According to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia a machine owned by VenueNet was confiscated from the Rising Sun Hotel in South Melbourne over 6 months ago. The company wants the machine back. The government has not laid any charges as yet and the firm has made moves to get it's property returned. Manufacturers of the touch screen computer kiosk that offers internet access, which gambling authorities regard as a "suspected illegal betting device" are after a court order to have it returned. This is a real test of outdated gambling regulations in the internet age. In the meantime the Victorian government, which is preparing to award its updated wagering licence have taken drastic measures to maintain their strangle hold on the online gambling industry. Tabcorp, which complained about the machine in question to authorities last year is in line for a new wagering licence that includes an exclusive license for retail rights in pubs around the state. VenueNet was commissioned by Australia's Sportsbet to develop the computer kiosks and provide access to Sportsbet and other services through the internet. The computer does showcase and feature access to gambling and other industry sectors. John Thompson, VenueNet's chairman, told Business Day that the delay in prosecuting the case had cost his company millions of dollars and he was considering seeking compensation. The company plans to install 200 similar machines in the eastern states of Australia, but will not do so until the Victorian case has been resolved, ''I think we'd face something like that until this is resolved. Everyone's focusing on this.'' The manufacturers of the equipment used in the kiosk have provided sworn statements saying the machine is no different to other computer kiosks they supply, as in airports. It allows users, through the internet, to access Sportsbet's website and then use a Sportsbet betting account, but the computer does not in itself accept or record bets and therefore cannot be designated a "gambling device." The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation lodged an appeal with the Victorian Supreme Court to stop Sportsbet being heard in the magistrates court, as a third party in the case, on legal issues relating to the seizure warrant.




 

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The United Kingdom's 2007 liberalisation of it's online gambling laws seems to have been unsuccessful in creating satisfying operating conditions for foreign gambling providers. The Government of the U.K. is in the process of looking for new ways to attract new operators with some critical detractors making some big waves on the political landscape. For nearly three years after becoming law the Act has failed to attract online operators to apply for a gambling licence in the UK On top of that problem the U.K.'s ambitious plans to be an example for the liberalisation of the European online gambling market have not materialized. Instead, much to the dismay of the present government and the Treasury has witnessed a move to more advantageous jurisdictions for online gambling operators. A review has come to a conclusion early this year and Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has revealed proposals for new licence requirements for offshore online gambling operators. The details are not yet known, but the new licensing regime is expected 'to create a level playing field' for UK gambling operators. Taxes are the main issue but as in other E.U. nations online operators would be required to pay these in different jurisdictions, depending on where the players are located. What will be a decisive factor, however, is which country offers the most cost-effective base for online operators and where labour costs and tax rates are most favourable. Most other industries in the E.U. have witnessed similar migrations in similar scenarios. The online gambling industry is not much different from other industries that outsource for parts in more cost effective environments, exactly what the E.U. is all about. White-listed jurisdictions will remain the country of destination for online operators. All factors should be considered, in the U.K.'s revamping of their online gambling laws and regulations including tax, the horserace betting levy, the sports bodies' continuous demands, IP rights, European developments, white-listed jurisdictions, appropriate governmental departments and, of course, commercial realities. In the mean time jurisdictions like Alderney, Gibraltar, Malta and others in the Caribbean will attract online operators and develop their economies.

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The Kentucky Derby is a horse race like no other in the world. Kentucky USA is a land made for horses lush rolling meadows and the greenest grass anywhere. This ideal setting has been a haven for some of the best and fastest horses ever to be bred and raised. It is one of the USA's oldest Thoroughbred horse races inaugurated in 1875 and considered the one with the most prestige. The 136th running of this great race is held at Louisville's Churchill Downs Race Track. The very same legendary Churchill Downs racetrack who's owners back in November of 2009 announced their decision to buy out online competitor YouBet.com. The California-based betting site specializes in U.S. horse racing, and Churchill Downs' acquisition of it gave them control of approximately half of the online horse betting market. This was a shrewd move on the part of the board of directors to consolidate the horse race betting market and has proven controversial but profitable. Although it may be a little early to write down a definitive list of horses it's never too early to listen to what the trainers are saying about their horses. 'Lookin At Lucky' is positioned at the top of the graded earning charts and this thoroughbred will most likely be the favourite to win come race day. Kentucky Derby betting favourite Eskendereya has been scratched with an injury while Aikenite and Uh Oh Bango will also take a breather from this endurance race. It has been noted by some punters who follow the circuit closely that one of the Derby's possible long shot favourites Dublin is having some issues on the dirt in pre Derby work outs. Dublin has the pedigree to run this race to his fullest and seems like a horse that is ready to go the distance fast and furious. It has been seen before when a horse just wants to be out front and comes from out of nowhere to win the Run for the Roses.

