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May 2005

The leader in Online Casino News

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa news service.

GOOD NEWS FOR PLAYTECH LICENSEES 6 May
NEW PROGRESSIVE RECORD AT S- CASINO 6 May
GAMBLING.COM SOLD AGAIN 6 May
BANNING ATTEMPT BACK 6 May
NOW IT'S KOREA 6 May
OMNI'S BIG WINNER....TWICE! 6 May
BLUFF POKER TOUR PLANNED 6 May
COOL CASINOS 6 May
GAMBLING THE KILLER APP FOR MOBILE ENTERTAINMENT 6 May
SPORTSBOOK LAUNCHED BY GAMING TRANSACTIONS 6 May
POKER.COM CELL PHONE GAME ATTRACTS ATTENTION 6 May
THE SPYWARE MENACE 6 May
FOR ONCE ONLINE GAMBLERS WILL CHEER SPITZER 6 May
WEBCAST / GAMBLING FROM SUMMIT 6 May
TEXAS SHOOTS DOWN INTERNET LOTTERY BILL 6 May
CASINOFEED TAKEN OVER BY CASINO AFFILIATE PROGRAMS 6 May
NEW POKER SOFTWARE DELAYED 6 May
WORLD GAMING TURNAROUND ON TRACK 6 May
GENERAL ELECTION ADVERTISING FROM PARTY POKER 6 May
LADBROKES RAISING THE ANTE? 6 May
FIXED ODDS SOFT GAMES POPULAR WITH SPORTSBOOKS 6 May
BUSINESSMAN TAKES $1.7 MILLION DOLLARS IN VEGAS TOURNAMENT 6 May


GOOD NEWS FOR PLAYTECH LICENSEES
6 May 2005

Casinomeister and Playtech resolve differences

Playtech licensees frustrated by the refusal of Casinomeister portal owner Bryan Bailey to accept their advertising will be relieved this week to note from the 'Meister's newsletter that there has been a rapprochment between the two companies.

The dispute arose out of Casinomeister's refusal to be ignored on a question he had regarding the licensing of certain Playtech licensees, and eventually involved legal threats and general unpleasantness. It appears that all came right in the end, when it transpired from Playtech's eventual responses that Bailey had been misinformed by the Antiguan authorities regarding the "interim" status of the licensing in question.

The good news was accompanied by a welcome move on Playtech's part to improve player dispute communications by setting up a dedicated channel.

The details on the dispute process have yet to be announced, but as was the case with RTG's Montana resolution facility, this new Playtech service will be no doubt be appreciated and represents a step forward for the company.

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NEW PROGRESSIVE RECORD AT S- CASINO
6 May 2005

US player wins over $1.8 million on Playtech's Gold Rally jackpot

The weekend was an eventful and lucky period for US player CariM, who hit a record-breaking US$ 1,853,875.84 on a bet of $16 last Saturday playing Playtech's 8 line progressive Gold Rally at S Casino.com.

The previous record for online progressive jackpot wins was held by a European player Joaquim M. who won Euro 1,453,610.18 ($1,779,827.44) on Major Millions on June 1, 2004 at Jackpot City.

A casino spokesman confirmed that the full amount of the win would be transferred in one payment, and revealed that free financial advice was being offered to the winner.

Thirty-something CariM has been a regular at S Casino, owned by the IOG Casinos Limited in Antigua since January of this year. She deposited $110 on Saturday April 30 and played for around 1 hour and 20 minutes before she hit the jackpot. The winning bet cost $16.

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GAMBLING.COM SOLD AGAIN
6 May 2005

And at a healthy profit it seems...

Gaming Corporation plc is clearly still on the acquisition trail, following up last week's purchase of Ted Loh's Got2Bet portal with the acquisition of Newbold Enterprises Limited, the owner of Gambling.com.

The purchase price, at GBP 10.5 million is believed to represent an attractive profit for Gambling.com's owners, who took the site over from founder Graeme Levin after a prior deal with IGH for GBP 2.5 million fell through late in 2003.

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

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

Gambling.com converted to a search engine format but has been active as a premiere directory in casino, poker, and sports betting since 1997. Income is primarily generated through pay per click advertising where clients bid to reach higher rankings in the search results, a model used by other search companies such as Google and Overture.

