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Mysterious Australian Tries to Sell of Millions of Ladbrokes Clients’ Personal Details

Dec 22, 2011

Ladbrokes Security Breach

Australian newspaper, “The Mail,” published the summary of an exchange that they had with a mysterious Australian, in which he offered to sell the personal details of 4.5M Ladbrokes betting customers this weekend. The police, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office, and The Mail are working together to resolve the matter.

The Herald Sun: Mystery Aussie in Ladbrokes breach

A mystery Aussie approached UK newspaper, The Mail, and offered to sell confidential information about millions of punters who’ve placed bets with bookmaker Ladbrokes. The newspaper was given 10,000 Ladbrokes customers’ personal information including addresses, account numbers, phone numbers, and gambling histories on Sunday after the man claimed to have cracked the bookmaker’s 4.5 million member database.

Ladbrokes is contacting its punters to assure safety on credit card details, passwords and other financial information. The police were also contacted and informed of the breach. The matter’s also under investigation by Britain’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The Australian, “Daniel,” offered to sell the database, claiming that he worked as a computer security consultant for Ladbrokes in Britain 2 years ago.

“We’ve been informed that a person connected to our organisation offered details from a customer database to the Mail on Sunday,” Ciaran O’Brien, head of PR at Ladbrokes stated. “This is a criminal act and we are working with the police, the ICO and the newspaper to identify and apprehend the culprit.”

Mail Online: For sale: Personal details of millions of Ladbrokes gamblers, offered to the MoS by a mysterious Australian

Millions of British gamblers’ confidential records were offered for sale to The Mail on Sunday. The huge data theft is at the center of an investigation after the paper was given personal information about 10,000 Ladbrokes customers and offered access to its 4.5 million member database.

Last night we alerted Ladbrokes of the breach and handed the customer files to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which immediately began to investigate. The records include home addresses, gambling histories, customer account numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses.

Ladbrokes contacted the police and started to reassure customers that credit card details, passwords and other financial information is safe.

During protracted negotiations via email and in one phone call, the man who offered to sell the information gave his name only as ‘Daniel’ and claimed to represent an Australian company. The Mail received an email from ‘Daniel’ Sunday, saying that he was ending negotiations and warning against passing his details to the authorities.

The Mail was first approached by ‘Daniel’ earlier this month. He said he had been passed the data by a ‘relatively junior’ employee, who was trying to sell it on. ‘Daniel’ claimed that his initial intention was to tip Ladbrokes off about the breach, but he then decided it would be better to contact the media.

IT Wire: Ladbrokes secures personal data, wanna bet?

A data breach of 4.5M Ladbrokes customers’ personal and gambling details emerged over the weekend. Ladbrokes are adamant that customers are safe. An exposing summary of an exchange with ‘Daniel’ of Melbourne was publically displayed by the newspaper, “the Mail,” on Sunday.

Prior to going public, the paper passed all information to Britain’s data oversight group, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a more formal investigation.

‘Daniel’ claimed to be from DSS Enterprises, an organization run by Dinitha Subasinghe. The newspaper did not indicate whether ‘Daniel’ spoke with an accent.

Initially, ‘Daniel’ told the newspaper that he was going to contact Ladbrokes but decided to contact the media directly with the information that he’d been passed the stolen data by a relatively junior employee of Ladbrokes who was trying to sell it on.

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Playtech Makes a Move on the US Market

Dec 21, 2011
Playtech emerging on US Online Gambling market

Playtech announced yesterday that they have formed a joint venture with Scientific Games, a US company that has strategic ties with state lottery operators. Through the new partnership, Playtech will provide online gambling software for use in gaming terminals currently offered by Scientific Games in the UK. The venture places Playtech in a prime position to re-enter the US online gambling market should it open in the future.

Financial Times: Playtech gets ahead of the game

Playtech made a huge step forward in the global lottery market by sealing a deal with Scientific Games, a gaming services provider in the US. The deal gives Scientific Games access to government contracts, and provides a boost to its Videobet machines business.

As US state governments begin to legislate for online gambling, their local lottery operators need online casino, poker, bingo and other online gambling products to remain competitive.

Fortunately for Playtech, Scientific Games supplies lottery systems in 31 US jurisdictions. This gives Playtech a direct route into a market that it was forced to exit back in 2006, when the Bush administration closed the doors to online gambling in the US.

Playtech’s chief executive Mor Weizer said: “This secures our position in the US and provides a great opportunity if and when the US market is regulated.”

After the announcement, Playtech shares jumped 18% to 515p, bringing it back to levels last not seen since August 2008.

Wall Street Journal: Playtech Signs Joint Ventures With Scientific Games

Playtech Ltd., a designer, developer and licensor of software for the online and land-based gambling industry, recently announced the creation of a strategic partnership with New York-based Scientific Games Corp. The partnership will see the companies jointly develop and market next-generation online and land-based gambling products and services to regulated gaming operators in the US and abroad.

MAIN FACTS:

  • The partnership will combine Playtech’s gambling software and portfolio of products with Scientific Games’ ability to provide services to government-sponsored gaming operators in regulated (and soon to be regulated) jurisdictions.
  • An exclusive joint venture called ‘Sciplay’ will focus on the global online gambling market. It will use software Playtech’s technology together with Scientific Games’ global infrastructure and experience.
  • Playtech will develop gambling terminal software for Scientific Games and its subsidiary The Global Draw, including upgrades to of existing terminals in the UK currently using the Videobet platform.

Reuters: Playtech forms joint venture with Scientific Games

Online gambling software provider Playtech just announced the formation of a strategic partnership with US-based lottery operator Scientific Games.

The joint venture is called Scriplay. A statement released yesterday by Playtech Chief Executive Mor Wizer and Scientific Games Chief Exectutive Mike Chambrello described how the venture will combine Playtech’s technological expertise with Scientific Games’ experience and strong relationships with US state lotteries.

The statement further explains that the companies will “jointly develop and market next-generation internet and land-based gaming products and services to regulated gaming operators in the U.S. and other countries”.

“We have highly complementary skill-sets allied with a global reach and this partnership provides the opportunity to leverage off this combined know-how to maximum effect.”

After the announcement, shares in Playtech were trading at 475.5 pence, up 9%, valuing the business at 1.14 billion pounds ($1.86 billion).

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Legal Online Gambling Coming to Atlantic City?

Dec 21, 2011
Online Gambling in Atlantic City

A new bill was just introduced to the state senate of New Jersey that would allow Atlantic City casinos to offer online gambling services. The game terminals would have to be located in restricted areas of casinos and racetracks, and all equipment would have to be located within the boundaries of the city, making this more “local intranet” gambling than true internet gambling.

Press of Atlantic City: Legislation would permit online betting at Atlantic City casinos

New legislation introduced a few days ago would allow online gambling at casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The bill is sponsored by state Senator Raymond Lesniak. Specifically, it would allow “New Jersey residents to place wagers on casino games via the Internet.” All online games from blackjack to poker would be available.

The bill would require that all computers used for legal online gambling be located in a separate area of a casino, “but within the territorial limits of Atlantic County.”

An annual tax of 20% on gross revenue from online gambling would be paid into a casino revenue fund. A new unit would be created under the state’s Casino Control Comission called Division of Internet Wagering.

The Casino Control Commission along with the New Jersey Racing Commission would also allow the operation of online gambling terminals at racetracks, where “individuals who have registered to participate in Internet wagering may wager on games conducted at casinos in Atlantic City.”

WebProNews: New Jersey Considers Legalizing Online Gambling

A newly proposed law introduced in New Jersey would allow players there to gamble online through special websites run by casinos in Atlantic City.

