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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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Paddy Power oil spill extinction odds draw criticism

Jun 01, 2010
Oil Bet

As the BP oil disaster unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico, Irish internet sportsbook Paddy Power is offering odds on which species the oil will drive to extinction first. Some have called the offerings irresponsible, saying that the attempt to profit from the disaster is in bad taste. Paddy Power responded by saying that they offer the odds in hopes of bringing attention to the issue.

The Wall Street Journal: Paddy Power Seeks To Cash In On Marine Life Extinction

Paddy Power may have crossed the line. In a recent press release entitled “Ridley Turtle Tipped For Oily Exit” Ireland’s biggest online sportsbook announced odds on which marine species will be the first to become extinct due to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Paddy Power insists that they are only trying to bring attention to the responsibilities of oil companies.

“The oil spill seems to be going from bad to worse with no end in sight,” says a spokesman for Paddy Power said, who denied that the extinction odds were in bad taste. “Hopefully our odds will bring home the imminent danger to such a varied mix of species dependent on the ocean.”

Unfortunately these words clash with the the tone of Paddy Power’s press release, which inserts humor in all the wrong places. For example, the statement quips about the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle, saying the fact that the species migrates through the Gulf of Mexico this time of year is “spectacularly bad luck”.

This is obviously a publicity stunt, and Paddy Power’s bottom line is to make money. Unfortunately, the fact remains that BP’s pipeline has yet to be fixed, and everyone involved is side-stepping the issue, refusing to accept responsibility.

New York Times: Website Offers Betting on Spill-Related Extinctions of Gulf Species

The online sports betting site Paddy Power is offering odds today on which marine species would be first to go extinct due to BP’s ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Kemp’s ridley turtle, already an endangered species, is favored to go first. A $5 bet on the turtle would win $9 if it becomes extinct because of the spill. Other species like the gulf sturgeon, smalltooth sawfish and elkhorn coral have less probable odds, paying out at rates of 20-to-1.

Paddy Power hopes the offer will bring attention to the fact that the spill is an environmental catastrophe that will likely lead to the extinction of one or more species in the Gulf.

“We kind of have a very simple philosophy at Paddy Power — within reason if there is a very newsworthy event that are people are talking about, people should be allowed to back up their opinion with some cash,” said spokesman Ken Robertson.

The Chronicle Herald: Ruptured oil well threatens bluefin tuna

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening the Atlantic bluefin tuna, raising concerns about the future of the species in Atlantic Canada. The fish breed in the Gulf, but then follow the Gulf Stream north, along the Nova Scotia coast.

“There is an important rod-and-reel fishery and a significant tourism industry associated with the great fish during the fall season in the Maritimes,” said Reg Hartlen at H&H Fisheries in Eastern Passage.

Many people associated with Canada’s fishing industry first heard about the threat to the bluefin when Paddy Power online sportsbook gave odds on which species would become extinct first because of the disaster. The bluefin is listed as second most likely to face extinction, right after the Kemp’s ridley turtle.

“Anybody who knows anything at all about the importance of the gulf region to our fishery is watching this situation very closely,” said Stephen Kiley, a former Shad Bay charter boat captain.

“One of the worst environmental night­mares of our time is unfolding right now in the gulf. We’ll be living with it for years.”

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New York City: $178m online sportsbook ring busted

Apr 13, 2010
Arrested

A massive online sports betting operation operating illegally out of New York, with ties as far afield as Costa Rica, has been taken down. A two-year investigation culminated last week in 38 arrests cross the US. Those involved are ring charged with money laundering, promoting gambling and conspiracy.

Fox News: Dozens Arrested in Sweep of Alleged $178M Online Gambling Ring

Bookmakers running a pair of online sportsbooks in the US accepted nearly $178 million in bets during the past three years said prosecutors on Wednesday after arresting 38 on corruption charges.

