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Online Casino News

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

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

This Month:

18 July 2002

Filling the PayPal gap

As the industry started to come to terms with the prospect of no more PayPal by year's end, new competitors started to jostle for the significant opportunity that this presents.

Among them was Pacific Nakon, which announced that it is working with eConnect to mass launch the eCashPad in conjunction with the ICasino Pay software to meet the needs of an estimated 6,000 Internet casinos for online cash facilities.

Merlin 2 and ePos2 software also acquired by eConnect will interface with ICasino Pay, support prepaid card usage, and enable Internet casino customers to move their winnings to a private label debit card for usage outside of the Internet. Home eCashPad users will be able to either use their prepaid card or an eCheck loaded eCashCard to effect cash payments at the Internet casinos.

1,000 eCashPads will be deployed at walk-in locations in major cities. Prepaid cards can then be purchased at these locations and the consumer can then use the eCashPad and the prepaid card to effect cash payments to a variety of recipients.

The eCashPad is a revolutionary, inexpensive home hardware device now being deployed by eConnect that enables Internet consumers to swipe their credit cards at Bank Eyes Only- enabled web sites and to also send cash payments by either a prepaid or value-added eCashCard at the web merchant site. The eCashPad readily lends itself to home-originated gaming applications. More information on the eCashPad can be found at

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18 July 2002

Jean Noulting resigns

Shock of the week was the announcement by Cryptologic that CEO Jean Noulting had resigned with the approval of the Board. As we went to press there was no information on Noulting's future direction.

Noulting is widely respected in the industry as having a keen strategic brain that has enabled him to shrewdly position Cryptologic over the past eighteen months to best prosper from industry developments. However, unforseen challenges such as the $9.5 million failure of, hacker activities and the action of banks to curtail credit card usage in gambling have taken their toll of the company as it has elsewhere in the business, and Cryptologic's share price had slid $17.20 or 61% since the start of the year. Shares in CryptoLogic fell 7% on the announcement of Noulting's departure to close at $10.90.

CryptoLogic used the press release to announce the appointment of accountant Lewis Rose as the Company's Interim President and CEO. Although largely unknown in the internet gambling industry, Rose is reported to be a results-driven executive with two decades of experience in the consumer product, entertainment and financial services sectors.

Rose's CV includes service as president of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc., president of Maple Leaf Foods' Grocery Products Division, and chief financial officer of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Earlier in his career, he worked in mergers and acquisitions at CIBC World Markets. Since 2000, he has been the CEO of E-tv Interactive Technologies, a provider of commerce-enabled interactive television and Internet services.

Crypto chairman Dennis Wing paid tribute to Noulting and noted CryptoLogic's many accomplishments during the past year and a half. The Company has applied for certification in key regulatory jurisdictions, strengthened its operations in Europe, signed important new licensees, and made the transition from its entrepreneurial founders to professional management.

One of Rose's priorities is the broadening of electronic payment options available to players at Crypto-powered casinos."My priorities also include strengthening our European focus, and continuing to be a leader in the global trend toward safe, secure and regulated Internet gaming."

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18July 2002

More gambling insurance

Veteran gamblers have seen it before concerning a site called - message board spamming that promises internet gamblers a forty percent cashback on their losses over the previous month...for a fee of course.

Big Cash Back is not, in fact a casino. The owners are using standard casino affiliate payments plus a 7.77 percent fee to fund the cashback option, and it is exclusively linked to Real Time Gaming-powered Twin Aces Casino, which is where you are "referred" when you click through for the gaming. A clever circular arrangement n'cest pas?

Unfortunately Twin Aces has taken flak in the past for bad casino practise which will not endear the scheme to many gamblers. For a small monthly membership fee and a 7.77 pc cut of the amount awarded these folks undertake to lower the actual losses players sustain. Example: Monthly losses = $100 less forty percent cashback less 7.77pc of this total = a player payout of $32.23. There appears to be no ceiling on claims, and the owners promise connections to Poker Room and Sportsbook casinos later this year. These will presumably be RTG-powered operations.

The owners are also using the site to attract investors to what they claim is a "unique concept" and boast that they will seek public company status in the future.

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18 July 2002

New York wants the gambling books

Interesting questions of privacy surround the latest moves by the New York authorities to clamp down on internet gambling.

Earlier this week, the online payments company PayPal received a subpoena from the attorney general of New York asking the company for documents related to its processing of Got2bet transactions.

PayPal said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the attorney general has not filed any legal action against PayPal, but the subpoena will be used to determine whether New York should take action against the company.

"PayPal intends to cooperate fully with the attorney general in this matter," the company said.

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18 July 2002

Or is there some rumour mongering going on?

Contract to include special horseracing facilities

Interactive Gaming and Wagering (IGC) has landed a cool turnkey contract from Global Internet Corporation.

IGW, a subsidiary of Global Entertainment Holdings/Equities, Inc. is to provide an as yet untitled online casino, sportsbook, and horsebook with call center for its newest licensee. Global Internet Corporation is headquartered on the island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles and operates Got2bet facilities.

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18 July 2002

WinZone debuts

British satellite television platform Sky has incorporated a betting and gaming portal called Winzone within its interactive service.

The offering, which was introduced to the platform this week, is understood to have replaced its World Cup 2002 service that was designed to consolidate all of the Sky's content during the tournament.

Winzone is accessible via the platform's standalone iTV electronic programme guide and allows viewers to place fixed-odds bets and play premium-rate competitions and chance-based games. In addition, viewers will be able to place bets via the gaming portal itself.

Betting groups Surrey Sports, Ladbrokes and Blue Square are understood to have partnered the service and it is expected that more partnerships will be formed in the coming months.

Incorporating betting services into Sky's iTV proves the viability of revenue streams gleaned from interactive services. Sky reported that interactive revenues for the last six months of 2001 were GBP91m, the vast majority of which came from betting.

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18 July 2002

This week's totally subjective picks

Reef Club
New from the powerful CON-Cassava Enterprises group, this online casino sports the latest version Random-Logic download gambling software with 8 games of average to good quality. The site is professionally and attractively presented and works well. Intersafe Global and PayPal e-cash is available together with full support. A 20 pc signup maxed at $200 is offered. The launch of this new operation has unfortunately been marred by some bad management decisions, which we hope Cassava will take in hand before it escalates further. Over the past few days several players have reported that the casino changed the bonus wagering requirement in the T&C's without warning, and then applied this retroactively - a definite no-no in the business.

This well established Playtech-powered casino owned by the Global Interest Gaming group seems to have had an upgrade and now sports 49 games of good quality.
Word has it that the Casino On Net/Cassava folks are using this very nicely put together site to Beta test their new person-to-person online poker technology, presumably from the longtime associate Random-Logic software provider. For the poker fans, the featured game is Texas Hold 'Em. There is plenty of detailed gaming information on the attractive and easy to navigate site, which also carries e-cash facilities through Intersafe Global and PayPal.

