Casino Watch - December

1 December 2005
Behind the Scenes at Aspers Casino

Online casino is the sponsor of a new Internet-based documentary series that uses video streaming technology to broadcast 10 weekly 10-minute episodes of a behind-the-scenes look at how 60 young people were trained by the Aspers Academy to become croupiers at Aspinall's new casino in Newcastle. The first six episodes of "Aspers Casino World" are already showing at using technology provided by streaming video company Vividas. "I've seen all the finished episodes so far, and it's been a real eye opener for me," Aspinall, director of Aspers, said. "It really gives a flavor of what Aspers is about. It's fantastic that anyone around the world will be able to view the docu-soaps and see what's going on at Aspers."

WSOP Comes Calling

As part of what Harrah's Entertainment spokesperson Jeffrey Pollack calls "an international growth strategy for the World Series of Poker," Harrah's has begun forming alliances with casinos in Europe, Latin America and Australia to award some of the casinos' poker tournament winners with seats to the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event. Holland Casino recently signed an agreement to send the winner of its Master Classics of Poker, which has been one of the biggest poker tournaments in Europe for the past 13 years, to the 2006 WSOP. Other casinos to sign similar agreements include the Crown and Star City casinos in Australia, the Conrad Punta del Este in Uruguay and CIRSA Casinos' properties in Venezuela, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

A New Poker Star

Joe Hachem, winner of the 2005 World Series of Poker has signed an agreement to represent as a sponsored player and ambassador. With the addition of Hachem, PokerStars is now represented by the winners of the last three World Series. Fellow Ambassadors Chris Moneymaker (the 2003 champ) and Greg Raymer (the 2004 champ) both qualified for the World Series by winning satellite tournaments on Poker author and 1983 WSOP champion Tom McEvoy is also a part of Team PokerStars.

Free Rides and In-Flight Gambling

Michael O'Leary, CEO of low-cost airline Ryanair has stated that his company will probably announce a gambling partner within the next two to three months and begin offering onboard gambling sometime in 2007. He also said that he believes profits from in-flight gaming could grow so large that passengers would be able to book their tickets for free. Ryanair gave away about 25 percent of its seats for free last year, and the percentage could increase as ancillary revenues and profits grow.

Motown Stars to Launch Online Casino

Motown legends The Four Tops and The Miracles are investing in a real-money gaming Web site called "Motown Legends Casino" despite the U.S. government's tough stance on Internet gambling. Detroit developer Herb Strather, who had a hand in introducing Detroit's three land-based casinos in the 1990s, said the site will be accessible in 64 countries that allow Internet gaming; U.S. players will be able to play for fun on a separate free-play site that will generate money from advertisements. Nevada-based gaming management and software company Atlantis Internet Group has been tapped to provide the technology. "The amazing thing about Motown artists is that they are known around the world," Donald Bailey, chairman of Atlantis, said. "We believe that gives us a major advantage over the competition." The site is expected to go live in February 2006.

Ongame Welcomes Coral to Network, Launches Site in Russian and Polish

Swedish I-gaming company Ongame has launched, a new venture that it hails as the first site to offer real-money poker to Polish and Russian players in their native languages. The launch of Europoker is being accompanied by a million-dollar radio and TV advertising campaign in Moscow that will run until the end of the year when new laws pertaining to gambling advertisements come into effect.'s players will be aggregated into the massive Ongame Network (formerly called PokerNetwork), which is the third largest online poker network with well over 6 million players.

Ongame has also welcomed the poker Web sites of British bookmaker Coral Eurobet to its network. The jump came after PartyGaming announced plans to segregate Coral's sites and those of the other three skins partners from the PartyPoker network. Both of Coral's poker, which focuses on the U.K. market, and, which operates in Europe and the rest of the world--will join the Ongame Network.

German Poker Tour

Throughout September and October, Ultra Internet Media's, which claims to be the first online poker site translated completely into German, sponsored five live tournaments across Germany in what was dubbed the first German Poker Tour. Over 200 players participated in tournaments in Munich, Landau, St. Augustin and Berlin, with the top 16 players qualifying for the final finale in Landau. Over 4,000 euros were awarded to participants as prizes.

German Cable TV Company Wants Online Casino

German cable television provider Premiere AG hopes to launch its Internet casino within the next two years if all goes well in the German Federal Constitutional Court, according to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Premiere offers the Premiere Win betting channel, which launched Aug. 1, and is said to be in talks with poker providers PartyPoker and 888. The court is scheduled to hold a hearing in two weeks on whether the gambling market should be opened up to private companies.

More Pokie Venues in Adelaide

The state government of New South Wales has granted a new special gaming license to Club One, a joint venture between SANFL and Clubs SA, to build five new super pokie venues in Adelaide that will operate 40 machines each--seven more than any other existing pokie pub. The Club One venues will be modeled after the state's massive rugby league clubs. The new license permits the company to increase revenue by pooling low-turnover machines at smaller sporting clubs at the super venues.

Playtech Rolls out Non-Traditional Games

Online gaming software company Playtech has added a new group of games that are generally regarded as conventional betting games to its casino suites. The new games enable players to wager on dice rolls, rock paper scissors contests, coin tosses, darts, soccer, bowling and other games and events.

Poker Heaven Arrives on the Scene

The first product of the partnership between British mobile content and applications provider Stream Group Plc and Finnish I-gaming supplier EGET has come to light. Poker Heaven, a mobile poker game, will be promoted on Sky Digital's Poker Channel which reaches an audience of about 870,000 U.K. viewers per month and could be available to a further 25 million homes across Europe by early 2006.

The Three Dimensional Poker Emerges

Launched on Nov. 15, Costa Rica-based has proclaimed itself the world's first three-dimensional online poker site. Powered by software developed by Swedish company 3D Internet Games, the game enables players to design their own lifelike animated characters and view the table from a variety of angles, including first-person.

Player Reward Scheme Replaces Advertising at All In Poker

Oline poker room All In Poker launched on Nov. 3 with the stated goal of giving "all our members an equal opportunity to be rewarded for playing poker and referring their friends to All In Poker." To achieve that goal, the site will be exclusively promoted by its members, all of whom will be rewarded with 51 percent of the company's net revenues that would otherwise be spent on traditional advertising. The company says it has developed a "simple multi-level relationship marketing program" for rewarding its players.

Soccer Club Launches Virtual Casino

The West Ham United football club has launched an online casino at Using software supplied by Playtech, the site features a graphic interface that places gamblers in a virtual stadium through which they can navigate to play 70 traditional gambling games.