Those arrested are suspected money collectors, agents and bookies from Nevada, Louisiana, Florida, New York and Arizona. The arrests were the culmination of a three-year investigation led by the organized crime division of the New York Police Department.

Among those arrested are three New York City employees: a firefighter, a sanitation worker and a highway repairman. Charges include money laundering, promoting gambling and conspiracy.

The suspects operated two nationwide gambling rings that utilized sports betting websites filtered through Costa Rica. Millions of dollars in cash and property were seized after more than a dozen search warrants were executed five US states. All suspects are currently awaiting arraignment.

United Press International: NYC fireman nabbed in $178M gambling ring

A New York City firefighter is among three city workers being charged with operating an illegal sports-betting ring that made $178 million in three years.

Firefighter Matthew Fopeano and highway repairman Michael Labetti allegedly paid out winnings, collected gambling losses, and solicited new customers. Robert Ackrish, a NYC sanitation worker, allegedly ran a separate sports betting operation that handled $24 million in wagers.

These men are among 38 people being charged with operating two “highly sophisticated illegal sports gambling enterprises” in New York City, Nevada and Costa Rica. The rings took nearly $178 million in wagers over 32 months basketball, football, baseball and hockey events, the district attorney said.

A spokesman for the New York Fire Department says that Fopeano, an 8-year veteran who allegedly made used a marked fire department vehicle for collecting sportsbook monies, was suspended without pay and faces termination.

Boston Herald: 38 indicted in NYC in sports gambling rings

New York prosecutors have indicted 38 people in connection with two illegal sports betting rings that allegedly spanned from Arizona to New York and Costa Rica and made $178 million.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that the bookies used websites to collect wagers on professional and college events including basketball, football, baseball and hockey.

Lead by the New York Police Department’s organized crime division, investigators arrested the accused on charges enterprise corruption. Three of the men arrested are New York City employees: a sanitation worker, a firefighter, and a highway repairman.

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The Possible Dawning of a New Era for the Internet in Britain

Apr 12, 2010
UK Eye

New legislation is being passed through the British parlament at record speed, among them a bill that has the power to bring much of the internet down to its knees within the United Kingdom. Whether or not the bill will affect the online gambling industry is unknown, but nevertheless, a possibility.

Cnet UK: Digital Economy Bill: Nine things you can’t do any more

The Digital Economy Bill has clauses that could lead to some pretty horrible outcomes. The bill sprinted from Commons to Lords almost without a pause for breath before getting the nod from Her Maj. Until Ofcom hammers out the details outlined in the bill, it’s impossible to say how we’ll be affected. Possibilities:

Watch copyrighted content
The bill aims to make it more difficult to access copyrighted content by blocking Web sites built around sharing such material. Sanctions can be applied to users if they use them.

Download from us
The bill states that download websites can be blocked if they providing copyright infringing tools.

Use WikiLeaks
According to the bill, the government can block sites deemed ‘likely to’ infringe copyright. How ‘likely to’ will be defined will determined which sites can be blocked.

Use free open Wi-Fi
Locations that provide Wi-Fi may think twice about doing so as they will be held accountable for internet traffic from their servers.

Watch YouTube
YouTube may come under fire as copyrighted material can be found on the site.

Google stuff
As Google is often used to find downloads, it too may be threatened.

The New York Times: U.K. Approves Crackdown on Internet Pirates

The British Parliament has approved plans to crack down on digital media piracy by authorizing the suspension of repeat offenders’ Internet connections.

Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords approved the bill after heavy lobbying from the music and movie industries. The anti-piracy plan is part of a broader bill aimed at stimulating the digital economy in Britain.

The government’s anti-piracy plans were modified in the final rounds of negotiations over the bill. Under previous proposals, the content industries could have gone to court to seek injunctions requiring Internet service providers to block access to Web sites that foster piracy. Similar clauses were included elsewhere in the bill.

The Guardian: Digital economy bill rushed through wash-up in late night session

The UK government forced the Digital Economy Bill through parliament with the aid of the Conservative party, attaining a crucial third reading – which means it will get royal assent and become law – after just 2 hours of debate in the Commons.

Despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats and a group of Labour MPs who spoke against measures contained in the bill, the government easily won 2 votes to determine the content of the bill and its passage through the committee stage. The vote was in the government’s favour, which it won by 189 votes to 47.

Earlier the government removed its proposed clause 18, which could have given it sweeping powers to block sites, but replaced it with an amendment to clause 8 of the bill.

Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming, protested that this could mean the blocking of whistleblower sites. Stephen Timms for the government said that it would not want to see the clause used to restrict freedom of speech.

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Woman wins $43 million jackpot, casino refuses to pay

Apr 01, 2010
Casino Liar

Louise Chavez of Denver, Colorado, was playing slots at the Fortune Valley Casino in Central City, Colorado on Friday night. She got excited when the machine she was on started flashing, displaying a message that she had won almost $43 million. The casino says the machine was broken, and gave Chavez some free meals and a hotel room instead.

BBC: $43m slot machine win a ‘mistake’ says Colorado casino

An American woman named Louise Chavez thought she had won $43m on a slot machine, but was later been told that a mistake was made.

According to the Fortune Valley Casino in Central City, Colorado, the slot machine had “malfunctioned.”
It seems Chavez will never see a penny of jackpot.

Chavez earns about $12,000 a year, so when the lights and bells went off, she was very excited.

“All of a sudden I saw the light come on on top of the machine. I’m like, ‘Oh, my God! Oh, my God!’ I’d never had this feeling before in my life, never.”

Gaming officials blame an unfortunate computer glitch.

Chavez said she was given a free room for the night, and some food for compensation, along with the $20 bet she put into the faulty slot machine.

“My emotions changed from excited, thrilled, to very upset.”

ABC News: Woman Wins $42 Million Jackpot? Not So Fast

When the lights started flashing on a slot machine at the Fortune Valley Casino, in Central City, Colorado, Louise Chavez thought she had won $43 million.

Instead, the casino claimed the machine malfunctioned, and all Chavez got out of it was some free meals and a room for the night.

“I put my money in there,” Chavez explained on Good Morning America. “Whatever I won, I should get… There are dreams and there are things I’d like to do — helping my family, helping my kids. That’s why I’m disappointed. I just don’t know.”

Fortune Valley communications director Joe Behm said, “We’ve been open for 15 years at Fortune Valley and this is the first time we’ve had something of this magnitude.”

“It’s unfortunate when it happens,” said Don Burmania, spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Gaming. “We don’t like it to happen, the casinos don’t like it to happen and in this case, the patron didn’t like it, either.”

The New York Times: Colorado: Instead of $43 Million, How About Waffles?

A US woman won $42.9 million off a penny bet in a slot machine at a Colorado casino, only to have her dreams doused when the casino claimed that the jackpot message was in fact an error. Colorado gambling authorities are now testing the machine in questions, while the rest state’s 39 casinos struggle to reassure gamblers.

Louise Chavez of Denver got the jackpot on Friday while playing at the Fortune Valley Casino in Central City. The listed its top prize as $251,000. She said that she was given a free breakfast as compensation, but that she is owed much more.

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Chelsea’s Owner, Abramovich, Wins Libel Suit: Charities Rejoice

Mar 19, 2010
Roman Abramovich

The owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich, has accepted a public apology in regards to false allegations that he has a severe gambling problem. Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, the party at fault, has also agreed to for substantial damages done by way of libel. The money will reportedly go to charity.

The New York Times: Chelsea’s Abramovich Wins Gambling Slur Damages

Russian businessman, Roman Abramovich, owner of London club Chelsea, won a public apology and substantial libel damages Thursday over false claims made in a newspaper that he had a serious gambling problem.

An Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, published an article alleging that Abramovich suffered a heavy poker loss and had been forced to give away a luxury yacht. The article also implied that Abramovich’s long-term partner Dasha Zhukova presented him with an ultimatum that he either give up poker or she would end their relationship. On top of all that it suggested Abramovich had been forced to liquidate assets to cover heavy gambling debts, according to John Kelly, Abramovich’s lawyer.

The newspaper’s publisher, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, has agreed to pay Abramovich “substantial damages” which he intends to donate to charity. The publisher’s lawyer, Sarah Toolan, said it offered its sincere apologies. “The defendant accepts that the allegations are untrue and ought never to have been published,” she said.

The Press Association: Abramovich wins pay-out over gambling claim

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has accepted a public apology and substantial libel damages at the High Court over false newspaper allegations that he had a serious gambling problem. John Kelly, his solicitor, told a judge that the claims had caused the “internationally well-known” Russian businessman “distress and embarrassment”.

Legal action arose from allegations in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, in an article entitled “A black year for Abramovich as he loses a yacht at poker.”Mr. Kelly told Justice Eady that the paper’s publisher, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, had agreed to pay Mr Abramovich “substantial damages”, which will go to charity.

Kelly said: “Regrettably, these allegations were not put to Mr Abramovich or his representatives before publication. If they had been, the defendant would have been advised of the utter falsity of the allegations.”
Sarah Toolan, solicitor for the publisher, said the defendant “offers its sincere apologies to Mr Abramovich for the distress and embarrassment this article has caused”.

The Moscow Times: Abramovich Wins Libel Suit

Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich, has won a public apology as well as libel damages from an Italian publisher over allegations that he is a compulsive gambler.

The publisher, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, agreed to pay “substantial damages” for a story in the paper La Repubblica in May which ran under the title, “A black year for Abramovich as he loses a yacht at poker,” Abramovich’s lawyer John Kelly said Thursday. Kelly said Abramovich would donate the money to charity.

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Tiger Woods Shuns $75 Million Paddy Power Sportsbook Sponsorship Deal

Mar 09, 2010
Paddy Tiger

Golfer Tiger Woods, who has been in the limelight in recent months because of a scandal surrounding his personal life, has turned down a lucrative sponsorship offer from Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker. Woods has lost many of his biggest sponsors in recent months. Paddy Power intends to turn around with an even better offer.

New York Times: Woods Turns Down Paddy Power Sponsorship Offer

Golfer Tiger Woods turned down a five year, $75 million sponsorship offer from the Irish online sportsbook Paddy Power. Upon being rejected, Paddy Power announced intentions to an improved offer.

Woods has been losing sponsors lately. The 14-times major champion winner lost his deal with sports drink brand Gatorade last week. Gatorade was the third major corporate sponsor to dump Woods since details of his inappropriate conduct hit the newsstands last year.

The golf star was earning $100 million in endorsement deals annually before taking a break from golf in December. Woods has not said when he intends to return to the sport when he spoke to media last month. He has remained very quiet since the scandal over his private life erupted in December.

During last year’s U.S. PGA Championship, Paddy Power lost 1.5 million euros to bettors who had gambled on Woods after just 36 holes, even though Woods lost to South Korea’s Yang Yong-eun at the end of the event.

Market Watch: Woods turns down $75 million sponsorship offer

Paddy Power, a publicly traded internet sports betting company in Ireland, offered Tiger Woods’ representatives a $75 million sponsorship deal over the next five years.

Woods turned down the offer. The company said it “remains keen” to strike a deal, and intends make an “enhanced” offer to secure the deal.

Woods has lost many of his endorsements in the last few months, including Accenture and Gatorade, ever since he admitted to having multiple affairs.

Procter & Gamble’s Gillette has kept Woods’ contract alive, might not use Woods in any more ads. Nike and Electronic Arts also continue to honor their contracts.

Woods has publically apologized for his recent actions, but has not said when he will begin golfing again.

Paddy Power has a history of spending on its message: Marketing expenses were nearly 29 million euros in 2009, while recorded profits were around 58 million euros.

