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The Week in Pictures: February 09 – February 15, 2016

Feb 17, 2016

Weekly news in pictures

With so much going on in the world we look back at the big stories of the last seven days from around the world.

A fatal train crash in Bavaria, Germany, last week left 11 dead, with another 82 injured, 20 of them in serious condition. Occurring on a blind bend of single-track line near the spa town of Bad Aibling, the two commuter trains collided head-on at a closing speed of over 100mph and neither driver braked before impact. An investigation into why safety mechanisms, particularly the automatic braking systems, failed to prevent the crash was launched. Both drivers were killed in the accident.

The first Primary in the race for the White House took place in New Hampshire, USA, last week with both parties going to the polls. For the Democrats Bernie Sanders took a hugely convincing win against Hillary Clinton getting 60.4% to her 38%, whilst across the aisle for the Republicans Donald Trump, pushed back into second place in the Iowa Caucus, was triumphant getting 35.3%, double his nearest rival. Both non-establishment candidates thus carry momentum with them into South Carolina.

Antonin Scalia, long time hardline conservative Supreme Court Justice, died last week at the age of 79, prompting a fierce partisan political row. Whilst his replacement may be nominated by the sitting President, Barack Obama, the Republican party’s Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell said it should be the next President that should nominate a replacement and obstructionist tactics seem likely to be employed to prevent any replacement being confirmed prior to the November election.

 

In sports Liverpool demolished the hapless Aston Villa 6-0 in the English Premier League last week with Sturridge, Milner, Can, Origi, Clyne and Toure all scoring against the boys from Birmingham, who remain welded to the bottom place in the league, whilst Liverpool move up to 8th place, the question is can they make it into the top 5 with just 13 games to go? You’ll have to read our daily news page to find out, but in the meantime here’s a look at the big stories we covered over the last week.

 

1. The Denver Broncos have beaten the favorites Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, but is the greatest QB ever done?

Peyton manning second super bowl

A “just once more” kinda thing… (Photo: AP)

2. Eli Manning’s hilarious face in Super Bowl 50 blew up the internet, but we explain why was that.

eli manning super bowl reaction

Analyzing instead of cheering (Photo: USA Today)

3. Premier League just making fun of bettors and experts of football facts sometimes this season.

(Photo: Twitter @PremierLeague)

Nothing seems to make sense anymore (Photo: Twitter @PremierLeague)

 

Meanwhile scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory announced last week they had detected the faint ripple in the universe created by the distant impact of two black holes some one hundred years after they were predicted to exist by Albert Einstein. Their success was heralded by the wider scientific community as a breakthrough moment in history with the new field of astronomic detection allowing a far greater understanding of the universe and stellar impact events.

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The Week in Pictures: January 26 – January 31, 2016

Feb 02, 2016

Weekly news in pictures

With so many big news stories breaking last week perhaps we should spend a few minutes looking again at the most important from the last seven days

Swiss investigations into the state-owned 1MDB Fund in Malaysia has found numerous irregularities with some unexplained transfers to the private Swiss bank accounts of former Malaysian public officials as well as to some in the United Arab Emirates. Michael Lauber, Swiss Attorney General, is quoted as saying there were “Serious indications that funds have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies.” In total the fund is said to be missing some $4bn and investigations continue.

Following the executive action taken by President Obama to place new tighter restrictions on the purchase of firearms in the US, a country that already has 88.8 guns for every 100 citizens, 270 million total, some three weeks ago the social media giants Facebook and Instagram have taken action to prevent private gun sales on their platforms. Whilst official gun dealing businesses can continue to use their services the numerous private gun sales that are facilitated on the sites are now banned.

In the US research into the treatment of Cancer at the Massachusetts General Hospital conducted by Dr. Torunn Yock has revealed that the once controversial therapy using Proton Beam technology that is used to treat some children shows a rate of effectiveness in line with that displayed by use of traditional Photon (X-ray) treatments only with the benefit of not having quite as much of a toxic effect on the heart and lungs of the patients. This research shows Proton beam therapy is now a real alternative.

