Casino Watch - February

26 January 2006
Another Record Year for Macau

Macau's gaming and betting sector, which includes casinos, dog and horse races and a string of lotteries, reached a record 46 billion patacas (US $575 million) in 2005, a year-on-year rise of 9 percent, according to media reports earlier this month. Macau has a 150-year history of gaming industry and is the only part of China where casino gaming is legitimate. Macau just opened its eighteenth casino, and the total number is expected to reach 20.

Packer and Ho Abandon Plan for Casino in Singapore

Media and gaming firm Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) and it joint venture partner Melco International, which is owned by Macau billionaire Stanley Ho, have scrapped plans for a joint bid to build a casino resort in Singapore. PBL executive chairman James Packer said the expected returns from the proposed joint venture, first struck in November 2004, were not good enough. The bid would have required a land fee of US$722 million (1.2 billion Singapore dollars). Despite the Singapore project setback, PBL and Melco still plan to focus on other gaming and entertainment opportunities in Asia.

UK Super Casinos Under Fire as 40 Cities Bid to Build Them

U.K. Gambling Commission Chairman Peter Dean got himself into trouble over comments he made in an interview with the Times about the effectiveness of the commission. Dean told the publication that regulating England's new super (resort-style) casinos will not reduce problem gambling as suggested by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. He said Jowell exaggerated her case for super casinos to get the bill through Parliament quickly. He also suggested the commission would be a laissez-faire regulator that believes such casinos are not a big deal. Culture Minister Richard Caborn was reportedly so put off by the comments that he interrupted a ski trip taken by Dean to have a few words with him over the phone. The government has decided to add at least one person to the commission who will address social responsibility… And the Casino Advisory Panel, the UK government body set up to decide the location of the super casino, has already received more than 40 applications and is expecting more before the March 31 deadline. New gambling laws passed last year dictate that only one super-casino will be allowed in the UK, but eight additional medium-sized casinos and eight large ones will also receive licenses. The government originally intended to grant eight super-casino licenses but was forced to cut the number to one after tense negotiations with the Conservatives in the run-up to the last general election. Gambling Minister Richard Caborn has said the legislation could be revisited to increase the number of super-casinos--provided there was sufficient support from local authorities, MPs and the public. The Conservatives have indicated they would support licensing more super-casinos. Blackpool is favored to win the super-casino license, having made a super-casino the cornerstone of a city-wide regeneration program. Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and London are also in the race.

Go Full Tilt on a Mac has released fully downloadable poker software created specifically for Macintosh users. The new Mac software includes hand histories, player notes and supports an "Auto Center" functionality, which automatically gives players the best view of the table. is also offering a service that allows users to view and subscribe to poker tips and interviews from the 11 pros behind the site, a.k.a.Team Full Tilt, including Phil Ivey, Phil Gordon and Howard Lederer.

InterCasino Enlists Casinomeister as Arbitrator and online gambling portal together are offering a unique program that gives players access to independent arbitration. Through the InterCasino Group Independent Arbitration Service, Casinomeister will act as an independent arbitrator for all customer issues that cannot be rectified by the gaming site, provided the customer has first sought resolution via's Support Center and Casino Manager. InterCasino vows to abide by all decisions made during arbitration.

New Playtech Games

Online gaming software company Playtech has added five new games to Playtech-powered casinos and released additional flash versions of some of its downloadable games. The new games include three 5-reel, 20-line multi coin slot games; Casino Texas Hold'Em, a simplified form of the poker game tailored for casino players, and a new version of blackjack with multi-hand support of up to five hands. Additionally, multi-player and private group modes were enhanced to support up to five participants.

BoS Launches a Casino with Real Time Gaming Software

Online sportsbook and gaming site BetonSports Plc has launched its flagship online casino through a new partnership with software provider RealTime Gaming. features more than 80 casino games.

PinnacleSports is Newest Member of Prima Poker Network

Online sports betting company joined the online poker network, the Prima Network, in January and will launch its own poker site early this year. The deal marks the eighteenth card room to join the Prima Network in the past year.