From the Editor's Chair - v5

4 November 2003

While the industry sits on the edge of its seat awaiting a ruling on who's awarded the coveted "" domain name, two additional blue-chip gambling names are in the process of changing hands (along with the companies with which they're associated). "" and "" have both found new ownership (for US$4.2 million and $5.5 million respectively) and the news brings back memories of a not-so-distant era when domain names were among the highest commodities of the whacked dot-com economy. My question is, are the buyers more interested in the domains or the businesses that go along with them? On a side note, the ball is really rolling now with gambling portals going up for sale. The trend has only just begun, and pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice will accelerate the process.

Speaking of pressure from the DOJ, we're holding out hope that the Travel Channel won't bow in the manner that U.S. radio stations have. World Poker Tour has emerged as the cable station's highest rated show, and online poker rooms are perfectly suited advertisers, many of which have lots of money to spend. The grapevine has it that the network has no intentions of shutting the door on I-gaming advertisers. Of course, as history has proven again and again, that can change in a heartbeat.

And now let's hurry up and talk about stalling. The U.K. National Lottery has finally implemented sales via mobile devices. That's great, but what took them so long? Mobile betting has been around for nearly four years. If England wants to be the world leader in I-gaming as it says it does, it will have to stay on the cutting edge of technology. There's plenty of merit to moving slowly to get things right, but I'm not convinced this can work in online gambling. England will have to adapt to compete, and judging by the painfully slow route the country is taking in updating it's gaming laws, doesn't appear to be capable of adapting.

The anti-Internet gambling movement in Australia appears to be equally as slow. When asked this week to comment on what issues were most important, incumbent communications minister Darryl Williams uttered not a word about Internet gambling. I keep hearing that the resignation of outgoing communications minister Richard Alston won't postpone anticipated changes to the country's Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, but I have a feeling this thing's going to drag out.

A heads-up. . . The European Court of Justice is scheduled to hand down a verdict Thursday on the well documented criminal proceedings against Piergiorgio Gambelli, who along with 100 other defendants ran data transfer centers in Italy that were linked to an English bookmaker. The decision will have a huge bearing on the future of cross-border gambling policy in Europe. Also interesting to note is that there's been little public activity on the part of Holland Casino in its efforts to block foreign operators from accessing Dutch bettors. Will Thursday's Gambelli ruling spark another round of legal battles in the Netherlands?

Finally, if you haven't tuned into the Cato Institute's online gambling policy forum (recorded Oct. 23), you really should. The forum addresses the regulation of Internet gambling, specifically sports betting, in the United States. It's archived online and available at

That's all.

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.