Gambling.com is the number 1 listing on google.com for "Gambling" search and has over 500 other internet and affiliate sites linking to Gambling.com globally. It also has extensive expertise in direct mailing and has built a double opt-in database of over 200,000 members.

The consideration for the acquisition of Newbold is US$20 million (GBP 10.5 million) to be satisfied as to US$15.3 million (GBP 8.0 million) in cash and US$4.7million (GBP 2.5 million) in new ordinary shares. A total of 17,375,244 Gaming Corporation shares are being issued, of which approximately 7.38 million are subject to a lock-in of six months and the balance has been placed on behalf of the vendors of Newbold with institutional investors. As at 28 April 2005, Newbold had a net cash balance of over US$850,000, which implies an enterprise valuation for the business of US$19.15 milion (GBP 10.1 million).

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BANNING ATTEMPT BACK
6 May 2005

Predictable as the seasons, Sen. Kyl is at it again

Last week InfoPowa flagged reports that the indefatigable Sen. Jon Kyl was on the warpath again with yet another attempt to ban online gambling instead of regulating it in the USA.

More detail is now available as the Republican senator from Arizona makes the initial moves for 2005 with his Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2005.

Perhaps predictably, Kyl is staying with the financial measures of previous years as he seeks to hamstring the online gambling industry by making it illegal to use credit cards, wire transfers or other "instruments of banking" to fund online gambling transactions.

But what makes this initiative more dangerous is the fact that - at this early stage anyway - Kyl has eschewed the carve-outs that have created special interest group problems for him in the past. In particular, the horseracing element of online gambling is currently *legal* but has been highlighted as an inconsistency in recent WTO findings, detracting from the US case in that seperate dispute.

Kyl is a highly experienced politician who knows how to manouevre and manipulate the Washington legislative machine to achieve his objectives, and he can therefore never be taken lightly despite failures in previous years of his attempts to kill off the industry. He has the experience to know that racing, lottery, Indian gaming and land-based casino industries will all hunt exemptions allowing individual states to decide whether they want to license and regulate various forms of interactive gaming.

The new draft also does not specifically define legal or illegally Internet gambling activity at this stage.

It is early days yet, and Washington has plenty of other and one would think more pressing issues on the legislative agenda. However, Kyl is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and scheduling his Bill for a hearing could be on the cards.

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NOW IT'S KOREA
6 May 2005

13 000 online gambling prosecutions and warnings

It looks as if the recent online gambling prosecutions in China and Taiwan are also being experienced in Korea, according to the Korea Times

The newspaper reports that police have caught picked up on 13,000 people who habitually visit overseas Internet gambling sites, including a diplomat and a national university professor. The report does not specify how the gamblers were found and busted.

Using credit cards, those caught spent an estimated 12 billion Won at some 50 gambling sites, according to police. Of the suspects, police requested arrest warrants for seven suspects on charges of habitual gambling, while 26 others, including a diplomat, identified as Kim, 41, were booked but not physically detained.

One accused, a diplomat, is suspected of using credit cards 122 times, racking up 30 million Won in total payments. In another case, a 62 year old national university professor, used his plastic cards 382 times to pay for his 26 million Won worth of wagering on unspecified Internet gambling sites. And a 49-year-old *unemployed* man, squandered more than 100 million Won.

Suspects used various means to camouflage their activity. One 32 year old woman illegally used her sister's name and credit card number to wager 100 million Won, forcing her sibling to be listed as a credit delinquent, police said.

"The suspects range in age from around 30 to 70. We have selected people who spent more than 25 million Won or paid more than 100 times, to face criminal charges," police said.

Official sources estimate a total of 100 billion Won had gone offshore due to gambling, 25 billion Won of it online . Police have asked the Ministry of Information and Communication to block the detected sites.

"We are seeing a rising number of cases where South Koreans register at overseas gambling sites under a foreigner's name. It's hard to control gambling sites registered abroad," police said.

