 million US of expenses.

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SPEAR AND THE 'MEISTER GATHER AID FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS
7 January 2005

Leading online casino portals to auction top advertising spots for relief donation

Webmasters Ted Loh and Bryan Bailey of the influential online casino portals Got2Bet.com and Casinomeister.com have combined to offer a novel fund-raising initiative aimed at providing aid to the survivors of the SE Asian killer tsunami.

The initiative comprises top advertising slots on both sites which will be auctioned, with the winning aid pledge from casino operators taking the space for a year.

Given the extent of the suffering in the disaster area, it is expected that bids will be high in order to raise maximum funds and these will be donated to a leading international aid organisation, with appropriate reportage.

Loh (forum handle Spearmaster) and Bailey (Casinomeister) run two of the top portals in the online casino sector, attracting solid traffic which adds to the appeal of the advertising space each is donating. The webmasters hope that all players will appeal to their fave casinos to participate in the auction for such a worthy cause.

Full details are here: /cgi-bin/auction/auction.pl?

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CASINO CAUTIONS
7 January 2005

Island spam
A couple weeks back we reported the launch of ADLM's Island Poker.com, and it unfortunately appears that their marketing tactics include unsolicited spam. Several poker players reported receiving not one, but up to a dozen badly executed spam-mails all on one day this week. The standard response from this type of operation is usually to blame an unnamed affiliate, but that doesn't retrieve a reputation blown by this sort of unethical, and in some places illegal conduct.

Skyline cautionary
It's surprising because it is part of the respected Sportingbet group, but caution is necessary around Skyline Casino.com which has been the subject of a growing number of bonus irregularites complaints by players this week. It might be teething problems or inept management, but until it is sorted out care is recommended.

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ABSOLUTE POKER MAKES TSUNAMI DONATION
7 January 2005

$ 25 000 for SE Asian victims

Absolute Poker.com has joined the list of casinos, sportsbooks, poker rooms and portals that are digging deep to alleviate the suffering of the SE Asian tsunami victims...

The poker room is to donate all tournament fees from this Saturday's activity to the International Red Cross, dedicated to helping those people injured or left homeless by last weekend's earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Southeast Asia

.

Poker Room Manager Gian Perroni estimates that this amount will reach $25,000, and reveals that plans are in hand to provide convenient opportunities for players to make direct personal donations, too.

In addition to the overall tournament buy-in fees, AbsolutePoker will be hosting a special Tsunami Tourney in order to raise funds.

STOP PRESS: In another commendable effort on behalf of the stricken tsunami areas, Poker Stars.com will be collecting donations from any player willing to give. The company has pledged that it will match these personal donations dollar for dollar and donate the money to the International Federation of Red Cross.

Players can give by registering for a special "Donation Tournament." by simply clicking "Tourney" then "Special" in the Poker Stars game lobby, choosing to register for $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100.

Alternatively, players may choose to donate by selecting the "Requests" link at the top left corner of the game lobby. Players should select "Transfer funds?" and enter the amount of the donation along with the Player ID "ReliefEffort." The donation amount will then be matched by PokerStars before being given to the International Federation of Red Cross.

STOP PRESS 2: Poker Room.com has also launched $20 and $100 tournaments and will match the total prize pool and donate that sum to the International Red Cross. All tournament winners may also choose to donate some or all of their winnings, which PokerRoom.com will facilitate.

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CASINOFEED LAUNCH IMMINENT
7 January 2005

All the bonuses in one place...

The coming week will see the launch, on January 11 of Casinofeed.com, an innovative service site on which InfoPowa has previously reported.

The site includes a full list of casinos that have committed to providing real-time bonus and promotions data via the project, and our information is that this useful site has already attracted a great deal of attention from casinos, affiliates and players.

It's an opportunity for players to get the latest updated information on bonuses, provided direct by the casinos themselves or their licensed affiliates.

26 top casinos have already signed up and another 12 are expected on board before the official launch. The marketing campaign to more casino groups starts next week, and this will undoubtedly lead to a growing number of participating casinos, adding content value to the site.

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TAKE A LOOK AT THESE ODDS
7 January 2005

Penny WOF pays out bigtime for pensioner

"This was no penny-ante payoff," the Press of Atlantic City appropriately sub-titled this story. It's not an online win, but it is such a good gambling experience that we decided to include it here.