In sport Angelique Kerber won the Australian Open beating Serena Williams 6-4 3-6 6-4 in Melbourne and becoming the first German to win a major singles title on the Tennis calendar since Steffi Graf last century. Her victory moves her up to No.2 in the world rankings, but can she take the top spot from Serena? You’ll have to read our daily news pages to find out, but in the meantime lets revisit some of the big news stories that we covered from around the world over the course of the last seven days.

1. Cam Newton & co. are the favourites to win the NFL final against the Denver Broncos after the Conference Finals.

cam panthers winning the superbowl

Cam can do it! (Photo: Flickr.com)

2. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer set up a semi-final against each other at the 2016 Australian Open.

djokovic and federer

They met again… (Photo: zimbio)

3. The world’s current No. 1 tennis player thrashed the former No. 1 in their semi-final at the Australian Open.

murray and djokovic taking a selfie

But first… (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

4. Bet365 Casino has launched the biggest Slots Giveaway promotion for February with a £1,000,000 prize pool.

one million pounds giveaway at bet365

Greatest promo on slots ever! (Photos: Bet365)

 

Meanwhile Greek football teams AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos staged a protest after the whistle had been blown in their match last week, with all the players, coaching staff and substitutes retaining their positions, not playing the ball and sitting down. An announcement made to the crowd said the 2 minutes silence would be “in memory of the hundreds of children who continue to lose their lives everyday in the Aegian” referring to the many deaths amongst immigrants attempting to reach the EU.

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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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$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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Couple Wins $15M Lotto Playing Same Number for 20 Years

Apr 27, 2011
north york couple win 15 million

A lucky married couple from North York in the State of New York won $15,347,907 from Lotto 6/49 after playing the same numbers each week for the past 30 years.

Despite looking as happy as if told the world will end in 10 minutes when stuck in traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, the couple said they are smiling inside. Mama Mia! If they are smiling inside, they deserve an Oscar for Best Performance because I’ve seen a deer’s expression in the headlights one time, right before my new Mini Truck vaporized it, and the deer looked happier. I was on the way home to play a special tournament at Millionaire Casino, an excellent establishment.

The family has a ritual, every Sunday morning; they wake up and practice smiling. That’s a joke. Relax. Aye?!?

So, as I was saying, every Sunday morning, about 7a.m, the husband, Bob Maggiacomo, goes down to the corner bodega to check his numbers. He did it the past Sunday, and did not even win one dollar.

Then he takes a closer looks at the winning numbers, and he thinks them the same numbers his wife plays every week for 30 years. So he goes and wakes up his wife, Eleanor Canavan. Not even a hyphenated Maggiacomo-Canavan but plain old Canavan. No respect no more!

His wife plays a combination of their birthdays, and they look at the internet, and what do you know, they won! Well since it was Easter and all they had to wait till Tuesday. They signed the ticket and left it right there o the dresser in full sight. Now that’s not smart. If someone breaks in and finds such a rare artifact, and sign it they gotta dig a hole again or give him a third of the share.

I guess Shaquan, Vinny Ungats or Chivalos weren’t working that day because nobody stole it. They got the check on Tuesday, and are thinking of going to Nino’s for the sauce and linguine with 40 neighborhood friends. They said they plan to move to Bensonhurst in Brooklyn and live there retired.

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Single winner takes $133 million in California lottery, has yet to claim

Aug 30, 2010
California Lottery

Odds of 176 million to 1 were beat this weekend in San Luis Obispo County, California, when the Mega Millions jackpot of $133 million was won by … someone. The numbers 4, 10, 26, 31, 32, and 41 came up to produce a single winner of the record-breaking amount, but no one has stepped forward to claim the prize yet.

Though the $133 million is not the largest prize in the lottery ever – that honor goes to a woman from Southern California who took a $266 million jackpot in May – the win is the biggest ever in San Luis Obispo County.

Seller of the lucky ticket, an outlet known as Bottle Liquor and Deli, will receive a nice bonus of $665,000 for the win. The ticket-holder will be given the option of $92.4 million lump sum payment or payments of $5.11 million per year for 26 years.

California lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said that the winner may take up to 365 days to collect but “rarely do we have a jackpot winner [of a prize] this size wait more than a week.”

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All-time record jackpot won in Tri-State Megabucks lottery

Aug 26, 2010
Megabucks Lottery

When Frank Sullivan hit the Tri-State Megabucks lottery sponsored by Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire state governments for $12.5 million, he knew exactly what to do – no wonder, as twice before family members have struck it rich.

