Weekly Nambling Notes

15 February 2004
Friday, Feb. 13

CAN-SPAM -- E-mail filtering and security company MX Logic analyzed 10,000 e-mail messages last month and found that only 3 percent of bulk commercial e-mail complied with the United States' new CAN-SPAM Act by including the required postal address and valid opt-out links in each message. Analysis from two other e-mail filtering firms, Brightmail and Postini, also indicate that the Act has had a negligible effect in its first month. Brightmail's statistics show that in January spam constituted 60 percent of all the e-mail that was processed, while in December it was 58 percent. Postini estimated that 80 percent of e-mails were spam in January, while 79 percent were spam in December.

Cricket Corruption -- The Times of India reports that the International Cricket Council (ICC) will deploy at least three anti-corruption officials as well as secret agents to safeguard against match-fixing on the upcoming India-Pakistan series. Retired Pakistani Army Colonel Qaza Noor and one security official from India and one from Australia will tightly monitor the situation. The series marks the first time in 14 years that the teams from neighboring countries will face each other.

Launch -- Market System Inc., the first licensee of Nevada-based I-gaming software developer Chimera Technology Corp., is launching its www.724sportsbook.com Web site today. The site offers wagering on major sporting events all over the world and will soon offer casino games and pari-mutuel horse race wagering. . . . Irish betting company Paddy Power launched an online casino site from Alderney at the end of last month. Paddypowercasino.com, which uses WagerWorks software, is now the sixth online casino to launch from Alderney.

Virtual Mobile Horses -- Asian mobile entertainment provider PlayWizard Co. Ltd. has developed a mobile horseracing game that lets players wager play tokens on virtual horse races. The game, "Grand International Bangkok Derby," features electronic horses with their own odds and individual strengths and weaknesses.

The Streaker Has Landed -- Super Bowl streaker Mark Roberts returned home to a hero's welcome party at Heathrow airport today. Roberts was greeted by cheering crowds of fans who held signs with such messages as "One Super Streak," "Don't end the trend," "The streaker has landed," and "We love you to bits Mark." U.K. glamour model Hayley Finch was also on hand to show her support by lowering her shirt to reveal the words "GoldenPalace.com" tattooed across her more-than-ample cleavage. Needless to say, the welcome party was quickly escorted outside by security.

Thursday, Feb. 12

Polish Merger -- Poland's Treasury has decided to merge the state's two gambling companies, Totalizator Sportowy and Polski Monopol, which together have a monopoly on the country's lotteries and games of chance. The treasury has also dismissed Polski Monopol's president, Ryszard Naleszkiewicz, and vice-president, Waclaw Zygmunt, because they opposed the merger. Before the merger announcement was made, Polski Monopol entered a contract with Greek company Intralot to service the sales of its product, and Totalizator Sportowy entered a similar contract with American company GTECH, which could create a complicated situation. The Poland A.M. speculates that Intralot might demand compensation of about 60 million euro if its contract is broken. Polski Monopol had experienced financial trouble within the last few months and downsized its operations as a result.

Restructuring -- U.K.-based I-gaming software provider World Gaming PLC has completed a restructuring project that closed two of its non-core business segments: its transaction processing division and the customer service division that supported those services. The company decided to restructure because most of its licensees already handle transaction processing themselves and the transaction volume of the licensees who did require World Gaming to perform those functions constituted less than 6 percent of the company's transaction volume. The company expects to save more than $600,000 per year as a result of the restructuring… AngelCiti Entertainment says that its subsidiary, Worldwide Management, is going to spin its online poker operations into a separate unit from its other I-gaming operations so that the new poker division may "fully exploit the meteoric growth of the online poker industry."

Sky Vegas Live -- The Racing Post reports that BSkyB plans to operate a new interactive channel called Sky Vegas Live that will at first offer Keno games and soon thereafter feature virtual horse racing. BSkyB is calling Sky Vegas Live an entertainment channel and says more fixed-odds games will be offered as the channel gets rolling.

Online Poker Tournament -- The Las Vegas Advisor will be hosting a free online tournament of no-limit Hold 'Em on Sunday with a $100 prize pool. The tournament is being held in conjunction with Ultimate Bet, so players must first download Ultimate Bet's poker software before playing. The Las Vegas Advisor says the tournament is the first of several planned events that is experimenting with.