A retiree from the Philadelphia area hit a $939,281 jackpot playing a 1-cent progressive slot machine at Resorts Atlantic City over the Christmas holiday.

It was the largest payout ever on the 1-cent Wheel of Fortune MegaJackpot machine in the United States, according to slot manufacturer IGT.

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YOU BET YOUR LIFE...
7 January 2005

Arthur bests the ageing odds.

The UK media reported a heart-warming story this week of a British man who celebrated his 100th birthday more than GBP sterling 7000 richer on Sunday after placing a bet 10 years ago on his own life expectancy.

Sunday was Arthur Best?s 100th birthday, and as well as receiving a telegram from the Queen of Great Britain, he received his winnings after betting on his own survival. He placed the bet ten years ago with 66:1 odds to win the celebratory sum.

A birthday party was thrown in his honour in the town of Shrewsbury in eastern England and included a guard of honour from his wartime regiment with which he served in India and Burma in WW2.

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STANLEY'S HI-ROLLER IS HIMSELF A STORY
7 January 2005

37 year old finance tycoon causes a profit warning

The Times, along with most of the UK media was reporting a bottom-line-denting win this week at a Stanley Leisure land casino.

Paul Newey, thought to have been playing at Birmingham?s Star City casino, is rumoured to have won GBP 3 million, wiping 12 per cent ? GBP 64 million ? from Stanley Leisure?s market value.

Rumours of the win surfaced after the casino chain announced that it had ?suffered material losses to a major player? at one of its casinos.

But the man alleged to have made the big hit is story all by himself, and this captured our attention. Newey has little need of the cash: as the co-founder of Ocean Finance, he is thought to be worth GBP 300 million.

The 37 year old is one of a growing band of Midlands millionaires who now frequent Star City rather than trekking south. Although he specialises in financial products, Newey does not have a mathematical background. He left school with three O-levels, none of them in math.

Ocean Finance was brought to life in 1991 when Newey found a business partner after he was made redundant. An initial GBP 2,500 investment paid off. Six years later he bought his partner out. He is thought to own most of the company?s shares. In the year ending January 2003, Ocean had a turnover of GBP 65 million and made profits of GBP26.5 million.

His other businesses include Marlborough Loans, Ocean?s lending company, which made a GBP 4.4 million profit in 2003. Mr Newey?s business assets are estimated to be worth about GBP 250 million. The 2004 Sunday Times Rich List adds another GBP 50 million for personal assets and property. The business went on sale in October 2004 with a GBP 250 million price tag.

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COOL CASINOS
7 January 2005

Vegas 7 revamp
It looks as if Vegas 7 Casino.com has not only switched to the latest edition of facilities-rich Viper software, but has undergone a classy revamp in the process. This is an established casino in a veteran group that includes Grand Hotel, Colosseum, Vegas Joker and Royal Plaza, and the site is professional and informative with an abundance of services and that big Microgaming feel to it. There's a wealth of financial options, 173 games on download and Flash platforms and fully contactable, round-the-clock Support. The signup is a 150 percenter maxed at a sensible $75.

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VIKING WANTS A HARLEY
7 January 2005

Intercasino records it's first big winner of the year

Danish player ?Sture?, enjoyed a great start to the year this week when he conquered the Rags to Riches progressive slot at Intercasino with Viking-like celerity after just $21 of play.

Sture, a 38 year-old from Denmark, was playing early Wednesday morning after his girlfriend left for work. He planned on playing through around $20 and then calling it quits; but luckily for him, he hung in for an extra spin and on the twenty-first dollar hit the jackpot for a hair-raising US $198,292.

?I have been a player at InterCasino for about six months, and I have always liked to play slots and European Roulette ? just a little Roulette, five dollars on black or red once in a while - but Roulette never paid out $198,292!? said the elated Dane.

Sture isn?t what most casinos consider a high roller - he bets for entertainment and makes each bet last. In fact, he has only wagered about two thousand dollars since joining the casino, and by his accounting he was already up one thousand before hitting his personal big-time.

?I knew I could win a jackpot but I never expected to. Of course, each spin I make, I want to win it ? and this time I did. I was stunned, I just sat in front of my computer for a minute or two without moving or saying anything,? confesses Sture.

After that, he probably went a little berserk!

