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September 2004

The leader in Online Casino News

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa news service.

TIT FOR TAT 24 September
POKER BICYCLE 24 September
A FAMILY AFFAIR 24 September
Got2bet'S THE PLACE TO INVEST 17 September
POKER PREVIEW 10 September
32 RED GOES RACING 3 September
POKER CRUISE 3 September

24 September 2004

Oxley on the warpath

Interactive Gaming News writer Kevin Smith brought the US legislative situation front-and-centre again this week with an insightful article on the latest moves by Republican Senator Michael Oxley to hamstring Got2bet through financial measures.

Oxley, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services and a longtime advocate of Internet gambling prohibition, plans to add H.R. 2143, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, to an anti-terrorism bill currently in committee.

A federal law passed in 2002 created a commission to study the intelligence and law enforcement failures that made the U.S. susceptible to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The commission released its final report in July 2004, and one of the recommendations was to increase the scrutiny of financial transactions originating offshore.

Based on this finding, Oxley wants to attach H.R. 2143 to a working bill aimed at putting some of the commission's recommendations into law.

Introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. and passed in the House as a standalone bill in 2003, H.R. 2143 would ban the use of credit cards, wire transfers, e-cash and other forms of payment for funding Internet gambling activities.

The 9/11 bill was scheduled for its second hearing in the Financial Services Committee this week, and CongressDaily reported that Oxley will seek to add the funding prohibition measure.

As chairman of the committee , Oxley is in a good position to do so, but that's not to say the strategy wouldn't be met with resistance.

"The leadership wants the 9/11 bill focused," one Washington insider told IGN. "If they add this provision (H.R. 2143) onto it, then anyone can add anything they want down the road, and they don't want to open up that box."

The gaming provision will likely see some daylight, he added, "but I doubt it will win."

The 9/11 bill is scheduled for markup on Sept. 29, and Congress is scheduled to recess on Oct. 8 to give members time to campaign and gear up for the election on Nov. 2. That means time is of the essence, and heavily debated provisions like H.R. 2143 could slow the process of moving the full 9/11 bill.

This week's hearing was called to discuss proposed modifications to the anti-terrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act. Part of the act covers anti-money laundering, and the 9/11 Commission felt the law should be modified with some "purely technical" additions.

A spokesperson for Oxley's office told CongressDaily that the changes would give more authority to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and include language to address both Internet gambling and anti-counterfeiting technology.

Oxley made a similar move during the Patriot Act markup in 2001, when he attempted to add the same prohibition language to the bill's money laundering provisions. The bill was ultimately stripped of the Internet gambling funding prohibition amendment before passing.

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24 September 2004

Caribbean Poker Classic offers a festive bonanza

WagerLogic-powered poker rooms will be offering the Caribbean Poker Classic, a new land-based poker tournament in St. Maarten in the Caribbean from December 5-11 this year.

The cross-licensee event will combine the best of Internet and land-based poker excitement, as players worldwide compete for a seat at the final tournament with an estimated $1,000,000 in prize money.

The championship event is a $5,100 buy-in, No Limit Hold?em extravaganza, held on Wednesday, December 8th.

The event will be a major draw and is expected to increase player traffic to the Wagerlogic central poker room, which is currently ranked number 4 in the booming online poker world.

Caribbean Poker Classic is WagerLogic's first foray into land-based tournament poker. The event will be held in St. Maarten in the Caribbean at the exclusive Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino from December 5th ? 11th.

Players can qualify in daily online tournaments through satellites, multi-tiered tournaments and single table tournaments for the Championship Package, which includes a $5,100 event buy-in, roundtrip airfare, six nights at the Resort, tickets to the welcome and awards ceremonies, and a special welcome gift. A guaranteed seat valued at $8,500 can be won each day up to a maximum of 400 players for entry in the final round in St. Maarten.

Pokerheads can qualify at the following sites:

William Hill Poker.com,
Bet Fair Poker.com,

Littlewoods Poker.com,
Classic Poker.com,
The Ritz Club London.com,


The success of this network is reflected in a total average cash pot of $6 million won each day; 400,000 hands of poker dealt every day for up to 3,300 players online simultaneously. Total player registrations currently exceed 150,000 from over 120 countries.

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24 September 2004

Heavy fine for network

CBS was fined a record $550,000 by federal regulators this week for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," which exposed the singer's breast during the Super Bowl halftime show.

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24 September 2004

Legal eagles perturbed by lack of due process

Last week's Paypal threat (reported by InfoPowa) that it will punish by $500 fines those who use its payment solution for gambling and other forbidden pastimes came in for criticism this week.

Few gamblers use PayPal these days in any case, but the suggestion that this company can consider unilaterally imposing "fines" without the due process of law is nevertheless interesting.

Starting this Friday, September 24, it remains to be seen how PayPal can make this work.

Netwatch covered the issue and reported that historically, as eBay was acquiring PayPal in June 2002 it announced that PayPal would not be used for Got2bet transactions. Then again on November 25 of the same year the company said that it will no longer process gambling related transactions. At the time they were under the gun of the authorities, and eventually paid a $10 million fine.

But apparently the company was unable to thwart anything, despite the earlier threats. It just resulted in user circumvention, although most gamblers converted to alternatives.

Most experts see this turning into a fiasco, says the NetWatch article. Often online payments for dubious activities are made under an umbrella payee who may have legitimate businesses too.

Netwatch poses the question "How is EBay, the owner of PayPal going to investigate payment schemes with some 50 million users?" It has been unable to police much of the petty cons perpetrated on its own online auction sites by less-than-honest users.

According to legal experts, the company believes that it has no choice but to do something, if only threaten. It appears as if the government wants to step in with reporting requirements that would be even more burdensome and perhaps this bluster will make it look as if PayPal, in particular, can police itself.

The NetWatch piece gets to the heart of the hassle when it says that it is the gambling aspect of all this that needs re-thinking by the US government. The real problem is with Got2bet at large offshore virtual casinos by ordinary US citizens. This is not something that can be stopped unless all offshore websites are essentially blocked (Chinese style) by the U.S. government.

"......Got2bet cannot be completely eradicated, ever," the article opines. "Even without the Internet there is an estimated $100 billion in illegal "street" bets placed in the USA every year. So people want to gamble.

"The government should be more concerned about offshore money flow and an inability to collect taxes. In fact, Got2bet should be legalized. Regulated American gaming corporations should be allowed to open online casinos. Nobody will send money to the Cayman Islands when they can gamble with a Nevada casino."

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24 September 2004

Here's a gallery to make a player smile

Brightening up the message boards this week was a cool idea by the webmaster at OGGS to build a gallery of screenshots on smile-inducing wins.

Originally started by Casinomeister players in the Winning Screenshots thread, the idea is to keep a permanent record of the good wins that players love to hit and boast about.

The intention is to build this into a categorised directory and all players are invited to submit screenshots whenever they feel they have a worthwhile win. Just stop by here to send the screenshot http://www.oggs.com/submitshot.html) or if you're in need of a positive vibe, enjoy a browse here (http://www.oggs.com/gallery/index.html).

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24 September 2004

Ejected by Ejercito

Running an online casino gambling operation, and even making games available at an Internet cafe has landed several Phillipino businessmen in hot water this week.

The mayor of Pasig City himself, Snr. Ejercito has ordered the closure of the Pasig City branch of the E-Casino Filipino after it was found to be violating city ordinances.

Several Internet cafes were also prosecuted for allegedly operating as an online casino rather than an Internet cafe and retailer of foods as stated on business permits and licenses.

Patrons of the eCasino had to buy an Internet card before playing the different online games on computers. All bets and prizes of patrons are charged to the Internet card and if the patron was successful he or she could convert the card into cash.

The municipality?s council has passed an ordinance against all forms of gambling. ?We will continue to close down gambling parlors in the municipality to put an end to this menace,? Ejercito threatened.

Violators will pay P1,000 penalty and six hour community work for first offense; P1,500 and 10 hours of community work for second offense; and P2,500 and/or imprisonment of 30 days for third offense.

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24 September 2004

Freeroll tourney handed over

InfoPowa reported the advent of the Zero Rake.com poker site earlier this year as an innovative idea that could find favour with the players, but it seems we called it wrong.

In a move that suggests that the owners have changed their status from poker room to affiliate promoting someone else, Zero Rake was informing players as we went to press that a $25 000 freeroll tournament on which they had hung marketing publicity had been handed to Action Poker Gaming site Holy Cow Poker.com. Zero Rake players will get a rather measly $10 "promo bucks" but otherwise have to re-register at Holy Cow, suggesting that they are being "migrated" across.

Rather ominously, the message from Zero Rake included the following comment: "Unfortunately the support for the Internet's only rake free site has been much less then we'd expected."

No explanation was given, and at press time we had not received a response to our queries.

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24 September 2004

The sportsbook sector has its perils, too

Best read for us this week was an article on CNN Money by journalist Chris Isidore, who's sportsbook-focused story served as a reminder that there are crooks in the sportsbook as well as the online casino sector....and US regulation could help put them out of business.

Isidore used a factual example of how well-heeled horse racing bettors were treated by 22 sportsbooks where they placed substantial bets to avoid shifting the odds too far on one site.

Out of the 22 sportsbooks, only eight paid in full and immediately as per their promises when the horse came in, while another two eventually paid in full but only after some delay.

The rest have paid only some or none of the winnings, and the gamblers estimate only about a third of their overall winnings were actually paid. The exercise left them out of pocket.

Some sites challenged the results of the race, which was cleared by track officials after an investigation. Other sites claimed that the gamblers had violated rules, or needed to wager even more in order to collect their winnings.

"When we made the wager, we felt we were doing business with reputable companies, even though we realized they weren't covered by U.S. laws," said Joe Marcoccia, one of the group. "We felt quite safe."

Online casino players can identify with this scenario at too many dud sites operated by underfunded or downright dishonest owners in a largely unregulated industry, and properly enforced regulation rather than attempts to ban online gaming entirely could go a long way toward better protecting US gamblers.

Executives in the Got2bet industry argue that Marcoccia's experience illustrates the need for legalization and proper oversight.

"In 1994, I said, 'Internet gambling is no good and we have to stop it,'" said Frank Catania, the former director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. "But when I had attorneys look into it, I came to the opinion that Internet gambling is not going to be stopped."

Catania, who now works as a consultant to the industry and is an independent director of self-regulatory body eCOGRA, believes that legalizing online sports wagering and gambling should be handled at the state level.

Others would prefer to see federal legislation. Another avenue might be through the World Trade Organization, which regulates trade between nations.

In the end it may be the business case for Got2bet that leads to legalization in the USA.

"It seems bizarre to me that the United States would sit on its hands and let the United Kingdom get a competitive advantage," said David Carruthers, CEO of BetonSports, an online sports book with operations in England and Costa Rica that gets the majority of its business from U.S. gamblers.

"This could be the home of Got2bet for the world," he said during his recent trip to New York, where he met with other industry officials interested in legalization.

Isidore comes to the conclusion that opposition to Got2bet is a safer position for most politicians to hold, and points out that prohibition has wide support in Congress.

The professional sports leagues and the NCAA would fight hard any legalization of online sports wagering. Many governors worry about a drop in lottery and casino revenue.

He closes his article by opining, "So despite the business and public policy arguments in favor of it, I think legalization of Got2bet is a long shot. And that means that online wagering is going to remain even more of a gamble than it should be."

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24 September 2004

High percentage poll turnout

"Strictly Slots" readers turned out in force to vote in the publication's "Best Player Reward Program 2004" poll.

50 000 votes were cast from a readership of 130 000, and most of them went to VIP Casino's innovative 10%/1% Cash Reward Program despite tough competition from InterCasino and Gaming Club.

VIP Casino claims to be the first online casino to make a high-roller incentive scheme available to every player, every month with no wagering requirements. The program refunds losing players 10% of their monthly closing net losses, and boosts winners with 1% of their monthly closing winning balance.

One of the key points of the program is its transparency. Voters acknowledged the rewards as the most straightforward on the 'Net, not requiring any minimum deposit or play-through as well as being based on the players whole month?s play rather than just specific days.

Strictly Slots will be publishing its results to its 130,000 readership in its October issue.