Business Week: Paddy Power to Raise Woods Offer After Bid Rejected

Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest sportsbook, intends will increase its sponsorship offer to Tiger Woods after their previous bid of $75 million over five years was rejected by the golfer.

“Paddy Power remains keen to work with Tiger Woods, and will re-engage” said the Dublin-based group. “An enhanced offer will be made.”

“Tiger as a brand is up there with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It’s something we are quite serious about.” The new offer will be “somewhat more generous,” he said.

Woods, who is a 14-time major-tournament winner, recently lost his sponsorship deals with Accenture Plc and AT&T Inc. These contracts were broken after Woods admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, and announcing that he intended to take indefinite break from playing golf.

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Proposal for Hawaiian Casino Rejected by Lawmakers

Feb 26, 2010
Hawaii Gambling

A proposal to allow gambling on the popular tourist destination was rejected by local lawmakers and will not progress past this stage. Had the proposal been passed, the state may have been able to raise up to $86 million per year in gambling revenue. The state is currently expected to face a $1.2 billion deficit.

Los Angeles Times: No dice: Lawmakers in Hawaii kill proposals for casino in Waikiki or on Hawaiian lands

According to a recent decision on the part of lawmakers, the sunny isles of Hawaii will not be seeing gambling any time soon. The bill that came under fire would have allowed a casino in the tourist center Waikiki. There will not be a vote on a second measure allowing gambling on Hawaiian home lands.

Public testimony on the gambling measures was overwhelmingly negative, leading the House Finance Committee to scuttle the idea Wednesday night. Hawaii and Utah are the only states that don’t permit any form of gambling and Hawaii’s population seems particularly passionate about keeping it out.

Gambling interests pitched casinos as a way to help rejuvenate the state’s vital tourism industry. In addition, casinos would allegedly bring $86 million a year in tax revenue to the state which is currently facing a projected $1.2 billion deficit.

Opponents of the bill argued that a casino would eat up tourist money, tarnish the state’s family-friendly image and increase crime.

The New York Times: Hawaii: Lawmakers Say No to Casinos

On Wednesday state legislators killed a bill that would have allowed a casino on the tourist filled island of Waikiki, Hawaii. A second measure allowing gambling on Hawaiian homelands will not get a vote after the House Finance Committee scuttled the idea.

Knowing that the state is facing a ghastly $1.2 billion deficit, gambling interests pitched casinos as a way to help rejuvenate the tourism industry. They also claimed that casinos would bring $86 million a year in tax revenue to a state. Opponents cited a decrease in tourist money, and the tarnishing of the state’s family-friendly image along with increase crime as reasons to keep casinos out.

Star Bulletin: Lawmakers fold their hand on casino bill

Overwhelming public opposition killed a push to establish gambling in Honolulu last Wednesday. State House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro said a move to legalize casino gambling is dead in the water in the Hawaii Legislature this session.

The Committee on Finance rejected a casino gambling bill yesterday after public testimony proved to be against the idea overwhelmingly.

Due to Hawaii’s current economic downturn, the committee held a public hearing on the bill, calling for a 5-year casino license to a gambling operation in Honolulu and creating a wagering tax. John Radcliffe, gambling interests lobbyist, said one casino in Waikiki could generate $522 million in income.

In addition to the Honolulu Police Department, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s and state Attorney General’s offices opposed the bill.

Opponents to the bill made claims that the allegedly inevitable rise in crime would outweigh the benefits of gambling. They also said that legalizing gambling would send the wrong message to Hawaii’s children.

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Ladbrokes watch as profits plummet

Feb 23, 2010
Ladbrokes Sportsbook

Ladbrokes, one of the UK’s largest , reported a 28% fall in profits for 2009 over the previous year. They blame the economic climate which kept punters from betting, and the unusually snowy winter which kept bettors from heading out to the 2,700 betting shops that Ladbrokes operates across the UK.