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OMNI'S BIG WINNER....TWICE!
6 May 2005

The luckiest player on the Internet this week

What's better than hitting the jackpot...how about two in less than a week! On April 28th, near 11:00 PM, user '10920NW10' from Florida, in the USA, was sitting in front of his computer doing what he loves to do, playing slots, when the first jackpot hit in "$1 Triple Olive's" progressive slot machine in Omni Casino, paying out $27,764.00. As if that wasn't enough for '10920NW10', on the evening of May 3rd, he played "Shot 'O' Rama Video Slots" (5 line, 5 coins, 25 cents) at around 1:00 AM and hit another progressive jackpot of $88,204.00.

"I receive 2 gambling magazines each month, and in the back there are always stories about recent winners. Invariably, at least two thirds of them start, 'I only had a few minutes to play, so I sat down with $20, and after 10 minutes I hit the jackpot,'" quipped '10920NW10.' "Well, I really did just sit down for about 15 minutes, and 'Cha-Ching', I hit the progressive for over $88,000."

This is not the first time one player has hit multiple jackpots, last year it happened three times, including user 'Mark' from Bermuda who hit two jackpots in the same day for over $148,000. Talk about the life, living in Bermuda and hitting two jackpots in the same day.

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BLUFF POKER TOUR PLANNED
6 May 2005

A quest for the best online poker player

Eric Morris's Bluff Media group has announced plans for a tournament to find the best online poker player, with a ticket to WPT superstardom for the winner.

The Bluff Poker Tour will run from June through Dec 2005 - a 6-month mission to find the best online poker player in the world and give him or her a shot at being the next big thing in World Poker Tour poker.

The Tour consists of weekly online poker tournaments at official Bluff Poker Tour Stops across the web. Each week, one $30 NL Hold?em tournament will be designated an Official BPT event. By registering for the Bluff Poker Tour and participating in these designated tournaments players can earn points on the Bluff Poker Tour

.

Top players at the end of the season will qualify for the free-roll BPT Championship. The BPT Champion will receive buy-in to three WPT tournaments. All the details are available at Bluff Magazine.com.

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COOL CASINOS
6 May 2005

There's been a dearth of well built online casinos recently, but the draught has been broken by the launch this week of two operations belonging to large, well-established groups.

Vegas Splendido.com joins sisters Roxy Palace and the recently acquired Cabaret Club in The Palace Group using Microgaming software. It's a typically big, bold and professional MGS site carrying over 100 games of all types, including a full range of progressives. It is backed by 24 hour Support and a sophisticated banking system that embraces Neteller, Firepay and Click n Pay in US, UK, Canadian and Euro currencies. The licensing is Kahnawake, and the site has loyalty facilities, Cashcheck, Playcheck and everything the player needs. Being a new online casino, this operation does not yet qualify for the eCOGRA Seal, but the parent group is fully accredited and the services are therefore likely to be top-notch. The launch was marred by an unpleasant public spat between its owners and Vegas Red, which claimed their site had been plagiarised and resulted in some changes.

Latest from the Playtech people is 50 Stars Casino.com which also joins an established group - IOG Casinos Limited out of Antigua, which has just broken the record for a progressive win at $1.8 million. Sister casinos are SCasino, Casino Las Vegas, Casino King, Magic Box and Fair Poker. The presentation is workmanlike and clean with a large Playtech download gambling suite that offers a diversity of games to suit all tastes, backed by full Support facilities and a good range of financial options that includes Neteller InstaCash, Firepay, Moneybookers, 900Pay and Citadel. There is a wide range of bonuses available to encourage both newbies and loyal players - the signup is 150 percent maxed at $75, and there are interesting cashback offers such as a 20 percenter over six months, and a 125 percenter maxed at $200 on second deposits.

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GAMBLING THE KILLER APP FOR MOBILE ENTERTAINMENT
6 May 2005

$19.3 billion by 2009, predicts Juniper study

Mobile entertainment is going to be huge, and gambling is the engine that will drive it is the finding of a new study from Juniper Research, The research group reports that a rapid expansion in mobile content, allied to a sharp increase in 2.5G and 3G handset adoption, will combine to deliver global mobile entertainment revenues totalling over US$59 billion by 2009.

And while adult content ? frequently heralded as mobile?s ?killer app? ? will generate healthy revenues of nearly US$2.2 billion by the end of the decade, the key drivers of mobile content are expected to be gambling and games, with their respective markets worth US$19.3 billion and US$18.5 billion respectively by 2009.