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24 September 2004

Casino claim under the spotlight

A Sunny Group spokesman last week made some pretty bullish comments on the market share held by the group, and a number of industry observers have since questioned this, particularly following the latest release of Metrics Market numbers.

The spokesman said, and we quote: ?We?re a very established and well-respected Internet casino. Almost 2 million Americans gamble with us. We?re the largest casino, with regards to American clientele, third-largest in the world.?

The conventional wisdom is that other casino groups, including the massively marketed Casino On Net could probably contest this claim, and the Metrics Market results for the past 30 days would appear to support that.

Metrics Market is an international company specializing in providing global internet metrics and research services. All research & development is conducted at their New Zealand based research laboratory and sales representatives are available in North America and the United Kingdom.

The results shown are collected from a sample of over 2 million users. They are usually accurate to within 5-15% of real traffic.

Two or more sources are used to provide balance.

The following are traffic estimates for user sessions over the last 30 days based on the research and development conducted:

Casino On Net - 5,820,400
Party Poker - 2,428,600
William Hill - 1,846,200
Ladbrokes - 1,411,900
Easybets - 1,153,900
Sportingbet - 1,081,000
Sports Interaction - 905,500
Golden Palace - 820,100
BetonSports - 706,600
Pinnacle Sports - 589,700
Intercasino.com - 580,700
The Greek (Olympic Sports) - 403,000
Bodog.com - 396,300
Paddy Power - 355,400
Sportsbook.com - 332,000
BetWWTS - 312,100
VIP Sports - 302,600
Poker Stars - 295,100
Intertops - 282,300
World Sports Exchange - 256,100
BetCRIS - 195,500
Paradise Poker - 181,600
SBG Global - 179,000
MVP Sportsbook - 170,000
True Poker - 159,700
Royal Sports - 157,600
Absolute Poker - 147,500
Royal Vegas Poker - 112,600
Global-Player - 103,200
Sports-Gambling.com - 90,400
BetUS.com - 80,100
Bowmans - 62,000
BetPlatinum - 38,200
BetGrande - 34,800

None of the Sunny Group casinos appear. Some of the questions being asked are, "On what factual evidence is this statement based? Can Sunny prove that they are the largest casino amongst US players and 3rd largest worldwide?"

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24 September 2004

New directors appointed

The troubled Australian public company Betcorp finally spoke up this week in announcing the appointment of a new chairman and two new members of the board following recent events which have seen a number of senior departures from the company.

Betcorp also revealed that it is to close its head office in Sydney, sell its Darwin-based Sportsbet subsidiary in a local management buy-out and relocate to Antigua to concentrate on its core $ 1 billion US gambling business, World Wide Telesports (WWTS).

The online sports betting operator had earlier revealed that it would dump Sportsbet after admitting that the subsidiary would struggle to retain its licence to operate in the Northern Territory if Betcorp retains ownership.

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24 September 2004

More cellphone gambling

Here's an interesting development - an Indian mobile technology outfit is providing mobile gaming technology for RTG-powered Windows Casino and its francisees (Windows is operated by Tony Friedman)

According to the Indian Press Service this week, Mumbai-based Coruscant Tec, has tied up with Avi Goldman's ADLM Limited to develop and distribute casino-based mobile games worldwide, including India.

ADLM is the holding company for Windows Casino, which sub-licenses its RTG gambling software to Internet casinos like Gold Key Casino.com, Black Jack Champ.com and Magic Oasis.com.

The first game 'BlackJack World Championship' will be available to Indian and international cellular operators from mid-October, Coruscant Tec revealed. "We are delighted to offer to the avid gamer something unique and addictive. Our tie-up reflects the upsurge in mobile game usage and the growth it offers," said Ajay Adiseshann, managing director of Coruscant Tec.

With offices in Chennai and Palo Alto in the US, the company provides a range of mobile solutions. "All mobile phone models, which support Java, will be able to run Blackjack. It's unique proposition apart from world-class graphics and animation includes features to conduct a worldwide competition where scores are posted to a website over GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)," the company said.

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24 September 2004

An interesting devlopment on a successful theme

Remember Kenilworth Systems and their patent for live gambling via iTV? Having made an initial announcement last year, the company went low profile, but appears to have been beavering away in the background, and these are the latest developments on this interesting gambling project.

The company has announced a newly formed partnership with high profile CenterStaging Musical Productions Inc to provide the entertainment content for its upcoming Roulabette interactive TV project.

In June 2003, Kenilworth secured the patent on its digital game broadcast system, which will transmit live in-progress casino games, on which viewers can bet from their own homes. Roulabette has been in the pipeline since then, and promises to offer Roulette, Baccarat, Dice and more, with commentators and on-floor reporters assisting players with the rules and strategies of the games.

Players will be able to go to their local Lottery Agent and make deposits for wagers and/or collect winnings in the same manner as if they are purchasing Lottery tickets, using Roulabette play cards.

The multi-million dollar contract with CenterStaging will allow Kenilworth to alternate variety and entertainment shows with the gambling action. CenterStaging produces a variety of Music award and chat shows and its client roster includes notables such as: Paul McCartney, Britney Spears, Cher, Justin Timberlake, Prince, Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder, Shania Twain, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Showtime, HBO, MTV and VH1 to name a few.

Herbert Lindo, Chairman and President of Kenilworth Systems Corporation says, "We are close to completing an arrangement with Roulabette(TM) service in Asia emanating from South Korea."

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24 September 2004

Play-for-free online site from US casino

A major land-based card room is launching its own Got2bet site, following the cautious "play for free" amd prizes model perhaps in the hope that US regulation rather than banning will come about.

In what may signal the shape of things to come and reflects the growing synergy between the online and the bricks and mortar casino, particularly in poker, Los Angeles-based The Bicycle Casino has launched its own online gaming site branded The Bike.com ? a play for free casino. While the online site will not involve gambling for money, it will allow users to rack up points redeemable for cash and prizes.

The new site reflects the variety and professional expertise of The Bicycle, which is one of the world?s largest card rooms with over 135 tables and features some of the world?s biggest poker tournaments. The casino promises that its new online gaming experience will offer the same quality play and customer service as is found on the casino floor in Los Angeles. It boasts an array of poker games tournaments and tutorials with additional special features offered via webcam.

Poker is particularly featured with Texas Hold 'Em, although Blackjack and Pan are vigorously promoted as well.

"The Bicycle Casino is excited to be the first card room with an online presence," notes Haig Kelegian, Managing Partner of The Bicycle Casino. "We are known for great gaming and customer service and we're happy we have a medium that will allow us to bring that beyond our physical location in Los Angeles and extend free gaming to everyone online."

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24 September 2004

Father and son to join poker cruise

There was a cool "feel good" family story from this week in which a father and son have both won places on a Ladbrokes sponsored poker cruise event. Both players won their places by playing poker on Ladbrokes? online site.

It?s an extraordinary coincidence that a father and son team, based in separate countries should gain entry to the event, where places are highly coveted and fought for in a very competitive way.

The father of the team, Brian Medley, is based near Wigan in the UK, while his son lives in Spain. The idea for playing online poker came about, after visiting his son Jason in Spain, where he was playing online poker for a living. At the time of the visit Jason has already won his place on the cruise, which inspired his father to give online poker a try.

After returning to Wigan, Brian Medley won his place on the cruise three months after he started playing online poker. Brian said of the achievement made by the two: 'I don't think either of us can believe what's happened. I don't know what odds you'd get on it but I imagine they'd be pretty high. It's the equivalent of playing football with the whole of the Manchester United team.'

The family team will now be playing 200 other players, including Britain?s greatest poker player, Dave ?The Devilfish? Ulliot, and Irish player, Donnacha O?Dea, who recently won the Poker Million event. The top prize is ?140, 000.

Jason Medley said of the upcoming tournament: "We may be father and son but our styles couldn't be more different. He's a very aggressive player, while I like to be patient. I'm making a nice living out of online poker, but it will be a dream to play against the top names. It's all about the experience for me. I don't expect to win, but I could and if that happened it would be life-changing."

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24 September 2004

Attacks thwarted, says company

Internet financial company Authorize.net has been the subject of repeated, extortion-motivated Distributed Denial of Service attacks but has successfully fought these off with the help of specialised services security company Cyota. "If you look at the evolution of denial-of-service attacks, you see that they started with hackers targeting big Web sites for fun," Naftali Bennett, chief executive officer of U.S. Internet security company Cyota, told NewsFactor.

The next step was extortion linked to a DDoS attack, where the criminals demanded money in return for an agreement not to target the Web site, Cyota explained. "The typical targets were gambling or 'adult content' Web sites, which, because of their semi-legal status, were reluctant to contact the police and therefore paid up," he said.

The attacks on Authorize followed the now familiar pattern of swamping the site, causing disruption of service followed by demands for substantial amounts of cash to avoid recurrences.

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24 September 2004

Media King at G2E

This year's Global Gaming Expo (G2E) is just around the corner from October 5 to 7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and both land and Internet industry people all over the world will shortly be catching flights to the mecca of gambling.

This year, the American Gaming Association is projecting 24,000 to 26,000 attendees at the show, compared with 22,700 attendees at the show last year, according to audit figures provided by the trade association.

G2E will be spread out over 255,000 square feet at the Las Vegas Convention Center, compared with 217,000 square feet last year and 133,000 square feet the first year.

One of the highlights of the event will take place on October 6, when CNN talk-show host Larry King will reprise his role as moderator of the popular "state of the industry" keynote panel of experts.

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17 September 2004

iGlobal's Internet poker giant in talks with investment bankers

In the UK, The Times reported this week that PartyPoker.com, market leader in the lucrative world of online poker, is believed to be planning to float on the London Stock Exchange.

The report revealed that the company is currently understood to be in talks with investment banks to discuss the wisdom and timing of such a move.

The Times says that much may depend on the legal issue of gambling in the US, where the vast majority of customers are based, currently so complex and ill defined, particularly for poker. It is currently illegal to offer American citizens fixed odds betting, but poker rooms do not fall into this category, as they only take a rake of the pot.

It is not yet clear how much PartyPoker is worth, but estimates suggest profits are somewhere in the region between $100 million and $200 million a year. At peak playing times, the site has had more than 50,000 people playing at more than 5,000 tables.

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17 September 2004

Guaranteed prize pool of $250 000

The popular sportsbook group Bodog may be a newcomer to the online poker arena, but it continues to show that it knows how to make a splash.

This week it was an innovative poker promo titled the "Bodog.com Poker Bowl" and it's scheduled to run throughout the 2004 NFL season, with the guaranteed prize pool of US $250,000. "The new Poker Room has been a great success so far, and this is just one of many tournaments that Bodog.com will be making available," said Rob Gillespie, President of Bodog.com Sportsbook and Casino. "We feel this event has the potential to become the Super Bowl of online poker tournaments, and live up to the high expectations of our players."

The First Annual Bodog.com Poker Bowl commenced on September 9, 2004, coinciding with the start of the 2004 NFL regular season. Entrance to the Poker Bowl, and a crack at that $250,000 prize pool, costs only $5.50 for entrance to the first tier of the competition.

The grand finale will take place on Sunday February 6, 2005, the same day as the Super Bowl. With the finale taking place on Super Bowl Sunday, players will still be able to catch the big game, as the Poker Bowl will be played well in advance of the kick-off. Since the Poker Bowl coincides with the NFL season, all matches will take place during NFL games this season.

"Everybody loves poker, and everybody loves football, it seems like a natural fit to combine the two of them," said Gillespie. "We will be launching several innovative poker tournaments over the coming months, so keep your eyes on us for your chance at some amazing prizes."

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17 September 2004

New BetWWTS poker room is sending a player to million dollar tournament

Last week's launch of the new BetWWTS poker room as part of the Prima Poker network has been followed by the announcement of a chance for a lucky pokerhead to win an expenses paid entry to the million dollar Monte Carlo tournament.

To celebrate the site launch, BetHoldem.com will send one player to the Monte Carlo Millions, the world's most exclusive poker tournament with an estimated prize pool of $1,000,000.

