From the Editor's Chair - v4

27 October 2003

Last week I pointed out that Hong Kong betting sites, according to Hitwise, are generating much more traffic among Hong Kong bettors than foreign sites are garnering--perhaps a result of Hong Kong's recently passed prohibition of offshore betting. Tuesday's Hitwise numbers showed a major shift among the jurisdiction's bettors. No, they haven't been turned on to the's and BetOnSports, of the world, but they apparently are embracing Hong Kong's legalization of soccer betting. The HKJC Football site, non existent a few weeks ago, is now bringing in more than 50 percent of the traffic among Hong Kong bettors.

It wasn't exactly doomsday, but the closure of Hamburg Spielbank's online roulette site was a bit of bad news for the interactive gambling industry. From what I’m hearing, though, the loophole that enabled political groups in Germany to get it shut down will be closed and the games will be back on the Internet soon. Also expect a similar site to open soon in the state of Hessen.

The I-gaming community continues to chatter quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) about the U.S. courts' ongoing crackdown on advertisers of Internet gambling services. The prevalent theme since day one has been the void of details, and don't expect this to change soon. The U.S. District Court for Eastern Missouri is leading the way, and all documents (and lips) there are sealed. On the other side of the battle, no one who's been subpoenaed is talking either, which is understandable. Would you want your clients knowing you're under investigation?

Here's a scary thought: The $10 million the Eastern District of Missouri sucked out of PayPal, last June could very well be bankrolling all this insanity.

With all the speculation on prohibition leading up to a possible vote on the Kyl bill, there has still been little said about games of skill. As it stands now, they would assumedly not be banned by the Kyl bill. Those who got their foot in the door early could be in for a handsome payoff.

I can't wait for the enactment of the United State's new spam bill. I'm sure the raging spam river gushing into my inbox will finally dry up the day this thing becomes law.

Australian bookmaker SportOdds, capped off its purchase of Centrebet, sports book (from Jupiters) by announcing its intentions to emphasize targeting the U.S. market. Such a move is, no doubt, encouraged by the sentiment among the federal government that targeting an interstate clientele isn't such a good idea, but seeking players from outside the country is not a problem. Considering the United States' frigid attitude toward online betting, such a mentality isn't exactly neighborly on the part of the world's leading advocate of "good neighbor" gambling policies. This doesn't have anything to do with the "sheriff" comment, does it?

Boss Media's sale of its, portal is a sign of the times. Operators and suppliers are trying to get lean and mean and that translates to shedding portals and news sites set up to drive traffic. It's been a rough two years for Boss, and it appears their means of survival is to shift their focus to the land-based gaming markets.

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.