Weekly Nambling Notes

7 February 2004
Friday, Feb. 6

Super Bowl Traffic -- comScore Networks, a company that specializes in using the Internet to measure and understand consumer behavior, has published an analysis of the Internet traffic increases from Super Bowl XXXVIII advertisements and displays of nudity. Cialis.com, the Web site for an erectile dysfunction product, received the largest increase in attention when its traffic rose nearly 1,900 percent above its average level on Sunday. Within just a few minutes of the first airing of a Cialis commercial, the site had already received a surge of 240 percent more traffic. Other large beneficiaries of Super Bowl commercials were Apple iTunes, which gained 593 percent more traffic, HR Block.com, which gained 258 percent more, and PepsiWorld.com, which gained 190 percent more. Although GoldenPalace.com's streaker didn't catch any airtime from CBS cameras, the news of Mark Roberts' naked escapade quickly reached Americans, who flooded the online casino Web site with 380 percent more traffic from 9 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. (EST). Other Web gambling sites also experienced significant gains in traffic, even though they had no televised advertisements. SportsInteraction.com gained 400 percent more traffic, Intertops.com gained 240 percent more and CasinoLasVegas.com gained 79 percent more.

Fisherman's Jackpot -- I-gaming solutions company European Game & Entertainment Technology (EGET), has developed a new online progressive slots game called Fisherman's Jackpot for Finnish operator Ålands Penningautomatförening (PAF). With graphics built around a Scandinavian fishing theme, Fisherman's Jackpot features 20 win lines, a progressive jackpot, and two bonus games that players can reach by catching large enough fish.

iGGBA Agenda -- At its annual general meeting at the International Casino Exposition in London last week, the Interactive Gambling, Gaming, and Betting Association (iGGBA) announced that it is establishing a regulatory committee and a tax committee to address issues concerning the England's Draft Gambling Bill. iGGBA is now broadening its scope by representing the industry before the European Commission, which recently proposed to review gambling in the Union to determine whether a new directive should be established to harmonize I-gaming laws across all member states. iGGBA also put its new council into place at the meeting. New members include: Andrew Tottenham of Trading Sports (Chairman of iGGBA), Nick Harding of RAL Interactive, Steve Toneguzzo of GGS, John Carganello of TST, Malcolm Graham of Ritz Interactive, Richard Boardley of Littlewoods, Nancy Chan - Palmateer of Cryptologic, and Richard Flint of BSKYB. iGGBA will host an event in London on April 29th called Future of the Remote Gambling Market.

DDoS Attack -- Electric News Net reports that Irish bookmaker Paddy Power's Web site was knocked offline for several hours Wednesday night due to a distributed denial of service attack. There was no interference with customer data, and the company suffered no material loss besides going offline for a few hours. Like most DDoS attacks on Internet gaming sites, this one was launched by hackers seeking to extort money from the company. Paddy Power said it's working with ISPs, telecommunications suppliers, other bookmakers, and authorities to protect betting sites from future assaults. According to a spokesperson for the company, "As with many denial of service attacks, here was an attempt by the perpetrators to secure payment to end the message flow. No payment was made and the incident is now under investigation by U.K. police technology experts. Paddypower.com is operating normally and as a matter of courtesy all online customers have been advised of the incident."

LuckyMe -- Harrah's new online gaming site, LuckyMe, is now operating live. The subscription-based site allows users to pay between £10 to £56 per month to compete is skill-based games for a fixed prize pool amount that must be given away each month. LuckyMe.co.uk is licensed in Alderney and targets 35-48 year-old women.

Thursday, Feb. 5

ECF Meeting at ICE -- Casino Austria joined the European Casino Forum last week at one of the ECF's semiannual general meetings at the International Casino Exhibition in London. The ECF's meeting addressed several important issues, including the European Commission's proposals to harmonize both traditional and online gaming laws throughout the EU, the revision of the European Money Laundering Directive, and the upcoming E.U. legislation on tokens. The ECF, which covers 14 countries and has 360 casinos as members, appointed Luigi Valle from the Portuguese Casino Association as Chairman, and Heliodoro Giner of the Spanish Casino Association was reappointed secretary general for another year.

University Investigates Gambling -- Ohio State University is investigating allegations that its star running back Maurice Clarett's benefactor had been gambling on Ohio State football games during the school's championship 2002 season. Clarett was suspended from the team in 2003 for accepting money in 2002 from Bobby Dellimuti, who according to the Associated Press is a self-proclaimed father-figure and friend of the Clarett family. ESPN.com has obtained cell phone records showing that Dellimuti made 27 calls to Costa Rican Sports Book SBG Global during the season. The records, however, do not indicate what sort of wagers Dellimuti made. 20 year-old Clarett, who was a freshman during the 2002 season, will be allowed to enter the NFL draft in April.

Tote Gets Seven Years -- The Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Bill passed its report stage and third reading in the House of Commons on Monday, which means that the Tote will secure its exclusive pool betting license for seven more years after it is sold. An amendment by chief lobbyist Jim Paice to establish an independent enquiry that would advise whether the license should be extended past seven years was defeated. The bill will now go to the House of Lords with a clause removing the Tote chairman from the Levy Board after Tote is sold to racing.