This lucky person will be one of only 80 participating in the tournament and will sit at the same table with celebrities and poker's elite. The prize package includes airfare for two to Monte Carlo, one week's accommodation at the luxurious Hotel Hermitage, the $14,000 tournament buy-in, a guided tour of the French Riviera and meals at Monte Carlo's best restaurants. Players can get all the details at BetHoldem.com

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17 September 2004

Unexpected harvest from confusion on lottery scratch ticket

Celebrating an unexpected influx of visitors this week was Fortune Casino.com - and it all started with a lottery site scratch ticket.

The Oregon Lottery likes to tout how its revenues create jobs and boost economic development. But one of its latest instant scratch-off ticket games apparently has been helping generate a tidy sum of revenue for the owners of offshore-based Fortune Casino.com.

Call the confusion over the name ?Casino Fortune? unintended offshoring, if you will.

And while lottery officials say they don?t see how anyone could confuse a scratch-ticket game with Internet gambling, Fortune's casino officials say their statistics show a 50 percent jump in Oregon visitors since the lottery started the same-named game last spring.

The lottery's scratch ticket (www.oregonlottery.org/scratch/cfortune.shtml) game began May 4, and has a top prize of $80,000. One can play high card, roulette, slots or 7-11 on the $10 tickets.

The number of Oregon participants in the Casino Fortune Website has grown from 8,550 before the scratch ticket game?s release to almost 12,500 at present, said casino spokesman Kevin Mercuri. In fact, he said, more than 2,700 Oregon clients responded to the registration question, ?How did you hear about us?? with the answer: ?scratch ticket.?

The estimated ?windfall? from the brand confusion is approaching $950,000, Mercuri said, adding that the average new client spends $240 in first-month deposits.

Apparently a trademark search was carried out prior to the production of the Casino Fortune ticket and it was cleared it for use by the Oregon Lottery due to the fact that the federal (trademark) is not in the same field of services as instant tickets and services.

Lottery spokesmen said confusion was 'unlikely,' but the big boost in the number of Oregon gamblers visiting the casino site speaks for itself, according to Mercuri.

?It?s obvious to us that Oregon is not exactly Las Vegas or Atlantic City,? he said. ?In our database, clients coming in from the state of Oregon are pretty slim.? The big increase, Mercuri said, ?...coincided with the issue of the Casino Fortune scratch tickets.?

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17 September 2004

Dangerous deals: The perils of careless CPA deals were highlighted again this week by allegations on a major message board that a number of affiliate programs had been taken for a CPA ride by two affiliate webmistresses. The modus operandi was not immediately clear, but nevertheless Greg Gomes of Wager Junction accused two affiliates, only to face the embarrassment of having to make an abject apology in the absence of any facts. The other programs remained mute, prompting more unproved allegations that they had been intimidated by threats of affiliates pulling their content. The bottom line was that few emerged untainted in the matter. No factual backup was ever produced, and the only positive possibility is that if there was unethical or dishonest conduct going on, it has probably been stopped by all the public fuss.

Unwise destination: Destination Poker was losing friends and uninfluencing people again this week, with a number of player complaints regarding bad operator conduct. One in particular stood out where a player reported a tussle over retroactively applied T&Cs - always a big no-no. Unable to settle the issue with Destination's management, the player resorted to RTG's dispute resolution service, only to be given the surprising news that they did not have any records of Destination's former T&Cs, and the onus would be on him to produce same if he wanted a favourable judgement. Luckily for the complainant, a fellow player did have a copy of the T&Cs, which illustrated that he was in the right but did nothing for the reputation of Destination. In fairness to Montana, after a bad start they made the correct decision and ruled in favour of the player.

Clouds over Cirrus: Exchanges on several webmaster - affiliate oriented forum sites indicate that a significant number of webmasters have dumped or are considering dumping RTG-powered Cirrus Casino over allegedly unpaid advertising bills. Players were this week reporting a blitz of promo offers from this operation, and caution is indicated. As at going to press Cirrus had not responded to our requests for comment.

Wade's confession: Will startle many readers, but as players have been pointing out at least Ace-Games.com Casino manager Wade Reese is truthful. Nagging complaints about slow-pay came to a head this week when one player revealed that he has been owed several thousand dollars for something like 4 months, getting the usual promises and email and telephone run-around after being paid less than half the amount owed. Even the assistance of affiliates was unable to prise the cash out of this casino, it appears. Then came an email from the manager Quote: "The casino is struggling and having many problems when most casinos would be out of business we have some strong backing so we are fighting to get to the point we are ahead and will not have to confront these problems anymore. Please, I have kept my word with you and paid you what I can. I will send the rest soon - that is all I had in my Neteller account."Unquote. Looks like another place to steer clear of until the situation is clarified. InfoPowa asked the casino manager to comment on these allegations, but there had been no response by the time we went to press.

Profits to order: Looking over iX Casino.com we were intrigued to see no-download software by XL Corp. We made a few enquiries which unearthed a positive labyrinthe of registrations and sites embracing the UK, France and Italy using Yahoo mails. On one of these sites was the intriguing if startling claim Quote: * OUR PROPRIETARY RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR IS CALCULATING YOUR PROFIT BEFORE THE WINNING/LOOSING NUMBER IS SENT BACK TO THE GAME. YOU CAN SET A MINIMUM PROFIT THAT IS ALWAYS KEPT FOR YOU! THIS ALSO ENSURES THAT YOU WILL NOT WAKE UP WITH $20000 DEBTS!Unquote. The suggestion that win/lose rates could be set on this casino product seems to be confirmed at http://www.xlpay.com/casino/casino/admin/?a=settings together with site copy such as Quote: The software is very good, with great control over the profit/winnings. It has the ability to change the winning % per game/table in real-time. Also you can withdraw the profit and limit player's winnings. Games are completely random, if the winning is within the limit. If the bet is causing winning over the set limit, the generator is generating another number until the winning is within the limit (or player loses).Unquote. Joker-Club.com seems to use this software, too and there may be others.

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17 September 2004

New season is a roll call of the stars

The line up for the fourth series of Bravo?s Celebrity Poker Showdown tournament has been announced - and it's a roll call of the stars.

The first show of the series airs in the US on 10 October, with the basic set up remaining the same. There will be five preliminary rounds, each with five players. The five winners of each round will proceed to the final, with potential winnings of US$250,000.

All players will be playing for charity, and the version of Poker played is the popular Texas Hold ?Em.

Prior contestant Matthew Perry, who appeared in the second series will appear again in the first show of the season. Alongside him in the first show will be Alias star Michael Vartan, Stephen Root of NewsRadio and King of the Hill fame, Christopher Meloni of Law & Order and comic Sarah Silverman.

The next games will feature celebrities such as NBA star Dennis Rodman, Macaulay Culkin, Angela Bassett, Chevy Chase and stars of popular cult show Curb your Enthusiasm, Cheryl Hines and Jeff Garlin.

Other sports stars include pro skater Tony Hawk. Well known poker fans Shannon Elizabeth and Dave Navarro will also return to the game. Talkshow host Ricki Lake will be trying her luck, as will actors Kathy Griffin, Sara Gilbert and Mekhi Phifer.

The poker show has proven to be hugely popular for Bravo, so the trusted formula remains despite the new line up, including the usual hosts Dave Foley and Phil Gordon.

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17 September 2004

Not much real money in this tournament!

Games Inc, the Ohio based company that operates such sites skill gaming sites as Games.org, Game Land.com, Skill Money.com, Lottery.com and Cards.com, has announced the introduction of multi-player poker to its portfolio.

As part of their "Roll of Quarters" promotion, Games, Inc. is distributing over one million dollars in virtual quarters to visitors to their websites for entry into Poker and other tournament games. Players can play for free or use their "Roll of Quarters" to enter a tournament where they can win prizes.

"We believe that poker makes a great addition to the single and multi-player casual games that we offer on these sites," said Myles Cairns, Games, Inc. CFO. 'This is only the first of the poker-style games we will be offering on the site. We plan to add at least two more poker games before the end of 2004."

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17 September 2004

License renewal a consideration

This weeks sequel to our report last week on Betcorp difficulties with the Australian gaming authorities is reportage in the Aussie press that the company is to abandon its local business.

The embattled online sports betting operator announced that it would dump its local business, Sportsbet, after admitting that the subsidiary would struggle to retain its licence to operate in the Northern Territory if Betcorp retains ownership. The spin-off will leave the Australian-listed Betcorp to concentrate on its $1 billion US gambling business, WWTS, which is based in Antigua in the Caribbean.

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17 September 2004

BetonUS panels accentuate the positive...

Last week InfoPowa reported on the launch of the BetonUS national public policy initiative aimed at drawing attention to the benefits of regulating, rather than banning Got2bet in the USA.

The first discussion panels of the initiative were held in New York this week, with some impressive experts highlighting the pros and cons of the argument. The meeting, was the first in a series of "Summits" to be held across the U.S. this month.

The consensus of the panel, which included four experts from the fields of law, education and Got2bet, was that Got2bet would exist whether it's legal or illegal: regulation is necessary to protect consumers and bring the industry into the full light of government oversight.

Regulation will therefore help eliminate illegal behaviors that can result from relegating gaming to the margins of society. The federal government's current position of prohibition, and the actions of the Department of Justice against media companies accepting advertising from the Got2bet industry, is counterproductive and based on archaic legal thinking.

Koleman Strumpf, an associate professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has completed extensive research on the subject and shared his theory on the connection between prohibition of gambling and bad behavior:

"Regardless of one's view of betting, the prohibition policy that we are currently engaged in is a very bad policy because prohibitions tend not to work and prohibition tends to lead to exacerbating the harms associated with the activity, to bring out the worse in terms of encouraging bad behavior, he said.

Linda Goldstein, a partner with the firm of Manatt, Phelps and Philips LLP and a nationally-recognized expert in several distinct segments of the advertising and marketing industry including promotions, the Internet, direct response and telemarketing, called for legislators to "rethink" the current approach when dealing with Got2bet.

She said, "I hope what happens here today is a catalyst for legislators and public policy makers to rethink some of the approach to this issue," she said. "The enforcement activities that have occurred have been haphazard and not really effective. The gambling laws and the acts that were written 50 years ago did not contemplate the invention of the Internet."

The subject of regulation as a means of protecting the consumer was covered by Frank Catania. Mr. Catania is a former Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the regulatory and enforcement agency responsible for maintaining integrity and trust in all Atlantic City gaming operations.

He is also one of the independent directors of the international voluntary regulation initiative eCOGRA.

He spoke extensively about how regulation in the online gaming industry can ensure that the rights of consumers and the rights of businesses are protected, with a particular focus on the steps that could be taken to meet this standard.

"What the Department of Justice is doing in the intimidation of media companies is a blatant violation of their authority," he said. "In my view, this industry should be regulated at the state level where the expertise about gaming exists. Online gaming companies can submit to probity checks, be required to conform to the regulations on payouts and that's where player protections can be instituted."

Legalizing and regulating Got2bet will also benefit the economy, members of the panel predicted. Prohibiting Got2bet would only allow another country to take the lead on developing it as a legitimate and profitable business.

The Summit tour continued in Washington on September 16, at the Occidental Grill with panelists Emily Hancock, E-Commerce and Technology Law Attorney at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Robin Hanson, and Ph.D., Assistant Economics Professor at George Mason University, and Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling. Next, the Summit moves to Chicago on September 22 and Los Angeles on September 24.

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17 September 2004

Paypal threatens fines

A Reuters report this week had us wondering under what authority, or in practical or legal terms Paypal proposes to enforce and implement the "fining" scheme it has just announced.

PayPal, the online payments arm of eBay, said it will soon *fine* people up to $500 for uses related to gambling, adult content or services, and buying or selling prescription drugs from non-certified sellers.

The new policy, which takes effect from 24 September and applies to both buyers and sellers, marks the first time PayPal has tried to impose fines for violations of its use policy, spokeswoman Amanda Pires said.

In addition to fines that could be applied to each violation, PayPal may take legal action to recover losses in excess of the fines, Pires said in an interview.

PayPal processes transactions on the net and at one time had received almost 10 per cent of its revenue from Got2bet. But it halted the practice under regulatory pressure after its acquisition by eBay in 2002 and now prohibits the processing of gambling and adult transactions.