It is difficult to find fault with this very professional casino, sportsbook and fantasy sports site owned by TB Entertainment NV out of Curacao - the same people who own Top >From start to finish the easy to use site is packed with all the upfront information a player could possibly desire. Fitted with the attractive Flash software from iChance/Futurebet the gambling suite boasts 10 table games, 3 VPs, 4 Slots and a progressive all backed by e-cash facilities from iDollar, NetTeller and PayPal. There's a loyalty club, a system whereby players can limit the size of their deposits, game and audit tracking, free CD and of course fully contactable Support. An added bonus is that the gaming software has been certified by the respected TST Global laboratories, and the owners guarantee that player deposits are safeguarded in escrow to obviate the notorious practice of using today's deposits to pay yesterday's winners. Talking of bonuses, they're offering matchplay amounts up to $50 on signups.

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18 July 2002

Split loyalties at Black Rhino

Last week we reported the major hassles Black Rhino Casino has generated for itself through some pretty "creative" sportsbook practise, and condemnation has continued to fill the message boards. Tens of thousands of dollars are involved in disallowed payouts - we know of at least one player who is owed in excess of twenty thousand dollars. One of the more interesting bits of information that has emerged is that Black Rhino apparently had an interesting "alternative" software product up until very recently - Casinokiller. As the name suggests this $100 offering claimed to empower online players to mangle casinos...

OPA calls RTG's bluff

Late in the week players and observers on the message boards had another dose of what Real Time Gaming appears to think is efficient PR. Choosing the handle "RTGPR" and using an RTG email address but otherwise failing to identify himself, the poster tried to explain why RTG boss-man Michael Staw abandoned his last attempt at this sort of exercise some months back and said he was there to deal with problems associated with the company. The thread immediately ignited due to the number of still-aggrieved players and the fact that these exercises by RTG appear to be superficial...past experience has shown that the really serious issues and questions are carefully skirted in favour of platitudes and promises that things are being "evaluated". Astonishingly (bearing in mind that RTG set up the widely ridiculed Safebet mediation site) RTGPR implied that RTG would rather not get involved in issues and that an independent third party might be the answer. Whilst that is certainly a cop-out and may have been fudging a crucial issue, it presented an opportunity for the Online Players Association, which immediately stepped in with a suggestion. Pointing out that all RTG casinos were on it's NOT RECOMMENDED list due to the large number of unresolved complaints, the Association offered to fill the independent third party slot for an agreed period during which RTG could quote "put up or shut up" unquote by resolving all outstanding issues in a public, fair and timeous manner. If that was accomplished the RTG powered casinos would be released from the NR list although the situation would continue to be monitored. RTG would have to stump up for the extra work involved, but that would be a small price to pay for the improvement in player relations and general business. As we went to press the offer was on the table, but RTG had not responded....Cynics have observed that the latest RTG "PR" move may not be unrelated to their loss of Black Widow and Grand Banks casinos to another software provider, and there have been rumours that the better behaved RTG licencees are becoming more vociferous about the cost to them of RTG's increasingly weak reputation.

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18 July 2002

RTG loses the Chance group

Following weeks of rumour, Grand Banks this week confirmed that it had dumped RTG software in favour of the increasingly popular Playtech download system. The move also involves sister Black Widow, but GoldenRail and StarBlast will retain their Kismet software for now.

In a press release this week, no reasons for the move were given but RTG's less than perfect reputation in the industry could be a factor.

According to casino manager Clarence Evans, key features of the revamped casino are a roster of 49 games including progressive video poker and slots enabling players to score million-dollar pulls, multi-player, multi-hand and private group blackjack and poker games, interactive chat options with fellow gamers, and a superior customer loyalty monitoring and award system. The casino will continue to offer its 24-hour customer support via online chat, e-mail, and phone systems through M2S2.

A curious feature of the press release was the emphasis on progressives payouts of $67 million to date, implying that Playtech progressives had made such payouts. Informed gamblers and analysts alike immediately challenged this, which resulted in a casino official explaining that the intent was to highlight the large amounts of money from all internet progressives that has been won since their introduction by Microgaming some years ago.

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18 July 2002

Plans to cut casino advertising.

Major search engine and information source Yahoo! said this week that it would soon stop accepting Got2bet ads, though it will continue making money from online casinos who pay for search engine placement.

Referring to the decision, NetRatings director Lisa Strand said, "There's obviously money there, but when they look at their legal liability, I think a lot of companies are realizing it's not worth the risk.'' Yahoo executives decided that they will stop taking ads from gambling sites in the near future after weighing the impact of such ads on its image vs. the need to be profitable.

"Over the past few months, management has been evaluating our operations,'' said Diana Lee, a Yahoo spokeswoman. "One of the results of that review was to discontinue gambling advertising.''

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, as they say and a likely beneficiary of the Yahoo decision might be Overture, a Pasadena company that's the leading "pay for placement'' search engine. Web sites pay Overture for each visitor who "clicks through'' to their Web site.

According to Overture, the average Web site pays about 24 cents for each "click through.'' By comparison, a recent visit to the Overture site showed gambling sites willing to pay up to $20 for each person who clicked through.

Overture doesn't break out its revenue by industry segment and a spokesman for the company declined to say how important gambling money is to the site.

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15 July 2002

...and Playtech is the winner!


50 Million Reasons to Visit Grand Banks Casino

July 15, 2002 - Curacao, Dutch Antilles - What's so special about 50 million? To date, over $50 million has been paid out to progressive slots players by online casinos. However, it's a number that is going to grow today as Grand Banks Casino officially unveils its new jackpot-loaded site ( that takes full advantage of a state-of-the-art gaming program from PlayTech.

"Online casinos need to keep working in order to meet the demands voiced by the gaming community," said Casino Manager Clarence Evans. "One look at the upgraded Grand Banks Casino, and gamers will see that we've listened."

Key features of the revamped casino are a roster of 49 games including progressive video poker and slots enabling players to score million-dollar pulls, multi-player, multi-hand and private group blackjack and poker games, interactive chat options with fellow gamers, and a superior customer loyalty monitoring and award system. Evans assures that the winning potential at Grand Banks Casino is like no other.

"We have jackpots starting at $100,000, a 100% Match-Up offer, concierge services, bonus membership programs, and tons of additional promotions and big prize announcements. You can find these winnings on everything - on casino classics like blackjack, video poker, or slots or on games that only the web can offer. We really want to make it worth the gamer's time to check out the site."

The casino will continue to offer its premier 24-hour customer support - via online chat, e-mail, and phone systems - courtesy of M2S2 in order to make the experience a comfortable and fruitful one for new and returning players.

Grand Banks Casino is an award-winning online gaming site that operates out of Curacao in the Dutch Antilles. Additional information about the site can be found at Grand Banks Casino .

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12 July 2002

New eBet owners don't want the internet gambling business

Players and casino operators alike were discussing PayPal and its future as the story of the week. Announcing it's purchase of the convenient online purchasing vehicle, eBay said that the legal clouds surrounding internet gambling were discouraging, and that it had decided to lose the gambling transactions after a decent interval in order that shareholder and other authorities be obtained and alternative arrangements made by its many clients. The effective change is unlikely to occur before year-end.