The bill was introduced into the New Jersey State Senate last week by Senator Raymond Lesniak. Incidentally, Lesniak also introduced a different bill which asks New Jersey residents to vote on a constitutional amendment which would allow state-regulated sports betting at Atlantic City casinos.

Right now, New Jersey offers legal online gambling on horse races to local residents through the 4NJbets.com website. If this bill passes, the state will change the law to permit online versions of any game currently allowed in Atlantic City casinos, such as poker, blackjack and baccarat. The new online gambling system would be controlled and regulated by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, which would establish a new Division of Internet Wagering to manage operations and licensing.

“We’re happy that New Jersey has taken this issue into their own hands,” said iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr.

StandardBred Canada: Gaming ‘Terminals’ Coming To NJ Tracks?

A newly proposed bill introduced by New Jersey state senator Raymond Lesniak could allow Atlantic City casinos to offer online gambling services to New Jersey residents. The bill reportedly has some support in the senate already, but those that do not want to online gaming at the state’s racetracks are voicing their displeasure.

An article by Press of Atlantic City states that Mark Juliano, who is chief executive officer of the three Trump Entertainment Resorts casinos in Atlantic City, revealed that the legislation appears to allow racetracks to also get video lottery terminals.

The report further states that any equipment used to run the new internet gambling system must be located within the territorial limits of Atlantic County, such as within a casino or at another secure location.

The bill reportedly states that the New Jersey Casino Control Commission might also let racetracks operate online gambling terminals. These terminals will likely be identical in appearance to slot machines found at local casinos.

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Debate over Gambling Issue Continues to Intensify in Alabama

Dec 20, 2011
Alabama Gambling USA

After Gov. Riley’s anti-gambling task force was deterred from action by a judge’s order in Alabama recently, the debate over gambling and its legality has escalated rapidly. The subject has the potential to split the states vote, and a scandalous resignation has fueled the fire.

WTVM 9: AL task force commander quits after gambling win

The commander of Alabama Gov. Bob Riley’s task force on illegal gambling has resigned due to a recent, $2,300 win at a brick-and-mortar casino in Mississippi. David Barber, the commander, resigned on behalf of his actions potential to be a “political distraction” for the task force.

The commander submitted a formal resignation in a letter to the governor on Friday. In the letter, Barber explained that he gambled at a casino in Mississippi and legally won the money in a game.

Both Riley and Barber, the former district attorney in Jefferson County, claim that the electronic bingo machines used in a new facility operated in Alabama are, in fact, slot machines, which are currently illegal in Alabama.

Barber’s resignation arrived on the same day that the Alabama Supreme Court lifted a judge’s order which had blocked the task force from raiding electronic bingo operations at Country Crossing in Dothan.

CBS 42: Jackpot! Gambling Task Force Commander Resigns

Bob Riley’s Commander of the Illegal Gambling Task Force, David Barber, struck a generous jackpot of $2300 on recent trip to Mississippi. Trying to remove himself from the politics circling around the issue, David Barber resigned from his position. Here are a few excerpts from the Commanders resignation and the Governors reply:

Commander David Barber
I hereby resign as Commander of your Task Force on Illegal Gambling.

While I remain committed to the Task Force’s goals, I have concluded that my continued participation will become a political distraction from the Task Force’s important work. On a recent visit to Mississippi, I visited a legal casino and won a $2,300 prize playing a legal game. While my actions were in full compliance with the law, I am convinced that the forces that operate illegal casinos in Alabama will focus on my actions as part of their continuing effort to smear you and your Task Force.

Governor Riley
With regret I accept your resignation as Commander of the Task Force on Illegal Gambling.

I want to commend you for your service to the State of Alabama as the Task Force’s leader. Adherence to the rule of law is the cornerstone of the free and fair society that we enjoy in our state and nation. Thank you for being willing to take a stand in support of that most fundamental principal.

WSFA 12 (NBC): Congressman Bright weighs in on gambling debate

Without a doubt, gambling is the hottest topic in Alabama. According to 2nd District Congressman, Bobby Bright, “This shouldn’t be an issue that divides our state.” Regardless, this is one such issue. The definition of gambling legality is creating tension between the state’s residents and leaders.

Congressman Bright thinks there’s a more suitable solution to the issue than ridding the state of electronic bingo machines according to the wishes of Gov. Riley.

“What we could all do is agree on a referendum and let the people decide. That way it eliminates the Governor having to go down into a community and raid and make it look like he’s fighting the local leadership.”

Should the situation lead to a referendum, there must be boundaries.

“It would need to be regulated. A commission should be set up and private individuals should not be profiting from the proceeds of a gambling initiative if it passed,” he adds.

While the congressman doesn’t agree with gambling, he knows the decision isn’t his to make.

“I also am a public servant speaking for my constituents. And whatever they choose to do, however they choose to live their life in their communities, I will honor that.”

Bright hopes that if a referendum were passed, education would be the recipient of the industry’s revenue.

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Online Poker Sites Raise Money for Earthquake-Stricken Haiti

Dec 20, 2011
Online Poker donates to Earthquake victims in Haiti

Two of the largest online poker sites in the world, FullTilt and PokerStars, are both calling on players to help with relief efforts in Haiti, where a massive earthquake has taken the lives of thousands, and left many more without a home. All money donated will be matched by the sites, and then donated to the likes of Red Cross and UNICEF.

Mirror.co.uk: PokerStars sets up Haiti earthquake appeal

A devastating earthquake recently hit Haiti, and it is thought to have killed tens of thousands of people. Many around the world are wondering how they can help. PokerStars has been quick to facilitate come to aid during previous disasters, and once again the site has provided people with an easy way to donate money to relief efforts in the area.

Players at PokerStars have already donated thousands since the appeal launched a few days ago. All the money raised will be given to the Red Cross to help its relief efforts in the earthquake-stricken Caribbean nation. PokerStars has announced that they will match every dollar raised.

The appeal will run until midday on January 31. Here is how to get involved:

– From the PokerStars website, go to Tourney >> Special and enter one of the ‘Haiti Earthquake Relief’ tournaments listed there. ‘Buy-ins’ range from $1,000 all the way down to $1. These are not actual tournaments, and all of the ‘entry fees’ go straight to the relief fund.

– Another way to contribute is to make a “private player transfer” for any amount directly into to a dummy account called ‘Haiti Fund’. Go to ‘Requests’ in the site’s top menu and select ‘Transfer Funds’.

PokerStars is thankful for all who show their support.

ESPN: Tournaments created to help victims in Haiti

Poker players and online poker sites around the world are stepping up to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Through the poker sites Full Tilt and PokerStars, players can donate money by either transferring funds through the game software or by playing in a mock tournament.

“Anyone watching the news knows how important it is to get help to the Haitians as quickly as possible,” said professional poker player Phil Gordon. “Poker players can effectively double their donations through the mechanisms set up by Full Tilt and the generous matching program. This is a great chance to show the world how poker players can step up and help in a true humanitarian crisis.”

Full Tilt is currently offering two different ways for players to donate donate. First, players can register to play in “fake” tournaments at different buy-in levels. The tournaments won’t run, but instead money will be donated. The other option is for players donate their own specific amount through the “Aid for Haiti” account, which can accept any amount over $5 as a donation.

Things are happening pretty much the same way at PokerStars, which is offering “dummy” charity tournaments with buy-ins that range from $1 to $1,000. The site intends to match all donations, and the money generated will be given to the Red Cross. Additionally, players can donate to the PokerStars account “Haiti Fund”. PokerStars says that thousands have already donated, and the site hopes to do all it can to help to the people of Haiti.