Today, experienced online gamblers would not associate PayPal with their activities.

"What you're seeing here is an evolution of our programme. We're trying to deter people who would offer PayPal as a way to pay for anything in these categories," said Pires.

Pires said the changes were not in response to any sort of pressure from regulators.

Eric Jackson, a former PayPal executive and author of the new book The PayPal Wars, had a different view.

He called the new policy "draconian" and said it was likely a two-fold strategy to discourage certain behaviour while heading off regulators.

"I can only surmise that PayPal is coming under increasing regulatory pressure and has no choice at this point but to take an aggressive posture," Jackson said.

"I think they're making an emphatic statement that they're making a clean break from gambling in particular," he said.

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17 September 2004

"You have three choices...."

Information Week carried a timely reminder this week that Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are still a real threat to Got2bet operations.

Describing a typical raid, the article reported that a message hit the in-box of BetCBSports.com, threatening to knock the Got2bet site offline in prime sports-betting season if the company didn't pay up.

"You have 3 choices. You can make a deal with us now before the attacks start. You can make a deal with us when you are under attack. You can ignore us and plan on losing your Internet business," the E-mail read.

It was no bluff. Within three hours, the site was taken down. The first attack lasted five minutes and then ceased. "They were showing us what they could do," says Thomas Burns, who runs the business-technology systems for what's now known as WagerWeb.com, operated by CasaBlanca Gaming.

Such threats happen more often than most people realize. A survey by Carnegie Mellon University's H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy, in conjunction with InformationWeek's Summer Research Fellowship, found extortion attacks are surprisingly common: 17% of the 100 companies surveyed say they've been the target of some form of cyberextortion. The study, authored by graduate student Gregory M. Bednarski, queried small and midsize businesses about cyberextortion and other types of computer fraud.

The findings come as no surprise to FBI special agent Thomas Grasso, who helped with the study. "The majority of the cybercrimes we investigate involve some type of monetary motivation," Grasso says. "This business of people going out and compromising sites just to prove how much they know is a myth."

WagerWeb was knocked offline for about a day, says Dan Johnson, senior VP and senior oddsmaker at the site. Rather than pay off the attackers, the company called on its technical forces to build a defense and enlisted the help of Internet security-services provider Prolexic Technologies Inc. The vendor's services, at about $100,000 a year, aren't cheap. But, "I'd rather pay the $100,000 than pay the extortionists," Johnson says.

The gamble paid off. "As soon as we got the service running, the attack stopped," technology manager Burns says.

Cyberextortion is not confined to Got2bet, and mostly travels under the radar. Earlier this year, Myron Tereshchuk, 42, of Maryland, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to extort $17 million from intellectual-property company MicroPatent LLC. He faces up to 20 years in jail. Tereshchuk threatened to leak confidential information and launch denial-of-service attacks against intellectual-property attorneys worldwide if he wasn't paid.

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17 September 2004

British analysts optimistic

Investment gurus and the UK press are advising investors that the flourishing UK gambling industry is the place to be, and the better Got2bet groups are particularly promising.

The Hilton group has been showcased as a good example. Although the company and brand is better known for its hotel chain than as owners of the UK based betting operation Ladbrokes it has experienced a significant boost in its revenues and profits due to the success of Ladbrokes.

Ladbrokes has grown and profited to such a degree that is now contributing a larger proportion of the company?s profits than the chain of hotels.

This success is largely due to the betting group's Internet ventures, which in line with the Got2bet industry as a whole has shown rapid growth, expanding its range of offerings and harvesting solid rewards for the company.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has also been used as an illustration of success. Annual profits are now at Euro 6 million, compared to last year?s first half Euro 1 million loss. The company runs betting shops, as well as telephone and online betting branches, with all three aspects of the business performing well. Last week they listed 179,000 ordinary shares, issued under the Paddy Power Share Save Scheme-a scheme formed to aid the company?s progress into the larger UK betting market.

Taking into account the recent government decision to deregulate the UK gambling industry, and the current boom in online betting, analysts are now increasingly recommending investment into gambling operations - and particularly those with online activities - as a strong choice for investors.

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17 September 2004

G-Master to issue licenses

G-Master Technology Company Limited, has been appointed by First Cagayan (First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation) a Philippines Government body - as Preferred Agent for the new restrictive Internet Sportsbook license, for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.

This brand new online gaming license - the ?Restrictive License? - permits qualified licensees to operate legal bookmaking business in soccer and basketball without paying any gaming tax. The license fee is competitive (starting at US$26,000 per year) compared to other jurisdictions that issue Internet gaming licenses.

First Cagayan is the Master Licensor of all Internet gaming operators in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Free Port (CSEZFP) of the Philippines. It announced the new online gaming license package earlier this month and appointed G-Master Technology Company Limited as preferred agent in the specified countries.

?G-Master has great marketing experience in the online gaming market and Has established an extensive network in the industry, especially in the Asian Markets? says Albee Benitez, the president of First Cagayan.

Jason Chan, the Executive Director of G-Master Technology Company Limited, is very optimistic about the cooperation. ?First Cagayan is offering this very attractive and competitive license option to medium-sized investors,? says Chan. ?But more importantly, the online gaming laws and regulations of First Cagayan are well established and implemented. With the market know-how of G-Master and the cutting edge facilities and infrastructures of CSEZFP, this cooperation is going to have a big impact on the Asian online gaming market.?

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17 September 2004

To represent European Got2bet

The first meeting of the governing Executive Committee of ARGO confirmed appointments and agreed to consider social responsibility issues associated with remote gambling.

ARGO General Secretary, Clive Hawkswood, said: ?The future success and credibility of the remote gambling industry will be very much dependent on its ability to address these issues adequately. If the (UK) Gambling Bill proceeds, the Gambling Commission will produce its own codes of practice, but our members felt it was important to take the initiative. Our first steps we will be to set up a code of practice with Gamcare?.

The membership of the ARGO executive committee was confirmed as:

Ian Spearing (Chairman) William Hill

John O?Reilly (Vice Chairman) Ladbrokes

John Coates Bet365

Steve Taylor Bet Direct

Phil Knight Coral Eurobet

John Whittaker Stanleybet

Joe Scanlon totesport

Ed Andrewes Victor Chandler

Commenting on the membership and ARGO?s priorities, chairman, Ian Spearing said: ?ARGO is a new association and as its first chairman I am delighted with the quality of representation on the Committee.

"....our priority must be to ensure that any future remote gambling regulatory and taxation regime is one which meets the needs of operators as well as Government. We will all be losers if the regulatory and tax burden is such that Britain becomes completely unviable as a base for remote gambling companies. Related to that is the question of removing unjustifiable trade barriers across Europe and ARGO will certainly be active on that front too.?

ARGO was established earlier this year to represent remote gambling operators who carry on business in the UK or the European Economic Area. Apart from their international betting businesses, many of ARGO?s members also operate successful online casinos from other jurisdictions.

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17 September 2004

This twenty-something knows her numbers

Online poker operations at Ladbrokes reported an Irish "pro" player's success at their tables this week.

Belfast, Northern Ireland mathematics grad Lee-Anne Smyth has managed to buy a GBP sterling 150, 000 house outright, and a GBP sterling 15,000 car for cash as a result of her success at the tables after turning up her nose at GBP 40 000 a year banking jobs

Although yet to win a major league tournament, 25 year old Smyth is now earning a very good living from playing online poker. She plays poker online at the Ladbrokes site every week, earning on average a weekly income of GBP sterling 4,500. Should her success continue she is on target to have earned GBP sterling 243,000 by the end of the year.

Talking to a newspaper Smyth opined that her maths degree may have played some part in preparing her for the challenges of online poker, saying ?....hours spent solving algebraic equations sharpened my poker brain?. Who needs a proper job when I can make what most people earn in a month in a couple of hours??

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17 September 2004

SEOPs alert:

The search engine optimisation professionals have a conference upcoming in Search Engine Strategies, which brings sessions on search engine marketing to Stockholm from October 27-28 and Chicago from December 13-16. Basic information about these shows can be found at: Search Engine Strategies http://searchenginestrategies.com/

And one in the land downunder...

River City Group have issued advance information on the Third Annual Pacific Congress on Interactive Gaming (PCIG) that is scheduled for March 1-2, 2005 at the Marriott Sydney Harbour Hotel in Sydney, Australia. The program is currently under development and any suggestions on topics/speakers would be greatly appreciated, so get this one into your diaries, and let RCG have suggestions on what you would like to see as content.

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10 September 2004

New BetWWTS poker property signed up

The Microgaming-powered and fast-growing Prima Poker.com network scored a significant coup this week when it signed up the new BetWWTS poker site BetHoldEm.com.

The alliance is based on an agreement that BetWWTS.com?s new poker product will be featured on the PrimaPoker.com network of sites. This new brand developed by BetWWTS.com is their latest in a long line of managed properties, which currently includes WagerOnSports.com, BetCasino.com, BetP2P.com and BetAffiliate.com.

BetHoldEm.com will host a variety of poker games, including Texas Hold ?Em, Omaha, 5 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud. The site will also host tournaments at regular intervals, including the opportunity to take part in some of the leading tournaments like WPT tournament, The World Series of Poker and the Monte Carlo Millions.

Kate Anderson, the Marketing Director at BetWWTS.com, said: "By integrating our pending poker site into the PrimaPoker network we will enter the online poker marketplace with the benefit of providing our existing customers immediate access to the most extensive community of online poker players in the world. The launch of BetHoldEm.com will add further variety to our comprehensive gaming offerings and provide a true one-stop gaming destination for online bettors globally."

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10 September 2004

Wagerworks chosen as turnkey provider - but no US players

A major move into Got2bet by World Poker Tour has just been announced - the organisation is to open an online casino and poker site powered by Wagerworks.

The World Poker Tour is joining with WagerWorks to develop a WPT branded online gaming site. WagerWorks is a strong force in the Got2bet industry, with current clients including Virgin Games, BskyB and Hard Rock Casinos.

The venture with WPT will develop a real money gaming site accessible to players in countries where it is legal for US companies to operate online casinos. Access to US citizens will be blocked, in compliance with the current prohibited status of US operated Got2bet.

Details released so far of the venture include the types of games that are to be made available. Naturally a whole range of poker games will feature, including the increasingly popular Texas Hold ?Em, as well as Sit and Go, Omaha, 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Hi-Lo.

A casino operation is also planned which will bear the same branding and host a diverse range of table and slot games. Games exclusive to WagerWorks- Monopoly, Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right will be added, too.

WPT Enterprises are on something of a roll at present. The television series which has played such a strong role in the recent poker boom has just been expanded in terms of distribution. The series is now available for viewers in Canada, the UK, Australia, Sweden, the phillipines and South Korea. Negotiations are currently taking place to further this distribution of the popular show.

Steve Lipscomb, the founder and president of WPT Enterprises, explained the move into Got2bet thus:

"As the World Poker Tour matures, poker enthusiasts can expect to experience our unique brand of entertainment on platforms other than television. The expansion into international online gaming is a natural fit for the WPT brand and we are pleased to offer our fans in other countries a way to interact with WPT in a fun and challenging online gaming environment. This is the perfect way for us to leverage our international television distribution and international online gaming site."

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10 September 2004

New magazine will have plenty of interest

A Winneronline interview with editor Michael Caselli gave a mouth-watering sample of what poker fans can expect in the new Bluff Magazine, due for launch soon.

Bluff is a poker lifestyle, 100 pages, full size glossy magazine that will run initially to 90 000 issues.

Caselli rightly says, "Poker is really hot right now, people love it! We?re in the middle of a Poker Revolution. So we?re aiming Bluff at the poker enthusiast. We focus on the lifestyle, no one else does.

"We?ve got things like ?A Day In The Life Of A Poker Player? where we talk about the poker clubs and the night life around it. ?How To Read Your Opponents? is another feature of ours. We?ve got detailed, hand-by-hand analysis of a typical game with card shots so you can get into the head of each player to see why they are making their decisions.

