Weekly Nambling Notes - Nov. 18-22, 2002

24 November 2002

Friday, Nov. 22

New Stuff -- Gaming group ukbetting plc said today that its joining forces with BT Openworld, Sportev Ltd. and InTheBox Media to offer Sportal OnDemand. The product, which ukbetting is calling the first broadband sports network in the United Kingdom, will be available to broadband users on any Internet service provider through the BT Openworld site at www.sportal.com. The channel will give subscribers the opportunity to watch a variety of live events, highlights, previews and interviews.

Making Deals -- Done's Bookmakers, the largest independently owned chain of betting shops in the United Kingdom, said this week that it will retain its relationship with Livebet Online, an interactive software provider. Done's is expanding its telephone betting business and is considering launching an Internet betting service.

Bit from Canada -- Gambler Constantin Digalakis is suing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for CA$7 million for allegedly giving him free casino perks after he put himself on a self-exclusion list. Digalakis said he went bankrupt after gambling more than $250,000, the National Post is reporting. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., the largest gaming company in Canada, said Digalakis is responsible for any losses he suffered because the self-exclusion forms don't make the casino liable if the gambler manages to get in the casino.

US News -- The Gannett News Service is reporting the American Gaming Association may support the bill proposed by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., which would create a commission to study the possibility of regulating online gambling in the United States. Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the AGA, told the news service that his group hasn't made a final decision yet.

Names and Faces -- Penn National Gaming is appointing John V. Finamore as its new senior vice president of regional operations. He will be in charge of the company's Charles Town West Virginia operations. Finamore was most recently the president of the Missouri operations section of Ameristar Casinos.

Thursday, Nov. 21

New Stuff -- Boss Media announced the launch of its new interactive video terminals (IVTs) today at the World Lottery Association Congress in Adelaide. The company recently joined the WLA as an associate member. The terminals are physical gaming machines armed with Boss Media's Internet gambling technology. ... Wagering on each play of a sporting event is now possible with ukbetting's new "totalbet live" product, which went live today. The technology, which had its first successful run with real money on Wednesday during an exhibition soccer match between Scotland and Portugal, combines Interactive Systems Worldwide's SportXction program with ukbetting's wagering services. Interactive Systems Worldwide is a subsidiary of Global Interactive Gaming Ltd.

Bit from the UK -- Sportingbet, which has long lobbied for regulation of the Internet gambling industry in the United States, greeted the news of Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. proposing a bill to study I-gaming regulation with glee. Nigel Payne, the U.K.-based bookmaker's chief executive, said news of the bill, which would create a commission to study ways online wagering could be regulated and taxed by the U.S. government, should increase his group's shareholder value. "Every country in the world has online gamblers and it was beyond comprehension how the Americans thought they could be any different," he said.

Names and Faces -- Phil Hogen was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission. Hogen is a former U.S. attorney for South Dakota. He is currently the associate solicitor for Indian Affairs in the Interior Department.

Wednesday, Nov. 20

New Stuff -- Today Kiwi Casino officially announced its re-launch with Playtech gaming software. The site, which has been online since October 2000, had been using software by CryptoLogic before switching to Playtech technology last month. The land-based Christchurch Casino in New Zealand owns Kiwi Casino.

Makin' Deals -- Scientific Games Corp. said yesterday that it will acquire MDI Entertainment for $18.5 million. Scientific Games will now own all the shares of MDI that it does not already own. Steve Saferin, MDI's founder and main stockowner, will sell Scientific Games his shares for about $1.40 each. Saferin also recently entered an agreement to continue heading MDI for the next three years. ... CYOP Systems International Inc. signed a deal with Sterling MacFadden Partnership Inc. that will put its pay-for-play games software on several e-zine sites, including Metal Edge, Metal Maniacs, Black Beat and True Story. Mitch Ross, CYOP's chairman, said the magazines' cross section of readers will fit perfectly with CYOP's gaming community.