What will the lucky Dane be doing with his winnings? ?I don?t plan any big changes in my life. I will invest most of the money that I?ve won, but I think I?ll be taking some of it to buy a new black and chrome Harley Davidson this coming summer."

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NEW POKER PORTAL
7 January 2005

English site launched

Look out for UK Poker Online.co.uk - a new poker portal that is designed to help fledgling British poker players find the fair and enjoyable poker playing venues.

Playing poker online in the UK came on in leaps and bounds during 2004 with expanding online advertising and television coverage, and the game has quickly found a following of thousands of online players.

The new portal offers a wide range of reviews of poker providers and gaming companies that facilitate play online for pounds sterling or for free to help players practice before putting real money at risk.

Getting the low-down on reputable poker rooms is a major factor in choosing where best to play online and all of the companies listed and reviewed are respected, have been tried and tested and offer secure payment processing facilities.

With many UK gamblers new to playing online, there is a comprehensive rules and basic strategy guide to ensure players get off to a flying start. Coupling this with beginner's guides giving the low-down on what to expect when playing online, this all gels into an informative guide for people wanting to make the right, safe choices when playing in UK based poker rooms.

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LOTS OF SLOTS
7 January 2005

250 slots reviewed

If you're a slots fan this could be the site to visit this week. Casino Man.Net has released a new section on their website that is designed to help online slots players choose the best game to suit their budget and inclinations.

The new section has over 250 online slot game reviews, with detailed information and screenshots of the games and pay tables. Relevant information such as jackpot size, reels, pay lines, coin sizes and extra features are all included in each review, giving a complete one stop shop for hunting down all the information a player is likely to need on Internet slot games.

A major practical attraction is the Search and Compare functionality which has been integrated into this guide. This allows the visitor to choose from an unfiltered or filtered list of slot games, and select up to five slot games to compare.

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MAJOR BJ TOURNEY
7 January 2005

January 21 is the date to watch

GSN's World Series of Blackjack is back for a second exciting season with 40 of the world's top blackjack players all vying for over half a million dollars and the title of the world's top blackjack player. The tourney starts on the 21st of January and will be aired live.

Shot at the legendary Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, the invitation-only tournament will have viewers on the edge of their seats until the final card is drawn.

Players Include owner of the Sacramento Kings, Joe Maloof, Celine Dion?s Husband Rene Angelil and Last Year's Champion MIT Mike.

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AUSSIE POKER PLAYERS LEAD AT LADBROKES
7 January 2005

Downunder gamblers have the best returns

According to a press release from the top European poker site Ladbrokes Poker.com Australian poker players are taking their British counterparts to the cleaners.

"Australians have the best percentage return figures of any nation at Ladbrokes Poker. Basically they are beating up the European players who are running scared. It seems to be a strange combination of aggression and patience that makes Australians stand out" said Albert Tapper, General Manager of Ladbrokes.

Top Australian player at Ladbrokes Poker is Tino Lechich, whose screen name on ladbrokespoker.com is "Maxypaxy". His biggest victory so far is winning a seat worth US $26,875 in Europe's biggest poker tournament, 'The Poker Million' which carries a first prize of $1,000,000 and is open to a select field of 72 of Europe's finest Poker players. The event will be covered live on Sky Television in the UK this year and around the world to an estimated audience of 100 million.

Poker is booming in Australia, and the country's biggest event, the Aussie Millions, takes place at the Crown Casino in Melbourne from the 6th to the 20th January 2005.

Ladbrokes is now directly targeting this burgeoning local interest in poker. The firm staged a special 'freeroll' tournament for a seat at the Aussie Millions main poker event this week, with a A $10,000 seat and three nights accommodation at the Crowne Promenade Hotel on the 18th, 19th and 20th January. A further $1,700 USD was paid out to places 2-50th.

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FIFTH EPISODE OF CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN DUE
7 January 2005

Mark January 25, Bravo Channel on your diary

The upcoming Bravo series Celebrity Poker Showdown will gather celebrities at the poker table for the fifth time on January 25 2005. Twenty-five stars are scheduled to take part in the competition, with a generous $250,000 prize at stake.

Among the celebrities will be Brad Garrett, Catherine O'Hara, Sara Rue, Jason Alexander, Nicolas Gonzales, Robert Wagner, Kevin Weisman, Heather Graham, Andrea Parker, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Fred Willard.