The Wall Street Journal: Ladbrokes’s Net Tumbles

The UK gambling company Ladbrokes PLC reported a significant drop in 2009 profits amid the economic downturn.

The sportsbook reported last year’s net profit down 63% to £74.4 million from £200.7 million in 2008. Revenue fell 10% to £1.032 billion.

Revenue suffered from winter weather, with snow and ice across the UK keeping customers at home. Another contributing factor was a strange year for the Premier League, which saw fewer draws in matches than usual. Draws are a bookmaker’s secret weapon, as most bettors wager on one team to win.

Chief Executive Officer Chris Bell says they are putting their hopes on the soccer World Cup in South Africa this summer. “Far from me to make the prediction that the World Cup will balance the economy … But it’s a huge tournament.”

Ladbrokes is watching carefully for changes to US gambling laws. “We are prepared,” Bell said.

BBC: Ladbrokes profits hit by recession

UK sportsbook Ladbrokes blames the economy for a 28% fall in profits for 2009. Last year it made £191.3m ($301.5m), down from the £265.6m it made in 2008.

Sales in the UK fell by 28%, as bettors cut back on spending in the recession.

The company says the football World Cup this summer is a good opportunity to increase profits and attract new customers.

Ladbrokes also hopes to increase profits through the upcoming launch of a new spread betting service, which will let punters to bet on stock markets, shares and currencies.

The company’s chairman Peter Erskine admits “2009 was a challenging year for Ladbrokes.”

“We were impacted by the deteriorating economic environment… however, Ladbrokes continues to be a profitable and cash generative business.”

The New York Times: Ladbrokes Profits Slump

Britain’s largest sportsbook Ladbrokes reported a 28% drop in last year’s pretax profits. The figure reflects recent economic conditions and bettor-friendly results hitting margins during the third quarter.

The company, which has operates more than 2,700 betting shops across the UK, said their 2009 pretax profits fell from 265.6 million in 2008 to just 191.3 million pounds.

The figures are still ahead average forecast for pretax profit, which stood at 166 million pounds according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 19 analysts. Ladbrokes is also facing the loss of CEO Chris Bell who will step down in early summer, and are currently looking for a replacement.

Shares in Ladbrokes closed last week at 151.9 pence, valuing the business at 1.4 billion pounds.

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Top Level Football Teams in China Punished for Gambling Scandal

Feb 22, 2010
Gambling Scandal

Match fixing and bribing the referees are among the charges laid against two of China’s Super League teams. As a result, the teams are being punished and relegated. Players, officials and a soccer boss are reported to have been involved in the scandal.

BBC News: Two football teams relegated from China’s Super League

China’s Football Association has decided to relegate 2 teams from the Super League to its 2nd division in a corruption scandal. According to official Chinese media, the teams were accused of being involved in match-fixing and gambling. The Chengdu Blades, one of the relegated teams, is owned by Sheffield United.

Sheffield United bought a majority stake in Chengdu Blades in 2006, hoping to develop football in China and unearth new talent. The team was promoted to China’s Super League the following season and became a powerhouse in Chinese football.

Chengdu will be relegated as punishment for alleged match-fixing. The club allegedly bribed an opposing team to lose a crucial game and ensure Chengdu’s elevation to the top flight.

The Team’s chairman, Xu Hongtao, and his deputy have already been detained as part of a widening crackdown on corruption in football. Twenty senior officials and players were allegedly involved, including the former head of China’s Football Association, Nan Yong. Police and tax investigators say players and refs have been bribed to throw games and some players paid up to $15,500 for a place in the national squad.

The Canadian Press: Two top-level Chinese football clubs relegated over match fixing, gambling allegations

Two Chinese Super League clubs have been relegated to the 2nd tier amid a match fixing and gambling scandal that‘s already toppled the head of the country’s soccer association. Guangzhou GPC and the Chengdu Blades were removed from the Chinese Super League after an investigation led officials to believe they were involved in match-fixing.