Although PayPal has done very well and is available on most Got2bet sites, its success in the general internet retail business is considerably more impressive and clearly offers a better commercial future for the new owners, who purchased PayPal in a deal worth $1.5 billion.

Bear Sterns gambling analyst Jason Ader initially took a pessimistic view, predicting that as a result of PayPal's exit, Bear Stearns will probably reduce its 2003 estimates by another 5 percent to 10 percent.

Right now no-one is panicking, because eBay has committed itself to a measured and responsible transition and there are a number of alternative methods available in the wings. Everyone in the business will have to resign themselves to overcoming a natural inertia to change, and there's a lucrtaive opportunity for companies smart and well-funded enough to go after this business.

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12 July 2002

eConnect Acquires Exclusive License of ICasino Pay Software

Friday July 12, 8:00 am Eastern Time Press Release SOURCE: Pacific Nakon International; eConnect


Pacific Nakon announced today that the company is now jointly working with eConnect (OTC Bulletin Board: ECNC - News) to mass launch the eCashPad in conjunction with the ICasino Pay software to meet the needs of the present 6,000 Internet casinos to be paid with on-line cash.

Merlin 2 and ePos2 software also acquired by eConnect will interface with ICasino Pay, support prepaid card usage, and enable Internet casino customers to move their winnings to a private label debit card for usage outside of the Internet. Home eCashPad users will be able to either use their prepaid card or an eCheck loaded eCashCard to effect cash payments at the Internet casinos.

1,000 eCashPads will be deployed at walk-in locations in major cities. Prepaid cards can then be purchased at these locations and the consumer can then use the eCashPad and the prepaid card to effect cash payments to a variety of recipients.

eConnect has now begun a stock repurchase program that will continue on a steady ongoing basis. The repurchased shares may be used by the Company for general corporate purposes, or may be retired to Treasury. The company's current strong financial position allows the implementation of the repurchase program without adversely impacting internal investment, implementation, and growth plans. The actions that the company has taken, regarding reducing the shares in the float as of July 22 and the current action of a share buy back program, are being done to enhance shareholder value. The Company's purchase of any of its shares is subject to limitations that may be imposed on such purchases by applicable securities laws and regulations and the rules of the NASD.

The eCashPad is a revolutionary, inexpensive home hardware device now being deployed by eConnect that enables Internet consumers to swipe their credit cards at Bank Eyes Only- enabled web sites and to also send cash payments by either a prepaid or value-added eCashCard at the web merchant site. The eCashPad readily lends itself to home-originated gaming applications. More information on the eCashPad can be found at

12 July 2002

Support from an unexpected quarter...

Reports reaching us as we went to press indicate that anti-internet gambling legislator Bob Goodlatte is facing another hurdle in his efforts to get online gaming banned in the USA.

Lobbyists say that the powerful House Majority Whip leader Tom DeLay has voiced his opposition to the current form of Goodlatte's bill and will resist efforts to advance the legislation to the House floor this year. Although DeLay does not favor Internet gambling, he is concerned that a prohibition proposed in the Bill would diminish states' rights, spokesman Jonathan Grella said.

One of Goodlatte's exemptions would have allowed Internet gambling between states that choose to legalize it. The Nevada Gaming Commission is studying whether Got2bet can be effectively regulated.

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12 July 2002

Or is there some rumour mongering going on?

The normally sunny investor perception of successful UK online betting group Sportingbet took something of a dent this week as the shareprice slipped 7p on unsubstantiated rumours of unpaid bets and staff defections.

Sportingbet peaked at 167p earlier this year, but has declined to sub-80p levels. It is generally known that the shares are being targeted by bear raider Simon Cawkwell, the self-styled 'Evil Knievil', and Sportingbet chairman Mark Blandford issued a statement saying that "...other than general stock market conditions, the board is not aware of any business reasons for the share price fall". He added that trading was in line with expectations. Cawkwell, who sells shares he does not own in the hope of buying them back more cheaply, believes the price will fall to 20p, saying "I have no reason to change my mind about the shares."

Sportingbet, which made a ?5m profit last year on turnover of nearly ?1bn, is believed to have asked investment watchdogs to take action against the source of the 'malicious rumours'.

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12 July 2002

And Sportingbet scores a coup

Whilst all the Cawkwell stuff was going on Sportingbet was scoring with the purchase of the rights to operate sports betting and gaming facilities using the coveted domain following the previous owner's business failure.

Administrators Baker Tilly confirmed that the domain name rights had been sold to US publisher and former investor in, Sportsline, for over $300,000 and the name would be licensed to Sportingbet. The value of the domain is illustrated by its ability to pull more than three million visitors a month to what was widely regarded as one of the top sites in Europe.

The deal enables Sportsline to share the gross win generated by's customers with Sportingbet, in return for use of the domain.

Sportingbet has revealed that it intends to redesign the website, incorporating the range of betting markets it offers, and there will apparently be a relaunch several weeks hence. It expects to generate "significant sports betting and gaming revenue" as a result.

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12 July 2002

KGC takes a bold step forward

With an increasingly knowledgeable and vociferous player community, one of the key issues facing casino operators is reassuring clients that the software in use is fair and honest. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission took its place among the leaders in this field this week with an important announcement that it is the first jurisdiction to adopt new technical standards.

In order to do this, the KGC has engaged the North American office of independent testing agency BMM International Pty. Ltd. to develop standards and to test and certify the software and control systems of operators in this Canadian jurisdiction. Many Microgaming-powered, quality end casinos fall into this category.

The announcement says that suppliers and operators will be able to design, implement and internally test their Internet gaming, wagering and sports-betting systems with a high level of confidence of achieving formal certification to these technical requirements. Rather than offering one standard, BMM have updated, upgraded and re-structured the technical requirements to offer a total of 28 components to date, with a range of "customised flexible parameters." These include random number generators, reports, payment sub-systems, jackpots gaming applications and games.

BMM has the qualifications for the job. Four years ago the company developed the technical standards on which the Queensland Office of Gaming Regulation?s based its Principles of Functionality for Interactive Gaming and the Tasmanian Gaming Commission based its Internet Gaming Technical Requirements.

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12 July 2002

Artifical Intelligence

New portal claims to set itself apart from the on-line casino portal crowd by being the first to use Artificial Intelligence Customer Service to keep their players happy.

This cutting-edge technology gives players an opportunity to ask questions and communicate directly with a "smartbot," or virtual customer service representative - one that actually has a name and face. They say it "...makes the experience at that much more human, and that much more interesting as well. Combine that with the live on-line chat option that offers yet another way to interact, ask questions, and get answers, and the result is clearly the most player-oriented on-line gaming site around."

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12 July 2002

Big winner tells his story

Few internet gamblers have not heard the news that an American player hit the internet's biggest ever win on a Jackpot Madness progressive recently, turbo-charging his personal bank account with a massive cash injection of almost $1.6 million dollars.