BoDog's Casino -- Online betting company BoDog.com is incorporating Real Time Gaming's casino software into its gaming site. BoDog says the decision to expand its casino offering came as a result of players wanting to play more casino games with their sports book account. This marks the first time BoDog has implemented another company's product for a player-facing service. Real Time's software will give BoDog's customers 60 casino games.

Quoteworthy -- "It is a matter of record that on a couple of occasions we have said to the department that we in fact would not oppose a change to 18. The NLC (National Lottery Commission) could not quite quantify that for you but in fact the work we have done would indicate it would be a loss of about £20 million a year on scratch cards."
-- Camelot chief executive Dianne Thompson, explaining to the Gambling Bill's parliamentary scrutiny committee that Camelot would not object to raising the legal age to purchase lottery tickets from 16 years to 18 years. It seems that the legal age will remain 16 as long as the lottery is under the governance of the National Lottery Commission. It is possible that the lottery could be governed by the proposed Gambling Commission once the new Gambling Bill is implemented, but raising the legal age would result in less revenue going toward charity.

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Gates vs. Spam -- Addressing a World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Microsoft's Bill Gates boasted that, "Two years from now, spam will be solved." Gates revealed that Microsoft is currently developing two different techniques of spam prevention. The first involves technology that could accurately identify the sender of e-mail no matter how many proxies through which a message is sent. The second method includes a mechanism that would allow recipients of spam to charge a bill to the sender.

DDoS Attack -- PlanetPoker.com customers are reporting that they received an e-mail in mid December apologizing for occasional network inaccessibility over one particular weekend due to distributed denial of services attacks. This is the first IGN has heard of a poker site being targeted by cyber extortionists.

Quoteworthy -- ". . . A far more sensible policy would be to legalize Internet bookmakers. This would allow policies to be put in place that could limit the potential excesses of gambling and minimize the role of the criminal element. As side benefits, a legalized regime would likely displace the widespread illegal operations. It is perhaps understandable that such an option is rarely considered. Gambling is a subject that many feel passionately about. But the argument for legalization and regulation should have appeal for opponents and supporters of gambling alike."
- Koleman Strumpf, associate professor of economics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The above passage is Strumpf's conclusion of a foxnews.com article titled Online Gambling Ban Doomed to Fail.

Casino Barter -- Gaming Corporation, the operator of gaming portal casino.co.uk and online casino play.casino.co.uk, has entered into a global strategic alliance with trade exchange Bartercard International, whereby it will provide Bartercard with its own branded casino site so that its members and card holders use their Trade Pounds on the site. Gaming Corp will manage Bartercard Casino and receive all profits, which will be applied to a global advertising campaign across the Bartercard network.

Weekly Mobile Lottery -- The Mobile Lottery of the United Kingdom has launched the country's first weekly mobile phone lottery, the Pick 3 for 50p and its jackpot Mobile Million. The Pick 3 for 50p pays out £200 for three correct matches and gives players free entry into the weekly Mobile Million Draw held every Saturday.

Boss Sells Casino -- Swedish online gaming software provider Boss Media has sold Gold Club Casino to a company that wishes to remain anonymous. The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but under the terms of the deal Boss will continue to provide gambling software and services to the new buyer. When it sold gaming portal casino.com in autumn of 2003, Boss stated that it planned to sell its gaming operations to that it could concentrate on it core business, which is software development.

Survey Says -- Research company Digital Marketing Services recently completed a report for America Online's AOL Games division. The report, which evaluated the gaming habits of male and female adults and teenagers and the reasons for which they play, uncovered some surprising results. On average, women over 40 spend the most hours per week playing computer games online, spending 9.1 hours or 41 percent of their online time playing games. Women over 40 are also more likely to play games every day than are men or teenagers. Although women play more, they tend to do so in order to relieve stress, whereas men do it to satisfy a competitive urge. Men are also more likely to play games for money.

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Credit Card Theft -- The perfect argument that credit card theft and fraud causes as much damage in the brick-and-mortar world as it does in the online realm is exemplified in the case of a 17-year-old Londoner named Tom Smith, who stole his father's credit card and embarked on £12,000 spending spree. Smith flew to Rome and back, checked into a £340-a-night hotel, spent £7,130 on clothes, hired limousines to take him and friends sightseeing and purchased a video camera to document his exploits. He later told the Telegraph, "I am not sorry I spent the money because I have lots of lovely things. I have wanted some new clothes for a while." MasterCard has not yet decided if it will take legal action.