Charges against those involved in the scandal include match fixing, bribing referees, players paying for places at the national team’s training camp and play time in international competition.

The relegations were the harshest punishment dealt out to clubs to this date. People caught up in the sweeping probe that has netted more than a dozen players and officials, including former soccer boss Nan Yong.

Two new teams will be announced and introduced into the Super League to keep the total number of teams at 16.

The New York Times: Two Top Chinese Clubs Relegated For Matchfixing

Two top-flight Chinese soccer clubs were relegated to the 2nd division after club officials were found guilty of matchfixing and gambling, according to the state media. The Chinese Football Association’s disciplinary committee decided to relegate Guangzhou GPC and the Chengdu Blades.

The president of Chengdu, owned by English Championship side Sheffield United, was arrested last month in an investigation into matchfixing which has seen more than 20 officials arrested or detained, including the CFA’s former chief Nan Yong.

The CFA said 16 teams would still play in this year’s Chinese Super League season, though replacements haven’t been named yet. The season will kick off on the 20th of March, but ongoing police investigations could disrupt those plans.

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Revenue Rises in Vegas While Falling in Nevada

Feb 19, 2010
Las Vegas

Records from December 2009 indicate that the gambling business is once again on the rise. Though revenues fell in comparison to the year before, December was the second straight month on the rise after many months of decrease.

The New York Times: Gambling Revenue Rises in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue rose a solid 5.9% in December for the second consecutive month and may be a fresh sign that the casino slump might be coming to an end. According to Nevada’s Gaming Control Board, the amount in bets that Vegas casinos won climbed to $502.2 million in December from a year earlier. Revenue for the entire year declined 9.4%.

Las Vegas Strip Casinos won $5.55 billion last year, down from $6.13 billion the year before. Resort operators in Las Vegas slashed room prices and created special offers to encourage visitors to come, as companies canceled conventions and consumers spent less.

Winnings for all Nevada casinos dropped 3.2% to $859.3 million in December. Monthly proceeds for Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, slid 2.4 % to $753.2 million, according to the board.

Bloomberg Business Week: Vegas Strip Gambling Rises for Second Straight Month

Las Vegas Strip revenue seems to be coming out of one of the worst 2 year slumps its ever seen when analysts take Decembers figures into consideration. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board announced that strip proceeds climbed to $502.2 million in December from a year earlier. Revenue for the full year declined 9.4 %. Baccarat winnings led the casinos gains, particularly at Aria casino.

The Las Vegas Strip won $5.55 billion in gambling revenue over the last year, down from about $6.13 billion in 2008. Resort operators were forced to make special budget deals to encourage tourism and it appears that their efforts paid off. Some times less really is more.

Nevada’s State casino revenue dropped 3.2% to $859.3 million in December. Monthly proceeds for Clark County, which includes downtown Las Vegas and the Strip, slid 2.4 % to $753.2 million, according to the board.

According to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, roughly 36.4 million people visited Las Vegas last year, a 3% decline from 2008. Convention attendance tumbled a nasty 24% and average daily rates at Vegas hotels dropped 22% to $92.93.

KXNT: Gaming Revenues Show Record Decline

Nevada gaming revenues dropped 10.4% in the year 2009, the largest annual decline in state history. State Gaming Control Board figures show casinos netted about $10.3 billion last year, compared with $11.6 billion in 2008. It’s the lowest single-year total since 2003.

Las Vegas Strip casino revenues were off by 9.4% last year, and Clark County as a whole saw a decrease of 9.8%. In what might be a modest sign for optimism, new figures show Strip casino revenues increased in December for the second straight month in a row. Weak gaming numbers continue to drive the state’s budget shortfall, and total gaming tax revenues are down by more than 5% for the first seven months of the current fiscal year.