European Tidbits -- Despite two German political factions' efforts to reverse the Hamburg Senate's decision to allow land-based casino Hamburg Spielbank to offer live roulette online for real money, it appears the show will go on. The two groups argue that the Senate doesn't have the power to issue an online gambling license and that online gambling could be a health risk due to its potential addictiveness. A source close to Hamburg Spielbank, however, told IGN the issue was resolved Oct. 31, when a working group for the Minister of Health agreed by a vote that the casino has done everything within its powers to control and avoid problem gambling. ... Representatives from the Nordic members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development will hold a high-level meeting in Stockholm on Dec. 4 during which cross-border Internet gambling will be addressed. The group of Scandinavian reps met in Stockholm on June 25, 2002 to discuss the same issue. The topic became an important agenda item in April, when Peter Sehestedt, the leader of the OECD's Danish delegation, presented a paper outlining the problems caused by allowing cross-border gambling.

Bit from Asia -- The chief executive of Macau said today that he wants the Chinese SAR to further develop its tourism and gambling industries in 2003. Edmund Ho Hau Wah made the remarks to the Macau Legislative Assembly. "We should amplify necessary rules and regulations, strengthen supervision and train talents in an effort to make the gaming industry more competitive," he said.

Names and Faces -- The president and chief executive of Park Place Entertainment Corp. , Thomas E. Gallagher, resigned Tuesday after two years on the job. He will be replaced by Wallace R. Barr, who was previously the company's COO.

Tuesday, Nov. 19

UK Bit -- The U.K. Office of the e-Envoy has determined that England is the second-best country in the world in which to do e-business. The conclusion is to be published in a report that the Office of the e-Envoy recently concluded. The United States was rated No. 1.

Congrats -- U.K.-based gaming software developer Orbis announced today that it was named one of the country's fastest growing professional services firms by Deloitte & Touche. The Technology Fast 50 names companies that have shown extensive growth in the telecommunications, hardware, software and biotechnology markets. Orbis was cited for its 999 percent growth in the last three years.

Names and Faces -- Gary Pemberton, the founding chairman of Tab Ltd. , announced today that he is resigning effective Dec. 31. Graham Kelly, who has served as non-executive director since July 1997, has been named chairman-elect.

Monday, Nov. 18

Making Deals -- Virtgame Corp. has chosen McMahan Securities Co. L.P. as its investment bank. Bruce Merati, president and CFO of Virtgame, said McMahan shares his company's outlook on the future of online gaming. ... The relationship between Boss Media and Svenska Spel was extended last week when the Scandinavian gaming company chose Boss to develop digital scratch cards, lotteries and other quick games for its Internet site. Boss is the designer of Svenska Spel's online casino at www.casinocosmopol.se. "Svenska Spel is probably the most expert gaming operator in Europe," said Peter Bertilsson, the president and CEO of Boss. "The fact that it is putting even more trust in Boss Media is, of course, great and very stimulating."

Legal Stuff -- Israeli online news site Ha'aretz Daily reported today that the country's police are having a hard time keeping up with all of the complaints they get about Internet crime. "Israel has become a paradise for Internet gambling and pedophilia sites, which feature harsh pictures of child abuse," said Meir Zohar, who heads Computer Crime Department of the Israel Police.

Bit from Down Under -- Richard Face, the longest serving MP in the New South Wales parliament, confirmed today that he will not seek reelection in March. Face, who has kept his seat through 10 elections, said he will take a short break before embarking on a new career. "At present I am the longest serving member of the NSW parliament, and in fact, the longest serving member of any parliament in Australia," he said at a recent meeting of the Australian Labor Party.

Bit from the UK -- Gaming Insight, which recently said it would move away from online casino operations to focus more on greyhound race betting, is said to be in talks with bookmakers, including William Hill and Ladbrokes, to establish fixed-odds betting for its digital TV race wagering channel. The Financial Times reported today that Gaming Insight, which is giving up operating the Harrods online casino, will continue in a revenue-sharing agreement with Harrods until the contract ends next year.