Friday, May 30
US News -- The Internet gambling bill put forth by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., is on schedule to be voted on by the full House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 3. The bill, which is the same as HR 21, the Leach bill, minus the civil and criminal penalties, has been placed on the House's suspension calendars, meaning that it will be debated for 40 minutes, with no amendments allowed and then will need a two-thirds majority to pass.
New Stuff -- Tab Ltd. said yesterday that it is teaming up with e-pay Australia Pty Ltd. to deliver a real-time prepayment option in retail outlets in Australia. Under the deal, Tab's 200,000 account holders can deposit funds into their betting accounts at more than 533 participating retailers such as 7-Eleven and Mobil stations. The customers can then use the funds to bet using Tab services either in person at a Tab establishment, on the telephone or on the Tab Web site.
Bit from Bermuda -- Nigel Hickson, a consultant with Bermuda's Ministry of E-Commerce, told the Bermuda Sun recently that the ministry is going to examine whether Internet gambling is legal on the island as part of an investigation into whether there is any illegal online gaming going on among land-based establishments. "We are very interested to learn of these reports (of Internet gambling) and indeed we are looking into the situation to see if these establishments are operating within the constraints of the legislation," he said.
Thursday, May 29
Making Deals -- Parlay Entertainment Ltd. said its client WinwardCasino.com will become the first operator to launch Parlay's real-time, real-play wireless suite of casino games. Parlay, which is part of dot com Entertainment, developed the mobile betting technology with Phantom Fiber Inc. David Outhwaite, Parlay's CEO, said the launch is a "milestone in Parlay's evolution." "Parlay is the market's value leader," he said. "Offering wireless functionality will widen that lead by allowing Parlay customers to extend their brand to the vast and growing market of wireless gamers."
Quoteworthy -- "I think it's very dangerous to start regulating and prohibiting activities on the Internet that are not, per se, illegal in the bricks-and-mortar world." -- Jeff Modisett, former attorney general of Indiana, as quoted by Fox News
New Stuff -- Sky Bet Vegas, an interactive television betting services in the United Kingdom, is implementing random checks on its customers to ensure that they are of age. The checks will also include a look at the customers' credit history to see if the customer may have a gambling addiction. Nick Rust, the managing director of SkyBet, said new software to carry out the checks was just installed and that the company also plans to let players know how long they have been playing and give then information about problem gambling.
Wednesday, May 28
News from Asia -- A number of educational groups in Hong Kong are in opposition to the government's plan to sanction betting on soccer games, the Associated Press reported. Hong Kong lawmakers believe legal soccer betting could put an extra $192.3 million per year in the SAR's coffers. Additionally, it would deprive illegal bookmakers from gambling revenue. Those against the plan, however, say that another betting avenue in Hong Kong will create more problem gamers and introduce unsavory elements such as violence, bankruptcies and decline in work ethic. Tam Ping-yuen, a representative from a school counselors group said the extra tax revenue is not worth the social price. "Don't ignore the damage done to the development of our youth for the sake of a superficial economic gain," Tam said.
New Stuff -- MGM Mirage is purchasing 25 percent of Metro Casinos Ltd. , a British company that plans to develop casinos in Bristol when United Kingdom relaxes its betting laws. As the Las Vegas Sun reported today, the investment is the first by a Las Vegas company in a British casino group. Park Place Entertainment Corp. and Mandalay Resort Group are also said to be interested in U.K. developments. Metro Casinos plans to open a facility in Bristol by the end of the year.
UK Tidbit -- The National Lottery Commission is taking away Camelot's ability to reject companies from bidding on the contract to operate the U.K.'s lottery. The move is an attempt to breathe new life into the lottery, which has seen sinking sales and revenues in the last few years.
Tuesday, May 27
Tidbit from Down Under -- A cricket informational Web site by the name of "Baggy Green" is under investigation by the Australian Department of Communications for linking to a site, CricInfo, that carries advertising for the U.K. online betting firm Bet365. Australia's Interactive Gaming Act of 2001 makes it illegal to publish advertisements for Internet gambling services. Gordon Neil, the broadcasting general manager of the communications department, said the issue is being looked at by department lawyers and an initial assessment would be finished this week. CricInfo told The Australian that it has servers all over the world and does not host online gambling ads on Australian servers. The Baggy Green site also carries a ninemsn logo.
Names and Faces -- Fintan Drury is being appointed as the chairman of Paddy Power plc by the company's board of directors. He replaces Stewart Kenny, who is retiring as chairman but will remain on board as the non-executive director. Drury has served as non-executive director since August 2002 and is also chairman of DSMI, a sports management company, as well as several other private companies and the Anglo Irish Bank plc.
US News -- MGM Mirage said last week that it is paying $5 million to make its failure to file money-laundering paperwork with Nevada gambling authorities go away. The agreement between the hotel-casino and the Nevada Gaming Control Board states that with the payment, the state's investigation of the matter, in which up to 15,000 money-laundering reports weren't filed during a year-and-a-half period. The employee who flubbed the reports, Christopher Morishita, is facing four felony counts and was arrested by Las Vegas authorities at his home last Wednesday. Terry Lanni, chairman and CEO of MGM Mirage, is calling the matter a "very serious administrative oversight." "When we first became aware that cash transaction forms had been properly filled out but not mailed, we immediately reported the situation to the board and launched an extensive internal investigation," Lanni said in a statement. "The results of this investigation were turned over in their entirety to the state and we have worked in full cooperation with state officials to resolve this matter. We also initiated a series of new internal auditing procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again."
More US Bits -- Speaking of the Nevada gaming authorities, the state's gaming commission had apparently been entertaining the notion of allowing casinos to hook up slot machines with debit card readers. The Las Vegas Sun, however, reported on Friday that the commission has decided to put a halt to the plan, saying that allowing people to gamble directly from their checking accounts could be bad news, or, as the newspaper put it, "create a new class of problem gamblers." In 1995, the state legislature said it was OK to equip the machines with debit card machinery, but not credit card readers. ... The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries is holding is spring conference this week in Cleveland, and one of the topics of discussion is the prospect of putting lottery games on the Internet. The group includes lottery directors from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. U.S. lotteries sold a whopping $42.9 billion worth of lottery tickets last year, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.