Weekly Nambling Notes - March 3-7, 2003

7 March 2003

Friday, March 7

Names and Faces -- CryptoLogic Inc. announced that Lewis Rose, its interim president and CEO since July 2002, has been appointed to those positions on a permanent basis. Dennis Wing, the company's chairman, said CryptoLogic has achieved immediate results since Rose joined the group last summer. "In times of new challenges and opportunities, we need a leader with vision, discipline, accountability and performance, and we've found those qualities in Lewis Rose," Wing said. ... Sfiso Buthelezi, the CEO of South Africa's National Gaming Board, has resigned to pursue a career in the private sector. He will leave the gaming board on March 31. ... James Hilton has been appointed as director of online marketing for MGM Mirage Online, which operates the online gambling site of MGM Mirage. Hilton was most recently in charge of online traffic development at Workthing.com.

Thursday, March 6

Names and Faces -- CYOP Systems International Inc., a skill-based gaming site, announced that Jim MacKay has been appointed to its board of directors. Mitch Ross, chairman of the board, said MacKay brings an understanding of European commerce with him. "His knowledge of the entertainment business, coupled with his keen sense for solid business opportunities, are a welcome asset to our board and we look forward to his input into our growth into the European marketplace," Ross said. McKay served briefly as the president and CEO of World Gaming plc this summer.

Making Deals -- BingoWorkz said that it has been chosen by iGlobalMedia to provide bingo software for iGlobalMedia's new bingo Web site, www.partybingo.com. BingoWorkz also recently completed a deal with Real Time Gaming to supply bingo software to that company's more than forty licensees.

Wednesday, March 5

Legal Stuff -- The Island nation of Antigua and Barbuda said it threatening to take the United States to court at the World Trade Organization if the U.S. doesn't ease restrictions on Internet gambling. Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's chief financial services negotiator, said he would like to meet with U.S. representatives in the next few weeks to see if the U.S. will change or repeal the laws that foster a hostile environment to Internet gambling. "We simply want an understanding by them that their laws on Internet gaming are a restraint on trade that is inconsistent with the WTO rules and its own obligations under the WTO treaty," Sanders said. Antigua and Barbuda has lost an estimated $30 million in revenue because of U.S. regulations on I-gaming, Sanders said.

Tidbit from Asia -- The South China Morning Post is reporting that Stanley Ho, the owner of several Asian casinos and gambling operations, has offered Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a place in North Korea where Hussein could seek political asylum. Ho told the newspaper that North Korea officials have OK'd the offer of asylum for Hussein on a mountain in the northern portion of the country.

Making Deals -- Tabcorp Holdings Ltd. is buying Jupiters Ltd. for AU $1.7 billion in cash, stock and assumed debt. The deal puts a value of AU $6.06 cents per share on Jupiters, which includes several casinos on Australia's Gold Coast and in Queensland. Tabcorp is Australia's largest gaming group. UNiTAB Ltd. had also been considering a bid to buy Jupiters. The Queensland-based Jupiters said it will sell, spin off or take public its Centrebet online sports betting business.

US News -- Adrian McPherson, a former quarterback for Florida State, is facing felony charges relating to forgery of checks as well as a misdemeanor for allegedly placing sports bets via the Internet. McPherson, 19, was taken off the football team on Nov. 25 after the coach, Bobby Bowden, learned of the player's alleged check forging. "Our players are told time and time again what they can and cannot do, and gambling is a subject that is top of the list," Bowden told Florida Today. ... Myles Brand, the president of the National Collegiate Athletics Association, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently that he does not have plans to lead an effort to have Congress ban sports books from taking bets on college games. Brand said that it will be up to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to take the lead on such a movement.

Bit from the UK -- InterGame Conferences is producing a conference titled "How Do We Regulate Internet Gambling," which will take place on April 30 at the New Connaught Rooms in London. The event's keynote speakers will be the authors of two forthcoming reports about the online gambling industry: Graham White, the chief inspector of the British Gaming Board, and Clive Hawkswood, the leader of the betting and racing section of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. A representative from U.K. Customs and Excise will also speak on ways of taxing Internet gambling in the United Kingdom.

New Stuff -- Peak Entertainment NV said it is streamlining the customer loyalty programs for all five of its online gaming sites into one program. The company said the new loyalty program, called "Peak Rewards," will allow players to pool their points from all five casinos. Players can exchange the points for cash, merchandise or travel.