This week the online casino where he discovered this treasure, Captain released a few more personal insights.

The casino reports that Tony P from the USA deposited US$100 and then called the Captain Cook's staff who recommended he try out the Major Millions progressive. Although he had been a member of the casino for over two years he is the first to say that he was not a major gambler. On this visit he had played for an hour and was down to his last ten dollars when his ship -- laden with gold as it turned out -- came in. He had the cash within ten days and was impressed with the efficiency and warmth of the casino folks with whom he came in contact.

Captain Cooks released some encouraging research numbers with their news. The number of regular online gamblers will triple from just under 5 million in 2000 to over 15 million by 2005, and will produce a turnover of over US$30bn by 2005, from a starting point of almost US$12bn in 2000. This growth is in stark contrast to the majority of business to consumer web sites, which are struggling to pull themselves out of the red (Source: Datamonitor, September 2001).

Captain Cook's has been in operation since 1999 and is an award-winning online casino recognized by Casino Player Magazine in seven of its '2001 Best Of' categories for online gaming including The Best Casino Software, The Best Online Casino Theme and The Best Payout Program. Now they are The Biggest Payer, too!

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12 July 2002

Another major UK deal

ukbetting plc has bought SCG Enterprises Ltd., the betting operations of Ltd., for cash 670,000 GBP sterling. 570,000 GPB of this sum will cover net liabilities, while the remaining £100,000 acquires the entire betting operation, including 24,000 betting customers, and the domain. The deal boosts ukbetting's customer base to over 100,000.

According to unaudited management accounts, the SCG results for the six months ended June 30, 2002 show revenues of 8.8 million GBP and loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of £454,000.

Earlier this year Cryptologic pulled out of a deal on news that Limited has been placed into Administration in the UK due to uncertainty regarding the's ability to continue as a going concern, although none of the subsidiaries are a part of the Administration, including SCG Enterprises Limited (SCG), the former holder of's online gaming interests.

"Administration" is a process whereby a court-appointed administrator assumes day-to-day control of a company in order to determine whether it should be rehabilitated, sold, or its assets should be liquidated. At this time, the Administrator has indicated its intention to preserve the business and find a buyer.

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12 July 2002

Now Homewagering gets a new owner

Earlier this year fans of Unified Gaming software casinos were told that had taken over a number of UG-powered casinos.

It looks as if Homewagering bit off a little more than it could chew, because promised overdue player payments were not made, and we now believe that another UG licencee, Carib Sports has taken over Homewagering!

It is difficult to keep track, but checking our database we note only 14 UG-powered casinos still in business - that's way down from a peak of something like 38 last year.

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12 July 2002

Playstar confusion

What's the story with Canadian public casino company Playstar? As recently as May this year the company announced that it was trying to negotiate the re-financing of its operations, saying that this was "...vital to PlayStar's continuing operational viability." The release also used these downsizing euphemisms "....streamline operations and focus on the company's core business: the operation of PlayStar Casino and the licensing of it's software to third party internet gaming operators."

Adding fuel to the speculative fires, it was noted that Playstar had attracted big-deposit bonus hunter action with a generous but perhaps unwise bonus deal of twenty-five percent with no max limit.

Nothing further has been heard since then but this week the site was down, the emails were not being answered, and players were starting to worry. Affiliates, too...judging by a warning posted by several webmasters, who quoted an email allegedly sent out by one Mikki Fish who signed herself as Playstar director of marketing.

In the email Fish apparently told addressees:

"I am not quite sure what to tell you all at this point. I have returned from our Canadian long weekend to be informed by one of our affiliates that the PlayStar site is down. Of course to make matters worse I was unable to connect this morning because our server was down. Tried to call the 1-800 # and there is no answer.

"I was not informed that we were going to be down, but then I too am just an employee. What I believe has happened is that our Director has resigned and there will be a new Director appointed (speculation on my part).

"I will be sure to update you all when I actually get some news."

"Again my apologies, I had no idea."

InfoPowa emailed Playstar's IR man Glynn Grummett asking for clarity. There has been no response....

Black Rhino slammed
Probably the biggest fuss across the internet this week was the mystifying actions of Black Rhino Casino and Sportsbook in disallowing payouts on some pretty strange grounds. So strange in fact that there was widespread condemnation and not a little speculation that the sportsbook managers didn't know what they were about. And if the sportsbook cheats players, can the casino side be trusted? It seems that Black Rhino is refusing to pay tens of thousands of dollars worth of player winnings. They have admitted to this publicly and claim that it is their right to do so because they have "deemed" these players to be "professional players." Yet there is no clause on their site that defines "professional," so this term is open to their own interpretation and can be changed at will. It has been alleged that the owners of BR have operated at least two previous casinos, both of which failed, the most recent amid much acrimony with former software provider World Gaming. The current (recently re-launched) Black Rhino uses Futurebet software and outsources its banking to I-Dollar. Players report that whilst BR initially claimed cash-outs (refunds) would be processed in five days, in the past month, many players have reported cash-outs have been taking over three weeks and longer for checks, often a sign of cashflow issues. The debate continued to rage on several message boards as we went to press with no sign that players would be paid.

Beware VegasUSA
This casino seems to have a ongoing problem with finance and it is leaving a trail of angry players in its wake as a result. Many thought that when it changed from RTG software to Microgaming there would be an improvement, but the complaints continue to roll in at GG, OPA and other sites. Complainants are fed up with no responses, slow or no pays and ridiculous excuses like "it's a work-in-progress" on a $70 payout that's sixty days old; "the finance department will contact you in 48 hours" and doesn't; that hoary old one "we're changing our payment processor" except that has been used over a long period. How about "we can't distribute checks at the moment"? It goes on and on and has done for most of this year. It all points to cashflow problems, but none of the mediators can be sure guessed it....this casino doesn't answer their emails.

Uncaution this one
Geisha Lounge came in for some flak last week when their arithmetic on a player's bonus left something to be desired, but they have come around, admitted their mistake and reinstated the player's winnings. It took a month of perseverance by the player, but credit to the casino for eventually doing it right.

Monkey business
Winnersplay Casino and Digital Betting, both powered by Diamond should be approached with caution, especially if the player likes the "Monkey Money" game. One of the top complaint sites, is currently investigating reports that the casinos claimed that there was "a bug in the software" on that game in order to disqualify winnings amounting to some $10K. Regrettably the casinos have thus far chosen not to respond. Better safe than sorry until this is cleared up.

Editor's note: at press time 12 July, they have responded and their comments are in this week's newsletter. Return to Top

12 July 2002

Boxing celebs

Look out for, a new casino and sportsbook that Las Vegas boxing celebrities Michael and Bruce Buffer hope to have online soon. The turnkey contract is through World Wide Support Systems, which uses the attractive software.

Fresh from the studios of OddsOn is Vegas Players, a smart, efficient site that is well presented and has plenty of information for the player. Owned by JMJ Enterprises in the Turks and Cacos Islands it offers full Support, e-cash via Virtual Exchange, PayPal and Firepay and a cool download suite of 24 games. There's a loyalty program and a 20 percent bonus on first deposits maxed at $200 with a x8 wagerthru'.

