Casino Watch - February 2005

31 January 2005
Conflict of Interest in UK

Controversy is swirling around one of the MPs sitting on the British parliamentary joint scrutiny committee charged with looking over the proposed Gambling Bill. It has been discovered that Lord Faulkner of Worcester is connected to a company that lobbies on behalf of three U.S.-based casino operators. Faulkner works for Incepta, a public relations and marketing company that also owns Citigate Public Affairs. Citigate has taken on Caesars Entertainment, MGM Mirage and Kerzner International as clients since the joint scrutiny committee began looking at the bill. How or whether the parliamentary process will be affected is unclear, but those who oppose the bill are already citing the recently disclosed relationship as another reason the policy should be scrapped.

CryptoLogic Adds UK Investors

Publicly traded online gambling software provider CryptoLogic announced today that British investors have purchased shares of the company sold be its founders, Andrew Rivkin and Mark Rivkin. The company reports that "a number of prominent U.K. institutional investors" have purchased more than 1 million shares (8 percent of the issued share capital).

A New Poker Aid

A new application by LVA Software is designed to increase poker players' chances of winning by calculating their odds. "Poker Tracker" calculates the probability of winning individual hands by looking at the community cards and the player's hold cards. The program also enables players to track every hand they play as well as their opponent's play.

New Instructors at Boot Camp

The World Poker Tour announced the signing of two new instructors for the WPT Boot Camp program. Ron Rose and young phenom Scott Fischman were named the first champion-instructors for the series of traveling instructional seminars designed to advance the knowledge of students seeking a "Fast Track to the Final Table." Rose and Fischman join the instructional core, which already consists of WPT commentators Mike Sexton and Vincent Van Patten, as well as the show's associate producer, Alex "The Insider" Outhred.

BetDirect Inks Software Deal with Boss Media

BetDirect, the online wagering site operated by Littlewoods Gaming, will launch a casino and poker suite supplied by software developer Boss Media. The U.K.-based site will operate in British pounds and will be available in both downloadable and Web-based versions. Littlewoods is one of the biggest gaming operations in England, providing services to over 1 million customers.

A Revamped

After a year of research and development, the redesigned and revamped site was launched this month with a heavier emphasis on information, entertainment and value for gamblers. Operators of the new site are aiming to make it the world's largest online gambling-specific pay-per-click (PPC) directory, filling the void left when Yahoo! and Google stopped accepting PPC advertising for gambling sites. Among new feature are 13 play-for-fun games custom built for visitors. Participants bet using "Ludo Chips" ('s virtual currency).

World Gaming Hires Longtime I-Gaming Vet

After serving for years at CryptoLogic Inc. as the business development director, Jon Moss was brought on board at World Gaming plc this month as the company's director of sales and marketing. Moss was instrumental in landing CrytoLogic several high-profile European clients, including Betfair, Littlewoods Gaming, The Ritz Club of London and ukbetting plc.