The Price Is Right -- Software developer WagerWorks and Fremantle, the company that owns The Price is Right, are working together to launch Priceisrightgames.com this month. The site will target U.K. users with games resembling those from the popular TV show as well as some slot games from Play Your Cards Right, which is another Fremantle property. Priceisrightgames will be offered on mobile devices later in the year. Hardrock Casino, SkyBet Vegas, and Lycos Gamesville already feature successful The Price is Right-branded games, and Fremantle and WagerWorks hope that the standalone site will be just as popular. Claire Tavernier, senior Vice President of Fremantle Interactive, said, "The Price is Right is an incredibly powerful brand, but we want to change its image from a fun-but-old TV brand into a new hi-tech brand. We believe it has huge potential both in the U.K. and abroad, in territories where online gambling is also legal."

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Nevada Stats -- The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced that Sunday's Super Bowl brought in a record sum of $81.2 million in bets in the state, with casinos keeping $12.4 million, or 15.3 percent, worth of the wagers. The total amount wagered is 13 percent higher than last year's $71.7 million. The previous record was set in 1998, when the casinos made only $472,033 in profits on the game.

Spam Solution -- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Monday at a two-day seminar in Brussels that it hosted in conjunction with the European Commission that only coordinated action by the governments across the globe can slow the gradual increase in spam. Some statistics from the OECD's 57-page report demonstrating the problems that spam is exerting on the Web: The worldwide cost of spam to Internet users is about $12.5 billion per year; 65 percent of Internet users spend more than 10 minutes per day killing spam and 24 percent spend more than 20 minutes per day; spam adds 10 percent to the cost of ISPs; 90 percent of viruses are sent via e-mail; and AOL blocked 2.37 billion spam messages each day in April 2003.

Betfair in Asia -- Tim Levene, Betfair's commercial director, is leaving his post to become managing director of the company's Asian operations. Levene will spend the next year and a half in Southeast Asia lobbying governments and betting monopolies to create regulation for betting exchanges.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

New Stanley Sites -- To celebrate the launch of its new software and Web sites--StanleyCasinos.com and CrockfordsCasinos.com--British betting company Stanley Leisure is hosting free online casino tournaments that will offer £12,500 in cash. Players can participate in two tournaments each week for five weeks, and new players will receive a 100 percent match bonus and automatic entry into the company's player reward scheme. Stanley is also launching StanleyInstants.com, an instant win games site with minimum bets of 10p and minimum deposits of £5.

Faithfull in Court -- Kim Faithfull, the former Commonwealth Bank manager who stole $19 million to feed an online gambling addiction, appeared in an Australian court again yesterday. The crown is appealing his five-year prison sentence, claiming it fails to "reflect the overall criminality" of what he had done. District Court Chief Judge Kevin Hammond, who originally presided over the case, eased Faithfull's sentence because of his complete cooperation.

Pulling Ads -- MSNBC.com has removed two I-gaming ads from the Covers.com section (http://covers.msnbc.com) of the MSNBC Web site. Advertisements for World Sports Exchange and PartyPoker.com were pulled Jan. 29 after they were brought to the company's attention by MediaDailyNews, which was pursuing a story about the persistence of I-gaming advertisements despite a recent U.S. Justice Department crackdown. Cherylynne Crowther, vice president of marketing for MSNBC.com said, "The bottom line is that sports betting ads are illegal on our site, and we enforced our policy. Once we realized that we had out-of-policy ads running, we yanked them."

Monday, Feb. 2

Super Bowel Streaking -- Mark Roberts, the famous GoldenPalace.com-endorsed streaker, made his first North American appearance at the Super Bowl on Sunday. Clad in a tear-away referee uniform, Roberts burst out of the crowd onto the field before the start of the second half of play. He ripped off his clothes--except for a plastic football that covered his genitals--to reveal the words "Super Bowel" on his back and the address of GoldenPalace.com on his both his back and chest. After dashing to midfield and pleasing the crowd with a jig that American reporters described as "resembling the Riverdance," Roberts was eventually brought down by New England Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham and carried off the field by security. Roberts said in a statement posted at his Web site, www.thestreaker.org.uk, that he'll try to run the American talk show circuit when he gets out of jail.

Australian Stats -- A survey from online research company Hitwise shows that 40 percent of Australians that gamble on the Internet do so with an offshore operator, even though legally Australians can only bet with certain lottery and sports betting sites. The average Australian gambler visits a gaming site for about 11 minutes, although at some sites punters typically play for over two hours. Nine of the 10 sites that retain Australian gamblers for the longest period of time are located oversees. The Australian Broadcasting Authority, which handles complaints about illegal online gambling, has received 26 complaints and completed 20 investigations concerning I-gaming, but has identified only 11 illegal Web sites that ISPs should filter, even though Internet users are not required use the filters.

Korea -- Within one week the South Korean government intends to block its citizens from accessing two more North Korean I-gaming sites, www.mybaduk.com and www.kdlotto.com, after having blocked access to www.jupae.com last week. All three of the sites are managed by North Korea Lottery, a joint venture between North Korea and South Korean software developer Hoonnet. The South Korean government, which has already canceled the inter-Korean business license of Hoonnet, is blocking the sites because gambling is illegal in South Korea. Meanwhile North Korea Lottery said, "If anyone tries to prohibit netizens from logging onto our site, we will counter that move with our technology." The state-run company has backed up its promise by uploading a program called "ProxyIE" that allow South Korean users to circumvent the ban and access its three gambling sites for free.