From the Editor's Chair - v19

31 August 2004
The GP Tutu Affair and Ensuing Rants

I know this goes against popular opinion at the moment, but can we cut Golden Palace some slack? For a variety of reasons, the fool in the pool episode was a bad idea, and I concur that they crossed the line. But let's not exile them from the online gambling community just yet. Never has there been a shortage of GP bashing in the portals and message boards, but no one seems to acknowledge that the industry's most notorious you-know-what disturbers have generated some positive news over the years as well.

As tutu man went into the deep end, the prized "Beckham ball" was bound for Poland, where GP, the Polish government and the country's main TV station are raising money for kids charities by selling opportunities (via SMS) to participate in a Beckham ball shootout. The government guarantees the contest will raise $100,000, with hopes of raising as much as $200,000. They've already raised $25,000 in Poland by making the ball available for various shootouts held at kids camps. Beckham ball's next tour of duty will be the United Kingdom, and from there it's ultimately on to Saskatchewan, where it will be launched into space as part of Canada's first privately funded manned spacecraft mission.

Then there's Pamplona and the running of the bulls. The image of Dennis Rodman running around in a GP t-shirt doesn't exactly make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but the whole Pamplona campaign revolved around Golden Palace making it possible for a man stricken with MS to fulfill his dream by participating in the festivities. In doing so, they also raised $15,000 for the National MS Society, and they have since started MS Extreme, a project to raise money for a cure and fulfill MS sufferers' dreams of partaking in extreme activities. Their next mission is sending someone to dive with sharks.

You may also recall GP was the force behind the sumo tournament at GIGSE '04, an event that raised around $30,000 for Gamcare. And when a group of players hit them up for $15,000 a few years ago during the infamous "bonus abuse" fiasco, GP refused to pay them off, but for a show of goodwill donated the $15k discrepancy money to researchers conducting a dispute resolution study. On top of all this, they've poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into lobbying efforts for the industry.

So, take all the shots you want at the diving ballerina stunt--the criticism is deserved. But can we have some balance?


Slotland. . . I was never crazy about the brand name (it's only a slight mispronunciation away from being a theme park for sexual deviants), but I give them credit where credit's due. has changed its affiliate marketing model to take some liability away from the affiliates. Instead of getting paid a portion of player losses, affiliates now receive 25 percentage of player deposits. Is it enough to keep the DOJ off their backs? Considering the insanely fascist crackdown on advertising in the United States, I wouldn't put anything past the DOJ, but I like Slotland's thinking. A layer of protection certainly can't hurt.


Betfair bought a horse. Well, sort of. . . . The behemoth of betting exchanges has established a syndicate of competition winners to jointly own a four-year-old colt named "Say What You See." What I see is a company that's embroiled in controversy all over the planet, but apparently isn't satisfied with the waves it's created so far. To their credit though, they will auction off one stake in the horse with benefits going to the Responsibility in Gambling Trust. Betfair isn't the evil empire that its scared competitors make it out to be, and frankly, they're not on a mission to corrupt the racing business. But for a company that finds itself in delicate situations all over the world, I can't image Say What You See will help matters.

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.