The $12.5 million represents the largest single prize ever rewarded in the Tri-State Megabucks lottery since its establishment in 1985. The bad (though certainly manageable) news for Sullivan is that, since he’s a Vermont native who bought the ticket across the border in New Hampshire, he’ll be paying taxes on his winnings in two states. In taking the “lump sum” option, Sullivan will be banking over $5 million.

According to local media, one of the very first things the 52-year-old did – even before stepping up to claim his prize – was to give two weeks’ notice at his job at a local electronics supplier. He now reportedly carries around lip balm “for people that want money – They’ve gotta kiss up a little bit more” and a black book “for the marriage proposals.”

The store in Gilman where Sullivan bought the ticket will also be receiving $30,000 for selling the lucky jackpot winner.

NECN Online also reports that Sullivan had purchased tickets for last night’s Megabucks drawing – presumably he didn’t win that one, however…

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Eight arrested in California for rigging jackpot slots

Aug 25, 2010
Jackpot Slots

The scene of the crime is the Sho-Ka-Wah Casino in Hopeland, California. The perpetrators are eight locals, aged 38 to 47, including former casino employee Joan Elizabeth Pickron. The crime, according to state Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Kate Gibbs, is “manipulating jackpot slot machines to cheat the casino.”

This group of gamblers have been hacking the casino’s slot machines for more than three years. No details have been release about how the group rigged the jackpot slots, but their efforts earned them a total of more than $100,000 in ill-gotten wins.

The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control has been investigating the situation since late 2008, and arrests were finally made last week. All eight offenders now face charges of embezzlement and grand theft.

Normally, the security of casino slot machines is quite strong, so the fact that these gamblers were able to manipulate the machines is surprising. Online jackpot slots are even more secure, since all games are monitored electronically. Fortunately, this sort of crime is rare, and even when something like this does happen, it has little effect on other patrons of the casino where the crime takes place.

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Biggest jackpot win ever? Michigan resident wins $775,338 … in a raffle

Aug 16, 2010
Raffle Pool

Typically on the pages of Gambling Results, you’ll see six-figure winners in slots and state lotteries all the time – but winning $775,338 in a *raffle*? That’s newsworthy!

The lucky winner of this surely record-breaking raffle in Michigan, so far identified publicly only as “Santo,” was the beneficiary of a simple local promotion that essentially “went viral” to run through 49 weeks and sell a crazy 238,000 tickets in seven days alone.

The holder of quite possibly the world’s biggest raffle pool ever was the Carleton Rotary Club of Carleton, Michigan. Beginning nearly one year ago, all the club sought to do was raise a little money by holding a “Jack of Spades raffle.” The idea was that one winning ticket was drawn each week and the ticket-holder rewarded with a prize; the winner could then draw from a deck of 52 cards plus jokers to increase the prize. The jack of spades was designated as the jackpot card – a card it took 49 weeks to draw. (Talk about your progressive jackpots

By the time the 49th and final draw was made on Friday night, lines formed at the Grafton Inn Sports Bar & Grill – where the raffle had been held weekly – to buy tickets hours before the establishment opened.

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Vegas Technology jackpot slot pays out a cool million

Aug 09, 2010
Vegas Technology

Just days ago, a progressive slot game called Red White & Win, a Vegas Technology software progressive jackpot, paid out a jackpot just shy of one million dollars. The exact amount was reported as $989,441. After the jackpot paid out, the counter was reset to the low default amount of $6,400.

Red White & Win is a patriotic American themed slot game. Its three reel classic design combined with its progressive jackpot prize makes it a popular game among US players. Best of all, the game has a fixed coin size of $2.50 and a max bet of $7.50 making it very affordable as far as progressive jackpot slots go. The game is won by spinning three American Flag symbols across the center payline on a max bet spin.

News about this mega jackpot prize has only come through an automatic progressive jackpot slots tracking system. It is not yet known who won the jackpot, or even which casino the winner was playing at. Confirmation about the win will probably be announced soon, either through the casino where the jackpot was won or through Vegas Technology directly.

