Nambling Notes - Mar 30, 2001

30 March 2001
On the Hot Seat -- has found itself again in the midst of controversy on the wagering front. A-Game, an educational company that helps student athletes and their families maximize the benefits of school and sports, criticized CBS, which owns 20 percent of, because free betting software is offered at the site. The software, "Bracket Pool Manager," is an application that streamlines the administration of NCAA basketball tournament pools.

"CBS.Sportsline may not be taking bets, but there is nothing you can do with the Bracket Pool Manager other than gamble," said Marc Isenberg, co-founder of and co-author of "The Money Sucker Machine: The Truth about Gambling and How It Destroys Lives." He added, "Its interactive form even has a built-in dollar sign to designate how much it costs to enter pool."

This is not the first time CBS has found itself in a gambling-related predicament. In April 1999 CBS was heavily criticized because CBS.Sportsline owned the domain "," which hosted an Internet sports betting service. As a result CBS.Sportsline gave up the domain.

The NCAA is taking heat as well for maintaining a media partnership with CBS while taking a stance against all forms of gambling. A-Game points out that nearly 90 percent of the NCAA's income comes from its multi-billion dollar contract with CBS for the rights to broadcast the NCAA tournament.

European Tidbits -- Was last week's influx of new Danish customers at online gaming sites a coincidence or was something funny going on? Several casino operators complained that that Danish bettors with stolen credit card numbers were signing up to play at their sites, although no cases have been confirmed. A few operators have pointed to the fact that the sudden wave of Danish bettors was the result of a TV program about online gambling that aired in Denmark a few weeks ago. The program supposedly made it appear easy to win money gambling online.

Iberia News reports that the property market in Gibraltar is concerned over a possible slump in the market caused by betting companies moving back to England. According to the publication, the rental market in Gibraltar has been saturated due to an increase in rentals since the arrival of the betting industry. Prices had reached an all-time high.

A few months ago there was a steady flow of bookmakers abandoning Great Britain for more tax-friendly jurisdictions. The introduction of new bookmaking tax policy has sparked an immediate reverse, signifying that the exodus is finally coming to a close. So now will a new movement--of companies heading to the country instead of leaving it--ensue? If so, the first one on the bandwagon could be Ireland's Paddy Power. The betting shop and account wagering firm is preparing to set up telephone betting operations in Great Britain. Managing Director Stewart Kenny says the move is being made for advertising purposes. "Now we can advertise through our Internet operation," Kenny said. "We'll also be operating in Britain through interactive TV."

Tidbits from Down Under -- Should England, or any other jurisdiction, be in the mood to take on a whole bunch of new licensees, perhaps opening a pipeline from Australia would be fruitful. And Canberra-based Canbet could serve as the group to get the ball rolling. With prohibition Down Under, the bookmaking operation has warned that it might leave Australia for London or Vanuatu.

The Age reports that British bookmaker Ladbrokes has been accused of illegally promoting Internet gambling on cricket in Victoria. According to the newspaper, the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority alleges that Ladbrokes broke Victorian gaming law by advertising and/or offering interactive games in the state. The Casino and Gaming Authority has subsequently asked Ladbrokes to stop taking bets from Victoria residents. IGN was unsuccessful in trying to reach Ladbrokes for comment.

A Tidbit from the Middle East -- Israel's national lottery appears to be looking into operating an online casino. Mifal Hapis (the Israel National Lottery) has demanded that Israeli police shut down online gambling site King Solomon Casino ( because it offers what lottery officials believe to be illegal gambling targeted specifically at gamblers in Israel. "The industry of illegal casinos and gambling has a yearly volume of 3.5 to 5 billion Shekels and it brings about crime and criminals," Mifal Hapais Chairman Abraham Katz-Oz said, as quoted by Lottery Insider. "Only a combined struggle by the police against these criminals, and the establishment of a legalized casino to be managed by Mifal Hapais, will help reduce this problem. The moneys earned by the legal casino will be returned to the public and will be used to finance national projects." Earlier this month, Mifal Hapais announced plans to regularly broadcast its lotto draws live over the Internet.

