Daily Nambling Notes - Aug. 9, 2001

9 August 2002

New Stuff -- British bookmaking behemoth Sportingbet launched its very own person-to-person betting site today, and in doing so entered a Betfair-dominated market where upstart challengers seem to sprout weekly. The site, Sportingbet121, is a joint venture with P2P veteran TradingSports.

Tidbit from Down Under -- Bookmaker Michael Sullivan told The Australian last week that he doesn't regret aligning with Sportingbet, which owns one of the Northern Territory's five bookmaking licenses. The article, which appeared in the publication on Friday, points out that the presence of foreign bookmakers is partly responsible for Northern Territory residents losing about AU$300 more per year on gambling than the average Australian. Warren Wilson, the head of New South Wales TAB, has called bookies such as Sullivan pirates because they do not return revenue to the local racing industry in the form of taxes. Sullivan, however, sees the situation differently. "We all know competition is good and if we didn't exist, we think the TAB's turnover would go down," he said.

Norwegian Bit -- Residents of Norway may soon have to pay taxes on prizes they win in local lotteries. Norway allows awards from its domestic lotteries to go untaxed, a practice that European regulators say violates the European Free Trade Agreement because it gives the Norway lottery an advantage over foreign lotteries. The regulatory body has given Norway three months to change the rule or else face legal action.

Tidbit from Asia -- Credit card transaction problems and U.S. legislative issues aside, it was a good time to be an Internet operator this week--at least in Thailand, where authorities have arrested three people for coating playing cards and dice with radioactive strontium to help gamblers cheat. The material, once applied to the cards, can be seen by an electronic sensor held by a gambler. The tainted cards and dice were taken by police in Bangkok after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation seized packages of the goods being shipped the United States.

Legal Stuff -- PayPal's ties to online gambling have not only attracted the attention of Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general for New York, but now the U.S. attorney general for the eastern district of Missouri is interested as well. On July 24, the company received two federal grand jury subpoenas from Missouri seeking documents related to the company's dealings with the Internet gambling industry. PayPal said in a regulatory statement that it intends to cooperate fully in both matters.

Anne Lindner can be reached at anne@rivercitygroup.com.