Vegas Technology software progressive jackpot games, and this Red White & Win jackpot is one of the largest they’ve ever paid out. This software producer is one of the few big players in the online gambling world that still accepts US players, making it a top choice for people from the United States who are looking for real money online casino games. Other software companies which power online casinos accepting US players include RealTime Gaming, Rival Gaming, and Top Game.

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Florida woman gets affairs in order, collects nearly $39 million in Powerball win

Aug 02, 2010
Powerball Jackpot

When people talk about “life-changing” multi-million prizes in lottery draws, they’re definitely visualizing Elizabeth’s Choras-Hanna’s win of the Powerball Jackpot Prize in July.

Thirty-five year-old Choras-Hanna, who is currently an unemployed medical assistant, will presumably be toning down the job search a bit after claiming her $73.8 million win on Friday. Residing in Hollywood, Florida, Choras-Hanna becomes the state’s second-ever Powerball winner. Opting for a one-time payment rather than installments, Choras-Hanna collected $38,929,055.11 for the winning ticket.

The winning numbers were 20, 21, 27, 28, 56 and Powerball number 4.

“[My sister and I] always go grocery shopping at Publix together, and before we leave we buy one Florida Lotto and one Powerball Quick Pick ticket,” Choras-Hanna said. “The next day, I went to another Publix and had them check my tickets and discovered our ticket was the jackpot winner.”

Choras-Hanna will be sharing the winnings with her sister and her sister’s husband. Though the draw was actually held on July 10, Choras-Hanna said she waited to collect the prize while she and her family “got their affairs in order first.”

In last Friday’s draw, a single winner from Louisiana bought a ticket with a progressive jackpot worth $85.7 million; this winner has yet to claim the prize. The winning numbers were 1, 16, 17, 41, 57 and Powerball 15.

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Powerball lottery hit for $73.9 million by Florida resident

Jul 16, 2010
Power Ball Jackpot

An unnamed Floridan who purchased a ticket in Royal Palm Beach became the seventh winner of the nationwide Powerball lottery jackpot in 2010 when he or she matched all six numbers drawn to win the $73.9 million grand prize last Saturday.

The winning numbers were 20, 21, 27, 28, 56 and powerball 4, and the winner has 180 days to claim the prize. The Florida Lottery commission announced that the $73.9 million represents the third-large prize ever won in a Florida game and is the second Powerball jackpot awarded to a Floridian.

Since joining the game in January 2009, Florida has recorded more Powerball winners than any other state, paying out over $289 million in prizes to the lucky folks. The Powerball lottery is now played in 42 U.S. states, Washington D.C., and the Virgin Islands.

Three times in 2010, the Powerball jackpot has gone over $200 million; the year’s top winner so far is Chris Shaw of Missouri, who won $258.5 million in April. An unknown winner in Ohio enjoyed a $261.6 million windfall on June 2, while Sandra McNeil of New Jersey scored $211.7 million in March.

Other Powerball progressive jackpots won this year include the $141 million won by Frank Griffin of North Carolina in February; the $96.9 million shared by a pair of friends in Montana and an auto workers’ group in Michigan and Ohio on June 23; and an anonymous player in Arkansas, who won $25 million on January 2.

Powerball closed year 2009 holding onto a $128.6 payout that went unclaimed by whoever purchased the winning ticket in Kentucky.

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World Series of Poker starts up with biggest pool of players, money since 2006

Jul 09, 2010
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It’s shuffle up and deal time: The World Series of Poker has begun in Las Vegas with 7,319 entrants, the second-largest pool ever assembled for the world’s biggest poker event. Yesterday alone, 2,391 players entered, as Thursday marked the last day to buy in for $10,000.

Based on entrants, the total prize pool will be $68.8 million and the top prize is a huge $8.94 million; the top 747 finishers will win prizes. Last year, there were 6,494 total entrants for a prize pool of $61 million and a $8.55 prize for the winner Joe Cada, youngest ever to take this tournament.

As always, some celebrities were on hand to try their hand at a few poker hands, including Jason Alexander, Emmitt Smith, and Shannon Elizabeth, just to name a very few.

Though the peak number of participants set in 2006 was not reached, the numbers are up 12% on last year. Alexander was enthusiastic to an Associated Press reporter, to whom he said “I’m glad people are feeling like the economy’s back enough that they can do [play in the World Series of Poker]. It wasn’t because the interest in poker went away, so I have to assume people weren’t willing to speculate.”

