Casino Watch - June

26 May 2006
AGA Findings

According to a whitepaper released this week by the American Gaming Association (AGA), Americans spent a total of $4 billion last year betting on online casino games, sporting events and poker in spite of a ban on Internet gambling in the United States, further proving that Internet gambling is here to stay. "An Analysis of Internet Gambling and its Policy Implications," authored by attorney David O. Stewart from Washington, D.C. law firm Ropes and Gray LLP, examines the current online gambling market and explores contemporary U.S. policies, noting that while online gambling is, for all intents and purposes, illegal in the United States, it is growing at a rate of more than 20 percent a year. Online poker has grown from an $82 million industry in 2000 to a more than $2 billion industry in 2005. Sportsbetting accounts for about 35 percent (approximately $4 billion in 2005) of the total gambling revenues worldwide, and almost all sports betting sites cater to Americans by offering betting on U.S. sporting events, according to the report. Finally, casino games have consistently accounted for about one-fourth of the gaming market and lotteries earned more than $1.5 billion last year. Stewart blasted the U.S. government's policy of prohibition saying it does nothing to alleviate the problem because it only drives citizens to off shore gambling sites. The report ultimately supports the AGA's petition to create a Congressional commission to study online gambling.

Then There Were Eight

UK Secretary for Culture Media and Sport Tessa Jowell announced Wednesday that out of the 27 towns and cities that applied to host the country's first Las Vegas-style super-casino, Blackpool, Brent, Cardiff, Glasgow, Greenwich, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have made the shortlist. She said that while she did not believe the new casinos would ignite a further increase of problem gambling, she would be closely monitoring them and would shut down a casino if it was evidenced to be causing problems.

Harrah's Scotland

Harrah's Entertainment, owner of more than 40 land-based casinos in three countries and one of 30 companies vying for the right to build England's first super-casino, has set its sights on the Scottish village of Bowling located between Glasgow and Loch Lomond, as the site of a proposed £350 million casino. Bowling is a tiny town with three pubs, a post office and a tea room, but Harrah's has big plans to convert a former Esso oil terminal into the casino.

PBL Moscow

Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. has inked a deal with Moscow-based real estate developer Crocus Group to build Russia's largest casino and entertainment complex, according to a Russian newspaper. PBL is reportedly in discussions with the company to manage a 1,765,281 square foot entertainment complex called Crocus City being built on the outskirts of Moscow. The development is being marketed as "Las Vegas in Moscow" and is due to be completed in 2007, according to statements from Crocus Group.

Cantor Vegas

Las Vegas-based Cantor Gaming on Thursday announced a contract with the Las Vegas Sands Corporation to provide hand-held wireless gaming products to the Venetian and Palazzo casinos. Cantor was instrumental last year in passing Assembly Bill 471, permitting mobile gaming devices to be used in certain public areas of casinos. Cantor's field trial for mobile gaming, as required by Nevada gaming regulations, will be conducted at The Venetian upon receipt of the required regulatory approvals, which is expected to occur in late 2006 or early 2007.

Growth in Macau

Total casino gaming revenue in Macau reached 12.35 billion patacas (US$1,545,854,616) in the first quarter of 2006, up 16.5 percent over last year, according to figures published on the Macau Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau Web site. Most of the growth came from public gaming tables, which saw a rise of 41.4 percent to 4.75 billion patacas (US$594,559,467) while VIP table revenue inched up 2.6 percent to 7.18 billion patacas (US$898,723,574).

Full Tilt's New Mobsters

The Hendon Mob, which ended a one-year, $1 million sponsorship deal with Prima Poker in January, has found a new home at, joining Full Tilt's world-renowned poker pros and Team Full Tilt. Otherwise known as Barny Boatman, Joe "The Elegance" Beevers, Ram "Crazy Horse" Vaswani and "Rocky" Ross Boatman, the Hendon Mob is well known in the European poker circuit and helped fuel the worldwide poker craze. The four men have earned a combined 37 tournament titles.

Three for Cherry

Swedish gaming company Cherry's wholly owned Internet gaming company Net Entertainment has signed agreements to develop Internet casino games for Sunderlands Bookmakers, Triobet and i4Poker. The three new licensees will use CasinoModule, Net Entertainment's Internet casino platform, and their sites will begin offering the games during May and June. CasinoModule consists of a large number of games (casino games, number games, lotteries and skill-based games) and a powerful management platform. The system is integrated into clients' existing Web sites and IT systems. It is licensed on a royalty basis, with royalties determined by the performance of the product. Sunderlands Bookmakers, an English betting company with 11,000 customers, has a traditional betting operation that focuses on high rollers. Triobet, a recently established Internet gaming company with 3,000 customers, will focus on Eastern Europe. I4Poker, a poker site with 40,000 customers, will primarily target the Polish market. Net Entertainment also recently set up a CasinoModule system for Azul Electrico S.A., a casino operator that with over 100,000 customers and focusing on the U.S. market with its gaming sites, and Finally, Net Entertainment will launch a CasinoModule product in May for online gaming company Pathfinder, operating the site with 100,000 customers. Pathfinder will additionally launch the gaming site, which will also offer games from Net Entertainment.