Bet 4 has an unusual and worthy twist - players can choose charities to which the casino will donate a proportion of the action. Owned by WC Enterprises out of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, this attractive and easy to use site has a quality range of 13 games from Futurebet and all the usual facilities including e-cash from iDollar/PayPal/NetTeller/Firepay and full Support. A 20 percenter signup maxed at $200 is offered.

Latest Real time Gaming powered casino is 777 Luckiest Free Poker Don't be put off by the ponderous name, although only time will tell if this one is a "good" RTG or a "bad" one. There is a well executed Oriental theme on this appealing site that carries fourteen quality download games and full facilities to support the player. NetTeller and Firepay are offered and there is a bonus structure that includes a 20 percent signup maxed at a generous $250 with a x6 wagerthru', and an innovative Wild Wednesday where a prize of $150 goes to the BJ player who has wagered the most over the week. There is a relationship with 888 Lucky Online Casino and Las Vegas USA Casino for those with good or bad experiences to report.

Arthurian may be quaintly named but it is worth a visit to the well presented, Camelot-themed site carrying a big Microgaming quality download and Flash suite of 44 games. There's full support and the many top facilities commonplace to these big, popular casinos like Cashcheck, Playcheck, Loyalty program and free CD. The e-cash is through Proc Cyber Services and there is a relationship with 777 Dragon Casino and Cinema Casino.

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12 July 2002

New WG honcho wastes no time

The whispers were right - hard on the heels of Michael Aymong's departure as CEO at World Gaming and the annual meeting last week came a press release announcing the appointment of entrepreneur Jim Mackay as the head man at the troubled turnkey provider.

Mackay, who has been working with the company since May as a special advisor, brings to his new post more than 25 years experience as an entrepreneur managing and financing business ventures in Europe and North America, with a particular focus on sports and entertainment.

"My first order of business has been to create a sense of urgency in the company as there are real and immediate opportunities for World Gaming and the industry as a whole," said Mackay. "We are working with solid banking and business relationships to affect a significant turnaround aimed at solidifying a leadership position within the industry. World Gaming's business base, core technologies and infrastructure have been in place for sometime. What is required is the vision and the business acumen to translate this into sustained profitability and increased shareholder value. I am here to do that."

Mackay is a Principal in Performance Management Group and Performance Financial of Guernsey, managing 20 international soccer figures including notable players from the English and Japanese National Teams. Performance Financial manages an estimated 30 million pounds in player assets.

"World Gaming shareholders can expect a complete overhaul at the board of directors level in very short order," said Mackay.

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12 July 2002

What happened in the hot sites sale?

Coinciding with the news of Mackay's appointment at World Gaming, an interesting and closely followed investor message board exchange was taking place between an investor and one Jason King, a former top manager at WG. It was all about the priority sale of WG's naughtier sites during the reign of Meldon Ellis...and the buyer was apparently Mr. Mackay.

But were there subsequent difficulties and dissatisfaction, and was the full amount paid? That seemed to be at the center of the argument.

King said, "I was asked to get involved in the sale of the adult division because no one at the management or board level at the time wanted to touch the adult with a ten foot pole. ME (Meldon Ellis) asked me to do it, and I agreed. I had not been involved in the adult division for sometime, but I was the only one of the remaining management who knew anything about it. My mandate, which was given to me directly by management was to sell the division. Try and get the best possible price, but sell the division come hell or high water."

The Adult Division guys told King the value was around $3 million, and they introduced him to Mackay who did his DD and came up with an offer that King says he thinks was 2.3 million.

King says, "The offer was accepted, McKay put approx. $400,000 down with the rest to be made in payments, and a chunk to be paid at the end. Once the deal was done, and signed off on by ME (Ellis) AND THE BOARD, McKay's lawyers and WG's lawyers did all the paperwork and the deal was done.

"There were problems after the deal was done, one of the banks that had several thousand dollars of the adult divisions money (one that had been signed up out of desperation after the raid) would not release the funds causing financial difficulty for the division. In addition there were problems with the servers, etc. which caused additional difficulty. These were unforseen problems prior to the sale, and unfortunetly negatively affected the business after the sale. I don't believe that any of these justify not paying another dime to WG, but this is based solely on the facts that I have, and I don't know any of the particulars on the negotiations between McKay's lawyers and WG's after I left" (eighteen months back).

According to the exchanges, Mackay stopped certain payments. But WG did not pull out of the deal because they were so keen to dump the "adult" sites. But as one investor comments in the postings, if they were so eager to distance themselves from the "adult" business why is Mackay the new CEO? Clearly a rhetorical question, the investor says he was told it was because WG has had trouble raising money it needs and without Mackay's money it would be unlikely to succeed. Money does, indeed talk.

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12 July 2002

Hype or mystery?

We were intrigued by a press release from turnkey provider Grand Virtual this week which boasted that it has signed "a partnership agreement with Gaming Insight (LSE:GIN), the United Kingdom's leader in digital media rights and interactive gaming products. As part of the agreement Grand Virtual and Gaming Insight will provide the software platform and services for a number of major brands; among Gaming Insight's many clients is the famous London department store Harrods."

Our confusion arose from the fact that Harrods and GI casinos like Zap have been using Grand Virtual software all along, whilst there were rumours that Gaming Insight had developed their own software, too. We checked the casinos and there appeared to be no change, so we contacted David Solomont the head man at Grand Virtual in Cambridge, Massachutsetts and received a very courteous but uninformative reply promising to call us back....36 hours later as we went to press we were still waiting and wondering whether this was one of those stock-boosting releases?

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7 July 2002

Paypal to terminate online casino relationship

San Jose and Mountain View, CA, July 8, 2002

In a move that will help millions of Internet users buy and sell online, eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY;, the world’s online marketplace, today announced that it has agreed to acquire PayPal, Inc. (Nasdaq: PYPL; ), the global payments platform. The acquisition, which is subject to various stockholder, government and regulatory approvals, is expected to close around year-end 2002.

A natural extension of eBay’s trading platform, the acquisition supports the company’s mission to create an efficient global online marketplace. Payment is a vital function in trading on eBay and integrating PayPal’s functionality into the eBay platform will fundamentally strengthen the user experience and allow buyers and sellers to trade with greater ease, speed and safety.

The agreement also should benefit eBay shareholders. The combination of the two networks should expand both platforms while minimizing shared operational costs. Strengthening the marketplace and realizing the efficiencies made possible by the acquisition will increase the value of both businesses.

eBay will acquire all of the outstanding shares of PayPal in a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction using a fixed exchange ratio of 0.39 eBay shares for each PayPal share. Based on eBay’s stock price on July 5, 2002, the acquisition is valued at $1.5 billion. According to preliminary estimates, the recognized purchase price is also expected to include approximately $18 million for acquisition-related costs. The calculation of the final purchase price may vary significantly from these estimates, and will depend upon a number of factors, including the length of time necessary to close the transaction, and the value of eBay stock at closing.