Most observers also factor in an overall drop in attendance since 2006, as after the tournament the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed, thereby discouraging many online poker rooms from accepted U.S. players – and getting them into the World Series of Poker.

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US player wins half a million at Bodog Casino

Jul 05, 2010
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Linda W., a Bodog Casino player from the US state of Indiana, won a massive progressive jackpot prize this week while enjoying her favorite online slot game. Linda, 61, runs a landscaping business with her husband; the two often turn to Bodog Casino to wind down and relax after a long day’s work.

The huge prize was on a progressive slot called Jackpot Piñatas. After playing for a while and not doing so well, the couple’s account was down to just $39. Suddenly, Jackpot Piñatas’ bonus round launched, immediately triggering ten free spins. On the second free spin, the reels hit first one, then two, then a full row of Bull symbols, signaling that the pair had just won the game’s progressive jackpot prize.

The payout? An impressive $470,850! The couple has decided to use the money to help balance their books, and will then pour whatever remains into their landscaping business. Linda also hopes to use some of the winnings to help out some of her friends, including a grandchild who she says could use some help covering the costs of college.

Jackpot Piñatas is a Mexican fiesta is a 20-line RealTime Gaming software progressive jackpot slot with a spicy Mexican fiesta theme. Linda prefers this slot over the many other progressive jackpot games at Bodog Casino. “It’s my favorite game due to its brightness and amusement,” she says. It has also brought her the most luck – she has won smaller prizes of a couple of thousand dollars in the past.

Linda’s other favorite games at Bodog Casino include Triple 7 Inferno, Bank On It!, Paradise Dreams, Rain Dance, Fruit Frenzy and Honey to the Bee. Bodog is one of the most popular online casinos accepting US players. It offers more than 100 games for members to explore, including more than a dozen progressive jackpot slots that can pay out just as much as Jackpot Piñatas did! Join Bodog Casino now and claim a 10% welcome bonus up to $100 – maybe you will become the next big Bodog winner.

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All That Glitters: Online Casino Slots Golden for Those Willing to Legalize

Jun 09, 2010
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Two things seem certain and universal about Internet gambling: One, if people want to gamble online, they will in spite of vague threats from law enforcement; and two, somebody somewhere is making a lot of tax-free money.

Many European nations are currently modernizing their national laws to account for the rise in Internet gambling in the past 10 years. In countries such as France and Italy, a combination of pressure from the European Commission on fair competition laws plus the realization by state-run gaming monopolies that benefit would come from regulation and taxation will soon result in more freedom and safer gaming for those countries’ consumers.

Though the amount of online gambling being done is impossible to know, virtually every country without regulation in place has commissioned a study on how much money their government could stand to earn in revenue should online slots (estimated to represent 85-90% of all gambling monies collected) and reputable online casinos offering them be legalized.

While advisory firm KPMG has forecasted that the global online betting market will reach $32 billion by 2012, some specific representative numbers from around the world include the following.

• U.S. congressman Barney Frank, the chief advocate of creating regulatory law for online casinos in America, claims that online slots alone could generate $41.3 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years. Taxing all gambling would make $62.7 billion for the government.

• Officials estimated that Thai citizens will spend $1 billion on World Cup gambling alone.

• Upon announcing that Greece could have online gambling made fully legal by 2011, state monopoly OPAP stated that the country’s market could be worth about €5 billion ($6.13 billion) in taxable revenue.

• An estimate from Denmark shows that citizens there spend €8.3 million per year at online casinos.

• Australia’s Productivity Commission estimated that nearly 750,000 Australians would *lose* $1 billion on unregulated online casinos in 2010.

The point: By allowing online casinos to go unregulated, the world’s governments are losing money hand over fist daily. One would think that in this global economy, such an opportunity would not be wasted. In the case of online casino slots, all that glitters could be gold – if only the politicians let it.

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Gambling Online: Recommendations for US Players

Jun 07, 2010
US Players

Internet gambling in the United States has received quite a lot of media attention lately. Earlier this month, an old bill from 2006 passed into law – it’s called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and its aim is to make it more difficult for Americans to gamble online. The new law does not make online gambling in the US illegal. In fact, there are dozens of online casinos accepting US players, along with a wide range of excellent poker rooms, bingo halls, and sportsbooks that let US players sign up and gamble.