If there ever was a time for the internet poker community to make a difference, these next few days are the perfect opportunity.

Chicago Now: Play Poker, Help Haiti

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing tens of thousands of people.

The quake tore open the land not far from the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince, causing wide-spread devastation on a massive scale.

It is in situations like this when we see the best (and worst) that humanity has to offer, where unlikely heroes and villains emerge to show off either their sincerity or their cold-heartedness.

For this crisis, the online poker industry has emerged on the side of the heroes.

Both Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars, both huge sites in the online poker industry, are calling players to give aid to the people of Haiti.

Full Tilt and Pokerstars have organized several charity tournaments that players can participate in to help raise money for UNICEF, the Red Cross and Doctor Without Boarders in Haiti.

Both sites have vowed match every dollar raised. Full Tilt has even created a dummy player account called “Aid for Haiti” where real players can transfer their donations directly.

This humanitarian fund raiser is not operating without solid promotional backing. Both Full Tilt and Pokerstars have already made strong efforts to spread word about their Haitian earthquake relief appeal, even going as far as to announce it during live poker tournament broadcasts.

Poker pro Barry Greenstein once said that poker sometimes feels like a “hollow” profession, like a career that is all about taking without ever giving. Greenstein’s solution was to become involved with charity, and now poker players from around the world can follow his lead.

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Las Vegas Back On The Rise: First Profit Made in 2 Years

Dec 19, 2011
Gambling revenue in Las Vegas rising

From out of nowhere it seemed like the United States, and the rest of the world for that matter, fell into a huge whole of economic depression about 2 years ago. It came and it seems that its still here, but in sunny Las Vegas profits are once again on the rise.

Business Week: Vegas Casinos Revenue Up 8.3%, First Gain in 2 Years

For the first time in about 2 years, gambling revenue in Las Vegas rose 8.3 % in November. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board said proceeds on the Strip rose to $473.8 million. Revenue for all of Clark County, including downtown Las Vegas, gained 6.9 % to $750.8 million, according to the board.

Vegas resorts have slashed room prices and increased special offers to spur demand. Daily room rates in October 2009 were $99.59 on average, down 14% from 2008, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

December 2007 was the last time gambling revenue increased, and then it rose less than 1%. New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission says Atlantic City gambling proceeds fell 9.8% last month.

Market Watch: Nevada gambling revenue up for first time since 2007

Good news came from Nevada, Tuesday, when state regulators reported an increase in gambling revenue for November, the first monthly rise in almost two years. Silver State casinos reported $873.2 million for the month, up 4.4% from November 2008. On the Las Vegas Strip, revenue increased more than 8% to $473.8 million.

Other jurisdictions reporting increases include North Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip and parts of Washoe County. The rest of Nevada was down by anywhere from 1.7% in downtown Las Vegas to almost 27% in South Lake Tahoe.

The total win on table games statewide jumped 17% to just more than $308 million, largely due to a better than doubling of the take from baccarat on the Strip. Slot-machine revenue was down slightly to $547 million.

Hotel rooms that were $300 are typically running at half that, squeezing margins in a business that’s traditionally high priced. These low room rates are attracting leisure travelers long priced out of the high-end resorts, keeping occupancy levels from falling as far as other key measures, but pressuring other revenues.

Analyst, Bill Lerner, commented, “multiple restaurateurs that we have spoken with are experiencing growth in key metrics such as covers and average checks,” and when that is combined with “overall Las Vegas visitation momentum … we are more confident that 2010 will represent the positive inflection in Las Vegas.”

ABC News: Nev. Casino Winnings up for 1st Time in 23 Months

November gambling revenue in Nevada rose for the first time in roughly two years, as casinos won nearly $873.2 million from bettors. The 4% rise in revenue from last November was the first increase after 22 months of declines.

State revenues collected in December topped $57 million, up 28.3% from $44.4 million last year. Taxes paid on casino winnings account for about 30 % of the state general fund. The control board said the state collected $313.2 million in the first 6 months of the fiscal year, down 5.1 % compared with July-December 2008.

November’s results benefited from baccarat on the Strip and the Nov. 14 Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto boxing match at the MGM Grand. Revenue at Downtown Vegas casinos was down 1.3 %, while North Las Vegas and the Boulder Strip saw double-digit increases.

Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and is Nevada’s largest county, was the only county in the state with a year-over-year increase in monthly revenue.

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Estonia Regulating Online Gambling, One Step at a Time

Dec 19, 2011
Online gambling in Estonia

From the first of the year, Estonians can gamble online. For now, only locally-hosted sites are allowed to operate. Any online gambling website in Estonia that does not meet new regulations will be blocked. In 2011, the country will open its online gambling industry to foreign operators.

The Baltic Times: Estonia Legalizes Online Gambling

Estonia recently legalized internet gambling in order to generate revenue through taxation.

The country is hoping to adopt the Euro next year and is frantically looking for further sources of income after suffering one of the hardest-hitting recessions in the EU.

This move to legalize online gambling was influenced in part by recent and very successful poker tournament held in the country. The tournament was sponsored by PokerStars, one of the largest online gambling sites in the world.

According to the Estonian Free Press, players will be able to use Estonian online gaming sites starting immediately. In 2011, Estonia’s internet gambling market will open to foreign operators.

“We are truly glad of this opportunity to start our partnership with Olympic as the leading casino entertainment provider in Central and Eastern Europe,” says Mor Weizer, Executive Manager of Playtech, who has been granted one of the first foreign licenses.

Estonian poker legend Imre Leibold believes development may be detrimental to Estonian players. “The possibility that online poker gaming could be restricted is not good news for us,” he said. “I believe and hope that the whole affair is resolved and that there will be several reasonable gaming locations on the market. However, if things get tough, one may have to consider moving residence or start working abroad like Estonian builders in Finland.”

Estonian Free Press: Estonia Legalizes Online Gambling

Following the success of the Baltic Poker Festival, held in Estonia organized by online poker site PokerStars, Estonia prepares to its doors to the global internet gambling market that.

Starting immediately, the Government will allow Estonian players to gamble online. The liberalization of online gambling is expected to help the nation financially through taxes imposed on gaming operators.

With the Estonian economy down by close to 36%, these changes will bring even more revenue in 2011 when the gambling market will open to international gaming operators that are able to satisfy the regulation requirements.

Until then, Estonians will be able to play only at locally-run sites, like the one set up by the Olympic Casino group that is running on Playtech software.

Now that online gambling in Estonia is as legal as it is in land-based casinos, here is hoping that no one will have to report about stories about things such as the Arvo Viool scandal – the ex-manager of the Fund for Furthering Culture who was arrested and imprisoned for stealing 500,000 Euros from the State to satisfy his gambling addiction.

Baltic Repots: Online Gambling Regulation Begins

Online gambling in Estonia has gone unregulated for many years, but now that is all changing since the government now requires online casinos to be physically hosted in Estonia.

Before January 1 2010, gambling sites could not be hosted Estonian servers, and players could freely use foreign hosted sites. The new Gambling Act reverses this; now, online gambling sites must be hosted on Estonian servers, and those not will be blocked.

For a company set up an online gambling site in Estonia, they must receive a license and agree to pay a 5% sales tax (excluding player winnings).

“As such, online gambling taxation in Europe is nothing new, it has been applied in most of the countries,” says Annika Vilu, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Finance. “Estonia’s tax rate is still one of the lowest in Europe.”

According to Tõnis Rüütel, executive director of Estonian Association of Gambling Operators, “There are countries with smaller tax rate, such as Malta and Gibraltar with 3 percent but we don’t want to have a reputation of a tax paradise. Also the situation so far has been absurd as the gambling addiction emerged in Estonia, but all of the income went elsewhere.”