Irish Turf Club to Examine Betting Exchanges -- The Irish Turf Club plans to establish a committee to examine betting exchanges and how they affect Irish racing. Until now, the club has not declared a stance on betting exchanges. Last year it announced it would have no interaction with them. The Irish Independent reports that the representatives from the Turf Club will travel to Britain to discuss betting exchanges and the integrity of racing with the U.K. Jockey Club. The Turf Club Stewards will meet Feb. 23 to elect an executive committee that will serve on the betting exchanges body.

Cagayan -- The First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation has stated its jurisdiction in no way affected by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines to nullify Sports and Games Entertainment (SAGE)'s online gambling license. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority is a government authority that has the power to issue Internet gaming licenses independently of other governments.

Monday, Feb. 9

iTV Predictions -- Screen Digest, an expert in business intelligence, research and analysis, has published a report called "ITV Betting, Gaming and Lotteries in Europe: Market outlook to 2007," which estimates that by 2007 the betting, gaming and lottery market for interactive television in Europe should reach £2.8 billion per year. That translates to roughly £484 million for operators after winnings have been paid out. Screen Digest forecasts the United Kingdom as the country taking the largest profit, with turnover of £1.77 billion and a gross margin of £264 million by 2007. Betting through iTV on horseracing and sports is likely to earn £1.1 billion in annual turnover, and casino games should earn £.96 billion in revenue.

Illegal Cricket Betting -- Last week a newspaper in Pakistan, The News, published two letters that Lord Condon, chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), sent to the Pakistan Cricket Board, alleging that Pakistan's cricket team threw two one-day tournaments in 2002 to Morocco and Kenya. The letter states, "a worrying amount of information is being received from different sources in different countries and I place it before you in case it resonates with your own information and anxieties about recent results. A variety of sources including match officials, players, informants, journalists and police sources have raised doubts with my unit about some matches and some players." Three days later the Sydney Morning Herald reported that "The International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit is bracing for a substantial increase in illegal betting activity--involving hundreds of millions of dollars--for each game of Australia's best-of-three finals series against India." According to the Herald, ACSU general manager and chief investigator Jeff Rees expects the amount of illegal bets to be around $500 million, which is about the same amount that was bet on last year's World Cup final.

Winning Valentine -- The UK National Lottery on Feb. 2 introduced Cash Couples, a new romance-themed online instant win game that offers players winnings up to £4,000. For £1 per play, bettors get the chance to match three couples in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row in order to win the prize revealed by a large heart in the center of the playing area. Cash Couples was created by interactive design agency NOWWASHYOURHANDS, the same company that designed the National Lottery's Cash Machine game.

Belgian Lottery -- The Belgian National Lottery has announced its financial results for fiscal 2003, boasting sales of $1.26 billion, 4.61 percent more than the previous year's results. The company believes the positive results are evidence of the Lottery's successful transformation from a state institution to a limited public company. The lottery also attributes much of its success to online lotteries.

Nevada Stats -- The UK Telegraph reports that Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., recently wrote a letter to Chancellor Gordon Brown of the U.K. Treasury asking his opinion on whether the United States should ban its citizens from betting with online gaming companies located outside the United States. The letter was answered by John Healy, economic secretary of the Treasury, who suggested that a ban was probably not in the best interest of the Unites States. Healy wrote: "Online and telephone betting is already well established as a legal activity in this country . . . In going forward we have decided that it is better to regulate and control this activity rather than seek to prohibit it. Online gambling brings with it an international dimension." The telegraph article also references Nigel Payne, CEO of Sportingbet, the only British bookie to make a large part of its profit of off American punters. Payne said that he expects U.S. legislators to introduce "a permissive bill in March or April," because current legislation is costing the U.S. billions of dollars each year in lost tax revenues.

Free Comparison Service -- London-based Optibet Ltd. has launched a free betting service at www.betprovider.com, giving users access to odds, prices, and single and multiple betting selections from fourteen of Europe's biggest sports books and betting exchanges. The Web site also offers betting news.