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Australia and America a world away and yet they are embroiled in a bitter argument over the internet censorship issue which includes online gambling sites. The American Ambassador to Australia has made some headlines recently in down under. "The US ambassador is the latest to join the swelling ranks opposing the scheme, which now include Google, Yahoo, Save The Children, Reporters Without Borders, The Greens, Senator Nick Xenophon, and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey," Chief Executive of the online activist group GetUp, Simon Sheikh, said, The censorship attempts, which involve ISPs blocking a suspect blacklist supplied by an Australian government communications agency have raised the ire of the Obama administration. The Sydney Morning Herald and a few other major newspapers in Australia reported that the US ambassador to Australia, Jeff Bleich criticised the Rudd government's internet filtering proposal, saying the same goals can be achieved without this kind of censorship. Bleich said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, "We have been able to accomplish the goals that Australia has described, and we have other means to combat bad content and we are willing to share our efforts with them ... it's an ongoing conversation." Bleich continued, "The internet needs to be free. It needs to be free the way we have said the skies have to be free, outer space has to be free, the polar caps have to be free, the oceans have to be free. They're shared resources of all the people of the world." Sheikh, supported Bleich’s comments, calling on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to "step in and end this farce". Sheikh, added, "Over 120,000 Australians have joined GetUp's campaign against the internet filter, and polls show 86 per cent of Australians are concerned about the government's internet filter plans." Queensland Liberal Senator Sue Boyce has demanded that the government be more forthcoming with the content of its “talks” with the United States on the issue. Communication Minister Stephen Conroy is still very much committed to the proposed filtering plan stating, "This is a modest measure, which reflects long-held community standards about the type of content that is unacceptable in a civilised society,"





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Fake security software was the number one cyber security affliction for computer users in 2009 according to a recent Reuters report. Cyber security firm Symantec reported that Apple users have lost some of their relative immunity to cyber crime as they stored more data online instead of on their hard drives. Online gamblers are usually fairly tech savvy and are aware of the possible invasions by mal ware that often run undetected on their computers gleaning personal information that may be used to compromise their identities. Most online gambling portals and operators are on the watch constantly for internet irregularities and are most vigilant about keeping players safe from harm caused by these interloping and sometimes sinister elements on the web. Symantec noted that Brazil had risen to third place in the list of countries with "malicious activity," defined as spam, online scam attempts and other types of cyber crime. The United States remained in first place at 19 percent, with China second at 8 percent, and Brazil third at 6 percent. In a way it is a good thing that online gambling companies are not allowed to flourish in these three countries. Sophisticated attacks on Google websites and other large companies were the most publicized cyber events of the year. A Symantec, vice president, Vincent Weafer, noted that the single most prevalent form of cyber crime was fake security software, which computer users normally see as a flashing notice that their computer is infected with a virus. The notice often provides a link to software that can be downloaded after payment, but the user does not get security software but rather, a virus or worse, he said. "Virtually everything we see today is fake anti-virus," Weafer told Reuters. "It's such a money-making racket." The scam is popular is because victims willingly hand over their credit card numbers, thinking that they are purchasing legitimate software, and those credit cards can then be used at will. PC owners have used for years to avoid identity theft but now Mac uses will now have to be more vigilant too. Using reputable online casinos is a must when playing online for money so don't be fooled, use the genuine article and play safe.

 

 

 

 

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Unibet is an internet wagering company that was first established in 1997 obtaining its U.K. licence in 1998 when it established an office in London and commenced trading as a betting operator using telephone lines. An internet web site in Swedish and English was launched in 1999 then Unibet International was granted a license and established an office in Malta. In 2001 the second version of Unibet’s web site was launched and translated into 12 languages and now has customers in more than 50 countries.2003 saw the updated web site launch with new products including live betting and the online casino products. The company has grown to over 4.1 million worldwide customers in over 150 countries. With constant growth as a staple of the company the giant has had a remarkable year reporting an impressive 67 percent year-on-year increase in profits after tax for 2009. Profit before tax for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 8.7 million, GBP which was up from a loss of 300 000 GBP for the same period in 2008, while its profits before tax for the full-year almost tripled to reach 28.9 million GBP. Petter Nylander CEO of Unibet was excited by the report and stated, "Another all-time high in active customers and in gross winnings revenues in the sports book together with a high gross winnings margin resulted in a strong fourth quarter for 2009. Another important step for Unibet has been our decision to participate in the global sports book business-to-business market and offer our proprietary sports book and risk management services to external customers. During the fourth quarter, we made an early redemption of the Euro bond and expect to save between four to five million euros in finance costs during the facility’s duration compared to holding the bond to maturity. This saving includes early redemption costs of 1.2 million GBP that have been charged to the consolidated income statement in the fourth quarter of 2009." Nylander added, " During the first six weeks of 2010, we see good growth in the business with live betting as an important driving force."

