From the Editor's Chair - v11

5 February 2004

I had planned to focus this week on creative Super Bowl propositions offered at online sports books, but I was very disappointed in what was out there. With a few exceptions, namely Intertops, the bookmakers failed to provide good material. There were hundreds of proposition bets available (coin toss props, yardage props, cross-sports props, etc.), but surprisingly little imagination. So, instead I'm throwing out a few props I would have liked to have seen:

  • Odds on Jacksons exposing themselves: Michael: 6-1, Janet: 20-1, Latoya: 50-1, Tito: 100-1, Germane: 100-1, Randy: 100-1, Samuel L.: 100-1, Jesse: 200-1.

  • Over/under on how many Super Bowl commercials would consist solely of sophomoric gags: 12 1/2.

  • Odds on Golden Palace running a streaker across the field at halftime: 2-1.

  • Which halftime show would show the most skin, the Lingerie Bowl or the Super Bowl? Even.

  • Touchdowns scored vs. total number of delegates collected Tuesday by fading presidential candidate Howard Dean: Even.

  • Which play will receive the most TiVO playbacks? a fumble: 4-1, and kick/punt return for a touchdown: 5-1, a touchdown reception: 8-1, a touchdown celebration: 10-1, an exposed breast: 50-1.

  • Over/under on how much money will be collected by DDoS extortionists: ?

More on the DDoS situation. . . It doesn't look like the DDoS attacks will be ending anytime soon. Judging by the surge of threats leading up to the Super Bowl, bookmakers should expect more of the same during the week of the NCAA Final Four. As always, not a lot of victims are being terribly vocal, but it's quite apparent that a very wide net has been cast on the industry, and most have no choice but to pay up.

The Missouri Gaming Commission's attempt to strip Sierra Design Group of its license because of a pay-to-play skill games site operated by a Sierra subsidiary will be very interesting to follow for a number of reasons, among them:

  • It's the first time the legality of skill games has been questioned on such a stage. U.S.-based skill-games sites have blossomed in the past two years as a legal alternative to online gambling. The legality issue is huge, and until now there has been no such challenge.

  • The commission is claiming that current player-location technology is substandard. If the federal government allows individual states to legalize online gambling, their ability to regulate the sites adequately will depend on the ability to locate players.

  • Sierra is arguing that the Missouri Gaming Commission has no grounds to penalize it over the activity of a subsidiary located outside Missouri. Imagine if the Nevada Gaming Commission had no way of preventing subsidiaries of MGM Mirage, Venetian and others from launching I-gaming services offshore.

I got a kick out of the Onion's "Infograph" this week, which focuses on "The PATRIOT Act's Problem Parts." Perhaps there are a few people in the I-gaming industry who can relate. See for yourself.

And for no particular reason, some questions to ponder (Super Bowl- and non-Super Bowl-related):

Can the NFL's priorities be more backwards? The league is more alarmed by the exposing of Janet Jackson's boob than it is by the security lapse that allowed Mark Roberts (the streaker) to run onto the field unimpeded?

IGN's Kevin Smith asks: Which online gambling site got the best out of its Super Bowl halftime sponsorship, (the Lingerie Bowl) or Golden Palace (the streaker)?

Amid a presidential election, a war, biological attacks on the Senate and a whole lot of other crucial issues in American politics, does anyone Washington other than Kyl, Goodlatte & Co. care about the Kyl bill right now?

Is there any doubt that the termination of the attheraces broadcasting deal in England will somehow end up being Betfair's fault?

Why is the U.S. Virgin Islands interested in the federal government's blessing in its efforts to get I-gaming services launched? Did they not hear the DOJ's message to Nevada concerning its I-gaming ambitions? Either move forward against the DOJ's wishes or don't bother.

Mark Balestra

Mark Balestra is the Managing Director at BolaVerde Media Group. He previously worked at Clarion Gaming and the River City Group where he was the publisher of iGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.