"We?ve also got interviews with celebrity players in every issue. The celebrities are seriously into poker. Ben Affleck, Toby McGuire, Lou Diamond Phillips, they?re regulars. Our first issue interview will be with James Woods. He?s the real thing! He?s a graduate of MIT so he?s got the numbers, he minored in Psychology so he knows how to read the players. He?s got some great stories: how he got into gambling, into poker. It?s a full five pages and that?s after we cut it back."

The magazine is bi-monthly and will run in the months opposite stablemate Gambling Online Magazine. Sounds good to us.

Mention of Gambling Online Magazine prompts an interesting postscript to this story by Bluff Media president Eric Morris. The magazine's Reader's Choice awards have apparently triggered a record 35 000 votes this year. Eric says there are likely to be a few surprises amongst the awards, but he's not saying what they are. Readers will have to wait until November, when the results of the popular poll will be revealed in the Yearbook Edition and online at www.gamblingonlinemagazine.com.

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10 September 2004

Recent developments on Board of Directors considered

InfoPowa reported on the resignations and apparent internal strife at BetWWTS and Australian public company Betcorp last week, and the situation continues to attract the attention of the Aussie media.

This week The Age reported that pressure continues to mount for Australian online betting operators Betcorp, involved in investigations by industry regulators.

Northern Territory gaming regulators are to review the licence for Betcorp's Australian business Sportsbet after a boardroom exodus last week and revelations that it may now be controlled by convicted racketeer and US fugitive Bill Scott.

It is also believed the company has been the subject of an Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigation following complaints of insider trading, the newspaper reported, although ASIC has yet to lay any charges.

The Northern Territory Racing Gaming and Licensing Commission was tight-lipped on the future of Betcorp's licence for Sportsbet.

"When a company changes its circumstances, it's standard practice to alert the licensing commission of that. That's what will happen in this case," said NT Government spokeswoman Mary Fall. She said the commission was aware of Scott's criminal background when the licence was awarded, and set strict conditions accordingly. These included undertakings that he was not allowed to be the largest shareholder or to take control of the company.

The fact that trusts associated with Scott's family accounted for 26.7 per cent of Betcorp's outstanding shares was not considered a breach by the commission as Scott's name did not appear on any of the trusts.

Betcorp appeared to be in disarray this week, following a reported board room exodus leaving the Australia?s third largest wagering conpany, which operates BetWWTS.com, with one director. Mystery surrounds the abrupt departure of its chief executive, Richard Barker, and chairman John Priest, and the company is now in the hands of Bill Scott, who as founder, of BetWWS.com, is Betcorp's largest shareholder.

Scott was charged by US authorities 1998 with running an online book, but fled to Antigua where he formed BetWWS, which was acquired last year by Betcorp for $58.6 million. He is still effectively a ?fugitve? from the US government. Further revelations in the Sydney Morning Herald this week that Scott was once jailed for ?racketeering? in the eighties, has prompted the Australian government to review Betcorp?s licensing situation.

Betcorp said it would release a statement next week to clarify the situation and that its shares will remain suspended until such; time as at least two new directors are appointed. The company has struggled this year after downgrading its first-half results in April from a $12 million profit to a $2 million loss.

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10 September 2004

Multiplayer Texas Hold 'Em an iTV first

Zone4Play software has been active again - this time in the iTV poker sector.

Avago has signed an agreement with Zone4Play to provide Britain with its first ever iTV multi-player, Texas Hold?em game that will allow thousands of players to bet simultaneously. The play for fun game is expected to launch by the end of 2004 on Avago, which broadcasts to hundreds of thousands of UK households through Sky digital.

Idan Miller, Vice President of marketing and sales for Zone4Play, says, "Our close relationship with Avago has helped us develop the first ever multi-player poker game for iTV. Zone4Play's technology platform successfully translates game concepts effectively implemented over the Internet to a live at-home playing experience, while overcoming the limitations of the iTV platforms."

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10 September 2004

Latest software is "better looking and easier to play" say experts

WagerLogic's Version 5 software is better looking, has some interesting new games and is easier to play, say a number of industry observers who tried the new products this week.

The suite contains six new progressive jackpot video slot machines as additions to the Jackpot Mania network called Rapid Fire Jackpots. The action on all the machines keeps the prize growing quickly. It has yet to go 24-hours without a hit, claims one casino manager, and since launch it has been won almost every day - usually more than once.

Intercasino manager Ryan Hartley says that the jackpot rarely has a chance to climb much higher than its default prize of $500, and that players don't need to look for a special combination of symbols and lines. The machine randomly awards the prize. It's fun and easy to win!

The Rapid Fire Jackpot is available in US dollars, euros and pounds sterling.

The games are traditional nine-line video slots called Coral Cash, Doctor Love, Dolphin King, Northern Lights, Salsa and Sirens. All are available in both real and fun-play mode and contain a custom set of animated symbols and bonus rounds offering the chance to win free games. And when inside a free game, every win is tripled.

Other enhancements have been made to established games. The single-player version of blackjack now sports a "TurboPlay" feature. Hit the Turbo button on your table when playing alone and the action moves twice as quickly. Turbo is also available for multi-hand video poker.

Autoplay is now featured on the most popular slots. There are new games on the casino floor, a more-visible entry to the second floor and six new animated avatars to represent how players look inside the casino. Helpful screens give the necessary instructions for making upgrades to the players' existing software - making the download of the new games and features quick and painless. Check out the new games here!

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10 September 2004

Texas Hold 'Em and BJ on your instant messenger!

Internet gambling technology just keeps on sprinting forward, and this week a new idea using instant messaging came to light.

BuddyPlay.com is the first Casino and Poker Room integrated with MSN Messenger to play with your buddies And it's free and fun, say the operators, who are Israel-based. Just instal and play with a small download and no registration.

It's a well presented site with good information, gaming guides and a forum, and an encouraging sign is that the Support is quickly responsive and helpful, despite having the minimum of contact facilities.

The operator-owner is Macrogaming LTD, and the software is entirely proprietary, having been under public trials for some months. The company is solely focused on development and publishing of games for the instant messaging environment to create the most intriguing P2P gaming experience for its user community. Without going into detail, it claims that its investors and management are veterans of the software industry and have many years of experience developing and marketing world-class software games.

A company spokesman told InfoPowa, "Our software is unique and was designed specifically to serve as a gaming platform for IM environments. Given the nature of instant messaging, it was necessary to build a platform that will enable deployment of games in a completely integrated manner and that could not be achieved with the standard available software.

"We have spent more than 10 man years to design and build a gaming platform where a given game can be instantly deployed on multiple instant messaging environments."

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10 September 2004

Convenience a selling point

Feel like playing a few hands of blackjack at the airport lounge? How about trying your luck on the subway after a hard day's work? Or a few games of Video Poker at the beach?

Winward group were asking those questions in promotional literature this week as they hyped their mobile wireless gambling service, promising:

  • A comprehensive suite of 17 casino-style games
  • Rich interactive entertainment on mobile devices at Internet land-line speeds (No slow browsers!)
  • Games for PocketPC? and PalmOS? devices
  • Real-time wagering for real money
  • True single account convenience (use the same account ID and password that you use at WinwardCasino.com)
  • Fully secure experience with 128-bit encryption technology
  • Anytime, Anywhere convenience
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    10 September 2004

    Bonusing blues...just seem to get worse, with daily issues arising between players and online casinos, and some none too savoury practices. One that caught our eye this week involved sending players promo offer emails that contained some, but not all the conditions. For example the Kiss and Giant Vegas casinos email we were shown did not contain the important condition that there was a maximum payout beyond which winners would not be paid. And there was no link to the T&Cs on site where the condition appeared none too prominently. The cut-off was applied to those players who were lucky enough to win over the max, alienating more customers at a time when acquisition costs are reaching very high levels. Surely it is not too much to ask that promo emails contain a clear link to the site T&Cs and the caveat that players are expected to familiarise themselves with these before accepting the promo? Despite admitting that their promo email had been "careless" Kiss management were still withholding full payment as we went to press. The issue has made them few friends.

    Delano demise....another example of how NOT to close down an online casino occurred this week when RTG-powered Delano casino went down without a word of explanation to its players. The url at first routed to RTG, who ignored requests for comment and then had everyone scratching their heads when it re-routed to Winward Casino, a DCEG-Parley powered operation that has been around for some time. Understandably, those players owed money by Delano wanted to know what was happening, and fortunately the president of Winward, Jon Ramsay broke the Delano and RTG silence to tell them. It appears that Delano was provided with customer services and hosting in a commercial deal with Winward. For undisclosed reasons, Delano was unable to continue in business and Winward agreed to look after the owed players, whom it would transfer across to its books - not a bad deal with acquisition costs running at around $500 or head or more these days. Kudos to Winward and nothing at all to RTG and Delano management for their silence. Readers may recall that Delano was one of the casinos involved in the record-win Pirate of the Caribbean dispute last year.

    Internet 1x2 hassles? Internet1x2, which is located in Belize, has reportedly had its doors boarded up and has been evicted from the business park, it was reported in Sports911 this week. It is rumoured that tens of thousands of dollars are owed to various people in Belize. Yahoops was listed in the Blacklist at Majorwager over 2 years ago.

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    10 September 2004

    Late night bonanza.

    Cryptologic-powered Intercasino had a big winner this week who proved that the old adage "....early to bed" is not always the smart course to take.

    The casino called to congratulate its latest progressive slot machine mega-winner, only to find out that gambling is a family affair in his house. 54-year-old player "William H." was playing the Rags to Riches progressive with his wife when he decided to turn in for the night.

    Luckily, his wife did not immediately join him but continued playing, because just as William's head hit the pillow, the calm of the evening was shattered by his wife's shouts of exultation. William's wife had just brought home the bacon - all $281.865 of it!

    "My wife was beside herself, and I tried to stay pretty cool, but I just couldn't believe it," said William. "We have been playing for about three years and we've won big before, but this is the biggest."

    The lucky couple enjoy playing together. "Last year we won about $50,000 playing poker, we've hit royal flushes four or five times, so we like to stick to poker, but when the jackpot on Rags to Riches reaches over $180,000, we know it's due to bust. That's what put us on Rags to Riches the other night.

    "We will be putting most of the money away for my retirement in a few years, $281,865 is a great boost to the retirement fund, but I also have had my eye on a two-seater Jaguar, and I'm thinking about buying that too."

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    10 September 2004

    Mobile plans opposed

    Phillipines lawmakers have lashed out at a reported plan of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to introduce games of chance through cellular phones and the Internet in an effort to help the Arroyo administration raise additional revenues for her cash-strapped government.

    In a joint statement representatives Allan Peter Cayetano of Taguig-Pateros, Joel Villanueva of Citizen?s Battle Against Corruption, Benjamin Agarao Jr. of Laguna and Justin Marc Chipeco of Laguna described the proposed text and Internet gambling as the worst kind of gambling, because it will encourage people, particularly the youth who have a penchant for text messaging and Internet games, to get hooked to gamble.

    The congressmen noted that a majority of mobile-phone users are young people that include a large number of minors.

    Cayetano said the proposal of Pagcor to make gambling accessible everywhere would run counter to President Arroyo?s policy of suppressing all forms of gambling.

    ?While President Arroyo, at her left hand, is directing the departments of Interior and Local Government and Education to stop campus gambling, she is, at her right hand, allowing Pagcor to expose the students to text or Internet gambling.?

    Chipeco sought a congressional inquiry into the ?real and official policy? of the Arroyo administration on gambling, and on the ?authority or lack of authority? of Pagcor to run Internet and text gambling.

    ?There seems to be a clear conflict of policy here,? Villanueva said. ?The President wants to stop gambling in campuses, but her gambling agency wants to promote such illegal and immoral practice through cellular phones, which is very much accessible even to the youth.?

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    10 September 2004

    Good contribution from online operations

    The UK's second-largest betting shop chain William Hill has posted a rise in half-year profits of almost 40 per cent. It reported pre-tax profits of GBP sterling 118.4 million for the 26 weeks to June 29, close to forecasts of GBP sterling 113-116 million.

    Operating profits at its online division rose 50 percent to GBP sterling 24.2 million. There was strong growth in all sections of the groups Internet arm, including online casino and poker games, and the online sports betting service Sportsbook also benefited from favourable horse racing and football results.