If an online gambling site in Estonia does not meet these new requirements, its website will be blocked and its bank accounts will be frozen.

“We’ll see how the law comes into force, and if it will be possible to block the gambling sites not fit for the requirements, but some other countries have not been able to do it so far including the U.S.,” Rüütel said.

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Study’s Surprising Results Indicate Overall Loss in Poker Wins

Dec 18, 2011
Online Poker Study

Cornell University Student, Kyle Siler, did a massive sociologic study based on 27 million hands of poker and the ratios of wins and losses which can also be attributed to everyday life. According to his results, the more poker wins a player has, the more he/she is likely to lose.

Time: How Winning Can Mean Losing — in Poker and in Life

One can learn a lot about gambling by analyzing 27 million hands of online poker. Cornell University’s Kyle Siler has done just that. His findings: the more hands you win, the more money you’re likely to lose — and this proves true well beyond a game of cards.

Siler wasn’t interested in just poker, but in the idea of how people handle risk, reward and payoffs. Gambling is perfect for studying these factors — and a rich pool of data can be found on the Internet, where millions can play at once and transactions are easy to observe and record.

To gather data, Siler used a software, PokerTracker, and made it collect and collate information on small- medium- and large-stakes games. While crunching the information, he found the strange, inverse relationship between the number of hands won and the amount of money lost. He also noticed that it was novice players who lost the most.

The reason: a majority of wins tallied were for small stakes. The longer new players played the more confident they got, and the likelier they were to lose one or a few big hands. “People overweigh their frequent small gains vis-à-vis occasional large losses,” Siler says.

Investing, driving, buying a house and merely crossing the street are all acts that involve discernible risks and uncertain rewards. The more small returns you get from small investments, the likelier you are to make, and lose, a big investment.

Walking away from a poker table can be easy, but walking away from life — and all the risks and rewards it presents you — isn’t an option. In both venues, the rule should be the same: gamble only what you can afford to lose — and know when you’re approaching those stakes.

USA Today: Poker wins often lead to bigger losses, study says

In a Journal of Gambling Studies report, Cornell University sociologist, Kyle Siler, observed 27 million online poker hands from the past 2 years, to find that winning lots of small stakes ends up losing to bigger losses. Siler analyzed data on 300,000 poker players playing styles to winnings, and found an, “increased proportion of aggressive players as one moves up stakes.”

Given the huge role of luck in delivering big payoffs and big losses, the best poker players must learn to keep winning or losing in stride. An amateur poker player, Siler says his study helped calm his play at the card table.

Science Daily: Online Poker Study: The More Hands You Win, the More Money You Lose

A new Cornell study of online poker seems counterintuitive: The more hands players win, the less money they’re likely to collect, especially when it comes to novice players. The likely reason, said Cornell sociology student Kyle Siler, is that multiple wins are likely for small stakes, but the more you play, the more likely you will eventually lose big losses.

Siler said, “people overweigh their frequent small gains vis-à-vis occasional large losses in everyday life.” In other words, players feel positively reinforced by their streak of wins but don’t understand how occasional large losses offset their gains.

The research not only examined poker, but also “speaks to how humans handle risk and uncertainty,” said Siler, whose look at online poker combines aspects of behavioral economics, economic sociology and social science theory. “Riskiness may be profitable, but also increases the variance and uncertainty of payoffs.

In online poker, a multibillion dollar industry, Siler concluded that the biggest opponent for many players may be themselves, “given the challenges of optimizing one’s mindset and strategies, both in the card game and the meta-games of psychology, rationality and socio-economic arbitrage which hover beneath it,” he said.

People must realize that their limits and understand that big losses offset multiple small gains when dealing with internet gambling and life in general.

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Ladbrokes Refuses to pay £7.1 Million Over White Christmas Due to “Error”

Dec 18, 2011
Ladbrokes Refuses to Pay Christmas Snow Winnings

Fifty-two year old Cliff Bryant, placed several accumulator bets on whether cities in Britain would enjoy a White Christmas, and won all of them bringing his winnings to £7.1 million. Ladbrokes, the betting site where he placed the bet, is refusing to pay out this sum on account of the bets being accumulators instead of singles.

Press Association: No £7.1m payout after bet ‘error’

Bookmaker Ladbrokes refuses to pay off a bet worth £7.1 million to a man who wagered snow would fall on Christmas because it was accepted by mistake. Cliff Bryant placed 2 £5 accumulators on snow fall across 24 British Cities on December 25.

Ladbrokes staff accepted the bet by mistake as the company rules state such a wager can only be a single bet. The first accumulator would’ve netted Mr. Bryant over £4.9 million, the second £2.23 million. The company honored the relevant single bets and paid out a lesser £31.78 instead. They’ve since apologized for the mistake.

Mr. Bryant is seeking legal advice over the error and says he was “gutted” by the decision. He urged the company to make rules clearer. A Ladbrokes spokesman said company rules state “snow at Christmas” bets must be singles only, rather than accumulators.

Reuters: Bookie refuses to pay out £7 million on snow bet

Cliff Bryant placed 2 £5 accumulator bets that snow would fall on 24 towns and cities across the north of England on Christmas. Now he’s being refused the £7.1 million payout he won.

“We have apologized to the customer for any confusion and for mistakenly accepting an accumulator bet when our own rules state that only single bets are available on a market of this nature,” said a Ladbrokes spokesman. “We are happy to void the bets and to pay the customer his winnings on the relevant singles.” That would be a mere £32.

The graphic designer from Southampton, says he was “gutted” and will seek legal advice. He claims the 1st bet would have won him 4.9 million pounds, with the second adding 2.2 million. “If I make a mistake in my work like that it costs me dearly and I think the offer should be a lot more generous than they have made.”

Ladbrokes gave Bryant details of the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS), an neutral adjudicator that deals with gambling operators and customers disagreements.

Danny Cracknell, an IBAS manager, told Reuters that Bryant had been in contact and they would be investigating the issue once he had completed the relevant forms.

Mirror.co.uk: Punter furious after bookies refuse to pay out on £7m white Christmas bet

A UK punter thought he won £7million betting on a white Christmas and ended up with just £31. Cliff Bryant spent £10 on 2 accumulator bets that 24 UK cities would see snow fall on Christmas. All of his predictions were correct but he was later told that his wager was invalid.

Company rules say accumulators, a series of linked bets, can’t be placed on the chances of a white Christmas. Cliff received the winnings he would have got had he placed 24 single bets. The dad-of-three, said: “My heart was beating fast when I thought I’d won but now I’m absolutely fuming. If I’d been paid I would have loved to have got my teeth done.”

A Ladbrokes spokesman said: “We apologize that a bet was taken in error. We intend to talk to Mr. Cliff to see if we can make it up to him.”

Cliff Bryant would’ve made over £7 million this Christmas but Ladbrokes claims that his bets were invalid and will award him only £31 due to the mishap.

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UK to license, regulate foreign gambling operators

Dec 17, 2011
UK Online Gambling Commission

Talks of a new way of going about dealing with offshore online gambling operators are now circulating. Under the proposed changes, foreign operators would be required to obtain licenses from the UK Gambling Commission, and to comply with British gambling laws. The issue of taxing foreign operators has not been mentioned.

The Times: Overseas online gambling groups will need license

Foreign internet gambling companies that target British gamblers will soon require a license according to a proposal released yesterday by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe admitted only a few of the biggest overseas gambling operators that target British players are forced to comply with the Gambling Commission’s regulations. The proposed system would require online gambling operators licensed outside Britain to apply for a license from the Gambling Commission before they could legally offer their services to British players.