According to Casinoman.com, the new season, hosted by Dave Foley ("Will & Grace," "The Kids in the Hall"), will feature commentary by famous poker guru Phil Gordon. The tournament will consist of six two-hour episodes, and each episode of the showdown will feature five celebrities. The winners of the No Limit Texas Hold'em poker battle will receive a piece of the Cadillac Quarter Million Dollar Prize Pool that will go to a charity of their choice.

Each week will see a new match, sending the winner to the sixth and final episode - the championship final itself.

Hidden cameras will give the inside track on the hands the different players are holding, and closed circuit TV will enable viewers and eliminated players to watch the remainder of the matches from the 'Loser's Lounge'.

The winners of the first four Celebrity Poker Showdown tournaments held so far are Nicole Sullivan ("King of Queens"), Maura Tierney ("ER"), Seth Myers ("Saturday Night Live") and Mekhi Phifer ("ER"). The Bravo series has become extremely popular, averaging more than one million viewers per episode.

Celebrity Poker Showdown, officially sponsored by Cadillac, is produced by Picture This Television in association with Bravo.

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GOOD GROWTH FOR ABYSS
7 January 2005

Search engine gets high Alexa rankings

GameAbyss.com has announced remarkable growth since the launch of its Gambling Search Engine, GameAbyss.net at the beginning of November 2004.

In less than three months GameAbyss.net has generated substantial search engine traffic. According to Alexa, an Amazon.com company (AMZN), GameAbyss.net ended the year with a ranking of 64,611 on 12/31/04 and according to Ranking.com ended the year with a ranking of 48,412.

In this short period of time over 100 affiliates have joined the affiliate program, increasing the reach across the Internet. GameAbyss.net search results are provided through the site as well as affiliate sites that provide GameAbyss.net search boxes.

Both GameAbyss.com and GameAbyss.net ended the year 2004 with rankings in the top 100,000 sites on the web.

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LOWERING THE BOOM ON SPAM
7 January 2005

Watch for new moves from Yahoo and Comcast this year

Stats on spam published recently in the US media show why major companies like Comcast and Yahoo are increasingly determined to introduce more radical and effective anti-spam technologies this year.

A year after the passage of the Can-Spam act, the results are in. The US still leads the world in spam, with 42.1 percent of it originating from within its borders.

South Korea is in second place with 13.4 percent with China, Canada, and Brazil accounting for the rest of the top five. South Korea's prominence in the top five is explained by its massive amounts of home broadband users, many of whom have had their PCs compromised as "zombies" in order to be used for sending out spam.

When the list of the countries responsible for most of the spam was last released in February 2004, the US was also at the top of the heap. However, some had hopes that the Can-Spam legislation would have an effect. Since then, there have even been a couple of high-profile prosecutions. However, it hasn't had any meaningful impact.

"When we first reported on the top spamming countries back in February 2004, the U.S. had the excuse that the CAN-SPAM Act had only been in existence for a couple of months," said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant for Sophos, in a statement. "Almost a year and millions of spam messages later, it's quite evident that the CAN-SPAM legislation has made very little headway in halting the flood of spam."

2004 ended as it began, with a number of proposals on how to stem the tide of spam, but with little to show for it thus far.

At the outset of 2004, two authentication technologies held some promise. However, Microsoft's Sender ID proposal ran into obstacles from the open source community, which led its being withdrawn from consideration by the Internet Engineering Task Force as a standard (although it has since been revised and resubmitted).

And Yahoo has been working on its free DomainKeys anti-spam tech, which was finally deployed in mid-November.

There have been other attempts at staunching the flow of Vioxx ads (which have recently supplanted Viagra and porn as the most common spam subjects).

Some ISPs began taking action against compromised PCs on their networks, with Comcast blocking port 25 on the cable modems of subscribers responsible for sending out spam, with positive results.

Comcast recently confirmed that their network is the largest single source of spam on the Internet. PCs on Comcast's network send over 800 million messages daily, with over 80 percent of those coming from PCs belonging to Comcast subscribers. These PCs were turned to the dark side when their owners unwittingly launched "spambots" by clicking on e-mail attachments, and the majority of their owners are unaware that their computers are spitting out spam at a prodigious rate.

Lycos Europe recently released a short-lived screensaver application that hit sites of spammers with a steady stream of connection requests in an attempt to jack up their bandwidth bills.