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to eBay’s pro-forma earnings per share. On a GAAP basis the company will initially incur incremental charges for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets of approximately $4 million and $9 million per quarter, respectively. Accordingly, eBay expects the transaction to be dilutive on a GAAP reported basis.

“eBay and PayPal have complementary missions. We both empower people to buy and sell online,” said Meg Whitman, President and CEO of eBay. “Together we can improve the user experience and make online trading more compelling. We can also capture greater value from the e-commerce opportunities occurring both on and off our site.”

“eBay and PayPal have built vibrant user networks on the Internet,” said Peter Thiel, Founder and CEO of PayPal. “The beauty of this deal is that it will allow us to offer our communities new tools and added flexibility to do more business. Integrating our services is a win-win situation for millions of current and future online consumers.”

PayPal, which will continue to operate as an independent brand, is a leading online payments solution. Approximately 60% of PayPal’s business takes place on eBay, making it the most preferred electronic payment method among eBay users. The remaining 40% occurs primarily among small merchants who constitute a potential new audience for eBay. Likewise, eBay’s community of 46 million users worldwide represents a growth opportunity for PayPal. eBay’s current payment service, eBay Payments by Billpoint, will be phased out after the close of the transaction.

PayPal will continue to provide a variety of consumer services, including its popular Web Accept product, which makes it possible for independent online merchants to accept payment directly at their web sites. In view of the uncertain regulatory environment surrounding online gaming, eBay plans to phase out PayPal's gaming business after the transaction closes. Gaming providers who use PayPal will have ample opportunity to find alternative payment solutions.

As part of today’s announcement, eBay is also releasing results for the quarter ended June 30, 2002. Consolidated net revenues for Q2-02 are approximately $266 million, GAAP net income totaled $54.3 million or $0.19 per diluted share, with a gross margin of 83% and pro forma operating margin of 30%. The company also announced that pro forma earnings per share was $0.19. The company’s previously issued guidance estimated that revenues would be in the range of $260 to $265 million and that pro forma earnings per share would be $0.17. These stronger than expected results were highlighted by an accelerating US transaction business, which grew 48% year-over-year, combined with year-over-year growth from international operations of 148%.

On June 12, 2002, PayPal announced that its Q2-02 revenues could range between $53 million and $54 million, and pro forma earnings per share could range between $0.08 and $0.09. Additionally, PayPal estimated that its total payment volume could range from $1.61 billion to $1.63 billion.

eBay’s complete second quarter earnings results will be announced on July 18, 2002. PayPal’s second quarter results will be announced on July 24, 2002

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5 July 2002

Vegas biggies withdraw support

The writing was on the wall a couple of weeks back, when Representative Bob Goodlatte's latest attempt to ban internet gambling initiated a lively debate at Judiciary Committee level and ended up in trouble from various interest groups opposed to his notorious exceptions.

Goodlatte's bill took flak early on from an array of gambling interests. Horse-racing groups worried that it would outlaw off-track betting, while land-based casinos feared that it would negate future efforts to offer regulated, state-approved online casinos and dog-racing proponents were not happy either. After a long, contentious debate, opponents in the Judiciary Committee eventually stripped the bill of Goodlatte's modifications, prompting gambling groups to withdraw their support. One of those was the influential American Gaming Association, representing important land gambling interests.

Observers are now saying that a congressional attempt to ban Internet gambling is unlikely to pass as the clock ticks away the legislative year and interest groups continue to register opposition.

Such a ban must thread its way through a maze of legalised gambling groups, including horse tracks, bricks-and-mortar casinos and state lotteries, that fear a ban could upset existing operations or derail possible plans to set up Web sites of their own.

In the House of Representatives, the Goodlatte and Leach Bills are awaiting a vote on the House floor, but observers say neither is likely to be called up any time soon. Meanwhile in the Senate, Arizona Republican Jon Kyl has not introduced a bill this year despite past failed efforts.

House Republican leaders, preoccupied with anti-terrorist legislative measures, are reluctant to take up the issue before the August break.

"As of right now, we don't have those issues scheduled," Reuters quotes California Republican Rep. David Dreier, who as chairman of the Rules Committee prepares bills for votes on the House floor.

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5 July 2002

Another record internet payout

Most progressives fans have had an eye on the rocketing jackpot at Jackpot Madness's Treasure Nile recently as it soared above the US $ 500 000 mark, second only to the Major Millions win of over US $ 1.6 million a few weeks ago. This time both names featured in seriously large hits.

Jackpot Madness casinos awarded record-breaking cash payments totalling $1,379,637 to 17 players, including a new record for Treasure Nile of $520,625.09 which went to Mitchell C playing 7 Sultans Casino and $394,658.30 at All Slots Casino to Major Millions winner Mary H. Since Treasure Nile's introduction one year ago, the popular Egyptian-themed slot has paid out over $10,500,000 to 100 fortunate winners. Major Millions is a new addition to the Jackpot Madness collection and has proved hugely popular since its introduction in April. This progressive slot starts at a $250,000 and can reach jackpots of well over a million.

The sixty-something Microgaming-powered casinos in the progressives network pay out an average of three million dollars a month to jackpot winners. So far, 2 364 lucky players have shared a total of $68,752,739 in cash prizes.

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5 July 2002

Flat rate payments

Affiliates for Sunny should be pleased with the new reward scheme just rolled out. Instead of offering a set of scaled returns to webmasters like other sportsbooks, the operation is offering a flat twenty percent rate. This means that webmasters will receive 20% of the net win for the entire lifetime of each active account referred.

Statistics are provided online daily, monthly and on a cumulative basis to affiliates, and the sportsbook is currently developing a number of tools to provide webmasters with relevant content for their sites to assist in increasing earnings.

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5 July 2002

"Draw a clearer line between editorial content and advertising."

Search engines and marketers around the 'Net were this week digesting Federal Trade Commission advisories regarding the growing practice of substituting top query results with paid ads. Internet search engines may need to do a better job of disclosing such practices to consumers, federal regulators warned. In letters sent to Microsoft, AOL Time Warner and other major search engine providers, the Commissioners urged the industry to draw a clearer line between editorial content and advertising.

Many search sites offer 'paid placement' ads, where companies pay a fee determined by the search engine to have their product or name displayed at the top of a search result list. Paid placement links often are listed under such headings as 'Sponsored Links' or 'Partners.'

Consumer groups have taken issue with the increasing use of so-called 'paid inclusion' ads - in which companies pay to have more of their Web pages returned in any given search.

In the letters, the FTC warned that "the intermingling of non-paid Web sites with paid-inclusion Web sites in the search database may cause consumer confusion and mislead consumers."

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5 July 2002

A bumper week!

The Blackjack Here's a multi-platform, multiplayer casino concentrating on blackjack and a member of "The Casino Network" out of Costa Rica. The site is clean and professional with a colourful and easy to use layout and full 24/7 Support. Up to five players can join each table, with full chat facilities. The site was only launched late last (June 2002) month. There is a max bet of $25 a hand although players can double down on this. We have not yet been able to ID the gambling software, and the casino has disappointed us in the Support sense by totally ignoring our un-bounced emailed questions concerning this.

