Tidbits from the UK -- Parts of Europe had a white Christmas, reports Reuters, and that means punters scored big against London bookmakers. William Hill told the news service it paid at least £50,000 to bettors who wagered in favor of snow during the holidays. Forecasters confirmed that snow fell on Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast. "Fortunately, though, both Glasgow and London were snow-free, saving us up to a further £100,000 payout," said Graham Sharpe, a William Hill spokesman. The Isle of Man is the recipient of the Financial Times' award for Best International Territory. The award is the ninth in three years that the island has won from financial publications. Michael Gates, the head of the Manx government's international services division, said, "Without question, we are at the head of the pack when it comes to providing a safe, well-regulated environment in which business can flourish." The Financial Times reported recently that Pacific Century Cyberworks is planning to lay off about 400 employees from its Internet content studios. The Hong Kong-based telecommunications company is said to be replacing its English language content deal with a plan to focus on Asian sports and online gaming. The job cuts will come from the company's London office.
Tidbits from the US -- The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Thursday that Las Vegas' City Council voted to look into the matter of selling the city's name and seal to an online gambling site. The council voted 6-1 to direct the city staff to study the issue further. In the last few weeks, Mayor Oscar Goodman has meet with at least two companies that are interested in partnering with Las Vegas to either host or promote an Internet casino. In the second cybersquatting lawsuit filed by a major Las Vegas casino operator in less than a month, Station Casinos Inc. is suing two offshore online gaming companies for the rights to two domain names. The Las Vegas company is trying to recover the names "kenomania.com," which is owned by Icrystal of British Columbia and "sunsetcasino.net," which is owned by Robbins Carnegie Inc. of St. John's. Station said in the suit that the domain names were registered with the "bad faith intent of profiting from Station's trademarks."
New Stuff -- Bowman International is launching a new promotion aimed at some of its most valuable players--the ones that lose their bets. The company, which offers Internet and telephone betting, is giving back 10 percent of all its players' monthly losses. Players' accounts will be credited at the end of the month. From the It Had to Happen file, it seems that basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman is starting his own Internet casino and sports book. The former Chicago Bulls forward will employ RTG software for the site, which features a $100 giveaway to "the rowdiest gambling party on the Internet."
Old Stuff Turning In To New Stuff -- Bloodhorse.com reported recently that The Racing Network--which is now defunct--could be brought back to life within the next few months by Magna Entertainment. Frank Stromach, Magna's chairman, said the channel provided a good service and will be revived to its previous glory in either January or February. Jim McAlpine, the president of Magna, was later quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying the company would telecast races but not bring TRN back exactly. Television Games Network president Mark Wilson is not pleased: Bloodhorse.com quotes him as saying Magna's efforts to restart TRN or any similar service would violate exclusivity agreements.
Tidbits from Asia -- A study recently released by Chulalongkorn University in Thailand found that more than two million people in the country are involved in an underground football-betting network that deals with more than £781 million per year. The university, in Bangkok, estimates that bettors between the ages of 15 and 35 pump more than £15.6 million a week into the hands of foreign bookmakers who use the Internet to hedge their bets with fellow bookies in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and England. The list of 21 companies applying for Macau's new gambling licenses has been trimmed by three. Art Concept International Gaming Resort Co. Ltd. , Kao U Investment Ltd. and CM Development Ltd. are the three who are now out. The Tender Committee of the Gambling Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau ruled the companies' tender documents weren't up to snuff.
Names and Faces Changing Places -- World Gaming plc said this week that its chief operating officer, David Pasieka, is leaving his post for personal reasons and will be replaced on an interim basis by Rodney Davis, the company's chief financial officer.
Legal Stuff -- Israeli officials are considering making horse race betting legal. Last week, Minister of Science, Culture and Sport Matan Vilnai held a meeting with relevant industry participants to discuss looking further into the matter, reported Israel Business Arena on Dec. 25. The minister said his staff was researching horse race betting and that the activity has the potential to increase revenue for sports groups. Scientific Games International is suing AT&T, its partner in the South Carolina lottery, after the telecommunications company said it might not be able to create a lottery network in time to meet SGI's deadline. The game is supposed to launch anytime AT&T finishes its part of it; AT&T said its contract doesn’t contain a specific implementation date.