Sporting Odds and Ends - December

4 December 2002

The CBS network is no stranger to gambling-related controversy when it comes to its Web site,

While competing sports content portals, such as and Yahoo!Sports, refuse to run advertisements from online casinos and sports books, CBSSportsline continues to accept them, despite objections from such partners as the NFL and the NCAA.

Problems related to I-gaming have cropped up from time to time over the years, but the latest episode has the network in a new position.

According to the New York Post, CBS's logo and name are unlawfully being used by an online sports book, and CBS officials aren't happy about it. The culprit,, could face legal action from the network for using its logo and name on the site.

The network is not affiliated with the site, which is owned by Costa Rica-based Casablanca Sports Book and Casino.

Officials with CBS were unavailable for comment, but published reports have stated that the network is looking to sever its ties to Sportsline this winter by creating a new CBSSports Web site that would be run entirely by CBS. It is believed that the new site would have the blessing of the NCAA, which has been privately critical of Sportsline's association with gaming sites.

Stanley Leisure Bidding for LCI

Stanley Leisure, the operator of Great Britain's fourth largest betting chain, is expected to confirm a £250 million bid for beleaguered casino operator London Clubs International. Stanley Leisure is reportedly launching a joint bid with private equity group Hg Capital. By acting together, the two companies are confident they will not be in breach of competition rules.

Stanley is eyeing five of LCI's six London casinos, including 50 St James, The Rendezvous in Old Park Lane and the Palm Beach in Berkeley Street.

As part of the agreement, Hg will take on the LCI casinos that Stanley Leisure doesn't want, including what is considered to be London's most exclusive casino, Les Ambassadeurs in Hyde Park Corner. LCI is expected to accept the offer in light of its £100 million worth of debts to be repaid by September 2003. The company's total debt, estimated at around £230 million, would be taken on by Stanley Leisure.

Massive Changes on the Horizon in England

The U.K. government is expected to start the process of selling the Tote and abolishing the Levy Board as early as April 2003. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is preparing its draft gambling bill in the wake of the Budd review and has been asked to fast-track those parts relating to the Tote and Levy Board.

The changes are expected for pre-legislative scrutiny soon after the Easter break, although one DCMS source said the development should not be taken as a sign that the rest of the Budd report's recommendations are on the back burner.

Moves to modernize the legislation on gaming are likely to provoke more contentious debate among MPs than those to sell the Tote to a racing trust, but the DCMS remains determined to advance an all-embracing bill in the 2003-04 parliamentary session, if at all possible. However, the decision to begin formal discussion over the Tote's future, which is understood to have the backing of Robin Cook, the leader of the House of Commons, will put the shadow racing trust, established recently under the chairmanship of Lord Lipsey, into an uncertain future. Lipsey, who resigned from the Tote board to take on the role, said Sunday that the picture should clear up in the next quarter.

"The next three months are going to be vital if the Tote is to be transferred to racing in a form that ensures its continued success," he said.

Lipsey has already entered into talks with a variety of agencies, including the Treasury, to pave the way for discussions on price, transfer and length of license.

Heisman Race, Odds Wide open

This year may be the most wide open race in recent memory for the Heisman trophy, and without a clear-cut favorite to win the title of college football's best player, odds at offshore sports books are wide open as well.

With the NCAA football regular season coming to a close this weekend, many of the pre-season favorites have fallen off the radar screen, and an impressive group of new candidates has risen to the occasion. has generated odds for the six candidates that will most likely battle it out for the award. Larry Johnson, Penn State's dominant running back, who became the ninth player in Division I-A history to gain over 2,000 yards in a season, and Ken Dorsey, Miami's signal caller who has not lost a game in over two seasons, are co-favorites at 2/1 odds. The other players who figure into the race include Brad Banks (5/2), Willis McGahee (7/2), Carson Palmer (5/1), and Byron Leftwich (15/2).

Betting Kiosks Approved in Nevada

A new betting system that could change the way sports betting is conducted in Nevada received regulatory approval last month. American Wagering Inc., the parent company of Leroy's Horse & Sports Place as well as the state's largest provider of computerized sports betting systems to casinos, has developed a kiosk that enables gamblers to bet on horse races, auto racing and other sporting events 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The kiosk, which works somewhat like an ATM, is designed to enable larger casinos to increase their sports betting volume by placing the devices in well traveled casino areas. Smaller casinos also could benefit by relying less on manned sports book operations, which are more expensive to operate than kiosks, the company says. American Wagering still needs regulatory approval to conduct a field trial for the device, which could be launched in casinos across Nevada by mid April.

The kiosks, which don't yet have a name, would compete with other sports betting devices already in place in Nevada, but could become the first allowed on casino floors.