A Tidbit from the U.K.
-- The latest issue of International Gaming & Wagering Business points out that the battle between the U.K. government and offshore bookmakers is showing no signs of cooling down. The publication dug up the following Customs and Excise statement from the government's recently released budget: "The government will start with a strengthening of the ban on advertising by offshore bookmakers and has ruled out no options in its effort to discourage offshore betting and protect revenue."
Think that the presence of taxes is holding them U.K. bookmakers down? According to the Irish Times the betting turnover in Ireland has risen by 32 percent since the abolition of a betting tax in July.
Wheelin' & Dealin' -- Online Gaming Systems Ltd. announced this week that that it has completed a December 1999 licensing agreement whereby Great Plains, Inc., a West Indies based privately held company, was supplied with gaming and wagering software. As part of the agreement, Online Gaming has received the final payment of $210,000 completing a series of payments that began in April of 1999.
Interactive horse racing service provider TrackPower has been busy as a bee since it announced last month its official plans for going live on the Internet. The company announced today the signing today of non-exclusive agreements with Australian Racing and Northville Downs. Australian Racing features a number of top Australian tracks and is available Tuesday through Saturday. Northville Downs, located in Michigan, offers harness racing from January 2 to April 5 and from October 20 to December 31. Both will be available immediately on the TrackPower. Last week, the company announced a deal with Tampa Bay Downs.
TrackPower isn't the only player on the move. The prized signal of Santa Anita became available to viewers of The Racing Network today. TRN announced that it will begin carrying Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields pictures today for its subscribers, saying that it can provide the service--which had been pulled by Magna Entertainment, owner of both tracks--because TRN is a closed-loop service providing pictures and commentary only to its subscribers and does not offer wagering.
New Faces -- Australia-based Next Generation Gaming, creator of a unique, independent gaming software design studio, has appointed Daniel Fah as its new Chief Financial Officer. Fah was a former senior financial executive with International Game Technology (yes, the same International Game Technology recently under the scrutiny of the Nevada Gaming Control Board for its indirect involvement with online gambling Down Under).
Ever-expanding Sportingbet.com (UK) Plc. today named Peter Dicks as its chairman. With over 25 years experience in business spanning the US and the U.K., Dicks is taking over the role from the founder and managing director of Sportingbet.com. Mark Blandford.
New Stuff -- As business plans in the Net betting industry continue to reinvent themselves, the price of having your own online casino continues to plummet. With the advent of a new program by Casino Affiliate Network (CAN), the cost has dropped as low as it will go. CAN has launched a service at www.casinoaffiliate.com, in which it provides software and generic website templates to "build an online casino and reap the profits of the fastest growing industry on the Net." At no cost, you get a turnkey package that includes Java games, a sportsbook, customized graphics, and 24-hour customer support. Affiliates receive 25 percent of the gross casino win, with no additional expenses or liabilities.
Congrats -- The full-scale marketing blitz administrated by online gambling portal Poker.com seems to be paying off. The company announced today that it has been ranked among PC Data Online's top 3,000 sites--2,939 in the month of December, to be exact. The site pulled in 179,000 unique visitors for the month.
Fun Fact of the Week -- Those who have followed IGN's coverage of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board's investigation of American Wagering, Inc. surely have picked up on the fact that we're not crazy about they way the Board has carried out its duties. In due fairness, however, I feel obligated to mentioned that not all of the Board's actions in this case were worthy of denouncement. Up to now, we've neglected to report that the Board indeed showed signs of respectability during the investigation. For those keeping score, the agent(s) responsible for (sort of) infiltrating AWI's control system managed to tally a success rate of 58 percent wagering on baseball; the board went 7-5 and turned a decent profit over the course of a couple weeks. Not bad. Conversely, the FBI's "swamis" have been less than impressive. We recently turned the clock back to 1998 and took a peak at federal agents' betting records during investigations leading to criminal complaints filed against 21sportsbook operators in the Caribbean. The feds went 26-28-1 wagering on college and pro basketball and football. The complaints aren't clear on exactly how much money the agents lost, but it was roughly a few hundred bucks. Tax money at work.
is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.