The author of the report, Dr Windsor Holden,says ?Lotteries are ubiquitous in many countries, and if you start launching lotteries on mobile handsets then you're tapping into a form of gambling in which the majority of adults indulge on a weekly basis, while sports betting and casinos are also high-revenue businesses.?

Dr Holden added that mobile games were also beginning to generate substantial revenues, while sales in emerging markets ? with little or no established PC or games console base ? were particularly encouraging.

The report estimates that the mobile entertainment market will reach US$17.6 billion in 2005, up by 71 percent on 2004 and that the increasing adoption of non-voice services in the US and Canada will push North American revenues to US$11.3 billion in 2009, up from just over US$1 billion in 2004.

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SPORTSBOOK LAUNCHED BY GAMING TRANSACTIONS
6 May 2005

Futurebet software powers new book

Gaming Transactions Inc., the online gambling company led by two ex-World Gaming executives has launched its first version of KenoBook.com, its second venture into Internet gambling following the introduction of casino gambling earlier this year at Keno.com.

Kenobook.com offers a full range of sports betting options and an extensive number of betting types including straight bet, parlay, over/under, money-line, and teasers. The site showcases every North American sport from baseball to basketball to boxing, as well as soccer lines from over 60 different countries.

Under the terms of a previously announced agreement with FutureBet Systems Ltd., Gaming Transactions will be building a second version of the site with its own branded betting lines early this quarter. Kenobook.com's customers will have access to the same sports odds lines that are used by several of the top Las Vegas books.

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POKER.COM CELL PHONE GAME ATTRACTS ATTENTION
6 May 2005

And the U.S. paradox

It wasn't just the players who noticed Poker.com's mobile gaming service launch last (April) month - several mainstream media publications seized on the opportunity to comment on what was dubbed "The U.S. Paradox" too.

The general thrust of the stories was that the Poker.com launch highlights the fast growth and accessibility of online gambling, drawing attention to a business that has grown so much that investment bankers are circling several major players seeking lucrative new stock offerings.

But those offerings will not be in the United States due to the result of "....the Internet gambling's great paradox. The U.S. market by far is the world's largest, but the government remains adamantly opposed to Web wagering."

The reports point out that the obdurate position of the federal government in the USA has induced uncertainty and kept world class companies from venturing into a new market, although it hasn't stopped people from betting online. Yet, the government hasn't shown the will to bust individual bettors. Consequently, America gets no economic benefit from online gambling despite its dominance as a *consumer* in the world gambling market.

Quoting stats from European investment experts, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein the reports reveal that online gambling is still dwarfed by traditional forms of wagering, where last year the global market was some $ 237 billion, of which only around 3.9 percent came from the online sector.

In reporting that PokerRoom.com appears to be the first Web gambling outfit to allow its game to be downloaded into cellular phones the media have it wrong however.

There's a nice plug for Sweden-based PokerRoom.com in the media, too - the reports say that Poker.com is the sixth-biggest Internet card room, though it jockeys back and forth in rank with the fourth- and fifth-placed sites, according to the knowledgeable portal PokerPulse.

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THE SPYWARE MENACE
6 May 2005

New study shows unacceptable levels of private and business PC infection

Electricnews reports the disturbing news that spyware programs are present on 87 percent of corporate PCs and 88 percent of private PCs, in most cases without invitation or permission.

Spyware generates unwanted pop-up ads, hi-jacks homepages and redirects internet searches...and earns a cool US$ 2 billion per annum for their authors, says the story this week, quoting a new study from anti-spyware developer Webroot. The report looks at the impact of spyware, adware and unwanted software on consumers and enterprises.

A

ccording to the survey, 88 percent of consumer PCs and 87 percent of corporate PCs have illicitly installed spyware on their hard drives, including Trojans, system monitors, cookies and adware. These programs are used to gather data about the user, which can then be used for targeted advertising and can even be used to forward confidential personal information to spyware developers.

"People have become more aware of viruses and worms, but they haven't grasped the implications of spyware," said Conor Flynn, technical director of security firm Rits. "They would be uncomfortable if they understood the manipulation and tracking that spyware programs carry out."

The authors of the survey estimate that the spyware-related advertising market generates revenues of around US$ 2 billion per annum, which comes to around 25 percent of the US online advertising market, as reported by the Internet Advertising Bureau.

