iTV Predictions -- Screen Digest, an expert in business intelligence, research and analysis, has published a report called "ITV Betting, Gaming and Lotteries in Europe: Market outlook to 2007," which estimates that by 2007 the betting, gaming and lottery market for interactive television in Europe should reach £2.8 billion per year. That translates to roughly £484 million for operators after winnings have been paid out. Screen Digest forecasts the United Kingdom as the country taking the largest profit, with turnover of £1.77 billion and a gross margin of £264 million by 2007. Betting through iTV on horseracing and sports is likely to earn £1.1 billion in annual turnover, and casino games should earn £.96 billion in revenue.
Illegal Cricket Betting -- Last week a newspaper in Pakistan, The News, published two letters that Lord Condon, chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), sent to the Pakistan Cricket Board, alleging that Pakistan's cricket team threw two one-day tournaments in 2002 to Morocco and Kenya. The letter states, "a worrying amount of information is being received from different sources in different countries and I place it before you in case it resonates with your own information and anxieties about recent results. A variety of sources including match officials, players, informants, journalists and police sources have raised doubts with my unit about some matches and some players." Three days later the Sydney Morning Herald reported that "The International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit is bracing for a substantial increase in illegal betting activity--involving hundreds of millions of dollars--for each game of Australia's best-of-three finals series against India." According to the Herald, ACSU general manager and chief investigator Jeff Rees expects the amount of illegal bets to be around $500 million, which is about the same amount that was bet on last year's World Cup final.
Winning Valentine -- The UK National Lottery on Feb. 2 introduced Cash Couples, a new romance-themed online instant win game that offers players winnings up to £4,000. For £1 per play, bettors get the chance to match three couples in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row in order to win the prize revealed by a large heart in the center of the playing area. Cash Couples was created by interactive design agency NOWWASHYOURHANDS, the same company that designed the National Lottery's Cash Machine game.
Belgian Lottery -- The Belgian National Lottery has announced its financial results for fiscal 2003, boasting sales of $1.26 billion, 4.61 percent more than the previous year's results. The company believes the positive results are evidence of the Lottery's successful transformation from a state institution to a limited public company. The lottery also attributes much of its success to online lotteries.
Nevada Stats -- The UK Telegraph reports that Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., recently wrote a letter to Chancellor Gordon Brown of the U.K. Treasury asking his opinion on whether the United States should ban its citizens from betting with online gaming companies located outside the United States. The letter was answered by John Healy, economic secretary of the Treasury, who suggested that a ban was probably not in the best interest of the Unites States. Healy wrote: "Online and telephone betting is already well established as a legal activity in this country . . . In going forward we have decided that it is better to regulate and control this activity rather than seek to prohibit it. Online gambling brings with it an international dimension." The telegraph article also references Nigel Payne, CEO of Sportingbet, the only British bookie to make a large part of its profit of off American punters. Payne said that he expects U.S. legislators to introduce "a permissive bill in March or April," because current legislation is costing the U.S. billions of dollars each year in lost tax revenues.
Free Comparison Service -- London-based Optibet Ltd. has launched a free betting service at www.betprovider.com, giving users access to odds, prices, and single and multiple betting selections from fourteen of Europe's biggest sports books and betting exchanges. The Web site also offers betting news.