    The firm said profits were up to GBP sterling 111.8m compared with a GBP sterling 85.1m a year ago, for the six months to June.

    William Hill plans to launch a 24-hour television channel next month. The channel will offer a variety of editorial programming, covering sporting events with betting opportunities, random number generated betting games, and potentially, live sports broadcasts.

    Customers will be able to place bets and play games directly through their television sets, using fixed-odds betting formats.

    The company, which owns 1,600 betting shops and offers telephone and Got2bet said however that growth in its winnings had slipped during July and August. The group reported that its gross win - the amount left behind by its customers after betting - rose 18 per cent in the half year. But in the eight weeks to August 24 the gross win was up just 8 per cent as UK horse-racing results were not as favourable to bookmakers as those in the first half.

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    10 September 2004

    Royal Vegas offers its free roll

    Another online big budget, online poker freeroll tournament was announced this week by Royal Vegas Poker, which claims the "....poker world's first freeroll tournament to offer cash prizes totaling $100,000." There's no entry fee required - and all players have to do to win is play.

    While tournaments with prize pools of $100,000 are rather commonplace these days, prize money is always contributed by the competitors, along with a fee that goes to the Internet site or land-based casino that's hosting the event. But there's a big difference here: all of the money in this tournament -- except for five-dollar rebuys during the first hour of play and a five-dollar add-on -- will be contributed by the host site, Royal Vegas Poker, a leading Internet poker site.

    The action will take place Saturday night, December 18, 2004, at 8:00 PM EST. The game is no-limit Texas hold 'em, and entry may be gained by meeting any one of the following requirements:

    -- Become a first-time Royal Vegas Poker account holder by registering an account between August 1st and December 14th 2004. You can do this at http://www.royalvegaspoker.com . There's no purchase required.

    -- If you're a current Royal Vegas Poker customer, you can qualify by playing at least 2,500 raked hands between August 1st and December 14th.

    -- You can also qualify if you play at least 1,000 raked hands in any one of the following calendar months: August, September, October, November or December 2004.

    -- Fulfill any of the Royal Vegas Poker "special promotion" entry requirements.

    Each player will begin the tournament with $1,000 in chips. Only one entry per account is permitted, and only valid Royal Vegas Poker account holders, who have met at least one of the qualification requirements, are eligible to play in the tournament. Entries are not transferable and raked hand requirements are only met on tables with limits of $0.25/$0.50 and above.

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    10 September 2004

    Important sportsbook deal being finalised

    Though not officially announced or confirmed yet, The Prescription.com has just published a story that the sportsbook holdings of MVP are to be taken over by David Carruthers' Betonsports group.

    The VO-Group owns five books including MVP Sportsbook, Players Super Book, All Tracks, Jackpot Hour and MVP Poker.

    BetonSports is on the acquisition trail for other sportsbooks as part of its new status as a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange AIM. With a $51 million budget this year as part of its fulfillment to AIM, acquiring MVP will prove its capacity and intent.

    MVP Sportsbook's owner, Dalton Wagner, is expected to move to Panama where BetonSports is currently seeking a license.

    Meanwhile, BetonSports is attracting attention with that $51 million budget in what Sports911 reports is "....perhaps the most aggressive marketing campaign this industry has ever witnessed."

    In a story Sports911 first broke a few nights ago, BetonSports began appearing on Miami's ABC affiliate with spots for its Right to Wager campaign. Another dozen stations across the country began showing the ad as well.

    The company, which urges viewers to oppose Got2bet banning legislation, wants this TV advertisement to appear on 25 stations across the country over the next 32 days. Igamingnews.com reported that the campaign could be extended beyond that limit.

    Cable television station SpikeTV, known as "First Network for Men," aired the advertising this week, featuring an actor sitting in front of a waving American flag. The player was talking about how U.S. citizens enjoy more freedom than anyone else on Earth. Then the ad flashed up the text ?www.betonsports.com/freedom ?, and a voice-over informed the audience that betting on the Internet is a constitutional right and all Americans should protect their interests and fight it. The viewers are invited to visit the Web site and to sign a petition that will be sent to Congress.

    The ad closes with another image of the American flag waving and the voice asking, "If they take away this freedom, what will they take away next?"

    David Carruthers, CEO of BetOnSports, said: ?The ad is part of an aggressive fall promotion to raise awareness of the prospective prohibition bills that have floated around Washington for several years. The ads are in conjunction with an online campaign and billboards we have taken out. There will also be ads in newspapers across the entire country."

    Meanwhile, Infinity Broadcasting began accepting Got2bet ads once again this week. The radio conglomerate stopped advertising online casinos and sportsbooks late last year after receiving a letter from the U.S. Justice Department suggesting such ads may be "illegal". Michael Corfman's Casino City has recently launched a Federal legal action for a declaratory judgement against the US Attorney General in respect of the inhibiting effect on advertising that is a consequence of the Department of Justice's activities.

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    10 September 2004

    Focusing on the regulation issue

    As we went to press this week, Betonsports was in the thick of the "legalise Got2bet" fight in the USA once again.

    Following up hard on its "Right to Wager" advertising campaign, the company announced the launch of a public policy initiative, entitled: ?Proposition 1: To Regulate or Prohibit Got2bet?" which tackles head on the issue of gaming legislation in the US. The objective is to establish a "...framework for sensible and realistic regulation of Got2bet".

    A summit tour during September has been organised in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles designed to bring together industry specialists, lawyers, academics and representatives of government bodies to encourage much needed open debate on the US situation.

    "As an emerging form of entertainment, Got2bet is growing exponentially and is here to stay in the U.S. Efforts in Congress to develop legislation have stalled and are otherwise polarising people. The Department of Justice's approach is also counterproductive. There's a public policy vacuum on the issues and it's in the best interests of consumers for the industry to step in and help focus on what's most important to consider and accomplish in creating legislation," says David Carruthers, CEO of Betonsports.

    The company plans will publish the findings from the initiative in a white paper in November, following the US presidential elections. There are also plans to organise a series of college campus debates.

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    10 September 2004

    New horse race product

    Chimera Technologies has been busy again - this time with a new horseracing product.

    The company has announced it has completed, and is ready to launch, a new online horseracing platform for the US market, which will offer punters live video streaming and real-time live odds from most major North American racetracks.

    The software is debuting in demo mode at 724 Sports Book.com under the 'Horses Now Available' section. Once inside the registration page, simply type in 'playforfun' in the 'Code' section and leave the 'password' section blank.

    Chimera President, Ken Chua, says, "We are excited about this new platform and believe that it will help to significantly impact the bottom line of licensees and in turn, Chimera.

    "Chimera looks forward to entering a sector that is experiencing such rapid growth. The US thoroughbred racing handle has grown from $9.9 billion to more than $18 billion over the last decade. We are currently working on expanding our network to include odds from racetracks in Europe and Asia."

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    10 September 2004

    Largest World Poker Tour event yet at Bicycle Casino

    The legendary poker player Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson took home over a million dollars last week when he won the Bicycle Casino Legends of Poker Tournament in Los Angeles.

    It was the biggest prize pool in World Poker Tour history at $3,335,000, attracting 667 players and doubling the size and the prize pool of the casino's WPT event last season.

    Last year's event drew 309 players and generated a prize pool of $1,545,000, with the winner scooping $579,375.

    As 2004 winner of the $5,000 buy-in event, Doyle Brunson is an old-time road gambler who's been playing poker for 50 years. He has 2 World Series Championships and was the first to pass the million-dollar mark at the WSOP and is considered a savvy pro and a gentleman at the tables.

    Brunson will now advance to the WPT Championship at the end of the season in April 2005, held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

    The top 60 Legends of Poker finishers shared in the total prize pool. Some of the most recognizable faces playing at the tables included Legends of Poker defending champion Mel Judah, Paul Phillips, Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer and Phil Laak. Also counting their chips were actors Ben Affleck, James Woods and Tobey Maguire together with WPT newcomer Matthew Perry ("Friends"). The event drew a large contingent of the top women pros including Clonie Gowen, Annie Duke, and Jennifer Harman.

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    10 September 2004

    Horse racing focused gambling site raises questions

    There was an interesting Canadian legal case shaping up involving online betting and horseracing this week, and the Federal Court has been asked to decide whether Canada's first government-sanctioned Internet gambling site is legal.

    The Ontario Racing Commission suggests a rule change quietly made last year by former agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief outstretched his legal authority. As a result, a popular racetrack betting site launched last January by Woodbine Entertainment Group could be illegal, it says.

    At stake is HorsePlayer Interactive, a novel online site that's bringing in about $1 million a week in wagers. Unless the government decides otherwise, the site will continue operating while the court challenge unfolds.

    At issue is a rule change that allowed horse-racing bets to be placed not just by telephone but by "any telecommunication device." Unlike provincially run casinos and lotteries, horse-racing is regulated by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency under the federal Agriculture Department.

    The agency argues that telephone betting has been allowed for years, and that the change simply allows players to do on a computer what they can do by phone.

    The court's decision could take up to two years.

    A Woodbine Entertainment Group spokesman says the court action doesn't square with the commission's duty to promote horse racing.

    "We're absolutely flabbergasted and, frankly, offended that the Ontario Racing Commission has filed the application in an area over which they don't have jurisdiction," said Nick Eaves, senior vice-president of marketing and business development.

    "I mean their mandate is to do that which is in the best interest of Ontario racing. And essentially, what they're doing is being the instigator in an action which, if successful, would have the effect of discontinuing one of the only recent services in the Ontario racing business that's actually attracting new customers and really performing in a way that our customers have told us they want."

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    10 September 2004

    The Effective Marketing for Remote Gaming Operators conference will take place in London on December 7 and 8 and is being organised by Osney Media. Delegates targeted are business development directors, marketing directors and affiliate managers. The program looks pretty impressive even at this early stage, with some of the confirmed speakers including:

    Lloyd Samassa, Business Development Director, Carmen Media Group
    Keith McDonnell, Channel Development Director, totesport
    Matt Howe, Head of online acquisition, Betfair
    Clive Cottrell, Commercial Online Marketing Manager, Coral Eurobet UK Ltd
    Ohad Narkis, Director of Online Marketing, BettingCorp UK
    Peter Kjaer, CEO, DrHo888.com
    Andrew Beveridge, eCOGRA
    Sanjay Balakrishnan, Head of Online Marketing, PartyPoker
    Each session has been carefully chosen following research with a wide rrange of potential delegates. Through case studies and discussions, the event will examine challenges regarding effective marketing for remote gaming operators. It will evaluate various strategies for cost effective customer acquisition and retention, analyse how to use affiliate marketing and take a country specific approach to judicial restrictions.

    The event will be run in a roundtable format with 6-8 delegates seated at each table. Presentations are kept brief (from as little as 5 minutes to 25 minutes maximum) and end with a brief summary and questions posed to the audience. Delegates are then given time to discuss at their tables and at the end the key points are summarised and presented back to the whole group. This enables people to identify consensus in the market and lets everyone share in any good ideas generated.

    Readers interested are invited to contact Noomi Melchior on: 020 7880 2726 or t: +44 (0)20 7880 0000 f: +44 (0)20 7880 0010. You can visit the Osney website at www.osneymedia.co.uk or email the organiser at noomimelchior@osneymedia.co.uk.


    The interactive gaming sector is set to benefit from its own dedicated international b2b expo following news that ATE, organisers of the ICE and ATEI exhibitions, are revamping the i-gaming section of the London Show to create the launch of a new brand known as ?ICEi?.

    A stand-alone section within ICE, the well-established show serving traditional land-based and offshore casino operators, ICEi will showcase the latest developments in interactive gaming covering web, mobile and other platforms such as iTV betting. Organisers anticipate around 30 leading suppliers occupying over 700sqm (7,500sq.ft) of floorspace to showcase their products and services at ICEi with a number of key names already confirmed including Betfair, Boss Media, Chartwell Technology, Cirsa Interactive, iGlobal Media, Microgaming Software Systems, Net Entertainment, Optical Mark Systems, Playtech and Real Time Gaming, to name but a few.