"A lot of the people who pay spyware companies for information come from the darker side of the web," said Flynn. "Many pornography and gambling sites use spyware to check click references and target consumers."

But others allege that many reputable companies also pay money to spyware firms. Ben Edelman, a spyware researcher in the US claims that companies such as American Express, Sprint PCS, Disney and Expedia also buy advertising through spyware firms.

The report also lists the most significant pieces of spyware and adware on the basis of detection rates and potential threat. CoolWebSearch, which has over 100 different variants and a reputation for resisting many anti-spyware programs, was dubbed the top threat in the study.

As we went to press an invitation to Webroot to expand on its findings had gone unanswered.

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FOR ONCE ONLINE GAMBLERS WILL CHEER SPITZER
6 May 2005

NY Attorney General is taking on the spyware sites

Internet users fed up with the barrage of uninvited and unwelcome advertising garbage dumped on their sites by uncaring marketers will be pleased with news this week from New York, where the energetic Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer is taking on the spyware merchants.

And for once many players and Internet users in general will be cheering on the man who did his damnedest to screw up Internet gaming last year.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has filed a lawsuit against Intermix Media, charging the online marketer with illegally disseminating spyware programs.

Internet-security experts say the lawsuit is unlikely to slow the deluge of stealthy programs that launch pop-up ads, track Web-browser usage and involuntarily steer consumers to unsavory Web sites. But it's a start.

Intermix operates about 40 Web sites that supply online games, greeting cards, social networking, trivia and jokes. But according to Webroot, maker of anti-spyware software, there are more than 220,000 sites distributing spyware, up from 60,000 at the start of the year.

Most often they feature music file-sharing, gambling, video games, online dating, porn, screen savers and trivia. Typically, visitors are asked to agree to usage rules that open a PC to infection with spyware. But not always. And sometimes the extent of the problem this creates for the user is not clear when he or she accepts.

"Taking down 40 Web sites, that's not even a drop in the bucket," says Webroot CFO Mike Irwin.

Intermix issued a statement denying that it "promotes or condones" spyware. The Los Angeles-based company characterised the lawsuit as a dispute about how it discloses its practices to consumers.

Intermix general counsel Christopher Lipp said he was "still hopeful" of reaching a settlement. "Many of the practices being challenged were instituted under prior leadership, and Intermix has been voluntarily and proactively improving these applications and related consumer disclosure," he said.

In a statement, Spitzer, who is running for governor of New York, said he was prosecuting Intermix to improve consumer privacy online and to aid online commerce.

According to the lawsuit, free software on Intermix Web sites secretly installed programs that generated advertisements. One known as KeenValue delivered pop-up ads; another, dubbed IncrediFind, redirected visitors to certain Web sites. Spitzer is seeking a court order restricting Intermix's business practices.

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WEBCAST / GAMBLING FROM SUMMIT
6 May 2005

Ikonsoft used on new multi-purpose site

Summit Entertainment Group, Inc. is introducing online gambling activities with a new online gaming casino, sportsbook, bingo and "One of a kind" Live poker at Lucky Summit.com

The site links players from around the world to play poker against each other in real time, for fun money or real money. Action is offered on Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 7 Card Stud and Hi/Lo together with freeroll tournaments, a monthly trip to Las Vegas and a seat at the annual WSOP Satellite - with a lucky winner going to the World Series of Poker.

John D. Jarvis, president of Summit Entertainment claims, "I know that our software can compete with market leader Party Poker's, I also believe that these (financial) numbers are obtainable by Lucky Summit's Online Casino if our Summit Media Services division dedicates themselves to the same kind of success in promotion that Party Poker has accomplished."

Madison Systems Inc. subsidiary Ikonsoft Ltd, has developed the software for the venture. This marks Summit's introduction into the online gaming segment and should complement Summit's Land and vessel based gambling business plan.

Ikonsoft has been developing and refining online gaming technology and operational expertise for over five years. "We are not a patchwork of loosely coupled technology partners. Instead, we built every component from the ground up to be seamlessly integrated for superior, reliable operations and enhanced security, with a sophisticated gaming engine, advanced front-end graphical interfaces, comprehensive back-end eCommerce system, fraud screening utilities, data mining tools, and expansive internationalization," said Donald McNally, chairman of Madison Systems Inc.

