Casino Watch – August 2004

29 July 2004 Undergoes Overhaul

One of the most well known portal sites for the gaming industry,, underwent a massive overhaul and re-launched this week with a new focus on advertising.

The sites overhaul comes in the wake of major portal sites like MSN, Google and Yahoo pulling advertisements from online casinos and sports books. The site has instituted a pay-per-click model for advertisers, meaning operators can bid on certain key search words to be ranked higher on specific searches from users.

With its popular domain name, the revamped site is expected to be among the leading gambling portals for players and operators alike.

Tim Rosenberg, spokesperson for, said the site is more than just a portal for online casinos and sports books.

"The vision is to become the primary destination for comprehensive and relevant search listing results encompassing all things gambling, from online casinos and sportsbooks, from Vegas hotels and poker chip manufacturers to land based casinos and industry watchdogs," he said in a statement.

Octavian Launches SprintPay

SprintPay, a new multi-player jackpot system incorporating ‘staffless’ payout is being launched in Europe by Octavian following a successful pilot installation with Jackpot, one of the leading Russian slot operators.

According to Octavian, SprintPay is one of the first systems of its kind to integrate game content, jackpot management, video display and credit transfer technologies.

"This high level of integration makes the system more attractive to players and easier to manage for operators," explained Robert Dykstra, Commercial Director of Octavian.

PWC Verifies Quova's Geolocation System

Quova, Inc., a provider and developer of Web geography services and technologies, announced last week that officials with auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP audited and verified the completeness and accuracy of Quova's geolocation technology and processes for mapping of IP addresses.

PCW tested two key geolocation data quality metrics-- coverage and accuracy-- as part of its review of Quova's system. In these tests, PCW confirmed that as of April 30, 2004, Quova's country-level accuracy was 99.9 percent and U.S. state-level accuracy was 94 percent. Sees Spike in Caribbean Stud Action

With nearly $80 million in turnover changing hands every day as a result of the incredible poker boom, officials with VIP Casino said they have seen an enormous increase in Caribbean Stud action on their site.

VIP Casino manager Kate Berkeley said all games are popular on the site but the poker game that has captured the attention of the most players in Caribbean Stud.

Caribbean Stud Poker is a player vs. dealer game in which players are paid based on the ranking of their hand using the typical poker hand ranking hierarchy. "

"Magazines, TV and friends are teaching people the basics of poker," Berkeley said. "Once someone understands the basics of poker, they are often drawn to Caribbean Stud because of its combination of high payouts and greater game control."

French Group Worried About Future of Casinos

A new tax scheme on gambling could jeopardize the future of the entire casino and gambling sector in France, according to the chairman of one of the leading French casino groups Barriere.

Dominique Desseigne told the French news agency AFP, that new rates for social security taxes could shave 40 percent off profits and put casinos on the brink of closing up shop.

Desseigne was recently tabbed to head a new group created through a joint venture between Barriere, Accor Casinos and U.S. investment fund Colony Capital.

New Game Offers Hold 'Em through TV Set

Thanks to a new creation from Senario LLC gaming system, the popularity of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em and the interactivity of the Internet can be experienced in living rooms everywhere.

The company launched a gaming system that is run through TV sets and allows up to six players to use controllers and play Hold 'Em without having to mess with shuffling cards or distributing chips.

Senario LLC, an Illinois-based manufacturer of consumer products, said the system would be available in retail outlets beginning in September. TV Poker allows users to play three styles of Texas Hold 'Em Poker using individual hand-held units as they compete through the television. Hole cards are private on each player's handset, allowing players to bluff each other face-to-face.

TV Poker under the company's VS-MAXX brand will be available at a variety of retail outlets throughout the U.S. in September, including Best Buy, Kohl's, Nordstrom, Sportmart, Sports Authority, and Toys "R" Us. The retail price for TV Poker is $69.99.

Casinos Austria Wins Brussels License

Casinos Austria won the only casino license for the EU capital of Brussels, beating out French and Dutch competition.

The company was awarded approval from the Brussels council earlier this month. Permission for casinos in Belgium was permitted by a change in the law in 1999. Before that they were forbidden, and since the law change seven have been introduced in the regions of Flanders and Walloon. The casino in Brussels will be the first.

By the beginning of the year 2005 a temporary service with 30 playing tables and 300 machines will be operating in the congress center Salle de Madleine.

Bluff Media Launches New Magazine

The poker craze has spread to the publishing industry as well. At the World Series of Poker in May All In magazine was launched and now officials with Bluff Media announced the launch of their newest publication, Bluff Magazine.

The bi-monthly print magazine will be in a format that offers practical advice on how to improve reader's poker game and derive more enjoyment from it. The magazine is aimed at the new breed of poker player who has final table aspirations and home game roots.

Bluff is set to launch late September 2004 and will have the largest distribution of any poker publication in print.

Bluff Magazine encompasses poker in its totality, from the online game to the card rooms of Las Vegas and LA. Bluff Magazine realizes that the modern game of poker is both online and terrestrial.

Also behind the new title are former Gambling Online Magazine Vice -President Eric Morris, and Gambling Online Magazine Editor Michael Caselli.