On the Racing Front -- Amid the horrible foot-and-mouth disaster, the bookmaking industry now also must deal with animal rights activists calling for a boycott of the Grand National. Racing Post reports that Animal Aid is coordinating protests and leaflet distribution outside betting shops and plans to flood the Internet with chain e-mail for "Horse Racing Awareness Week."

Sungold Entertainment Corp. has announced that its Horsepower Broadcasting Network (HBN) International Ltd. subsidiary is preparing for an April launch of the HorsepowerTM 2 equal chance virtual racing system for $USD wagering. The company says that online gaming licensing is being arranged in "a tightly regulated sovereign domain." Horsepower is a Java-based online game in which bettors wager on computer-generated horses.

New Stuff -- Online casino operator InterContinental Casinos and are partnering to brand and operate what they're calling the world's first online gay casino. The new casino, to be powered by Boss Media software, will go live in May and will be accessible through's gay lifestyles website at

U.S. interactive race wagering technology group this week launched a new server-based software package. "Youbet ExpressTM enables customers to access racing information, view live broadcasts and place wagers without having to order a CD and install software locally.

Makin' Deals -- Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced Tuesday that it has agreed to join the New York Racing Association and Television Games Network in their bid for the purchase of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. CDI also has withdrawn the bid it had previously submitted on its own behalf to the New York City Development Corporation, which is overseeing the possible sale.

A new specialty television service called "Jackpot TV" will soon be introduced to Canadian cable and satellite companies. The service will focus on all aspects of the multi-billion-dollar global gaming business. Programming will consist of winning strategies, unique game shows, expert analysis and daily reportage together with on-theme movies and series, as well as documentaries about famous and notorious personalities. The channel will also offer viewers significant opportunities to win prizes and/or cash through the many games and contests offered both on-air and online. The project is the brainchild of award-winning producer Jon Slan and Autotote Corporation CEO Lorne Weil.

Gaming software developer PlayStar announced this week the signing of a development contract with Arran Investments of the Bahamas. The contract calls for PlayStar to develop, an Internet sports wagering site devoted exclusively to proposition wagering. A third party will manage the site, once it becomes operational. Additionally, Arran Investments has purchased PlayStar's first casino software license for use on the website. The sports-themed casino will be open prior to the official launch in July. Finally, PlayStar announced that live wagering at PlayStar Casino Limited as of the end of February 2001 had reached over $10 million.

Interspace Enterprises, Inc., owner and operator of, this week signed a letter of intent with, pending due diligence, to provide a comprehensive e-commerce payment solution for secure Internet transactions., created and developed by former Starnet president Ed Starrs, now vice president of gaming for Interspace, would enable to offer multiple global payment methods to its customers.

Names and Faces Changing Places -- Gaming software developer Interactive Solutions Corporation has announced that Edward M. Tracy has been appointed to its board of directors. From 1992 until 1998, Tracy served as chairman of the board, president and CEO of Capital Gaming International, Inc., an international casino management company. Prior to 1992, he served as the president and CEO of the Trump Organization, which included the various Trump casinos in Atlantic City.

GTECH yesterday announced that Marc A. Crisafulli has been appointed senior vice president and permanent general counsel for the company. Crisafulli has served as the company's acting general counsel since August 2000. He'll be responsible for managing and overseeing all legal matters for the company. He'll also serve as secretary of the corporate governance and compliance committee for GTECH's board of directors.

Quote Worthy -- "At first sight, the announcement might seem a responsible action by a government genuinely concerned for the welfare of its citizens. But the details of the policy show it to be nothing more than an empty gesture"

-- Electronic Frontiers Australia Executive Director Irene Graham , as quoted by Zdnet, on the recently proposed federal ban of Internet gambling in Australia.