In concert with the launch of the new gambling site, Summit will be launching Summit Radio, which will explore the issues that affect Internet users, online casinos and other online businesses and cover live events such as the WPT.

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TEXAS SHOOTS DOWN INTERNET LOTTERY BILL
6 May 2005

Intense bi-partisan debate a feature

The Texas media reported this week that there was intense interest in the progress of an online gambling Bill (for a lottery concept) before the state legislature, with 9 million hits on the search criterion "online gambling" on one day alone. But it was bad news for searchers after all as House members shot down the idea of an online Texas Lottery.

Lawmakers, seeking ways to help fund the state budget, rejected the measure 89 to 52, abandoning an initiative that could have raised as much as $275 million more a year by allowing the lottery to debut on the Internet. The Texas proposal was one of three state attempts to bring in Internet-oriented gambling in the US.

Reports said that passions rose in an unpredictably bipartisan fashion as lawmakers debated the virtues and vices of expanding gambling to pay for better education, health care and other programs that aid the youngest and most needy.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts said the budget plan that was eventually adopted 107 to 37 without the gambling proposal will add $1 billion more toward the budget.

The Texas Lottery proposal would have allowed online transactions using a debit card, an ATM card or through an account set up by the Texas Lottery Commission.

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CASINOFEED TAKEN OVER BY CASINO AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
6 May 2005

Promo information site to be re-branded

US company Casino Affiliate Programs (CAP) has acquired the Casinofeed.com service which provides "real time" promotions and bonus data feeds to casino, poker and bingo affiliate websites, direct from the managing properties.

Under the agreement, CAP will assume responsibilities for sales, marketing and administration of the Casinofeed system and rebrand the service as Affiliatefeed.com.

Since the service's inception in January 2005, Casinofeed has built up a user-base of some 60 casinos and poker rooms, including brands such as Ladbrokes, Victor Chandler, Belle Rock and Fortune Lounge, and has attracted more than 100 affiliate website registrations. The involvement of CAP will bring a significant marketing benefit to those properties signed up to the service from April 11th onwards.

With over 2,000 active industry affiliates on the CAP roster and a popular portal incorporating the leading casino affiliate user forum, a primary role of CAP will be to ensure that affiliates are made aware of the service and are assisted in integrating the live feeds into their websites.

Under the agreement, the Casinofeed service will also be moved to a fast dedicated server and will undergo a brand awareness overview.

Founder Ian Sims will remain involved in the project, and has also recently been involved in the launch of a new co-venture site called Casinomatcher.com which plugs into the live Casinofeed data. Sims believes that the concept, which uses a factual database to find the best matching casinos to specific criteria entered by users, to be unique.

"While doing some research on another project, I got frustrated with not always being able to find specific information I wanted to relay to potential players" Sims relates. "Things like reverse withdrawal times and similar hidden 'features' for example. Thus, every time a casino is added to Casinomatcher, we test the casino's support response and dig out important items of information of use to players that they wouldn't otherwise necessarily be aware of."

Ed. note: Casinofeed.com was awarded Casinomeister's "Best Webmaster Tool of 2004"

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NEW POKER SOFTWARE DELAYED
6 May 2005

Red Felt wants to be sure before launching

Another industry initiative based on the opportunities afforded by UK online gaming regulation surfaced this week when Internet video games provider CYOP Systems International Inc. announced it is to launch a poker software licensing subsidiary titled Red Felt Software Ltd. based in the United Kingdom.

The Canadian company has engaged a London firm to form and register the new subsidiary in Britain, and licensing the poker game through this medium will become part of the business strategy of the CYOP.

Mitch White, the CEO of the company says that more than 200 online poker sites collectively are generating about $2 billion a year in revenues, equal to 40 percent of last year's $5 billion in gambling revenues from all of the Las Vegas "Strip".

An estimated 1.7 million players are active online, meaning they've played in the past six months. And about 150,000 people play on an average day, according to PokerPulse.com, which tracks the online poker market. Americans are thought to account for more than 70 percent of all players.

