Nambling Notes - March 1, 2002

1 March 2002

Tidbits from Down Under -- Sportingbet increased its Australian presence this week by acquiring the business and customer database of Michael Sullivan, one of the country's leading bookmakers. The database cost the U.K.-based company AU $4.9 million, half of which will be withheld until one year after the sale is completed. Sullivan's information will help the company as it endeavors to launch onshore operations in Australia. The well-known bookmaker will also join the board of Sportingbet Australia Pty. Ltd. as operations director. Lottery players in Australia will soon have the option of sending lottery tickets via e-mail. Tattersall's has long offered the option of purchasing lottery tickets online, but now players will be able to e-mail tickets to friends and family. John Mortimore, general manager of, said the feature will open a new market for the online purchase of lottery tickets.

Tidbits from the UK -- Sportinglife and are gearing up for World Cup 2002 with the debut of their customized World Cup betting site. The site features the latest soccer news from around the world, analysis, live scores and a television schedule, as well as odds and tips from betting experts. David Annat, managing director of Sportinglife and Sportal, said he is hoping for 1.5 million unique visitors to the two sites.

New Stuff -- Finland's national lottery has launched an updated version of its Internet gaming system. Veikkaus replaced the system it had been using since 1996 with OnNet2, which offers the lottery an opportunity to develop real-time betting games in conjunction with live sporting events. Registered Finnish users can use the system, which is connected to GTECH's online system, via the Internet and mobile phones. Softplan, a Finnish software company, assisted Veikkaus in creating the system. World Gaming is releasing 16 instant play Java games in traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese and Japanese, the software supplier said this week. Mike Aymong, CEO, said multi-language and multi-currency casino game technology is high on the company's list of priorities. "The Asian market remains a diverse, high-growth market with a positive outlook for the I-gaming industry," Aymong said. Sunny Group recently extended its market reach to China. The company, which operates several Internet and land-based casinos, has launched an online sports book aimed at the Chinese population. The site,, is available in English and Chinese. Sunny Group estimates that 120,000 to 340,000 people in Hong Kong have bet on soccer games.

Legal Stuff -- The Agence France Presse reported this week that Greece has forbidden electronic gambling machines in public places, excluding casinos. Christos Protopapas, spokesman for the Greek government, said the machines are becoming all-too popular in the gambling-prone country. "Our decision is clear: We do not want to have illegal gambling in Greece," he said.

Makin' Deals -- Interactive TV channel BrightBlue is joining Randombet and BettingCorp to offer gambling services during the World Cup in May. BettingCorp's TotoPools will be available on iTV for the tournament, and Randombet will be providing betting as well as current events and lottery-style prize drawings. BrightBlue was launched on the Sky Digital platform by Energis Interactive in November 2001; it features horoscopes, job searching, financial services and competitions. Arena Leisure reached a deal with EGET to give the Finnish company software and technical know-how as it develops an Internet gambling system. Arena will dispense the services via Trackplay, a joint venture between itself and Scientific Games Corp. EGET will provide the I-gaming service to Fintoto, a horse race betting company in Finland. Interactive television games provider Two Way TV and Wink Communications have signed an affiliation agreement. Two Way TV will be distributing interactive TV games to households via Wink's digital cable and satellite operators. Robert J. Regan, president and COO of Two Way TV, said Wink's network will increase commercial exposure for Two Way's pay-per-play games.

Tidbits from the US - Scientific Games announced its intent to purchase MDI Entertainment this week. New York-based Scientific Games will purchase all of the outstanding shares of MDI, except for the more than 700,000 shares it already owns, for $2.10 per share. Steve Saferin will remain the CEO and president of MDI, which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Scientific Games. A bill making its way through the Minnesota Legislature would allow consumers and Internet Service Providers to collect damages from e-mail spammers who ignore requests to stop sending junk mail. Individuals stand to receive $500 or actual damages; ISPs could collect $1,000. About 20 states have laws against junk e-mail. Online gambling may be controversial from a legal standpoint, at least in the United States, but multimedia adult entertainment giant Playboy said this week it's relying on its Internet casinos to help reverse the $33.5 million in losses it posted this week. Playboy's bunny-studded online casinos have been unhurt by the economic downturn. The company said it will develop a branded storefront on eBay.

Tidbits from the UK -- Betdaq, an Internet betting exchange based in Dublin, plans to start a U.K.-based horse racing service out of London City Airport. Dermot Desmond, the site's founder and one of Ireland's most wealthy citizens, can only advertise Betdaq in the United Kingdom if it has offices there. To commemorate its launch, Betdaq Racing will charge no commission in March. Commission will be one percent in April, two percent in May and four percent from June on. Rank Group is expanding the Hard Rock brand into the United Kingdom and is planning to launch Hard Rock-branded online betting services on the online gaming site. Last month Rank got an online gaming license from the Isle of Man.

Anne Lindner can be reached at