An additional rule would require any company that targets British players to record information about suspicious betting patterns, and to share it with UK sports bodies and with the Gambling Commission.

The Government is also looking into ways of securing levy contributions from overseas operators, which has been a concern since UK companies Ladbrokes and William Hill moved offshore. The issue of tax, however, has yet to be mentioned.

The Guardian: Online betting faces regulation overhaul

The British government will soon overhaul the problematic online gambling tax by tightening regulation of offshore operators.

The change is influenced in part by the recent successes of online gambling regulation in other European Union countries.

“Online gambling has changed significantly in recent years with many European countries taking new approaches to regulation,” says Sports Minister Gary Sutcliffe. “It would be wrong of us to stand still where things are changing around us.”

The proposed changes may see the Gambling Commission issuing individual licenses to online gambling operators, with license fees contributing to the cost of gambling regulation and the treatment of gambling addictions.

Sutcliffe’s announcement comes shortly after Ladbrokes and William Hill, fed up with UK tax policy, announced plans to move their operations to offshore tax havens.

Because one of Gordon Brown’s last moves as chancellor was to bump the tax rate for internet gambling firms to 15% of gross profits, no poker or casino sites conduct their UK business through a Gambling Commission license or pay tax here.

According to a Treasury spokesperson: “The focus of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) review was on the regulation – not taxation – of remote gambling … The Treasury will continue to work with DCMS to ensure that any implications for tax policy, arising from the proposals, are properly considered.”

The Independent: Plans to regulate offshore gambling websites

The British government today revealed to regulate foreign gambling websites that target UK customers.

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe revealed that the new rules will require all foreign operators that cater to British players to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and follow UK gambling laws.

Under the proposed changes (which are still being discussed), all offshore gambling operators targeting the British market will have to comply with the Gambling Act and will be required to report suspicious wagering patterns to the Gambling Commission and to sport governing bodies.

Licensed foreign operators will also have to comply with British license regulations, such the protection of children against gambling, and will be required demonstrate how they can contribute to lessening problem gambling in Britain.

In a statement to Parliament, Mr Sutcliffe revealed that few companies active in the British market are now regulated by the Gambling Commission. “Though British consumers are not unprotected – most overseas jurisdictions have regulatory systems – standards vary and requirements differ from our own.”

Several UK bookmakers recently chose to shift their online businesses overseas to avoid UK taxes; this is one of the driving forces behind the recent talks.

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$87.5 Million Casino Raid Halted by Judge in the Middle of the Night

Dec 17, 2011
Gambling in Alabama, USA

The controversial issue of casino gambling in Alabama came to a peak when the state’s governor, Bob Riley, ordered a raid on a new $87.5 million casino in the middle of the night and the action was halted in its tracks by a judges blocking order.

LA Times: Judge halts state raid of $87M bingo casino in latest round of Alabama’s fight over gambling

Near 40 Alabama state troopers gathered before sunrise, Wednesday, for a Gov. Bob Riley approved raid. The target: bingo machines at a new, allegedly illegal, $87 million casino near Dothan.

Local officials moved quickly to defend the targeted site, going to a judge’s home after midnight to get an order blocking the raid. The order was given to police before they could seize the 1,700 electronic bingo machines at Country Crossing.

County Commissioner Mark Culver denounced the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling’s attempt to shut down the bingo and entertainment complex, which created 1,300 jobs in the struggling community.

Bill Eadington, a University of Nevada at Reno gambling expert, said Alabama casino investors relied on questionable laws to build, but casinos are hard to close when restaurants and hotels, that produce lots of jobs, are added.

ABC News: Judge Halts State Raid of Big Alabama Bingo Center

A rural Alabama county hungry for economic development staved off a state raid on a new bingo and entertainment center despite Bob Riley’s wishes to close it. The county won a middle-of-the-night court order barring the raid as agents from the governor’s anti-gambling task force massed near Country Crossing, an $87 million complex near Dothan.

Houston County Commissioner Mark Culver got the order from a judge’s home at 1:30 a.m. delivered it to the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling assembling for a pre-dawn raid. He was trying to save 1,300 jobs in a county with 8.7 percent unemployment.

The Houston County Commission approved the construction of Country Crossing in 2008 and created a method for it to issue up to $70 million in bonds for construction. Country Crossing sought to stop the raid, claiming it would harm the bond issue that’s supposed to be paid off with bingo revenue.

Alabama gambling centers have been expanding with restaurants and other attractions and portraying themselves as economic development projects providing needed jobs in a recession.

AP News: Midnight order halts Ala. raid of $87M casino

A Gov. Riley approved raid on bingo machines at a new, $87 million casino by himself was stopped before dawn on Wednesday by judge’s order blocking it. Houston County Commissioner Mark Culver secured the judge’s approval and signature.

It was a blow for the governor in Alabama’s odd, ongoing struggle for control over the state’s mushrooming gambling industry. Culver said, “We are going to do everything we can to protect the jobs of the people of Houston County,” in reference to the incident. The governor claims the machines are illegal and simply an attempt to compete with Mississippi’s coastal casinos.

Circuit Judge P.B. McLauchlin agreed that seizing the machines “would do irreparable harm” to the bond transaction and blocked any raid pending a court hearing Jan. 20.

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Illegal Gambling at Cockfights in Texas Result in 150 Arrests

Dec 16, 2011

Internet illegal gambling in United States - GamingZion

A total of 169 individuals were arrested during a police raid on an illegal gambling on cockfighting competition in Texas including children as young as seven.

They will receive varying charges according to their activities on site. Children were released to relatives and 118 fighting cocks will be exterminated due to the ruling of a judge on the matter.

Illegal gambling and illegal cockfights

Police raided an illegal gambling cockfight in a small town near Fort Worth, TX, and arrested 169 viewers (among whom 15 children as young as 7 were present) and cock owners, and seized over 100 roosters condemned to fight to the death.Cockfighting is illegal in 39 states including Texas, and an illegal gambling misdemeanor in the remaining 11, but it continues to flourish.

Steroids , illegal gambling and other supplements are often given to the birds to heighten aggression. Sometimes metal knives are strapped to their legs to ensure that fights end in the death. Law enforcement authorities say that cockfighting rings are often tied up in drug smuggling and money laundering rackets.

Illegal gambling cockfights often have up to $30,000 purses riding on them. Owners pay about $300 to enter a bird for an event, and spectators pay a further $30 to enter. Last month saw several raids on fights around the US.

Authorities in Texas said 169 people were arrested and 114 roosters were seized during a raid on a local cockfight. Saturday afternoon’s raid occurred after authorities kept the site under surveillance for two weeks.

County Sheriff Larry Fowler said charges will vary among those arrested in the area barn but illegal gambling will be one of them. “The people who were arrested for illegal gambling will go before a judge and be charged with a gambling offense,” Fowler said. “We will look into charging some who were arrested with federal charges. A charge of engaging in organized crime is a possibility for some.”

The Star-Telegram said authorities found a number of dead and injured roosters at the cockfighting site, along with an unspecified amount of drugs and money.

Over 100 Arrested in Cockfighting Bust

Over 100 people were arrested as of Saturday night after police raided an illegal gambling rooster fight.  The Parker County Sheriff’s department found over 100 birds, injured and dead, along with drugs and children abandoned by fleeing parents as officers raided the scene.  The kids were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services while dozens of adults were sent to jail.

Cockfighting is a crime Sheriff Fowler says he’s never seen in Parker County.  Those arrested will face gambling charges and possibly felony charges for their involvement in the cockfighting operation.

Texans illegal gambling on a illegal cockfight that was raided Saturday leading to the arrest of 169 people were arrested, amongst them children as young as 7.