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Las Vegas sports betting goes wireless

Jan 06, 2010
Las Vegas Sportsbetting goes wireless

A Las Vegas based company called Cantor Gaming recently introduced a mobile gambling device that lets patrons of participating casinos wager on sporting events and play games like blackjack and baccarat while wandering around the casino property. Credits are purchased ahead of time, and a special security chip that players keep in their pocket makes sure no other users can access their device. It is quickly catching on, and Cantor hopes to expand the system throughout Vegas over the next few years.

The New York Times: In Las Vegas, Sports Books in a Pocket

In the past, sports bettors in Las Vegas had to line up at sports book windows and pay cash for paper tickets in order to place bets. At the M Resort, things work a little differently, and betting is happening through hand-held devices not much bigger than an iPhone.

The new technology comes from Cantor Gaming, and lets gamblers wager on sporting events from anywhere in the casino. Live betting is also available, letting gamblers wager on the outcomes of events as they happen.

Casino operators love the new system. “All of a sudden, these same people who were betting once or twice a game at the beginning of a sporting event can place wagers every minute if they want,” says Anthony A. Marnell III, chief executive of the M Resort. “Having this technology changes the entire equation for everyone involved.”

Bettors must still hand cash over to ticket writers, but the money gets converted electronic credits that show up on the wireless hand-helds, called eDecks (or in some places, PocketCasino). These devices can be taken almost anywhere in the casino. The only restriction is that bettors cannot use them while playing table games.

All eDeck users must obtain a plastic card with an ID chip embedded in it. The eDeck will only work within a few feet of that chip, so no other bettor can pick up the device and wager on another user’s account. The devices were approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission in 2008, but are only now being rolled out to casinos.

Vegas News: Cantor Gaming Launches Mobile Gaming Throughout The Venetian and The Palazzo

Cantor Gaming announced yesterday that the PocketCasino, available at The Venetian and The Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas, is now offering casino games in addition to live sports betting. The PocketCasino lets gamblers play casino style games in most areas of the resorts, including the casino, bars, lounges and restaurants.

Cantor Gaming launched the PocketCasino sports betting system in September at The Venetian Race and Sports Book and Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. PocketCasino now also gives players access to games such like blackjack, video poker and slots. These games offer special propositional bets that calculate odds dynamically based on the cards dealt.

President and CEO of Cantor Gaming Lee Amaitis said, “The inherent flexibility of the mobile platform provides a new type of social gaming experience, where a group of friends can sit together yet all be playing different games: blackjack, poker, slots or baccarat. And for casino operators, mobile gaming has shown it can convert traditionally non-gaming areas of the property into revenue-generating areas, resulting in incremental income for the property.”

Robert Goldstein, president and COO of The Venetian and The Palazzo, added, “Pocketcasino gaming is the perfect way to enjoy the excitement of casino without missing the fun your friends are having at the bar, lounge, or in one of our amazing restaurants. It’s a multitasker’s dream come true.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sports bets at your fingertips

A live, mobile betting system called “PocketCasino” recently debuted at The Palazzo and The Venetian casinos in Las Vegas. It lets bettors place live wagers on sport events, like whether a team will make the next goal. Standard bets are also offered, like point spreads and money lines on selected games.

Las Vegas-based Cantor Gaming introduced it in the spring at M Resort during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Gregg Layman, a Palazzo patron from Panama, works for an online gambling website. Palazzo found the PocketCasino system to be similar to what online sportsbooks are offer.

“This is going to grow in popularity,” Layman said. “I wish I could use it from home.”

Another casino patron, Danny Tubiolo of New York, is hooked on the new system. “It’s fun to bet if a kicker will make or miss a field goal,” he said.

Mark Goldman, director of race and sports at the two casinos currently offering the PocketCasino, said that interest in the product is steadily increasing. “We have ambassadors working the room, handing out information,” says Goldman. “Once people understand it, it’s pretty easy to use. I think it adds to the excitement.”

Customers check out the devices, place money on a special account. When finished, gamblers return the device and cash out. The device is active throughout the casino.

Cantor is the first company to bring hand-held wagering devices into Las Vegas casinos.

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