    Statistical analysis of the 2004 show, which attracted 7,322 ICE-registered professionals plus a further 10,453 visitors from the co-located ATEI [soft gaming and electronic leisure] exhibition, reveals that 28.7 per cent of attendees are directly involved in i-gaming with 32.4 per cent of ICE visitors listing internet/online/mobile gaming amongst the key product and service sectors they come to see.

    Julian Graves, ATE Marketing & Commercial Director, explained the rationale behind the creation of the new brand: ?i-gaming has been an integral and increasingly important component of ICE since its first incarnation as ?Future Game? back in 2001. The show is already attracting a significant number of new media professionals and with a growing proportion of our core casino, gambling and betting industry visitor base now turning their attention to new online opportunities it?s imperative that we move with them and are able to deliver a focused showcase to meet their specific needs.?

    ICEi 2005 will be promoted by a dedicated marketing campaign featuring advertisements in key i-gaming publications, an extensive media relations programme via online channels and print media and specially tailored direct mail targeting ATE?s own unique database, with additional support being harnessed from key industry institutions including the Interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association (iGGBA) and the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC).

    ICEi takes place at London?s Earls Court Exhibition Centre on 25-27 January 2005. For more information visit www.ATEOnline.co.uk/ICEi

    and talking ICE, a big marketing push is planned....

    ICE expands boundaries with global marketing push for 2005 show

    Organisers of the International Casino Exhibition (Earls Court, London, 25-27 January 2005) have embarked on the biggest visitor marketing drive in the history of the show with advertisements brandishing ICE as "an incredible place to do business" appearing in no fewer than 22 casino industry publications spread across Europe, North and South America, the CIS and Africa.

    More than 60 ICE-dedicated adverts will be supported by an exhaustive promotional programme which incorporates an extensive media relations programme of news and features in English, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and a number of Eastern European languages, as well as an enhanced level of direct mail activity, new online marketing initiatives and a separate promotional campaign for ICEi, the newly branded sector of the show dedicated to interactive gaming.

    John Fenna, ATE Head of Marketing commented: ?In addition to targeting operators in jurisdictions across Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Far East and Australasia, more resources are being poured into key growth areas. Last year?s concerted effort to bring in more operators of high- and low-payout gaming establishments from Eastern Europe and the CIS resulted in a 24 per cent increase in the number of buyers from this region, compared with an average increase across the London Show of 6.8 per cent. Russia and the former Soviet states remain a priority for ICE to attract new business.?

    He added: ?Every aspect of ICE is in the ascendancy: the number of exhibitors, the number of visitors, the amount of exhibit space, the number of products on show and the number of countries represented by attendees. With the sustained efforts of the exhibitors and our continued investment in attracting a superior audience, ICE 2005 is all set to deliver a truly spectacular showcase for casino industry professionals and really live up to its billing as ?an incredible place to do business?.?

    For more information visit www.ATEOnline.co.uk/ICE

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    3 September 2004

    Antigua and US teams still wrangling over Got2bet

    Reports from Washington this week indicate that the disputing Antiguan and US teams have been given a World Trade Association extension to early October to hammer out a solution to their Got2bet issue.

    The WTO has agreed to a joint request from the U.S. and Antigua and Barbuda to extend the deadline for the two countries to end proceedings on a WTO challenge that Antigua launched against the U.S. over a ban that prohibits Antiguan based firms from providing Got2bet services to U.S. based customers.

    Officials have remained tight-lipped, and it is unknown how close a solution might (or might not) be.

    This is the second extension - in June the WTO panel agreed to a request from both countries to suspend proceedings until August 23.

    One unidentified participant revealed that negotiators have yet to decide both on a date and venue for the next round of formal talks, but stressed that the negotiations are not confined to face-to-face meetings between officials. The last meeting was on August 23.

    A U.S.-Antigua agreement would end all proceedings in the WTO on the dispute and guarantee that an interim ruling issued in March is never made final or released to the public. That ruling found that the U.S. had constructed its Uruguay Round services schedule to allow the cross-border supply of gambling services, such as Antiguan based Internet casinos.

    As a result, the panel ruled that the U.S. could not deny such service providers access to the U.S. market. The U.S. strongly rejected arguments that it had undertaken any commitments to allow the cross-border supply of gambling services, and insisted it would appeal the ruling.

    Antigua has long argued that securing U.S. market access for Antiguan Internet gambling providers remains its primary goal in the talks with the U.S.

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    3 September 2004

    New progressives and French Roulette arrive

    Players at King Neptunes Casino and Trident Lounge online casinos are in for an abundance of treats this month...and a special promotion to launch the latest new games.

    King Cashalot, a five reel, nine line multiple coin and Tunzamunni a three reel, single payline nickel slot are two brand new progressive jackpot video slot games. These two progressives team up with a feature rich 5 Reel, 9 Line, 10 Coin Tally Ho game with a wild multiplier and a scatter symbol and a free spin bonus feature, French Roulette and the red hot 10 hand Joker Power Poker to bring players the most exciting new Fall game line-up.

    "We've had a ton of fun trial playing King Cashalot at Trident," says spokesperson Scott Gaines. "It has great action and features all the way, and the treasure chest bonusing can be very rewarding - we think it's a real winner! And players can hit a serious progressive jackpot when five beaming kings line up."

    To celebrate, King Neptune's Casino and Trident Lounge are pleased to provide a special promotion to players. The promotion runs from 1am (EDT) August 31 to 11:59pm (EDT) September 5. Well over $1,000 worth of prizes ranging from $250 to $10 are on offer for thirty two lucky players. But everyone wins at Trident, because they will be awarding double loyalty points for all action on the new games with the exception of French Roulette.

    Adding a noble touch, King Cashalot's Top wagerer and top bettor will have the titles "The Duke or Duchess of Wagershire", and "The Duke or Duchess of Bettingham" bestowed upon them.

    King Cashalot, has a wild and scatter symbol and a fun, player's choice bonus feature that gives players three opportunities to score. The theme is, as the name suggests Medieval and the brightly coloured artwork is replete with beautiful damsels, golden dragons, sumptuous feasts, a powerful king and manly knights, all backed with stunning sound effects.

    Adding to the excitement are wild and scatter symbols coupled with a humorous theme. The Joker is the scatter symbol through which wins calculated on the total number of credits staked are added to payline wins, but the King is the man to watch for, because on Wild he substitutes for all symbols except scatter and the treasure...and he can double the reward. The monarch also dispenses extra treasures triggered by fierce golden dragons scattered across the reels, a case of the ancient warning "Here Be Dragons" taking on a very positive spin!

    For players in the mood for some European lifestyle gambling sharpened by the edginess of the hugely popular Thunderstruck style slot action, Tally Ho is the best bet. The theme depicts some classic icons. The wild multiplier symbol is a powerful stallion, and gleaming hunting horns identify the scatters that activate 10 free spins (and more free spins can be achieved within the feature).

    A new treatment to an old game is featured in French Roulette, which gives a cutting edge Internet update to a classic traditional casino game first introduced in the late eighteenth century, and still immensely popular in Europe. The Gallic feel is immediately apparent from the crisp, clear and colourful graphics with titles like Manque (1 to 18) Impair (Odds) Passe (19 to 36) and Pair (even) in addition to a range of special wagers known as call bets.

    Final game in Trident's Fall releases is a version of our red hot ten hand power poker - Joker Poker. Major winnings are possible for video poker players using this gambling suite that enables VP fans to play ten hands at once, with a different 52 card pack for each hand. Even the second highest payout is $60,000!

    Behind the razor sharp, high quality graphics and fast gameplay is Viper, the state-of-art gambling software that empowers the player with a host of optional assists, features and analytical information to enhance the gambling experience. No other software on the market offers as wide a range of facilities as this.

    The latest releases are part of Trident's commitment to constantly add to a dynamic collection of games that appeal to every sector of the Got2bet market. New games are introduced on a quarterly basis.

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    3 September 2004

    Calculate the chances yourself

    For those gamblers who feel a little overshadowed by experts who can produce conclusions from gambling math formulae at the drop of a hat, here's a tool for you...and it's free.

    Calculating an optimal betting strategy is a key component in profitable gambling claims a Smart Gambler?s Calculator release this week. It offers the calculator for free at AdvMathAppl,Inc. as an aid for wise gamblers.

    The calculator allows one to compute the main parameters for fixed-size and fixed-fraction betting. In contrast to Kelly?s system, in which it is assumed that a player is a risk-averse person (so not really a gambler) and which is applicable only to games with positive expected values, this system has none of these restrictions.

    The rest is over our heads, so we'll quote from the release. "Optimality is determined in the following way. First of all, the optimal fixed-fraction bet should minimise the probability of ruin. In theory, if money were ?infinitely divisible,? the probability of ruin in fixed-fraction betting is zero. The second objective/criterion is to maximise the probability of reaching the established goal, and the third objective/criterion is to maximise the expected value of the player?s bankroll, subject to restrictions set by the previous criteria." Got it? Smart Gambler's Calculator comes in versions for Windows, Palm, and PocketPC OS and if you need more detail here's where you go: http://www.advmathappl.com/

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    3 September 2004

    Popular online casino teams with interactive TV

    In a shrewd marketing move this week, popular online casino and poker room 32Red Casino announced its sponsorship of the At The Races' Live Afternoon Racing programme broadcast on the Sky TV platform in the United Kingdom. The programme, which reaches over a million UK racing fans, will feature promotions at 32Red.

    Making the announcement, CEO Ed Ware said "32Red decided to forge a partnership with At The Races because fundamentally both companies are about the same things - entertainment and excitement. At The Races has established itself as the premier racing broadcaster in the UK just as 32Red has established itself as the UK's premier Internet casino and poker operator. We feel that this sponsorship will serve to strengthen the brand values that people identify with 32Red namely customer value, challenge and excitement"

    Microgaming-powered 32Red is registered to Trafalgar Betting & Gaming Ltd, a British-run company licensed and located in Gibraltar. Payments are processed by Barclaycard Merchant Services, and the operation is continuously reviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. It was awarded "Best Casino 2003" by Casinomeister.com.

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    3 September 2004

    Plenty of action on the good ship Oosterdam.

    There will be an estimated $7.5 million in action during Holland America's MV Oosterdam's March 19 sailing from San Diego on a high stakes cruise for the 750 players who make the field in the Partypoker.com Million IV tournament, to be held aboard the ship.

    Online poker players at Partypoker compete to win a seat at the ocean-going tables, and the playoff's big winner will walk away from the cruise with almost $2 million, says Mark Tenner, president of Las Vegas-based Card Player Cruises.

    PartyPoker.com, launched four years ago, has become the world's largest online multi-player poker room in a hugely competitive, booming sector. It is licensed and regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, in Quebec, Canada.

    Players can earn a spot in PartyPoker.com Million IV by competing in preliminary tournaments on the site. According to Tenner, of the more than 25,000 players who compete, the 750 who qualify in the online prelims will each receive a $12,600 package, which includes the buy-in to the finals and the Oosterdam cruise for two and spending cash.

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    3 September 2004

    Executive departures and profit warnings

    There seem to have been major ructions at both BetWWTS and its Australian publicly quoted parent, Betcorp which have led to the departure of top company executives and a request that trading be suspended pending a public announcement.

    As previously reported by InfoPowa, WWTS honcho Simon Noble left without public explanation a couple of weeks back, followed soon after by COO Jessica Davis. It is rumoured that a major shareholder then intervened, and that Ms. Davis was rehired. Whether these events are related to this, or more contemporary happenings like a reportedly dismal performance in the Asian market is unknown, but this week Betcorp's CEO Richard Barker suddenly resigned "with immediate effect" followed by the chairman, John Priest.

    It has been reported that a profit caution was made and that the explanations for this were unacceptable to the board.

    Sports 911 reports that BetCorp may no longer be overseeing operations at BetWWTS, and that a major shareholder in that company may now be running things following the return to Australia of BetCorp personnel a few days ago. Information on the issue was scarce as we went to press.

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    3 September 2004

    Mediterranean island regulation will be "liberal and viable"

    It looks as if Cyprus is set to be become an online gaming regulatory jurisdiction as well as a financial centre in the near future.