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Poker Playing Priest Wins and Donates $100K to Catholic Church

Dec 16, 2011
Catholic Poker Playing Priest

Poker Playing Priest

Poker playing priest is the new nick name of a Catholic paint-ball playing Father Andrew Trapp who made big news recently for his appearance on Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge. Not only did the poker playing priest appear, but he almost made it through the last round. Though he didn’t win, he was able to raise $100,000 toward the construction of a new church in South Carolina.

Church celebrates as priest wins $100K in poker tourney

St. Michael Catholic Church in Garden City Beach needs over $1 million to build a new church. Father Andrew Trapp made a dent in that figure by winning $100,000 in the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge televised poker tournament.

Trapp’s final episode aired Sunday, and was watched by he and dozens of fellow church members at St. Michael’s. Trapp said he hopes his brief television fame shows people that priests are normal people. “This is an opportunity, hopefully, for people to see a young guy that’s a priest, that’s normal, that can have fun, have friends and try to do something great for the church.”

South Carolina’s Poker Playing Priest wins $100,000

Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge left audiences stunned in October when S.Carolina poker playing priest Father Andrew Trapp beat NBA Champ John Salley, Team Poker Stars Pro Vanessa Rousso and her teammate and four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu to win $100,000 and a chance to come back earlier this month for a crack at the $1,000,000 grand prize.

Fr. Trapp, the poker playing priest lost the final round of Fox TV’s “Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge” on Dec. 27; but he still won $100,000. The winner was a 9-11 first responder at the World Trade Center.

Known as “Father Rambo” for his paintball play, the poker priest held rosary beads in a hand against Salley. After beating the former Pistons Bad Boy, Trapp shocked Rousso, and took home the six-figure prize when poker star Negreanu misread the strength of Trapp’s cards.

Trapp immediately donated all winnings to the St. Michael’s Church in Garden City, SC, where he’s associate pastor. His goal was to win the million dollar prize to help St. Michael’s build a new church, which is currently $1.5 million dollars short of its goal. In an interview, Trapp said, “I think I represented the church and the priesthood well, which was my main goal…I think my parishioners will be proud of me.

Church looks back at poker playing priest’s run for $1 million

St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Garden City, S.C., is in a four-year, $6.5 million fundraiser for a new church. “Our church family’s grown. We have over 3,000 [people] and 400 families,” said C. Griffith, a St. Michael’s member for more over 20 years.

Overcrowding isn’t the only issue at the Garden City church. Should a strong hurricane go through the area, St. Michael’s probably wouldn’t be standing in the aftermath.

As of Christmas, about $4 million was raised for building a church that’ll be at par with safety codes, hold over 900 people and bear hurricane-force winds. It’s a big upgrade from the old church. The project hopes to give new hope to worshipers at St. Michael’s.

Trapp’s played his role in bringing a new church to his parishioners. The poker playing priest appeared on the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge playing for $1 million wanting to break ground on the multi-million dollar construction project.

Trapp lost in the final round of the show to poker pro, Negreneau, but walked away from the competition with $100,000. The cash, he says, is going straight to who needs it the most — his parish.

The poker playing priest‘s winnings from Hollywood is putting quite the dent in construction costs for a new and improved St. Michael’s. There’s just $1.5 million to go, and those who gather at church each week say they’re more than thankful for such a generous donation to their future.

Poker playing priest went to take part in the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge on behalf of his parish on a mission to raise cash for a new church.

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Belgian Gambling Laws to Restrict Online Casino Games

Dec 15, 2011

Belgian Gambling Laws

Belgian Gambling Laws

Gambling legislation is a point of contention all over the world today, specifically the new Belgian gambling laws which restrict online casino games. Many countries are changing their policies on the subject and organization, such as the European Union, are making very influential decisions with regards to all member states.

Despite wishes on behalf of the European Union that its mandates be acknowledged and followed, some countries still insist on going against the grain. A few such countries are France, Poland and most recently Belgium. Speculations indicate that these countries have crossed the line intentionally in order to test Michel Barnier, the new European Commissioner.

Belgium has stirred the subject to the brink of boiling by recently passing a law regulating online gambling that did not address several points of contention with EU rules, as found by the European Commission.

The European Commission gave an official Detailed Opinion to Belgian legislators which pointed out which parts of Belgian gambling laws needed to be amended in order to comply with EU law. Some of the points pointed out by the European Commission include: an unjustified limit on licenses, requirements of servers being located in Belgium, and forbidding citizens to participate in EU licensed and regulated internet gambling in Belgium.

Belgian gambling laws: Sigrid Ligne angry

Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association, Sigrid Ligne, condemned Belgium’s action saying that, “The law is not only highly questionable from a legal point of view, a high level of consumer protection can be achieved by specific and targeted legislation, not by protecting the operators with a vested interest in the current situation.”

On December 3rd, lawmakers passed Belgian gambling laws without taking into considerations concerns that were voiced by the European Commission. In doing so, the Belgian Government has subjected itself to infringement proceedings that may be held by the EC which believes Belgian gambling laws are illegal within the EU framework.

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Greyhound Racing in Massachusetts Voted Down by Referendum

Dec 15, 2011
Dog Racing - Greyhound Racing Gambling

Greyhound racing

Greyhound racing in the great state of Massachusetts has come to an end. The reason behind the recent change in policy is quite simple – greyhound racing was voted down by referendum. The 69-year old Raynham Park will see no more live greyhound racing as the result of 56% vote on behalf of the public against the sport.

Last lap for greyhound racing in New England

More than 3,000 people visited Raynham Park this weekend on the final day of live greyhound racing in Massachusetts and, possibly, New England. This is the result of a public referendum — 56% of voters favored banning the sport — and part of a national trend driven by a mix of animal-rights concerns and declining track attendance.

Live dog racing has ceased in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and, temporarily at least, Rhode Island. Greyhound racing continues at 23 tracks in seven states, 13 of them in Florida, according to the organization GREY2K USA, which formed in 2001. At that time there were 49 greyhound racing tracks in 15 states.

Many greyhound racing dogs will move to race elsewhere, but hundreds will be looking for new homes. Raynham is working with GREY2K and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center to aid their adoption.

“People who voted to end greyhound racing dog racing should step forward now and take a dog home,’’ Dorchak said. “This is the happy ending we all worked for, and these dogs make wonderful pets.’’

Industry can learn from greyhound ban

Rain Spot crossed the wire first in Saturday’s 10th race at Raynham Park, a track that’s been around for 69 years. Rain Spot’s race is the last dog race that will ever be run in Massachusetts, where voters decided the sport was cruel to animals and ended it.

Greyhound racing fell into decline by the mid-nineties when attendance reached pitiful levels. Casino competition, and a poor facility led to its demise, but what killed off dog racing was the public aversion to animal cruelty. Massachusetts voters passed the Greyhound Protection Act by a 56-44 margin.

Animal rights activists shed light on greyhound racing that had long tolerated owners killing dogs after their racing days were over. One story reported that the remains of 3,000 greyhounds were found on the property of a former racetrack security guard in Alabama.

Ironically, the greyhound industry did a great job curbing the greyhound racing dog killings. The industry teamed with dog lovers in an effort to find homes for retired racers. According to the Greyhound Racing Association of America, more than 152,000 greyhounds have been adopted as pets since 1990.

Gates close on live racing at Raynham

After 26 years calling greyhound races, Tony Bonaminion went into race-calling mode as easily as turning on his microphone. After yesterday’s races at the Raynham Park dog track, Bonaminion was out of a job and 75 years of live dog racing came to a close.