In order for 2005 to be any different, ISPs need to be aggressive about blocking compromised PCs on their networks from sending out spam, even if it means shutting down their customers' Internet access until they can eradicate all the malware from their systems. Also, more work needs to be done on authentication schemes. But it is going to take a lot of concerted effort to make real headway against the evil of spam.

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BELGIAN GAMES COMMISSION CALLS FOR I-GAMING REGULATION
7 January 2005

Recognition for bona fide sites urged

The Belgian site Radio Vlaanderen International (RVI) carried an interesting call for Internet gaming regulations from the Games of Chance Commission this week.

Marc Callu of the Commission has called for the recognition of bona fide games of chance on the Internet following a boom in Internet gambling by his countrymen.

Gambling on the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular pastime in Belgium, says Callu, and this creates a need for greater safeguards. He is urging lawmakers to modify existing legislation and allow for the recognition of bona fide sites on the Internet.

Callu says that time is of the essence. The number of gambling sites is increasing fast and there is an urgent need for player protection.

Games of chance without a special license remain illegal in Belgium, but the law does not allow for the possibility of recognising Internet sites in this way. Callu says that the justice minister favours a change in the law too, but so far government has failed to take the initiative.

The Belgian Working Party against Gambling Addiction favours a far more repressive approach and believes such websites should be severely fined. It points to the 4,000 problem gamblers who are taken into care in Belgium each year.

It's impossible to say how many Belgians gamble on the Internet, but industry insiders believe that their number could be as high as 90,000. The figure for Belgium is based on an extrapolation of a Dutch study. The Dutch panel supervising games of chance quizzed several thousand Internet users. It came to the conclusion that over 5 percent of the people who surf the worldwideweb participated in games of chance on the Internet in the past year.

The figure was higher than the previous year and the amount of money being wagered is higher too. The Dutch figures suggest that people participating in games of chance on the Internet get through some 300 Euros over the year on average. This figure does not take account of the money gambled on text message and mobile phone games.

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SPORTXCTION IN DEAL WITH TURKISH SPORTINGBET SITE
7 January 2005

Play by play sportsbetting now on Super Bahis.com

Interactive Systems Worldwide Inc. announced this week that its wholly owned subsidiary, Global Interactive Gaming Limited (GIG) has expanded its agreement with SportingBet, one of the world's largest Internet sports betting companies.

ISWI's SportXction play-by-play sports betting service was incorporated into Spotingbet's Turkish wagering website Super Bahis.com in December and GIG is offering wagering on the same range of sports that are currently offered on SportingBet's other UK and international web sites, which include: soccer, tennis, golf, cricket, rugby and snooker.

Bernard Albanese, President of ISWI, stated, "Only a few weeks ago we added Spain, and now we can add Turkey to our growing list of countries that also include the UK, Greece and Ireland, where our service is available. Our multi-currency and multi-language enhancements to the system have allowed this expansion and we will continue to increase our coverage of international events to meet the needs of our global partners."

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HOW TO INVEST IN I-GAMBLING
7 January 2005

New venture from consulting companys

A new service was launched by consulting firm MECN this week, aimed at encouraging investment in the gambling industry. The company, known for its industry surveys, has provided an extended version of its investment database.

Martin Oelbermann, responsible partner at MECN, states "There are plenty of promising gambling ventures that could easily attract financial investors - the investors just have to know about them."

Using the database, a gambling company looking for investors or financial investors interested in potential investments in the gambling industry can make the right connections after registering free of charge on the database. MECN will monitor all requests and make them available on a regular basis.

The database can be accessed via www.registration.mecn.net MECN is a network of experts on issues concerning the media and entertainment industry. Together they provide in-depth knowledge, analysis, and advice to global clients.

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NEW OPS HEAD FOR ANGELCITI
7 January 2005

Who is Mr. Treumann?

Angelciti head honcho George Gutierrez was pushing out press releases early in the new year, with one announcing the appointment of a new director of operations for the online gambling group.

Gutierrez revealed that AngelCiti Entertainment's wholly owned subsidiary, Worldwide Management, has hired "industry veteran" Oliver Treumann as its new Director of Casino Operations.

According to the release, Treumann has been involved in management and operations in the online casino industry since its inception and "....brings a treasure trove of connections to the company. In his previous position as director of operations, Mr. Treumann went on to more than triple company revenue."

Unfortunately Gutierrez does not say where that was, or give any further details on Treumann's background and track record.

