Casino Watch - September 2004

26 August 2004

Blue Square and poker specialists Tribeca Tables Software Development have formed a partnership to create an online poker room operated by Blue Square and powered by Tribeca's software. The Blue Square-branded poker room will go live in September. It will be the fourth operating site for Tribeca, whose network also includes Victor Chandler Worldwide, Golden Palace Casino and Platinum Poker.

Tribeca's European managing director, Steve Cook, said his company focuses on quality licensees instead of quantity. "We are in talks with several major brands and this is another significant move for us," Cook said. "We pride ourselves in the knowledge that our poker business model has been designed exactly for companies such as Blue Square. It is fundamentally our poker expertise and our established track record that will deliver results for them."

European Poker Championship Adds Webcast

Organizers of the 15th Annual European Poker Championship at Casino Baden in Germany have announced that all the action on Golden Saturday will be broadcast live via a webcast. The day starts with eight players vying for the opportunity to join the 72 finalists that later make up the Super Final in the evening. The field is limited to 400 players. Participants include Phil Hellmuth, Paul Altermann and Lothar Landauer. Tournament organizers said the webcast is aimed at getting fans all across the world a live, real-time look at the event without having to wait months for edited coverage.

Slotland's Affiliation Modification has revamped its affiliate model with hopes of attracting clients who would normally shy away from such programs. Rather than taking a percentage of winnings, affiliates now receive 25 percent of player deposits for the lifetime of each player they acquire. In addition to assuming less risk (because revenues aren't tied directly player losses), affiliates should be able to better gauge their monthly earnings using the new system. To further reduce the risk, has also decided not to deduct the value of credit card chargebacks from affiliate earnings.

VIP Casino Blackjack Tourneys

VIP Casino is hoping the tournament craze brought about by the Internet poker boom will translate to the blackjack world. The site is holding a month-long multi-hand blackjack tournament called "Jacks in Town." Each player is granted 1,000 chips for a $10 buy-in and given 60 minutes to earn the largest stack of chips and a chance at the $500 first-place prize. Players can battle the dealer for 60 minutes straight or spread their time over successive sessions. Second and third place prizes are $200 and $100.

Cirsa Buyback GBC

Spanish gaming and leisure company Cirsa this month regained full ownership of its subsidiary bingo company, Global Bingo Corporation (GBC). It did so by buying back its 50 percent stake, which Italian lottery operator Lottomatica had acquired in September 2001. The buyback is valued at 64 million euros.

Czech Government Responds to Prague Attack

The Czech government is tightening its casino licensing laws in response to an incident in which an Israeli license holder and alleged criminal was attacked in Prague. A senior officer from the Israel Central District told Reuters the attack on Asi Abutbul might not have happened if Czech regulators had been more selective in their licensing process. "They should have made this decision (to tighten regulations) years ago," he said. "The Czechs should be embarrassed since they allowed the attack to happen after they permitted the Israeli criminals into their country, gave them gambling licenses, let them open casinos and allowed them to strike partnerships with local criminals." The investigation into the attack is ongoing.

King Solomon Re-launches with RTG

King Solomon's re-vamped online casino, complete with new software from Real Time Gaming, is expected to go live by the end of the month. New features include multi-bet spots on multi-hand online blackjack games, "double up" option bets on video poker and mini slot machines that can be played simultaneously with any main game. The site will remain fully licensed by the Kanawake Online Gaming Commission.

Pushing the Poker Envelope?

First it was the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour on TV. Then there was celebrity poker and other made-for-TV poker tourneys. Now, officials with Fox Sports Net are producing the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament featuring eight of the world's leading professional players competing in a $400,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold'Em tournament at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The network began airing one-hour installments of the tournament on Aug. 15 and will continue airing them on Sunday nights with a two-hour championship finale set to air on NBC on Feb. 6 (immediately preceding the start of Fox's coverage of Super Bowl XXXIX). The winner of the poker tournament will take home $1 million. The lineup: Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, T.J. Cloutier, Barry Greenstein, Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and Chip Reese.