The ease of internet wagering has led to the ongoing rise in gambling at a rate of about 30 percent per year, and the company believes that this is still a very small percentage of the online gambling population that is actively playing online poker. CYOP also has plans to launch into the Asian market.

White says the company had planned to launch its poker game software on May 1, 2005. "However, we have made the decision to delay this to ensure it is 100 percent market ready with beta testing complete, translation complete and all integration issues resolved prior to launch and marketing on the SINA network. While a delay is regrettable, we believe in the long run there is more value as confidence in product and operations is paramount in the online gaming sector. Being nearly ready is not the same as ready."

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WORLD GAMING TURNAROUND ON TRACK
6 May 2005

Latest results continue to show improvement

World Gaming plc, the UK-based Internet-gaming software and e-business services group of companies has released its financial and operating results for the year ended December 31, 2004 showing increased operational profits and significant gains in other areas of its business.

The report showcases some interesting highlights, indicating that the turnaround at this once endangered business is well advanced:

Profit from operations for the year of $5,183,000 vs. $2,127,000 for the same period last year.

Royalty revenue from continuing licensees (excluding Sportingbet) up 41% percent in 2004 compared to prior year.

Operating expenses slashed 31 percent in 2004 compared to prior year.

Completion of Joint Venture transaction with Sportingbet resulting in extraordinary gain of $12,187,000 in 2004 and further minimum $16,000,000 committed development spend.

Net working capital of $14,866,000 at December 31, 2004 vs. ($126,000) at December 31, 2003.

Nil debt at December 31, 2004 vs. $2,944,000 at December 31, 2003.

Phased software re-architecture project expected completion mid-2005.

Company admission to AIM of the London Stock Exchange expected May 2005.

Wagering volumes significantly up.

Savings achieved by closing financial transaction and client services.

Gross wagering volumes increased 63 percent to $6.2 billion when compared to $3.8 billion in the prior year. Growth in wagering volume from continuing licensees (excluding Sportingbet) was 73 percent in the year. Subsequent to the end of the year, growth in revenues from continuing licensees has continued to exceed the growth levels of 2004.

Since October 1, 2004 Sportingbet pays the WG for its usage of the company's hosting facility. The payment is on a cost plus 10% basis and amounted to revenue of $621,000 in the year compared to $nil in 2003.

To compensate for no longer paying the World Gaming royalties, Sportingbet is paying a total cash consideration of $10 million on terms, has cancelled its $900,000 convertible debt with the Company and effectively cancelled its interest in 29.6 percent of WG's equity giving rise to an extraordinary gain in the year of $12,187,000.

In addition, Sportingbet is committed to spending a minimum of $16,000,000 on development over a four year period commencing October 1, 2004 and will pay a further $3,000,000 if the Joint Venture arrangement is terminated. The Company retains its right to the most up-to-date version of the software throughout the term of the Joint Venture arrangement or at such time as it may be terminated.

The report reveals that extensive software re-engineering has continued, with an expected pahased introduction from mid-2005. This re-architecture will allow greater flexibility in product offerings to new licensees and greater ease for ?plug-in' of new products. A single integrated player account will remain across the entire product suite.

Consistent with the Board's strategies, the company is continuing with its licensing efforts, is proceeding with listing the company's shares on The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange and exploring business opportunities through acquisition.

Daniel Moran, World Gaming's CEO and the man who masterminded the company's turnaround comments:

"World Gaming is profitable, debt free and has strong cash reserves. Together with the listing on AIM we believe the company is well positioned to successfully execute our strategies. We have a proven management team that is highly motivated in taking the Company to the next stage of development. I am delighted with the progress made in 2004 which is demonstrated by results, both financial and strategic."

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GENERAL ELECTION ADVERTISING FROM PARTY POKER
6 May 2005

Clever marketing rides on the back of Brit election media frenzy

The marketers at Party Poker this week took advantage of the huge publicity generated by the British general election with a poster campaign questioning the poker faces of the various political party leaders headlined 'Got a bad poker face?'.

Featuring Labour's head honchos, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, the campaign, which runs until May 11, includes the Tory Party leader Michael Howard and Liberal Democrat chief Charles Kennedy.

