Casino Watch - November 2005

21 October 2005
Gambling Troops

The New York Times published an article this week on the vast popularity of slot machines at U.S. overseas military bases. According to the

  • Times, "About $2 billion flows through military-owned slot machines at officers' clubs, activities centers and bowling alleys on overseas bases each year. Most flows back out as jackpots, but 6 percent remains with the house, about the same ratio as in Las Vegas. Each year the armed forces take in more than $120 million from on-base slot machines and $7 million from Army bingo games at home." Estimates place the number of video slot machines at military bases in nine countries at about 4,150.

    The article explores the history and operation of slot machines on bases and emphasizes that the military spends little of its Congressional funding and none of its profits from slot machines on treating gambling addiction among soldiers. A 2003 Pentagon Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Military Personnel estimated that "about 1.2 percent of all service members, or about 17,500 people, had reported five or more gambling problems over their lifetime."

    Packer's Role in the UK Policymaking Process

    New Whitehall documents released under England's Freedom of Information Act reveal that the lobbying firm that employed Michael Stephenson, Tony Blair's former political secretary, had set up meetings in June and July of 2004 between its client--Kerry Packer's private investment vehicle Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH)--and officials with the Treasury and Department of Culture who took part in drafting the Gambling Bill.

    The documents show the minutes of one noteworthy meeting in which CPH representatives explained how Australia's gambling deregulation "occurred during a period of economic recession and had been drive primarily by the need to raise tax revenues. During the early to mid- 1990s this led to the establishment of urban casinos and an explosion in the number of (slot) machines sited in population centers. This has had damaging social consequences but gaming now contributes such a significant percentage of state revenues that government cannot easily curtail the availability of gambling."

    Richard Caborn, the Culture Department's minister of state, and two other members of Parliament's joint scrutiny committee on the draft Gambling Bill are known to have visited Australian casinos owned in part by Packer to study gambling deregulation in Australia. Packer is now involved in a joint venture with Damien Aspinall that is reportedly planning 16 casinos in Britain at a cost of more than £500 million.

    Diamond in the Palms

    Diamond I, Inc., a company that develops a wireless handheld gaming system for use on the premises of casinos and resorts, has announced that The Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has signed a letter of intent to continue to develop a working relationship relating to Diamond I's WifiCasino GS system. This summer Nevada legislators passed a law that will permit casino visitors to gamble with the house using remote handheld devices in public areas, such at restaurants or poolside, although gaming will not be permitted in hotel rooms or in other private areas. The Palms boasts 430 rooms, a diverse mix of restaurants and bars, a 95,000-square-foot casino a 14-theater Cineplex and IMAX theater complex, a full-service spa and salon and more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

    Intralot Eyes Casino biz

    Konstantinos Antonopoulos, CEO of Greek lottery technology company Intralot, told newspaper Euro2day that his group is working toward forming strategic alliances in preparation for possibly entering the casino market. Intralot has already confirmed a partnership with British bookmaker Ladbrokes to bid for the next U.K. National Lottery license. Antonopoulos also said his company would be the largest betting company in a deregulated European market. Intralot has 33 subsidiaries and employs more than 1,800 employees in 32 countries. The company is expected to report 500 million euros in revenue for the year 2005.

    Singapore to Welcome Casino Gambling

    The government of Singapore has made a draft version of its Casino Control Bill available for public consultation. The bill would initially permit the establishment of two casino resorts, the total cost of which will be about $5 billion. Two new government bodies--the Casino Regulatory Authority and the National Council for Problem Gambling--would also be created by the legislation. About 12 companies are hoping to compete for the two casino projects. Four years ahead of the planned opening of the first casino, the Singapore government has already launched an online resource for problem gambling ( that is the beginning of a public education campaign on gambling addiction.


    The National Heads-up Poker Championship, which consists of 64 of the world's best poker players competing in a one-on-one, single elimination bracket-style tournament for a top prize of $500,000, will take place at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas March 3-5, 2006. NBC plans to broadcast 10 hours of coverage through a six-show series in April and May. The network says the inaugural edition of the tournament at the Golden Nugget in March 2005 generated solid ratings and a strong buzz in the poker community.

    Still Looking for the Casino in the Sky

    Despite many headlines indicating that Dublin-based discount airline Ryanair is "set to launch an online casino that will operate in tandem with a new in-flight entertainment service," the company is still only in the process of exploring possibilities and has no immediate plans. Peter Sherrard, head of communications for Ryanair, stated that Dublin's Sunday Business Post reported incorrect information that led to many more publications recycling the story.

    Deals, Launches and Re-Launches

    British betting operator Totesport has signed a deal with magazine publishing firm Haymarket to provide I-gaming services to readers of Haymarket's line of titles. Each Haymarket online magazine will feature a site designed for it specifically by Totesport, and readers will have access to sports betting and pool betting from the Tote in addition to a suite of casino games.

    InterCasino has signed a deal to offer Marvel-branded online casino and bonus games developed by CryptoLogic. The announcement comes one month after CryptoLogic announced the signing of an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement with Marvel Enterprises. New jackpot slots will feature such Marvel super heroes as the X-Men, the Hulk, Blade, Daredevil and the Punisher. InterCasino will also announced that it will begin offering the Bejeweled 10 Line Slot, based on the wildly popular skill game.

    EnglishHarbour. has launched new proprietary casino software based on the company's Vegas Technology platform. New features include a smaller, quicker download, simplified navigation, a 3-D lobby and improved sound quality.

    VIPCasino has added 14 new games, including slots and a new line of scratch cards, to its selection of casino games powered by software developer CryptoLogic.

    Internet sports book provider plans to launch a full-featured online casino in 2006 with software provided by RealTime Gaming.

    Royal Vegas Poker, a property of I-gaming operator Fortune Lounge, has re-launched with a cleaner, more modern feel and appearance. The site is affiliated with the Prime Poker network. has launched a new regional online bingo site for Scottish players at The company has invested a six-figure sum into a marketing campaign.

    Wild Jack Mobile Casino has launched a new U.K.-based mobile casino that uses the GameWire 2.0 wireless casino system from Spin3, the company that partnered with Microgaming to create its complete mobile gaming solution. The casino premiers with six classic games.

    Jackpot Gaming Limited has designed a new online bingo site at that is designed to appeal to a young female audience.