The only place where US players might run into problems is banking. The UIGEA essentially goes after American banks, forcing them to block credit and debit card transactions that involve online gambling. This leaves fewer options open to American players, but fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to get money to and from online casinos and other gambling sites.

Most solutions involve alternative internet banking services called e-wallets. These online gambling payment methods act as liaisons between players and gambling sites, taking money via credit or debit card from players then transferring it on their behalf to an online casino account. There are several of these banking services that accept US players, including eWalletXpress and UseMyWallet. They are the fastest and easiest way for American players to make deposits and withdrawals with online casinos or similar sites.

The easiest way to go about things is to first find an online gambling site that accepts US players, then after creating a new account there, talk with the customer support staff (many sites offer live chat services) and ask them to point out which payment methods they offer work well for players in the United States. Often, customer service representatives will be able to walk players through the whole process to help them fund their account quickly and easily.

At the end of the day, the hardest step is deciding where to sign up. A good place to start is this online gambling directory where players can read reviews of online casinos or other sites that accept US players. Sites like these are backed by many years of experience, and have a good understanding of what players are looking for. Remember, the US government is working hard to figure out the best way to open up the country’s online gambling industry, so it’s only a matter of time until things get a lot easier. Until then, enjoy the many great sites that still accept US players – good luck, and we hope you win!

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UIGEA blues: Is online gambling legal in the United States?

Jun 03, 2010
UIGEA Sign

On June 01, 2010, American gambling laws changed. An old bill from 2006 called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) went into full effect, forcing US banks and credit companies to stop processing transactions to and from online casinos and other internet gambling sites. The law represents an attempt to put a stop to online gambling in the US.

The reason for this round-about approach to the issue of internet gambling is simple: an all-out ban would be completely unenforceable. While American companies are absolutely not allowed to offer online gambling services, there are plenty of countries around the world that do offer gambling over the internet, and many of these foreign-based online casinos accepting US players. While the American government doesn’t like this, they can’t stop it directly, simply because these websites operate in other countries where American authorities have no jurisdiction.

The UIGEA is therefore a rather feeble attempt to slow down gamblers. It has been a long time coming, and everyone connected to the industry has been preparing for it since it was first announced in 2006. The initial announcement had a big effect, driving some online casino software providers out of the American market. A few stayed, however, leaving players with a decent selection of sites where they can sign up and gamble online.

The biggest issue now is banking. US players will find it difficult, if not impossible, to use their credit or debit cards to deposit money directly into an account at an online gambling site. Instead, they simply make indirect deposits – there are alternative banking methods that re-route funds, taking money from the player then passing it on to the gambling site (and vice versa when it comes time to collect winnings). US players have already been relying upon these alternative online gambling payment methods for several years.

At the end of the day, the UIGEA does little to prevent US players from gambling online. One thing it most certainly does not do is to ban internet gambling. Despite what the media says, online gambling in the United States is not illegal. While certain individual states do have laws against gambling in general, players enjoy some leeway with the system, since the internet creates questions about jurisdiction. US lawmakers seem to be moving slowly towards the regulation of internet gambling, but it could be a few years off – until then, Americans continue to enjoy online poker, internet casino games, even bingo and sports betting, all without breaking the law.

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California to consider bill legalizing online poker

May 31, 2010
Cali Poker

An idea first proposed last year in California will take the next step toward realization on Tuesday, when State Senator Rod Wright issues his bill proposing the creation of an intranet poker network. Naturally this proposal has provoked much discussion in local media. The proposal seeks to limit the number of online casinos offering legal gambling in California and to collect a minimum of 20% of revenue from these websites to fill the state budget deficit. Some estimates say that Californians spent $300 million on poker websites alone in 2009.

The (Sacramento) Press-Enterprise: Online poker bill to emerge

A bill from state senator Rod Wright is expected within a few days that would provide players in California the opportunity to legally choose between multiple online poker websites, in hopes of generating billions of dollars in tax revenue for the treasury.