Tuesday, March 4

Tidbit from Canada -- The Interactive Gaming Council said the United Kingdom has the right idea by making Internet gambling legal and regulated. "British leaders understand the importance and the value of regulating this relatively new means of gaming," said Rick Smith, the executive director of the IGC. "I only wish the U.S. government would take such an enlightened approach, instead of futilely attempting to block a form of entertainment that millions of its citizens enjoy." According to Peter Dean, the chairman of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, full legislation for Internet gambling will be enacted by next year and will be implemented by 2005. The IGC also said it is looking forward to U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., reintroducing his bill from last year’s session that would create a commission to study the regulation of Internet gambling.

US News -- A new computer game from the Connecticut Lottery Corp. has attracted the attention of the Connecticut attorney general, Richard Blumenthal. The game, called Treasure Tower, comes on a computer disk that is given to lottery customers who buy a package of four instant scratch tickets for $15. Treasure Tower allows the player to lead a cartoon character through a series of adventures to win monetary prizes, the largest of which is $25,000. The game lasts up to 20 minutes, but players can also choose to scratch off their ticket to see if they won, instead of using the CD. Blumenthal said the game is too close to Internet gambling. However, a spokeswoman for the lottery, Diane Patterson, said the game does not even use the Internet. "To have Internet gambling you have to be on the Internet," Patterson said. "For us, it’s a play style that uses animation. We were careful in how we presented it that it did not look like a child’s cartoon."

New Stuff -- Realbet Casino launched an online casino and sports book at www.realbet.com on Friday. The company is located in Willemstad, Curacao, and is operating under a Curacao gaming license. Realbet is offering sports wagers on events including the NCAA Championships and the Masters Golf Tournament and casino gaming on games including blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette, slots and poker.

Monday, March 3

Legal Stuff -- Two Internet casino companies based in the Netherlands Antilles have reportedly been asked to stop accepting bets from Dutch citizens. The companies, Paramount and Universal Amusements, have been given until March 20 to comply with the order, which was a result of a recent court verdict in favor of Holland Casino that upholds Holland Casino's monopoly in the Netherlands.

Tidbit from Denmark -- The Copenhagen Post reported last week that government proposals to support the state gambling monopoly in Denmark are likely to gain political popularity. The proposals would make it more difficult for foreign bookmakers, such as Internet-run sports books, to operate in Denmark. The proposals would, among other things, restrict Internet gambling sites' activities and make it illegal for them to advertise and employ Danish citizens. The country's tax minister, Svend Erik Hovmand, is saying that the proposals could face a challenge from the European Union because they may conflict with rules on restricting trade.

UK Bit -- The United Kingdom's National Lottery has launched Internet-based versions of its games in a move to reverse its falling sales. The games available online include instant-win games that will be available between 7 a.m. and midnight and cost between 25 pence and £1. Richard Hurd-Wood, the interactive director at Camelot, which operates the National Lottery, said the games will appeal to people who don’t regularly play the lottery. "This is just the first phase of an exciting long-term strategy to broaden the appeal of the National Lottery," he said. "The games are aimed at a target audience of irregular lottery players who don't have the lifestyle to go and buy tickets at a retailer who are comfortable with technology."

Making Deals -- CryptoLogic said its wholly owned subsidiary, WagerLogic, has been licensed to sell online gambling software in Alderney. The company provides the technology that operates The Ritz Club London Online, an Internet casino that was licensed by Alderney last year. Lewis Rose, interim president and CEO of CryptoLogic, said the announcement is cause for celebration. "This is a great day for CryptoLogic, and for everyone who shares our commitment to safe, secure and regulated Internet gaming," Rose said. "We're already working with international customers who want to operate Internet casinos from Alderney. And as the global movement to regulate the industry gains steam, another strictly regulated license today means a clear competitive advantage for us tomorrow."

New Zealand Tidbit -- The Asian Racing Federation will hold its 29th annual conference in Auckland this week. One of the major topics of discussion will be Internet gambling and its effect on the horse racing community. The conference will be attended by 500 racing administrators from 20 nations. Allan Fenwick, the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chief executive, said online wagering will be covered extensively during the event. "The rapid growth of Internet gambling and the emergence of exchange betting (where people bet directly online against each other through a betting exchange) had all sorts of implications for traditional horse racing organizations such as the TAB and racing clubs," he said.