The fate of the previous operations chief was not covered in the release.

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INTERNET GAMBLING IS EVIL: CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
7 January 2005

Amend the Wire Act....

The Christian Science Monitor started 2005 fulminating against Internet gambling this week, recommending that the 1961 Wire Act be amended, and quoting Senator Jon Kyl's view that all sorts of evil emanates from online gambling.

The somewhat biased article reports that Internet gambling - "....unfortunately" - has been growing as rapidly in the US as quarters are lost in slot machines.

In 1996, some 30 gambling websites were taking online bets, mostly from US customers, totaling over $30 million, according to Christiansen Capital Advisors. The gambling industry analysis firm estimates that last year, more than 1,800 gambling websites took in some $7 billion in online wagers. It projects $9.8 billion in revenue this year, and by 2010, an eye-popping $18.4 billion.

Reviewing the past history of attempts to ban the industry, the piece describes Federal law on the subject as "murky" and reports that Congress has done very little to control the expansion of online gambling.

The last action it took was over a year ago, when the Senate Banking Committee voted to approve Internet gambling restrictions proposed by one of the gambling industry's chief opponents for the past 10 years - Senator Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona.

The CSM goes on to quote from Sen. Kyl's website: "On his website, Senator Kyl rightly notes, "Internet gambling encourages organized crime, is rife with fraud and abuse, ruins credit ratings, and leads many young people to amass thousands of dollars in debt on their parents' credit cards."

It concludes that Kyl's efforts have not been attended by success, speculating that "....so much gambling industry money is finding its way into congressional campaign coffers." It also mentions the industry's attempts to fight back, quoting Michael Corfman's legal action against the DoJ.

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CONFERENCE CORNER
7 January 2005

One for the affiliates

Once the ICE and Mobile Summit events have been completed at the end of this (January) month, the industry, and particularly the affiliate sector will be turning to the Casino Affiliate Convention in Amsterdam, Netherlands on April 7 and 8, 2005.

At this early stage, there are indications that Golden Palace, Party Poker, Pacific Poker, Empire Poker, BetGameDay, GCMoney and a representative of Clear Channel are planning on being there just to name a few.

The CAC is an annual industry event that covers marketing and advertising for the internet casino industry. This year it will take place on April 7-8, 2005 at the NH Grand Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and the agenda is focused entirely on European Marketing and Advertising for the Internet Gaming Industry.

The last CAC attracted over 225 casino and sportsbook executives, affiliate managers, marketing companies, portal webmasters and affiliates, and this year the attendance figures are expected to rise.

The 2005 event will include an additional track: "Gaming Marketing Conference." In addition to online marketing, traditional forms of marketing and advertising to the European Union for a land-based gaming operation will be covered at the event. You can get more detail and register here: http://www.cac2005.com/innerpage-amsterdam.php

Fighting the cyber-crooks...
On 23rd February 2005 London will play host to a conference dedicated to combating the scourge of international cyber crime.

Topics such as DDoS attacks, blackmail, mobile phone security, age verification and internal procedures associated with knowing your customers and staff are on the agenda, and the event has already attracted high profile speakers from the computer technology and gaming industries.

Nick Fitt from Trustmarque International, who will be speaking at the Combating Cyber Crime in the Betting and Gaming Business Conference comments: "With such high stakes available for the motivated criminal, there is little wonder we are seeing an increase in online fraud within gambling.

"As fraudsters become more and more intelligent in methods that relate to circumventing security procedures for online gambling, it is increasingly important for any organisation within the online gambling industry to raise their game in respect of combating online fraud or 'cyber crime'."

Extortionists threatening Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which could potentially paralyse on line operations, recently targeted Blue Square online bookmaker. On this occasion, the company was able to fight off the threat and Peter Pedersen; Chief Technology Officer at Blue Square will be talking to delegates about focusing on operational readiness when faced with a cyber crime. "Having effective internal procedures and ensuring staff alertness is paramount when dealing with crimes of this nature," said Pedersen.

This one-day event will be useful for every operator with an online presence based either in the UK or abroad and provides the opportunity to be part of the debate to better understand and potentially eradicate the problems affecting the industry.

For more details, or to register for the conference, call Matt Miller at Pan Presentations on 01483 799 141, email info@ccc2005.co.uk or register online at www.ccc2005.co.uk

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Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa


 
 

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