Competing with Wright’s proposal is a plan put forth by the Morongo Ban of Mission Indians, a group that would create a “tribal intrastate Internet poker consortium” to act as a monopoly over a California-wide poker network, but Wright seeks to introduce a system of natural competition with his bill.

Expected to be put out on Tuesday, Wright’s bill seems to be based on the standard European model. Wright proposes that the California Department of Justice award five-year contracts to between one and three online poker websites based within the state. A minimum of 20% of revenue generated would be paid to the state in taxes.

Wright estimates that after passage of the bill, it might take another three years to have such an online poker system running. Californians spent an estimated $300 million on Internet poker last year. The state of California will have a $19.1 billion deficit as of June 2011.

NBC Bay Area: Can Online Gambling Save California?

The taxation of online gambling may be a way to solve part of the state’s budget problems – even more so than marijuana legalization. Supporters of decriminalisation of Internet gambling have claimed that regulating and taxing Internet gaming could earn up to $42 billion in federal taxes.

In California, some politicians who are pro-online gambling push such taxation as potentially bringing money and jobs to the state. This includes firms in Silicon Valley such as CyberArts, which produces Internet casino architectural software known as Foundation.

Though online gambling remains controversial even in California, the time to make it legal may have come. One consult was quoted as saying “it’s generally easier to pass something like (online gambling regulations) in a recession.”

Tech Jackal: California close to being the first state to legalize online poker

California may be on the way to becoming the first U.S. state to legalize online poker, because of state senator Rod Wright’s proposed new bill. Wright heads up the California Senate committee which overseeing gambling among other areas.

The addition of further taxes and revenues created from state-based gambling websites would go to directly addressing the state budget deficit, though Wright emphasized he sought to avoid a single-company monopoly.

Wright said that online gambling taxation “is an asset that is underperforming and it belongs to the state. It should be nondiscriminatory in terms of the people who participate. It’ll go to the people who want it and show up and bid.”

In order to take advantage of any opportunity to establish online poker or casino gaming for California citizens, website operators will have to meet certain specified legal, technical and financial conditions.

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Lance Armstrong Accused of Doping by Former Teammate Floyd Landis

May 21, 2010
Bike Pump

In a series of emails sent out to top cycling officials, American rider Floyd Landis admitted to systematically using blood doping and drugs to enhance his performance throughout his career. The emails also accused other cyclists of doing the same – including Lance Armstrong. Armstrong denied all accusations during an impromptu press conference he held earlier this week.

The Wall Street Journal: Cyclist Armstrong Denies Doping

Cyclist Lance Armstrong has denied allegations of participating in performance-enhancing measures. The allegations came from former teammate Floyd Landis, who recently admitted to using drugs and other practices.

Landis, whose 2006 Tour De France victory was nullified after he tested positive in a doping test, recently admitted through a series of emails to cycling officials that he systematically used blood transfusions and performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. The emails also claim that other riders participated in the practices, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

After Landis’s accusations, Armstrong held a press conference at the Tour of California during which he denied all allegations. “If you said, ‘Give me one word to sum this all up:’ credibility,” said Armstrong. “Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago.”

“I’d remind everybody that this is a man that’s been under oath several times and had a very different version,” said Armstrong, alluding to Landis’ constant denials of doping accusations in the past. “This is somebody that took, some would say, close to $1 million from innocent people for his defense under a different premise. Now when it’s all run out the story changes.”

Armstrong has faced doping accusations several times during his career, but has never been sanctioned.

Boston Globe: Wheels spin on doping

Lance Armstrong faced accusations yesterday that he used performance-enhancing drugs. They came from American cyclist Floyd Landis, who lost his 2006 Tour de France victory when he tested positive for synthetic testosterone.

“It’s our word against his word,” said Armstrong. “I like our word. We like our credibility.”

Landis recently admitted to top cycling officials that he had used performance-enhancing measures in the past, including steroid patches, blood doping, and HGH. He also accused several other high-profile American cyclists of doping, including Armstrong.

In an impromptu press conference, Armstrong said, “We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from.”

“It’s very sad,’’ said Armstrong. “At one point or another, all of us implicated have cared about Floyd. That’s one thing we all shared in common.

“We all gave ladders to Floyd at some point in his life when he dug himself a hole. People aren’t throwing him ladders anymore.’’