Patrons and employees, who turned out in massive numbers yesterday, were largely somber. For Peter Burke, director of racing, the Raynham track had been a family affair for years. “My two daughters and their mom work here,’’ he said. Burke started as a lead-out and worked his way up to being in charge of all racing at the track.

The biggest transition might be for the greyhound racing dogs themselves. Chuck Thomson, head of adoption at the Off-Track Pets facility, said the closing was the “end of an era.’’ Although Thomson’s office was only open for three hours a week, he always had several visitors who came by.

Lots of greyhound racing dogs need a home now. Louise Coleman, Greyhound Friends’ director, said 150 dogs from Raynham will not continue racing elsewhere and need to be adopted. The Greyhound Friends kennel in Hopkinton has taken in 50 dogs in the past six weeks. “It’s unfortunate that the people are being laid off, but the dogs are being laid off, too. Their job is done. We do the best we can to help them,’’ she said.

After decades of entertaining the public, Raynham racetrack must discontinue live greyhound racing on account of being voted down by the public in referendum.

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Powerball Lottery Ticket $128.6 Million Unclaimed in Kentucky

Dec 14, 2011
powerball lottery ticket unclaimed

Powerball lottery ticket

Powerball lottery ticket, according to Kentucky Lottery officials, worth $128.6 million dollars was sold prior to Saturday night’s drawing. Up to this point. The powerball lottery ticket remains unclaimed and only today, Monday the 28th December, will officials be able to narrow down which business the ticket was sold in.

$128.6 Million Powerball Lottery Ticket Sold in Ky.

Anyone who bought a Powerball lottery ticket in Kentucky is going to want to double-check it. Kentucky lottery officials say there was a single $128.6 million winning Powerball ticket sold in Georgetown, making it the largest jackpot ever won in Kentucky.

Kentucky Lottery spokesman Chip Polston said that prior to this jackpot, the largest jackpot won in Kentucky was $89.3 million in January, 1996. He said the last Powerball winner in the state was December 12, 2007, when a Bullitt County man won $33.6 million.

Lucky Powerball Player Hits The Jackpot

The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing will be reset to $20 million. Lottery officials said a ticket sold in Kentucky won a $128.6 million jackpot in Saturday night’s drawing. One ticket in Florida matched five numbers, but not the Powerball number, to win $200 thousand.

The winning numbers were 32-36-37-41-52 and the Powerball number was 30. Thousands of tickets matched lesser winning Powerball combinations.

Winning Powerball lottery ticket sold in Georgetown, Ky.

Someone is holding a ticket for the largest Powerball ticket ever sold in Kentucky — $128.6 million.

Chip Polston, spokesman for the Kentucky Lottery, said Sunday that the winning ticket for Saturday’s Powerball jackpot was sold in Georgetown but that the holder or holders of the ticket have yet to come forward.

Lottery officials also couldn’t identify the store where the ticket was sold until Monday for security reasons, he said.

“We can’t wait to greet our first Powerball jackpot winner in two years,” Polston said. The odds of winning Saturday’s jackpot were more than 1 in 195 million.

The largest jackpot won previously in Kentucky was $89.3 million awarded in January 1996, and the last Powerball win in the state was in Dec. 12, 2007, when a Bullitt County man claimed a $33.6 million jackpot.

A $128.6 million powerball lottery ticket was sold in Georgetown, Kentucky and at this point, as one of the largest state jackpots ever won, it has not been claimed.

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Wink Bingo Sold for $96,000,000

Dec 14, 2011
Wink Bingo sold to 888.com

Online gaming company 888 just agreed to buy Wink Bingo for a price that could reach as high as $96 million. Following a large down payment, the remainder of the price will depend on the site’s performance in coming months. 888 made the purchase to increase their presents in the rapidly-growing online bingo market.

New York Times: 888 Buys Wink Bingo For Up to £60 Mln

Online gaming company 888 just agreed to acquire Wink Bingo from its current owner Daub Ltd for as much as 59.7 million pounds, and said that current trading remains strong and in line with projections.

888 develops new gaming products like bingo to help offset the effect of online gambling becoming illegal in the United States two years ago, which lead to the loss of half of the group’s sales income. Today, bingo is the fastest growing area of its online business.

“We are delighted to announce the Wink Bingo acquisition as an expansion of our B2C online Bingo footprint in the lucrative UK market. The transaction is financially attractive and will be earnings enhancing,” said Gigi Levy, 888’s CEO.

Details suggest 888 will first pay 11 million pounds to Daub on completion, followed by subsequent payments based on performance. Payments are set between five and six times the businesses earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the year to March 31, 2011.

Wink Bingo saw revenue of 15 million pounds with pretax profit of 1.3 million pounds in the 11 months prior to November 30th.

Shares in 888 were up 1.1 percent, trading at 112.8 pence.

domain-b: 888 acquires online game Wink Bingo for $96 million

Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings Plc. Recently agreed to buy Wink Bingo for as much as £60 million ($96 million) in an effort to enhance the company’s presence in the online bingo market, which is the fastest-growing area of the internet gaming industry.

An initial payment of £11 million will be given to Wink’s current owners Daub Ltd., followed by as much as £48.7 million in late 2011 depending on performance. This second payment is capped at £59.7 million.

Wink Bingo arrived with a bang in early 2008, and soon became very well known. Sponsoring popular UK television show’s like Harry Hill’s TV Burp and running amusing adverts like the Dancing Dog helped Wink Bingo increase their player base by more than 60,000 players each month.

With this acquisition, 888 hopes to catch up with bingo competitors Gala Coral, PartyGaming and Gamesys. In July, 888 lost a bidding war with PartyPoker when trying to acquire Cashcade, owner of Foxy Bingo, which also sold for £96 million.

888 reported that trading in this fourth quarter remains strong, showing growth of about 8 per cent over the third quarter of 2009.

London Evening Standard: 888 gets the nod for online bingo business Wink

Online gambling company 888 today dished out £60 million for an internet bingo business that started less than two years ago.

888 will pay Daub Limited, owners of Wink Bingo, as much as £59.7 million for the bingo business, which also includes the brands Posh Bingo and Bingo Fabulous.

The fast-growing industry of internet is very attractive to online gaming firms like 888 and PartyGaming, which are both constantly looking for partnerships.

Wink Bingo was just launched in 2008 but already supports more than 60,000 active members, making it one of the more popular bingo sites on the net.

It saw revenues of £15 million and profits of £1.3 million during the first 11 months of 2009.

888 will pay £11 million up front, with the remainder of the price possibly reaching as high as £59.7 million – this depends on the site’s performance in the next year.

888 chief executive Gigi Levy said: “We are delighted to announce the Wink Bingo acquisition as an expansion of our online bingo footprint in the lucrative UK market.

“The Wink team has a proven track record of excellence and will be a great addition to our growing bingo business.”

Levy also remarked that trading at 888 “remains strong and is in line with management’s expectations”.

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PartyGaming attributes growth to better bonuses, new games, and bigger jackpots

Dec 13, 2011
Party Gaming Online Gambling

PartyGaming reported an unexpected increase in forth-quarter revenues, marking the first time in the last year and a half that they have seen growth. They attributed the growth to several factors, including the introduction of new games in their bingo and casino sections, and to a better loyalty system in their poker site. A strengthening dollar may also have contributed to the increasing success of the site.

Times Online: Online gaming groups say they are on winning streak

Two of the largest online gaming groups in Britain revealed yesterday that players are returning to the tables. PartyGaming just saw better their best quarter since the second quarter of 2008, while Sportingbet saw a similar increase in revenues.

