On the E-Commerce Front
has added an Internet-only credit card, ClickCredit. The credit card will have no magnetic strip, signature line or even raised numbers, so that it can't be used for any live purchases. It offers all of the same features and benefits of a traditional credit card with the added bonus of being a little safer to carry. Information about the new ClickCredit is available at www.clickciticredit.com.
Starnet Update -- Recently appointed Starnet CEO Meldon Ellis affirmed during an October 28 conference call that the company is having discussions with gaming authorities in both Isle of Man and Gibraltar about setting up servers and establishing online gaming operations in those jurisdictions. He added that Starnet has its sights on expanding into Australia as well. The company is also reportedly close to announcing an agreement with a tote company that will eventually facilitate pari-mutuel betting. An announcement is expected within 30 days. The company originally had a deal with Ontario Jockey Club, but that agreement was suspended pending the RCMP criminal investigation of Starnet.
New Faces -- Television Games Network (TVG) has announced the signing of Gary Seibel, voice of the American Championship Harness Series and Breeders Crowns, as a television anchor for its coverage of the sport. Seibel joins TVG from CBS, where he succeeded Hall of Fame broadcaster Chris Schenkel as host of the network's Pro Bowlers Tour. Seibel, a graduate of the prestigious Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse university, called races for 17 years at Pompano Park and was assistant general manager when he left that track. For those watching TVG, Seibel can be seen daily five days a week, Fridays through Tuesdays. TVG also announced the hiring of recently retired jockey Julie Krone as talent.
Wheelin' & Dealin' -- Multimedia Games Inc. announced this week that in the last 30 days, four new bingo halls have agreed to join the MegaBingo satellite TV network. The new halls are the Absentee Shawnee of Oklahoma Tribe's Thunderbird Entertainment Center in Norman, Okla., the Muscogee Creek Nation's Creek Nation Bingo Gaming Center in Tulsa, Okla., the Yakima Indian Nation's Legends Casino in Toppenish, Wash., and the charity bingo hall at Hollywood Park Racetrack in Hollywood Park, Calif. All four installations are expected to be running on the network by the end of November.
Tabcorp Holdings Ltd. announced Wednesday that it now holds 98.4 percent of Star City Holdings Ltd. ordinary shares and would move to compulsorily acquire the remainder. Tabcorp offered one of its shares plus A$1.09 in cash for every eight ordinary shares in the Sydney casino operator with the offer due to close on October 29, 1999. The company said it also held 90.88 percent of Star City's preferred ordinary shares, giving it an overall 93.75 percent stake in Star City's voting shares. Tabcorp CEO Ross Wilson and two other Tabcorp directors will join the Star City board, while six existing directors resigned, effective today. Star City CEO Neil Gamble and Chairman Dick Warburton would remain on the Star City board until it is delisted. Gamble is to resign from his executive position effective November 1, 1999, but would remain as a consultant until January 31, 2000. The New South Wales state Casino Control Authority approved the merger in early October and also approved Tabcorp acquiring an 85 percent stake in the management agreement for the Star City casino through the acquisition of Showboat Australia Pty Ltd. , now owned by Harrah's Entertainment Inc.
Investors' Corner -- Cofitras Entertainment Inc. has acquired Antigua-based BingoGold.com Inc. and will now be known by that name. BingoGold.com specializes in the design, sale, and licensing of gaming software. Their site (www.bingogold.com) will offer progressive, multi-million dollar jackpots that are paid out in their entirety. Judith Benesch became CEO and director of BingoGold.com following the resignation of the former officers and directors. Their stock will be sold on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board (OTC BB) under the symbol "BNGL."
Mark Blandford's Sportingbet.com (UK) Plc has been listed as one of the top 25 Internet start-ups in the UK by leading business consultant, Bain & Company. The e25, compiled by Bain & Company and business magazine, Management Today is a thorough investigation into Internet start-ups in Britain and follows four months of rigorous research, which tracked over 300 UK-Based companies. Sportingbet.com scored 63.5 points, placing it in sixth position. "This is a fantastic vote of confidence in the company by one of the biggest names in business consultancy," Sportingbet.com Managing Director Mark Blandford said. "We are delighted to be rated so highly in such an objective and important report."
Virtual Gaming Enterprises has purchased a 20 percent interest in Vegas Book, a telephone sports wagering service. Virgil Williams, president and CEO of Virtual Gaming, called the partnership "the next logical step in our continued aggressive expansion within the gaming industry and a natural adjunct to our 'online casino family'." Vegas Book offers wagering on global sporting events via dedicated toll free numbers, fax on demand for the latest odds, spreads, parlays, and specialty nets, or place bets directly to the Vegas Book website.
Winchester Mining Corp. has announced successful progress in its corporate restructuring plan. Members of the the previous board have submitted their resignations and Wayne Miller has been appointed to the position of president to spearhead the company's new endeavors. Winchester anticipates launching a wholly owned subsidiary to process and manage its Internet business. The company's online casino at www.hollywoodgoldcasino.com and is expected to form a significant portion of the company's business.
TV Guide, the parent of TVG, reported nine-month EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $166.5 million, up 63 percent, on revenues of $817.4 million, up 77 percent. Third quarter EBITDA was up 34 percent at $52.9 million on revenues of $302.6 million, a 90 percent increase over a year ago. The acquisition of TV Guide magazine spurred the big jumps.
E-Vegas.com Inc. is trying to regain its spot on the OTC Bulletin Board. The company has received a letter dated Oct. 21, 1999, from the Securities and Exchange Commission in response to the filing of its Form 10-QSB on Oct. 19, 1999. Subsequent discussions with SEC staff were conducted following receipt of the letter. The letter states that the SEC has not and does not intend to review the filings received by E-Vegas.com Inc. and that the "registration statement will go effective automatically on 60 days after filing unless an acceleration request is provided. Otherwise the staff will make no further comments." The company says that, in order to expedite the resumption of trading on the OTC Bulletin Board prior to the 60 day period, it has filed the necessary acceleration request along with the appropriate documentation. It now awaits the assessment of this request and additional filings. "We fully appreciate the quick and timely response by the SEC and their staff in dealing with this situation," E-Vegas Vice President Tony Markus said. "We are very pleased with the progress that has been made to resume trading on the OTC Bulletin Board. It is our belief and this is supported by the response from the SEC that, with exception to timing, we are in compliance with NASD Rule 6530. I encourage anyone that wants to discuss these developments to call our office at 1-877-815-3238."
On the Move -- Arrowhead Sportsbook and Casino Ltd. , has moved the Arrowhead Internet casino from St. Kitts to an unnamed location outside the Caribbean. The online betting site has operated from St. Kitts since 1997. During this time the Internet casino site had frequent problems caused by poor local communication lines and severe storms typical to most Caribbean countries. In September 1998 and again just last week, major hurricanes hit the Island shutting down the Casino and damaging expensive equipment. With the number of visitors growing each week and the upcoming bandwidth demands of the new Version 2.5 software, Arrowhead's management decided to act now. The casino has been moved and re-licensed at a new location where and expects to reopen within two weeks. The company will continue to operate its 800-telephone line sportsbook from St. Kitts. Management is confident their casino players will enjoy the improved response times provided from the new location.
Meanwhile, Arrowhead's software provider, CasinoLive.com Corp. has completed the test phase of its new affiliate advertising program. The company will launch an expanded and more comprehensive marketing program to coincide with the planned December release of the its new Version 2.5 casino software.
In the House -- A scheduled markup of the Goodlatte-LoBiondo version of the Kyl bill by the crime subcommittee of the House Judiciary committee, scheduled for this morning, was postponed when the committee recessed for the weekend.