Sport.co.uk: Armstrong dismisses Landis claims

Lance Armstrong says he has nothing to hide in the face of recent allegations of performance-enhancing drug use made by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis.

Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Earlier this week he admitted to systematic drug use thorough his career.

More shocking than this admission of guilt was a series of allegations that implicated Armstrong and his team boss Johan Bruyneel were also involved in performance-enhancing activities.

Landis says that Armstrong and Bruyneel struck a deal with authorities to cover a positive drug test during the 2002 Tour of Switzerland.

The UCI, cycling’s governing body, is on Armstrong’s side. As it turns out, he did not even compete in that event.

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Crooked Miami cop steals $131K from gambler

May 19, 2010
$$ Cop

In April, after a Florida man collected over $130K in winnings from his bookie, the bookie called Officer Villar, and arranged for the gambler to be pulled over. Villar, along with his cousin who was with him impersonating a cop, took the money from the man calling it “evidence” and fled the scene. Now, a month later, the three have been arrested for armed robbery.

The Miami Herald: Officer charged in $131K gambling rip-off

When Miami police officer John Francisco Villar Jr. pulled over a man on the Palmetto Expressway last month, he confiscated a bag filled with $131,000 in cash. The bag wasn’t evidence – Fillar was stealing it.

Villar was arrested on Tuesday. He, his cousin, and a third man who runs an online gambling site are being accused of orchestrating the robbery.

The story is as follows: Marvin Duarte was out collecting his winnings from his bookie, Leonardo Lastre. As Duarte was driving home, Officer John Villar pulled his unmarked Ford Taurus (license plate covered) behind Duarte’s car with his police lights flashing. Villar had plain clothes on, with his badge hanging around his neck. Also with him was his cousin, wearing a bullet proof vest with the word “police” across the chest. Villar inspected Duarte’s car, found the money, took it as “evidence”, and fled.

It was later discovered through phone records that Officer Villar was in touch with bookie Leonardo Lastre, with Villar basically acting as a hired thug who was sent out to retrieve the money.

“It’s sad that an officer would use his authority in order to commit such unlawful acts,” said Detective Bobby Williams.

The charges against Villar include felony armed robbery with a firearm, armed burglary and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

NBC Miami: Crooked Cop Helped Bookie Rob Gambler: Report

A Miami cop was busted this week after police found out he worked with a local bookie to steal thousands of dollars from a gambler.

Officer John Villar, 28, was arrested after he and his cousin Fausto Villar (who is not a cop) pulled over the gambler in April using Villar’s unmarked police car. The gambler, Victor Duarte, was returning from a visit to his bookie, Leonardo Lastre, who had paid him $131,000 cash in winnings.

After Duarte left with his money, Lastre called Officer Villar with details about Duarte’s car and where he was headed. Villar pulled Duarte over and took the money, saying it was “evidence”. Duarte started to shout for help, but the men fled the scene.

Villar and his cousin, along with the bookie Lastre, have all been arrested. They face charges of armed robbery, armed burglary and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Fausto Villar also faces charges of impersonating a police officer.

CBS 4 South Florida News: Miami-Dade Cop, Cousin Accused Of Robbing Gambler

A Miami-Dade police officer has been charged with using his gun and badge to steal $131 thousand in cash from sports gambler Victor Duarte. Duarte placed several bets with bookie Leonardo Lastre who operates an illegal gambling operation. After Lastre paid the man his winnings, he phoned Officer Villar, who then pulled over the gambler and stole the money back with the help of his cousin, who was impersonating a police officer.

According to an internal investigation by Miami-Dade police, Bookie Lastre and Officer Villar had been in contact several times before the robbery, planning the operation. It event turned out that some of the money in the bag that Villar stole was his own, and that he had placed it there while vising Laste the day of the robbery.

After the robbery, Duarte gave chase, but Villar got away. Soon Duarte saw a Florida State Trooper, and told him what happened. When the Trooper Matthew Mihm pulled Villar over a few minutes later, he noticed the license plate on his car had been covered. Villar’s cousin ran off on foot with the money, without Mihm noticing.

Eventually, officials learned the truth, and got a search warrant for Villar’s vehicle, where they found evidence of the crime. Villar, his cousin, and Lastre the bookie now face charges of armed robbery.

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