Gold Gate  This one has been around for awhile but it's ownership has recently changed and it looks as if it has had a very effective facelift at the same time, with the addition of a $500K progressive and new games from provider Playtech. The new owners are the respected Sunny Group out of Trinidad and this site is definitely at the quality end of the online casino pecking order with all the facilities, an Antigua licence, 60 top quality download games and full Support. A sensible 20 percent signup maxed at $50 is on offer, and e-cash facilities include NetTeller, PayPal and Sunny's own Sunny Internet Services. The IGC's Citadel program is on the lookout for crooks, too.

New York  Another veteran, and another Playtech software aquisition with what looks like a revamp. This contract went to Playtech at the expense of Boss Media which was the previous software provider. Owners Intercontinental Casinos have rolled all their casinos into two - USA and New York which are both now powered by Playtech with all the bells and whistles and 49 quality download games.

Swiss  Looking good, and as if it has also had an effective facelift with 10 new download games added, this is a well established site powered by Playtech and now boasting some 47 quality games. The owners are still Global Internet Gaming as far as we are aware and they offer full facilities and a good selection of bonuses with reasonable playthru' requirements, for example a first time deposit bonus of 100 percent up to a max of $200 with a x5 wagerthru'.

Hard Rock   This very professional production from the famous British gambling group Rank Entertainment has been the subject of speculation for months as the industry awaited its approval by the strict Isle of Man licencing board, and the initial reaction is mixed. On a positive note it has passed the strict software and probity testing of the Isle of Man, its Hard Rock ancestry is impeccable and the top site quality is well up to expectations. But the rather small 8 game gambling suite from Wager Works is a little disappointing, bearing in mind the 50 plus top quality download games available from other well known software providers in the top echelons of the industry. And there do not appear to be any of those popular progressives. Hard Rock promises there are more games planned for the future. US players are barred for legal reasons, and therefore on the finance side gambling takes place in Euros or British pounds sterling only. Price Waterhouse Coopers is responsible for the percentage payout audits, and the software is tested and monitored by the independent GGS test labs in Australia. With links to several major Rank land-based operations, a fast gambler base build-up would seem assured. A welcome addition to the quality end of the market, with a responsive and open Support service.

Victor Chandler  The Gibraltar licenced British betting group Victor Chandler is becoming a potent force in Got2bet with casino and bet sites like The Spin Room, Victor Casino, Victor Bingo and Enter the latest, and in our view most impressive thus far - Victor Chandler The top quality 15 game download gambling suite is from Boss Media and includes two blackjack variations, European and American roulette, progressive poker and slots and a "made to order" VC slot machine called Racing Reels. E-cash is in British pounds sterling through well-proven WebDollar and there is full-on Support, a gaming school and loyalty club facilities. The site design is surprisingly basic given the professional presentation on the games side, but it is workmanlike and efficient.

Super Vegas  Another brand new casino from Boss for a land-based gamble group is Super Vegas, operated by the largest Internet sportsbook in the world, Sportingbet is a global online and telephone sports betting and casino company with approximately 450 000 customers and offers a comprehensive range of bets on a variety of international events in 23 countries. The new casino is integrated with this sportsbook system, enabling Sportingbet's customers to log in using the same username and password. There are 12 quality download games with excellent graphics and smooth playability. WebDollar doesn't come to this party - the new casino uses the Sportingbet customer services and payment systems, which means that players can fund their accounts in eleven different currencies.

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5 July 2002

WOL casino?!!

Cryptologic-owned portal would undoubtedly do a better job of building and launching a casino like cheeky, which debuted recently with IQ-Ludorum gambling software - but, hey - it's a good brand and a catchy name, right? Regrettably it also sported a non-linking Interactive Gaming Commission logo to which it was not entitled. Hopefully by now the IGC has had a word or two in their casino corporate ears, but it is silly and dishonest to pull stunts like this.

Geisha arithmetic

Another day, another bonus dispute...another dissatisfied customer and a CSR apparently in need of some basic arithmetic lessons. We're talking about the loser's bonus offered but not always paid by Geisha Lounge.

Disgruntled poster "Dr. Oakland" reported that he is repeatedly strafed with bonus offers from GL, including an enticing $300 bonus if $1000 is lost. It worked for him on those bad sessions until several weeks ago, when he lost a $1000 and claimed the promised $300. All looked good, with an email promising that the $300 would be credited to his account.

But then someone clearly had a better plan, because Dr.O only got $125 - the bonus for losses below a grand. He complained. They said "Please be advised that according to our records, you indeed purchased $1000, but lost only $875 which drops you to the previous bonus level of $125"

He responded with a basic artithmetic lesson thus, "That is simply not true. Think about it. You agree that I made a $1000 deposit ... There is $125 in my account now, which is the bonus that YOU put there. Before you put it there, my account had to be ZERO. If my account was ZERO, then I lost $1000. what could be more plain?"

They have stopped responding to his emails and seemingly did not appreciate the tuition. And other complaints are coming in.

Extreme example....

Visit the top watchdog sites and you will find complaints about the RTG-powered Casino Extreme group which includes Ruby Dragon Casino, Casino Heat and Bet Max Casino. The complaints usually revolve around disqualified bonuses and winnings on a variety of allegedly spurious grounds, and include accusations of seriously discourteous treatment of players in some cases. We have very solid and confirmed information that Warren Cloud, late of the failed Rated Player Casino that left players unpaid is involved in the operation of this group and there is clearly some sensitivity about this connection. We received harassing threats of legal action by both telephone and email rather unprofessionally from a "Mr.X" in what appeared to be an attempt to silence our reports. Totally confident in our ability to produce hard evidence backing every one of our comments, we urged these questionable operators to make good on their threats...and nothing has been heard or seen of them since. These casinos have been resident on the Online Player's Association NOT RECOMMENDED list for some time, and it is not difficult to see why.

RTG charm offensive?

Notable post this week came from a respected veteran of the Winneronline forum reporting a pleasant meeting with Michael Staw, the CEO of Atlanta-based turnkey provider Real Time Gaming in which Staw admitted to having "licensed some poor operators and said that they are scrutinizing potential licensees more thoroughly". This may explain the unenviable reputation RTG has picked up from certain licencees and what many regard as some poorly judged player communication decisions.

The post informed everyone that Staw was "very interested in hearing suggestions as to how he can improve his software and to what games players would like and other suggestions"

It was like waving a red flag at an enraged bull. Predictably the mainly player response was somewhat hostile and centred on the premise that RTG should first sort out its outstanding player payments and "rogue" licencees before worrying about where to put interactive buttons! The thread escalated rapidly with some strong views, later supported by yet another new complaint against an RTG casino called Palace of Chance.

It would seem as if Mr. Staw had embarked on something of a charm offensive because usually reliable sources inform us that he has initiated at least one other third party conciliatory approach to the Online Player's Association which has reported a significant number of complaints against the software provider and even taken the unprecedented step of placing all RTG casinos on its influential NOT RECOMMENDED list.