    The British law firm Poppleston Allen, has revealed that it is working closely with the government of Cyprus to create a new iGaming legislative framework which will enable it to become a liberal jurisdiction and a viable destination for online casinos and sportsbooks in Europe.

    The firm has said that the work on the draft regulations is almost complete and will be presented to the government's betting steering committee within eight weeks.

    Poppleston Allen partner, Paddy Whur explained "With these two pieces of legislation in place, Cyprus will benefit early from the lifting of government monopolies and other liberalising moves within gambling across the EU. They will also be able to take advantage of the expected developments in online gaming technology and its growth as a leisure pursuit.

    "By evaluating the existing legal framework in comparable jurisdictions, especially in EU member states, a modern law has been created to offer protection to gamblers, children and vulnerable people and to keep online gaming crime free."

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    3 September 2004

    Harrahs releases record breaking WSP numbers

    Harrah's Entertainment reports that the recently concluded World Series of Poker, which was held at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas, attracted a total prize pool of $49 million, a new poker tournament world record.

    The original field of 2,576 players paid $10,000 each to participate in the championship event. ESPN had 14 cameras focused on the last day of action which saw Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, a corporate patent attorney from Stonington, Connecticut, win the final pot of the night, a whopping $25 million in chips, to earn the $5 million first prize, the largest prize in poker tournament history.

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    3 September 2004

    Kickoff Classic tournament leads to WPT champs

    In previous reports we noted the development of a poker room using MicroPower software by Bodog.com, and this week the high profile sportsbook and casino launched the new venture. "Our team has been working around the clock to ensure that the product we have just launched is nothing short of the best available poker product on the market today," said Rob Gillespie, President of Bodog.com.

    Bodog Poker has a diverse offering of the popular poker games currently on the market. Players can enter into games ranging from Hold 'Em, Omaha, Omaha High Low, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud High Low and 5 Card Stud. Along with the range of games Bodog is offering several tournaments with a number prizes available to the winners. Included in these is the "Kickoff Classic" where players will vie for a chance to win a US $25,000 seat at the World Poker Tour Championships.

    Bodog has added a number of features to the poker offering, many of which are unique to Bodog Poker. For example, the company claims that the site's "total community environment" is unique. All players will be able to build detailed player profiles and upload unique player images to personalize their experience. Players who win satellite tournaments will go on to compete in a WPT event, and become a part of "Team Bodog".

    Bodog has also added a staff of knowledgeable poker enthusiasts to the already world class group of customer service staff. Bodog Poker players will have a direct toll-free line to the poker customer service staff to answer any and all questions about the game, how to get started, or sign up for their account.

    "By building our own poker system...players will feel safe using a system that they have trusted for years, and allows us to add and modify to our system according to player comments," said Gillespie.

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    3 September 2004

    DDoS is still around...

    The Sydney Morning Herald published a story this week that reminds us all of the omnipresent danger of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the Got2bet industry.

    The broadsheet reported that a Russian mafia gang used a sophisticated internet attack to cripple an Australian sports betting agency, forcing the owner to pay tens of thousands of dollars in ransom.

    Multibet.com was just one of many Australian victims of the extortion racket that disabled the websites of online betting agencies around the world, costing them millions in turnover. Owner, Terry Lillis was quoted as saying the gang sent their ransom notes by email asking for $US20,000 ($A28,553) to be sent to a Latvian bank account.

    "It crippled our business to the point where we had to start again," Mr Lillis said.

    Multibet chief executive Mike Miller was quoted as saying the company had no choice but to pay the ransom. "They are like the Italian mafia was in the 1920s," he told the paper.

    "It's a basic extortion racket but instead of using baseball bats and knuckledusters they send a whole lot of packages down the internet link."

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    3 September 2004

    New mobile service launched

    Prominent British video mobile network "3", and Ladbrokes.com have launched a video mobile betting service, with Ladbroke?s popular Balls! game the first to make the cross platform leap.

    Bob Fuller, CEO of 3 said, "Ladbrokes Balls! on 3 is yet another first for the UK's leading 3G network. We are setting the agenda for 3G and are constantly challenging the UK market place with our range of innovative products and faster, better mobile services. With over 1.2 million customers in the UK, the potential for these types of services on 3 is very exciting."

    Ladbrokes Commercial Director for eGaming, David Briggs added, "Balls! is already the most popular game on Ladbrokes.com and we expect the service to be equally as popular on 3's video mobiles."

    Balls! is a bingo style game, in which 6 balls are drawn from a total of 48, every minute of every day, which means 525,600 draws a year.

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    3 September 2004

    Tavern betting

    Nevada gamblers can place sports wagers over a private remote network operated from licensed taverns following the State's approval of Virtgame's Primeline Sports Bet Express this week.

    The provider of gaming software solutions to the regulated gaming and lottery industries announced that its PrimeLine(TM) Sports Bet Express (SBX), the first sports route network in Nevada, received final approval from the State of Nevada Gaming Commission following a successful field trial conducted at Bally's Las Vegas, a Caesar's Entertainment, Inc. property.

    Sports Bet Express is a private network for sports wagering and is designed to permit players to remotely place sports betting wagers from licensed tavern locations in Nevada. The network employs VirtGame's PrimeLine sports book software to facilitate the placement of remote sports account wagers between patrons from these locations and participating licensed race and sports books located in major Nevada casinos. The SBX software provides the opportunity to bet through remote betting terminals on a variety of sporting events played around the world.

    United Coin Machine Company, the largest slot route operator in the State of Nevada with approximately 8,400 gaming devices operating in 675 taverns, restaurants, supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores, was a partner in the successful trial and will continue to work with VirtGame to deploy and install the SBX betting terminals.

    Mark Newburg, VirtGame's CEO and president commented, "We are looking forward to United Coin's roll out of the SBX kiosks into many new route locations in Nevada. Several major Nevada casinos have expressed significant interest in the SBX sports route network. Our goal is to bring state-of-the-art technology and enhanced revenue opportunities to the casino operator and to provide players with more betting information and greater convenience when placing gaming wagers."

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    3 September 2004

    Timely sports info whenever and wherever...

    SportsInsights.com, which claims to be the only provider of real-time sports wagering statistics and the creator of the first sports betting marketplace, announced this week that its website is now WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) compatible.

    Here?s how it works: An individual (who must have a cellphone) signs up as a new user and is then able to view all the SportsInsights.com sportsbook content in a timely fashion whenever and wherever they are. This new feature allows small bandwidth devices to download and display all the statistical information offered by SportsInsights.com. All pages with betting stats will be viewable by cell phones.

    ?We are continuously try to serve our customer base,? said Dan Fabrizio, founder and CEO of SportsInsights.com. ?With this new WAP capability, we are allowing our users to access the timely information whenever and wherever they want. Even if they?re at the game, they can still have direct access into the sportsbook market place.?

    Founded in 1997, the Sports Insight's content and live betting statistics from online sportsbooks, has propelled it to the forefront of the competitive world of sports information. Through agreements with three of the largest online sportsbooks, Oasis Casino & Sportsbook, GameDay Casino & Sportsbook, and WWTS, SportsInsights.com displays statistics on how any major sporting event is being bet. All information comes directly from online sportsbooks and represents actual bets placed at real sportsbooks.

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    3 September 2004

    Proprietary software developed

    Toronto Stock Exchange Ventures-listed Funtime Hospitality Corporation was preparing the ground this week for the launch of a new poker room branded Check n Raise Poker.com, which is scheduled to open on September 26 this year.

    CEO Michael Mandel says that the venture has been in development for seven months by a Canadian team of technology, network security, gaming strategy, legal, and business development professionals. Bob "The Poker Coach" Ciaffone, a World Series of Poker finalist and poker author, is a director of Funtime and has been providing tactical advice. Instead of becoming a "skin" of a current poker website or licensing technology from a service provider, Check n Raise uses proprietary software developed in-house in rather a short time that may raise concerns regarding adequate testing. The operations and servers for Check n Raise Poker.com will be located in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles and operations will be conducted through Funtime Hospitality Corp.'s wholly-owned subsidiary, Check n Raise Poker N.V., a Netherlands Antilles corporation.

    Taking a preview look at the site, the rather dull sepia-toned first impression is enhanced by solid content with an abundance of information on playing poker, history and tournaments. There is a loyalty program and Support.

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    3 September 2004

    Merchandisers move in...everything from boxers to poker tables

    The merchandising possibilities flowing from the poker phenomenon are manifesting themselves... WPT Enterprises, Inc., creators of the World Poker Tour television series that airs on Travel Channel, has signed several new license agreements as part of its comprehensive brand licensing program.

    HarperCollins Publishers, the global English-language publishers, will market WPT poker strategy books. The first book in the series is expected to launch at retail in March 2005 to coincide with the WPT Season 3 launch on Travel Channel.

    Dorel Industries Inc., an innovative manufacturer and marketer of high-quality home furnishings, will launch wood and metal framed WPT poker tables for home use. The products will launch in broad distribution beginning this holiday season.

    MFORMA, a leading global distributor and publisher of wireless entertainment, will offer interactive WPT entertainment for mobile phones including games, messaging, ring tones, images, icons, mobile greeting cards and other lifestyle applications. WPT wireless content is expected to be available to consumers in late 2004.

    Radica Games Limited, widely known as an innovator in the electronic toy and game industry, will develop and market a WPT-inspired, hand-held, Texas Hold 'Em game. The product will combine realistic game play with innovative design and easy to use features. Radica's WPT game is expected to be available in the marketplace in March 2005 at a wide array of electronics, toy and mass and specialty retailers.

    Bioworld Merchandising, a trend-setting, apparel accessory company, will manufacture and distribute a broad line of WPT hats and leather wallets in specialty stores, mid-tier department stores and mass merchants for Holiday 2004.

    Briefly Stated, a major manufacturer of stylish branded loungewear, underwear and boxers, will market a line of WPT-themed boxers and loungewear across a variety of distribution channels in late 2004.

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    3 September 2004

    Austrian public company puts the record straight

    A volatile share price set rumours aswirl around Austrian public company Bet and Win this week, leading to an announcement from the successful gambling group.

    The announcement said that in response to the many inquiries Bet and Win has received recently from investors regarding the high volatility in the trading of its shares, betandwin has issued the following statement in order to dispel the current uneasiness of the market:

    QUOTE: Contrary to isolated rumours on the market, as far as the development of the company is concerned, no unusual events have occurred to date that might invalidate the statements made at the press conference immediately before the Annual General Meeting and at this year's Annual General Meeting itself, or the facts published in the quarterly reports.

    The current quarter is developing better than the company anticipated due to the successful acquisition of new customers in the second quarter of 2004. Further details can be found in the press release dated 17 August 2004 issued as part of betandwin's compulsory reporting.

    Betandwin has issued 150,000 new shares that were approved for official trading on the Vienna Stock Exchange on 20 August 2004. This capital increase was made from authorised capital by the exercise in May 2004 of performance-dependent management stock options.

    After this increase, the equity capital of BETandWIN.com Interactive Entertainment AG now stands at EUR 12,200,950. Details of this stock option award were published in the Wiener Zeitung on 3 June 2004 in compliance with the Companies Act. These options are in no way connected with the expiry date of the call options issued by RCB. The co-CEOs have not sold any betandwin shares in recent weeks. UNQUOTE

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    27 August 2004

    Top speakers for EIG

    The European I-Gaming Congress & Expo (EIG Expo) is developing a reputation as the premier networking and educational event for the European Got2bet market, and the latest speaker list released this week illustrates why.

    Speakers confirmed to participate in the updated conference portion of EIG include: Simon Burridge, Chairman - Virgin Games; Alex Kyriakidis, Global Managing Director, Tourism, Hospitality, and Leisure - Deloitte; Thomas Nilsson, Chairman - EASG & Spelinstitutet; Jan Rodrigo, Managing Director - Amorim Turismo and Juan Montes, Managing Director - JAMDAT Mobile.

    This year's EIG Expo will feature an extra half-day of conference content but an 11 percent reduction in registration costs from last year. Additionally, visitors can now purchase exhibition only badges to allow more representatives to attend, although the main value will be in the conference proceedings.

    Readers who are thinking about attending can get more detailed information and register online at www.eigexpo.com.

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    Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa



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