 

 

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Selective filtering of internet content is not a new concept but a recently launched internet provider service in the U.K. has put a different spin on the idea. U.K. Internet Service Provider Tibboh has decided to introduce a system to categorise around three billion internet addresses including, online casinos, and poker rooms. Social networking sites are also included with restricted age limits not unlike those employed by the British Board of Film Classification. Tibboh says it is the first service to offer safer, secure, mobile internet access for children and young people. When at home, at school or with friends, this service allows children unlimited mobile internet access with suitable sites for their age. Tibboh has a rating for everything on the net including films, games, video clips, e-books, websites and music. Parents will be happy because they can rest assured with this latest filtering technology they know what their children are view will be safe and appropriate. Tibboh uses the Becta-approved Netsweeper system, in it's enhanced introduction service a proven and secure system that is one of the most respected web filtering systems available. The Independent newspaper recently reported when implemented, the web pages involved would be given an age certificate from “U” to “18” ensuring that minors cannot access restricted content. A unique login for each user will give parents control over social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace keeping the underage away from unsuitable pages. David Miles, Director of the Family Online Safety Institute, said in an interview with The Independent, “Parents are looking for a commonality between DVD and film classification and the net, and Tibboh should be commended for this." There was some concern that the censoring of web sites that both adults and children take interest in may be too severe and detract from the usefulness of the system.

 

 

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The Czech Republic is proposing an amendment to it's gambling laws that if passed will ban foreign online betting companies from advertising their products in the country. According to the Association of Betting Service Providers Czech tax laws require gambling companies operating in the country to make charitable contributions of up to 20 percent of revenues on top of normal taxes. This situation is giving licensed companies operating in Europe catering to Czech clients, a clear advantage. The spokesperson for the Finance Ministry, Radek Ležatka, said, "These foreign online betting companies have no license from the Finance Ministry, and they pay no taxes in the Czech Republic, so we therefore support banning advertisement of foreign companies here," With this possible move the online gambling industry has quoted the E. U.' Parliament report, "The EU internal market should not be taken as the basis for regulating [the gambling] industry. Rules governing online gambling should not be laid down by the EU, as member states are quite capable of regulating the industry themselves," Czech authorities and foreign gambling companies have differing interpretations on the E.U. ruling. The director of the Association of Betting Service Providers, Marek Herman, said, "The European Court decided that the national governments of EU member states are entitled to prohibit in their territories illegal gambling operators. We expect the government to take clear and effective steps that will lead to the removal of ... foreign companies that profit in the Czech Republic without paying fees," CEO of the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood, commented, "If someone in the Czech Republic is playing poker through a company based in Malta, are they crossing the border? The question is where the gambling takes place, where the company is based and licensed or where the consumer is based. Companies argue one way, and governments argue another,"

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The prairie province of Manitoba Canada which is almost right in the middle of the North American continent has decided it will consider allowing it's citizens to gamble online.

Speaking from Winnipeg the provincial capital Manitoba Lotteries Minister Steve Ashton said, "We're looking at it, but no decision has been made. There will probably be a decision sometime this year," Ashton added, "Clearly this is on the agenda. We're going to look at it from all angles." The government is considering getting into the online gaming business in order to offer players a trustworthy alternative to offshore sites. Ashton's government portfolio is considering setting up its own website or partnering with other provinces on a common site that would offer online versions of casino games.

The lure of increased funds from the taxes was mentioned but for the most part the tack that the government is taking is that players in Manitoba would have a site that provides safeguards like age checks, transfer limits and secure payment. Ashton commented, "The vast majority of people if they are involved in gaming would prefer a regulated site, I would think," CEO of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, John Borody, said, "Let's not put our heads in the sand. It is out there. Let's look at opportunities here. There's an opportunity to intervene and that can only be done through a government site," adding, "The issue for us is how we intervene when somebody's having problems." Government run gaming sites are becoming legal in other provinces in Canada.

British Columbia Provincial Lotteries has operated some online games for over five years now and will soon be offering casino games like roulette, blackjack and poker. The Quebec government recently approved Loto-Quebec to offer online gaming starting with poker and sports betting. Ontario the province next door to Manitoba is also looking at legalizing and offering online gambling to players. The Federal government has not commented or moved on the online gambling issue.

 

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Ladbrokes has been finding the time to have a little bit of fun with the upcoming election in the United Kingdom and is getting a chance to take a dig at the current government. After being committed to making a difference in the online gambling environment in the U.K. and in Europe the firm is now trying in a tongue and cheek way to make a difference in the political arena. In Ladbroke's shops it's new and latest advertisements, are featured. The first of which shows a Tony Blair look alike betting against Gordon Brown. The highly topical British general election adds a reason to smile for people recently stalled by the British economy. The campaign created by Alison Jackson, the photographer famous for other look alike advertising shoots, and who three years ago produced a spoof image of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair pulling a Christmas cracker for Schweppes, Jackson has been commissioned to produce a series of film ads playing on the election and the upcoming World Cup of football. The first clip is 45 seconds long where a look alike of Tony Blair is "caught" on shaky hand-held camera footage going into a Ladbrokes betting shop to place a hefty bet on David Cameron to win the election. " I always back the winner, you know," says look alike "Blair" to the bookie taking his bet. When leaving the character pushes over a life size photo cut out of his former Chancellor. The three month campaign, called "What are the Odds?", and will include at least six films with "look alike" celebrities. It is great to see that public humour is being tickled as it also takes a clean swipe at the Brown administration with maybe a little business thrown in for a sobering moment. Ladbrokes online operations had to leave the U.K. because of the current government, now maybe Gordon Brown will have to leave office in part because of Ladbrokes.

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