Many feel that RTG will make little headway in the PR stakes without genuine moves to address the problems of aggrieved players and an honest attempt to police those "poor operators".

Casino Bar

After the flurry of legal exchanges last week, the Casino Bar issue continued to attract comment on message boards. Refusing to apologise, the Wizard stood by his professional tests which found the casino's software to be unfair when he carried out his unannounced practical evaluation on May 27. And The Wizard's lawyer made a telling point when he wrote to Casino Bar's legal eagle "Casino Bar has access to the log files of Mr. Shackleford's play and has never denied Mr. Shackleford's hands that even your expert stated was "extremely unlikely" in a fair game."

Scoring another point, the lawyer enjoins the Casino Bar legal adviser to provide details of his charges, saying "Since truth is a complete defense to defamation, you still have not pointed out which part of Mr. Shackleford's report is false."

At least one other expert has come out concurring with The Wizard's conclusions. The findings of the Israeli academic hired by Casino Bar to counter The Wizard's findings appeared to many observers to do little to directly refute them, and the lack of evidence as to whether he tested the software in the same condition as it was during the Wizard's tests has given the sceptics a field-day.

The Casino Bar lawyers have indicated that they are assessing "COA's losses and damages resulting from your original posting and once these are crystallized, we would advice as to further measures to be taken against yourself and all parties involved in this matter." Exactly how they propose to support such an assessment remains unclear...

Editor's note: We are not apologizing either. Check out Casinomeister's experience with Casinobar here.

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5 July 2002

Dr. Ho hits the peer-to-peer betting scene

The first open betting exchange specifically designed for Asian clientele launched this week, impressively backed by and Britain's, the world's largest betting exchange.

Branded the new site is totally customer-driven, with players wagering and setting odds on any possible event or outcome whatsoever, for and against each other. The venture is based on a model that has taken Britain by storm -- a jurisdiction that is one of the most pragmatic and progressive in terms of service choice, Government licensing and regulation. The new site is available in English and traditional Chinese, and will in addition to its own domain address link from the popular websites of the two backers.

"This new venture really gives customers the ultimate choice in gaming, practically enabling them to become their own bookmakers," said Peter Kjaer, CEO of "Players can choose to bet on sports, who will be the next US President, what the weather will be, or anything else they can possibly think of. The players set the odds and open the invitation for anyone interested to step up to the table. simply acts as a stakeholder so everyone is reassured that the wager is bona fide and that payment is guaranteed.

Got2bet in South East Asia is estimated by the industry to be the most solvent gaming market in the world, worth US$8billion each year, before the introduction of exchange betting. will bring together's subscriber-base, of which more than 80 per cent are from Asia, and's US$10 million state-of-the-art technology which has been credited with helping it, and its partners, command more than 90 per cent of the global exchange market.

Betfair is licensed, regulated and taxed in the UK and set to turn over more than US$1.5 billion in 2002. is licensed and monitored by the Antigua Gaming Commission and operates to the same standards of reliability and trust found in Macau's traditional land-based casinos.

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5 July 2002

This one had us confused

A Portuguese language internet casino had us guessing on the software front this week. The site Brasil (note deliberate mispell on "cassino") displays a non-linking "BoS Gamming" logo that encouraged us to jump to the false conclusion that the software was supplied by Boss Media. Subsequent investigation established that there is a relationship with and that the gambling software being used is, in fact IQ-Ludorum. We have not been able to get an intelligent explanation of what "BoS Gamming" might be.

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5 July 2002

No revamp for Illustrated

The word around the industry this week is that Microgaming-powered Illustrated (or Sports Illustrated) casino in the Captain Cook's stable is being mothballed rather than having it's rather old-fashioned design revamped. Cook's has the very nice Casino Kingdom (reviewed here a few weeks back) up which will prove a more than adequate, up-to-the-minute replacement.

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5 July 2002

Now the other side of the coin

Last week we reported some rather pessimistic views on US banks and their attempts to curtail the use of credit cards in Got2bet, but in answer to the doom and gloom merchants there was more positive news this week from the Las Vegas Sun.

Staff writer Liz Benson reported on more bullish statements made by people at the sharp end of the business. One payment expert is reported as saying that moves to halt Got2bet transactions using credit cards won't significantly affect major gambling sites, which are already using or exploring alternate technologies to avoid the potential pitfalls of credit card processing.

Other payment systems like PayPal will likely take the place of credit cards, she quotes Graham Newall, CEO of British company Apollo Processing Limited as saying, and some operators are encouraging clients to fund cash accounts. Apollo is a London-based firm that crafts payment processing plans for Internet gambling sites and other businesses seeking alternatives to traditional banking services.

Alternate systems such as debit cards and "smart cards," which authorize cash transactions, are widely used in Europe and the United Kingdom, says Newall -- and Internet gambling enterprises are flourishing.

That view was bolstered by Marc Falcone, a gaming equities analyst for Deutsche Bank Securities, who said that credit card bans are less of a concern outside the United States, and that other methods of payment including wire transfers, checks, money orders and debit cards are already being widely deployed. It remains to be seen how customers will adapt to new and unfamiliar technology, he added but pointed out that in spite of the credit card issue, the industry offers long-term investment potential on a global scale.

Credit card bans on Internet gambling transactions have mainly hurt "illegal" sites that have been accepting U.S. bets via credit cards, while many legitimate operators are offering alternative technologies, said Richard Fitzpatrick, president of the Interactive Gaming Institute of Nevada, an Internet gambling proponent.

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5 July 2002

Popular alternative makes the mainstream news

Following on from the credit card story we had the ubiquitous PayPal payment system making the august pages of Wired News in a story that highlighted the credit card payment hassles facing internet casinos.

Reporting that PayPal had expanded beyond general internet retail usage, the news site commented that it was quickly becoming the currency of choice at many online casinos and revealed that nearly 500 gambling sites signed up to accept PayPal in the first quarter of 2002, almost doubling the company's roster of such merchants, which stood at 1,022 as of March 31.

There was a caveat, however that "unfortunately for PayPal, its booming Got2bet business may be illegal in the United States."

Quoting the head of the Internet bureau at New York State's Office of the Attorney General, Ken Dreifach Wired News says that if a company helps to facilitate or promote gambling, it could be found guilty of breaking the law. New York estimates that offshore Got2bet sites are making US revenues of $4 billion annually. In their quest to protect citizens from the `pernicious’ effects of Got2bet, New York and other state and federal regulators are also turning their attention to non-bank financial services such as PayPal, according to Dreifach.

In exchange for taking such a risk, PayPal is expected to derive more than $16 million from Internet gaming in 2002. Already this year, its revenues from such merchants -- who pay higher fees to offer the PayPal service -- have more than doubled, accounting for 8 percent of its total income. Against that upside, PayPal concedes that any enforcement action against the firm could mean `material penalties and fines, both of which would seriously harm our business.’

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Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

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