The election-themed 96-sheet poster ads will be visible across 32 sites in London, and were developed by copywriter Anthony Smith and art director Murray Partridge. The first three executions feature images of party leaders matched with relevant poker straplines the Michael Howard poster for instance asks: "Good at bluffing?" while the Charles Kennedy execution observes: "No one to play with?".

The creative is designed to illustrate the most important part of playing poker online; that no matter what your skill level is, you can still play poker and take advantage of the opportunity offered by the tens of thousands of players simultaneously playing whether you are playing for free or real money.

Vikrant Bhargava, group marketing director of PartyGaming, parent company of Partypoker.co.uk, said: "Building on our initial burst of national print advertising that broke at the beginning of April, featuring the King, Queen and the Jack playing cards, we're aiming to consolidate our position as a leading player in the UK, a fast-growing poker market. The ads are designed to introduce an element of fun in an otherwise serious election campaign."

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LADBROKES RAISING THE ANTE?
6 May 2005

Another 200 shops planned to maintain market dominance

Two weeks back, InfoPowa reported on moves by William Hill to buy up Stanley Leisure betting shops in a bid to dominate the gambling market, and this week an answer to the challenge came from Hilton Group, owner of the UK's Ladbrokes betting-shop chain. The group revealed that it may open as many as 200 outlets to maintain its lead over William Hill, chief executive David Michels said.

Ladbrokes' rival bookmaker William Hill is in talks to buy 600 betting shops from Stanley Leisure for more than GBP 500 million (S$1.5 billion) to create a chain with about 2,200.

Ladbrokes, which owns 1,900 outlets in the UK, may match that number by the end of next year, poker playing exec Michels told Bloombergs. "I'm not unhappy about being No. 2 by numbers, but I would be unhappy about being No. 2 by profits. We believe the maximum number we could have without attracting attention from regulators is 2,200."

Ladbrokes, which is Hilton's fastest-growing business, has helped cushion earnings as the company's lodging unit, which runs all the Hilton hotels outside the US, lost customers after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Operating profit rose 28 percent last year, while London-based William Hill's gained 16 per cent.

Hilton traces its roots back to the village of Ladbroke in central England, where a local racehorse trainer set up a partnership in 1886 to take bets on races. The partnership that developed into Ladbrokes bought three hotels in 1973, an operation it had expanded into a 160-strong lodging chain by 1995. Ladbrokes formed a marketing alliance with Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotels Corp in 1997 so it could operate its own hotels under the Hilton brand.

Michels (58) received an 81 percent payrise last year after net income more than doubled and the company's shares rose 27 percent. His total compensation climbed to GBP 1.87 million from GBP 1.03 million in 2003, according to Bloombergs.

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FIXED ODDS SOFT GAMES POPULAR WITH SPORTSBOOKS
6 May 2005

Expekt the latest to add more player entertainment

The trend for sports sites to carry fixed odds soft games continues to grow, and the Xgames package from CTXM is being noticed with increasing frequency in this sector as a result.

Having launched its applications through deals with some of the larger UK operators, the companys latest venture into the Scandinavian market seems to be gaining ground. In the latest deal, CTXM has been retained by Expekt, the biggest bookmaker in the Scandinavian market to provide 10 games. The first releases feature themes close to the hearts of Scandinavians and contain three flash application versions of "Hockey shot", "Run of hearts" and "Spin that wheel."

Expekt makes for a good start in global terms, too - started in 1999, the book has business and betting licences in Malta, the UK and Austria and offers services in 18 different languages communicating with clients in 130 countries.

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BUSINESSMAN TAKES $1.7 MILLION DOLLARS IN VEGAS TOURNAMENT
6 May 2005

Largest poker prize ever won by a Briton

The UK newspaper The Independent carried one of those good luck, and great poker skill stories this week when it reported the WPT successes of a British businessman who took two weeks off in Vegas to play poker.

Paul Maxfield has been running his own manufacturing company in Stoke-on-Trent for 25 years when he decided to head for Vegas for a well earned break playing poker, and ended up $ 1.7 million richer after placing second in the World Poker Tour championships. It is claimed to be the largest win ever pocketed by a British citizen.

Maxfield (48) has always had an eye for the gaming tables and his acjievement adds to the reputation in the US of British poker players, whose audiences in the UK have been limited to competitions screened by Channel 4 and Sky Sports.

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Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa


 
 

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