PartyGaming reported growth across all categories, including internet bingo and online casino. KBC Peel Hunt, a stockbroker and advisory house, projected a 24% rise in revenue compared to the fourth quarter of 2008, making this the first rise in the past year and a half.

The site’s poker tables saw the biggest increases. PartyGaming recently revamped site and has been working hard to introduce better loyalty bonuses. PartyGaming’s chief executive Jim Ryan states, “Returning poker to growth has been a key focus for us. We are pleased to see that the initiatives introduced throughout the year are now feeding through into both operational and financial performance with increased player numbers and average net daily revenues.”

Meanwhile, Sportingbet spread a similar statement yesterday, remarking that the strength of their online sportsbook, which provides nearly 70% of their total revenue, has been thriving.

Financial Times: PartyGaming flush with poker revival

Poker revenue at PartyGaming returned to growth during the last quarter of 2009, showing the first increase in the last six quarters.

In a trading update, the internet gambling group revealed that major European-based poker operators have been facing strong competition from dominant US groups Full Tilt and PokerStars, which are using their liquidity in the unregulated US market to increase their strength in the European market.

Morgan Stanley suggets three reasons to explain PartyGaming’s poker recovery: a more regulated European market; a stronger dollar; and the company’s ever-improving loyalty schemes.

PartyGaming did not mention their early-stage merger discussions with Bwin, its Austrian-based online gambling rival. The company did, however, announce a £35m three-year loan, which it intends to use for mergers and acquisitions.

In a similar announcement, Sportingbet stated that it was confident of a “satisfactory outcome” for the next financial year. Sports betting represents almost 70% of group’s revenues and will be the main force behind their growth.

The New York Times: PartyGaming Sees FY Earnings Up on Poker

Online gambling firm PartyGaming announced that fourth-quarter trading was solid, due to a return to growth in their online poker operations. The company things full-year earnings may beat their own expectations.

PartyGaming’s revenue is in line with forecasts, though clean earnings )before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) are expected to be slightly ahead of projections.

PartyGaming said that both its online casino and internet bingo businesses were both performing well due to the introduction of new games, higher jackpot payouts, and their Cashcade acquisition back in July. In their sports betting operations, the company also benefited from a good run of results.

Analysts expect that PartyGaming will report EBITDA of about USD 132 million (GBP 81.4 million) for the fiscal year 2009, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of eight brokers.

British media on Sunday revealed that PartyGaming is in discussions with Austria’s bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, but bwin downplayed the report, saying it was not in any advanced talks. PartyGaming did not comment on market speculation.

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Brand-new CasinoNetbook.com helps netbook users gamble wisely

Dec 12, 2011
netbookcomputer

A website has just been launched that aims to help users of netbook computers make the most out of online casinos, because not all casinos are created equal, and not all work well with netbook devices.

Since the advent of the netbook computers a few years ago, “web apps” have been popping up all across the internet. Web apps are programs that run entirely online – users do not have to download or install anything in order to use them. In fact, most programs that users would normally install on their home PCs now have online web app equivalents.

The world of online gambling is no exception. “No download” casino games are becoming more and more prevalent. These games use Flash technology to stream content across the internet, allowing players to enjoy real money casino games inside their web browser from any computer with an internet connection. These no download casinos are perfect for netbook users since there is nothing to install.

Now there is a website dedicated to helping people find the best online casinos to use with their netbooks. CasinoNetbook just launched, but already it offers more than 130 pages of content related to gambling on the internet using netbook computers. A simple sidebar navigation system leads readers through each section.

Essential information about netbook computers is provided, along with netbook reviews and and some recommendations about machines that are particularly well-suited to use with online gambling sites. The relationship between netbooks and online gambling is discussed.

The bulk of the site consist of lists and tables providing links to hundreds of no download casino games, including an entire section dedicated to games that can be played for free, using unlimited casino credits. This is presented alongside information about dozens of online casinos that offer netbook-compatible services, including casino deposit bonuses, online slots and blackjack tournaments, and more.

A blog has also been established on CasinoNetbook. The editors write a new post each day describing their experiences using specific online casino games and casino sites on their own netbook computers. This section gives readers access to first-hand accounts of what they can expect when using the various services that the site recommends.

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Bet on Sports at Work – 4 Americans Lose Jobs for Fantasy Football

Dec 12, 2011
Why bet on Sports at Work

Four employees of a Texas company called Fidelity were fired for playing fantasy football at work. Fantasy football involves creating virtual teams out of pro football players, then using the real player’s statistics to determine the results. Pooled money from all participants provides prizes. A Fidelity spokesperson claims the company has strict rules against gambling.

Reuters: Fantasy sports at work spark concerns after report

Fantasy sports leagues are up in arms after news got out that a company called Fidelity Investments recently fired four employees for playing fantasy football while at work.

President of The Fantasy Sports Trade Association Paul Charchian said on Wednesday that the association is concerned that the incident marks the start of a battle between employers and the popular pastime of internet sports betting. Charchian cited a June survey that found 29 million people played fantasy sports in the United States and Canada in the past year, up from 20 million people in 2007.

Fantasy sports games revolve around the statistics or actual professional athletes. Players put together a virtual team and convert the stats of each player into online points, winning money when their “team” performs well. The money comes from participants who pool funds to fuel the games. Many offices tolerate fantasy games, and some even encourage them as morale-builders. Others question shether these games amount to gambling in the true sense.

Cameron Pettigrew, a manager at Fidelity’s Westlake office in Texas, along three other employees were fired by Fidelity for participating in the fantasy sports. A Fidelity spokeswoman said “We have policies in place that address a variety of professional conduct standards for our employees”.

Few details have been released concerning how Pettigrew’s league worked or why Fidelity may have objected to it.

Boston Herald: Fidelity fires 4 in fantasy football

Fidelity Investments in Texas reportedly fired four employees for participating fantasy football while at work.

Cameron Pettigrew, a manager at Fidelity, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram how he and three other employees lost their jobs at the Boston-based mutual fund corporation.

Pettigrew, who worked for Fidelity for 2 years before losing his job, could not be reached for comment.

Vin Loporchio, a spokesperson for Fidelity, said that the company does not comment on current or former employees “out of respect for their privacy and confidentiality,” and would not provide information.

“Our company policies address a variety of professional conduct standards for our employees,” Loporchio said yesterday in an e-mail to the Boston Herald. “Beyond that, however, we would not have anything to add.”

Loporchio told the Star-Telegram that Fidelity has “clear policies” relating gambling. “Participation in any form of gambling through the use of Fidelity time or equipment or any other company resource is prohibited,” the newspaper quoted Loporchio as saying. “We want our employees to be focused on our customers and clients.”

NBC Dallas/Fort Worth: Fired for Tackling Fantasy Football

A broker at a financial company in Westlake, Florida, claims that he lost his job for playing fantasy football while at work.

“I’m being 100 percent honest,” said Cameron Pettigrew. “It’s as ludicrous as it sounds.”

Pettigrew said his former employer, Fidelity Investments, let go of him and three others in October for organizing $20 fantasy football games. Fantasy football is a popular sports game in which participants bet on the performances of real football players.

“I loved my job at Fidelity,” Pettigrew said. “My whole argument is, the punishment didn’t fit the crime.”

Vin Loporchio, a spokesman for Fidelity told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the company has a clear policy against gambling. “Participation in any form of gambling through the use of Fidelity time or equipment or any other company resource is prohibited,” said Loporchio. “We want our employees to be focused on our customers and clients.”

Pettigrew claimed to understand the company’s policy but didn’t think it was enforced. “We had people in management and leadership doing it, ever since the first day I was there,” he said. “I thought it was a rule nobody took seriously.”

Pettigrew is now unemployed and looking for work.

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