Daily Nambling Notes - July 8, 2002

8 July 2002

Makin' Deals -- eBay Inc., the person-to-person auction site, is buying PayPal Inc. , the recently floated third-party online payment service. The acquisition is subject to approval by stockholders and the government and will close around the end of the year. The integration of PayPal's service into eBay's service is expected to greatly ease peoples' ability to buy and sell on the auction site. The purchase of PayPal is expected to cost eBay $1.5 billion. Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay, said the two companies have "complementary missions." "Together we can improve the user experience and make online trading more compelling," she said. "We can also capture greater value from the e-commerce opportunities occurring both on and off our site."

World Cupdate -- Residents of Singapore bet more than SG$200 million (US$113 million) on the World Cup, Reuters is reporting. The country's government had allowed betting on the soccer tournament as a move to cut illegal bookmakers' success. People in Singapore can bet on overseas games through Singapore Pools, a state-run bookmaker. A spokeswoman for Singapore Pools said the amount bet on the month-long World Cup exceeded SG$200 million, but she could not reveal the specific amount. . . . Sportingbet is reporting it gathered 11,000 new customers during the World Cup betting frenzy. Finance Director Andy McIver said that while company had always seen the tournament as a chance to acquire customers, an unexpected bonus was the number of U.S. bettors who wagered with Sportingbet. American bettors account for 55 percent of the company's £1 billion turnover. "That's quite something from a country that doesn't even recognize a game that's played with round balls and could continue when the European soccer season starts," McIver said.

Tidbits from Asia -- Hong Kong businessman Henry Fok is placing his 27 percent of the Macau Tourism and Amusement Company (STDM) in a foundation that will help fund education, healthcare, sports and culture in Macau. Fok said Friday that he would donate the more that 22,000 shares of STDM shares that he owns as well as $2.5 million to his foundation, called the Macau Henry Fok Foundation. He said he was getting out of the gambling industry due to a lack of interest. . . . Chinese news agency Xinhuanet is reporting that the government of India has made it illegal for foreign companies to invest or collaborate in Indian lottery, gambling and betting businesses. "It is clarified that both foreign investment and foreign technology collaboration in any form are completely prohibited in the lottery business, gambling and betting sector," the agency quotes an Indian government notification as saying.

New Stuff -- Captain Cook's Casino.com said Monday that it recently awarded its biggest online jackpot to date. The casino's new progressive slots game, Major Millions, awarded $1,594,649.21 in a single cash payment to a U.S.-based player. Captain Cook's Casino operates out of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.

UK Tidbit -- Harrods may have a successful department store and online gambling site brand, but the London-based company is still looking to break into the Las Vegas gambling market with a land-based casino. Andrew Tottenham, the director of Harrods Leisure Ltd., said recently at a conference in Las Vegas that his company hasn't found the right group to partner with yet. Harrods' online casino is operated by Gaming Insight plc.

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