Casino Watch - March 2005

23 February 2005
Poker Propels Sportingbet Profitability

Online UK betting firm Sportingbet Plc, announced second quarter profit increased 84 percent from last year, due in large part to the success of Paradise Poker, the popular online poker room the company purchased for $298 million.

Paradise Poker, the world's No. 3 online poker operator, doubled the size of the business when it was acquired in November and reduced Sportingbet's dependence on sports events, according to Chief Executive Nigel Payne.

Shares of Sportingbet rose as much as 11 pence, or 3.8 percent, to a record 304.5 pence in London and were 303 pence as of 8:42 a.m. local time, giving the Alternative Investment Market-traded firm a market value of 914 million pounds.

Affiliate Getting In On Body Ads

A trend popularized a few yeas ago by Golden Palace Online Casino, when it began to temporarily tattoo boxers' backs with their URL, has spread to other sites.

Recently, Golden Palace purchased advertising space on a pregnant woman's stomach and a swimsuit model's breasts for 30 days by winning auctions on eBay. Now, an affiliate site of, is hoping to use body art as the cornerstone of an advertising campaign.

After determining the local markets in which to focus on, the site said it would embark on a search for the most outrageous advertising body part available. Survey Finds Interesting Results

Leading online poker room commissioned a survey this month of Americans revealed that a majority of them would give up sex for a year in exchange for $2.3 million.

Conducted by StrategyOne, an independent public opinion research firm, on behalf of, the scientific nationwide survey of American adults also found the average cash amount men cited they would require to live sex-free for 365 days was $2.1 million while women were willing to sleep solo for a lesser $1.9 million.

The nationwide telephone survey of American adults 18 years of age and older held a margin-of-error of +/- 3.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

HK Jockey Club Wants in on Casino Action

Macau's casino industry is taking more than $1.2 billion out of Hong Kong every year, according to officials with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and the group wants to do something about it.

Ronald Arculli, the HKJC Chairman, said that should the government agree to establish a tourist-only casino on Lantau, the Jockey Club should be allowed to run it to ensure that the gaming dollars and the profits remained in Hong Kong.

Arculli's claim was disputed by Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Stephen Fisher, who said the drop in the club's turnover is not linked to Macau developments and that the decrease in racing revenue is being compensated by football betting income.

NBC Eyeing Online Poker Room

Fresh off the heels of a successful Super Bowl Sunday poker tournament for the second year in a row rumors are now circulating that NBC is considering launching a free-play online poker room.

The move would make sense for the broadcaster. Ratings for all networks are down as more and more segmentation occurs in television due in large part to satellite and digital cable television. NBC saw huge ratings for the last two years as it aired made-for-TV poker tournaments to go up against the Super Bowl pregame show on the networks airing the game (ABC in 2004 and FOX this year).

The network is in the development phase of a major tournament scheduled to air in May. The National Head-Up Poker Championship will take a different approach to poker, with players going one-on-one to beat out each other and claim a share of the $1.5 million prize pool.

Indian Casinos Surpass Nevada Properties

New figures released this month show that Indian gambling properties pulled in $18.5 billion in 2004, nearly double the take for Nevada's gambling industry, as tribal casinos boomed ahead.

The 10 percent increase extended more than a decade of double-digit growth for the nation's Indian casinos, which have mushroomed since Congress passed a law creating the legal framework in 1988.

There now are 411 Indian casinos in the United States, operated by 223 tribes in 28 states. More than half the 341 federally recognized Indian tribes in the continental United States operate casinos.

National Indian Gaming Association officials said Tuesday that tribal gambling has directly or indirectly created 553,000 jobs, mostly for non-Indians, and that it generated $5.5 billion in federal taxes in 2004.

Major Nevada resorts took in $9.88 billion in gambling revenue in the 2004 fiscal year. Overall, revenue at Nevada resorts, including from hotels and restaurants, was $19.59 billion in 2004. That figure for Indian casinos was $21 billion.

Golden Palace Wins Naming Rights to Fleet Center

For one day in February the Boston Celtics actually played an NBA game in the Golden Palace Center.

The online casino won the naming rights to the former FleetCenter, home of Boston's Celtics and Bruins, after putting up $35,099 as a winning bid on eBay.

FleetCenter owners, Delaware North Cos., conducted the auction as they look for a new permanent naming rights partner. All the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Boston area charities, the company said.

Golden Palace's name appeared on the Jumbotron during a game between the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, was displayed on the FleetCenter's Web site, and greeted callers to the FleetCenter's automated phone system for a day.

Paddy Power Inks Deal with Tribeca Tables

Ireland's largest bookmaker Paddy Power signed an online Poker deal with Tribeca Tables Europe, for the firm to develop a Paddy Poker branded online poker room.

Paddy Power joins the likes of Blue Square, Victor Chandler, Golden Palace and Doyle's Room (Doyle Brunson) as Tribeca licensees.

Tribeca Tables Europe is a registered company in the Channel Island of Alderney.

Gaming Machines Fuel Stanley Leisure

Stanley Leisure, the British gambling group, said the phenomenal popularity of gaming machines was driving growth at its betting division.

The firm said growing income from fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) had helped it achieve a 17 percent increase in pre-tax profit to £24.7 million in the six months to October 31 on group sales that rose by 28 percent to £964 million.

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