In the USA the legal saga continues with various States placing the legality of online gambling in a position of ambiguity. No one is sure what to expect or what is really going on especially in the state of Kentucky.

The state of Kentucky seized domain names in an attempt to force online gambling operators to stop their activities in that state. The government of Kentucky claimed that these domain names were a vehicle by which patrons could access international gambling sites and therefore break the law. The state abandoned it's efforts when it was ruled they did not have jurisdiction to proceed in this aggressive way.

Recently though they have re-established their claims of jurisdiction over the international domain names by appealing the ruling to the Kentucky Supreme Court. The reason the state says is that some of these domains are owned by American citizens who are as yet unidentified.

The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association has championed the cause of operators and has repeatedly requested that lawyers for the state reveal the identities of the American they say are owners these domain names.

Those requests continue to be ignored. In a statement by the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association it was summed up, "Lawyers representing the commonwealth of Kentucky have refused to name any new individuals targeted in their attempt to seize ownership of 141 Internet domain names, all related to online gambling, and then transfer them to the state," "Despite numerous requests from attorneys representing the industry’s trade associations, the commonwealth’s attorneys have sternly declined to identify anyone."

The chairman of iMEGA, Joe Brennan Jr., stated bluntly, “These lawyers lost a very public battle with us in the Court of Appeals, and probably sense the same result from the State Supreme Court, so they’ll do anything to keep this thing alive. They were counting on a big payday from our members, in the form of settlements to get their own property back, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Since they don’t get one nickel from the state to pursue this, it’s clear that the drive for big money has taken over, and any sense of fair play or due process has gone out the window.”

 



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The Association of Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media in Germany commissioned a study to see how online gambling is progressing in that country. The survey results revealed that attempts to ban online gambling in order to protect state monopolies have not significantly curtailed demand from German Internet players. A study of the activity last year showed that 2.2 million Germans used the net to place wagers. The latest report revealed that only 2 million people were using the internet to punt on sports, play poker, or buy lottery tickets. The study noted that by gender, a little more than 1.7 million German males, and only 300,000 females, gambled online during the represented year. Women favoured lotteries, with lady gamblers making up 64 percent of the gamblers in this sector, compared with 57 percent of the men who gambled on the lotteries. Lottery gaming was the most popular, played by 59 percent of all web gamblers with poker second at 22 percent and sports betting third at 18 percent. The figures are relatively unchanged from last year, when 700,000 played the lotteries, 430,000 Germans played online poker and other casino games, and 500,000 put their money into sporting events, with 96 percent of those betting on Bundesliga matches and other major soccer events.

Achim Berg the executive spokesperson for Bitkom, said the report is an indication of the popularity of online gambling in Germany, and called upon the lawmakers of Germany to modernise the country's gambling laws when they meet again next March 2010. Berg commented that, "The current betting scandal in football has clearly demonstrated that the German ban only paves the way for a thriving black market," adding, "We must ensure that the same high standards apply for both public and private providers," as he requested a state licensing regime. A recent market study of the German gambling market predicts that it will grow from the current 2.2 billion euros a year to approximately 5 billion euros by 2010.

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The State of North Carolina in the U.S.A. has decided to permit online gambling within it's borders, which as in other states in America will have some limitations. The big one being they will not offer prizes that are cash based. The service is provided mostly by Internet Cafes, and a judge has ordered authorities to leave those businesses alone and allow them to skirt the current law regarding online gambling. The courts have determined the internet cafes are not breaking any rules by running online video poker and slots. The gaming parlours are offering other incentives to play like free computer or phone time.

The State law still prohibits online video poker or slots for cash. Gambling operators sued the government of North Carolina over the right to let tribal casinos offer online video poker saying that the laws there violated the Federal laws for Tribal casinos.

Regulations regarding the use of computers for gambling are now in a grey zone with clarification needed for the law to be effective. In the mean time authorities have been told to look the other way and keep in mind that this is a temporary situation until more is done to make the laws definitive. The internet cafes are pleased with the current status saying they hope their businesses can make a profit from the activity. The owners are offering prizes that in some cases can be redeemed for cash or traded for other 'gifts.'

The Attorney for the Town of Franklin North Carolina, John Henning, Jr., said, “For the moment it’s legal to operate machines like that,”

This ruling may be short lived as in other states like Texas and Florida, where local officials seem hesitant to accept the loop holes presented in current laws and continue to raid outlets and confiscate computers used for online gambling. It is the same all over America where the laws of the country are interpreted differently in various states and it won't change until the Federal government regulates online gambling everywhere.

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The Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the United Kingdom is expected to unveil a new proposal to upgrade the existing regulations regarding offshore online gambling operations. A review commissioned to look into how overseas operators might be more accountable to the U.K.'s regulatory system with items such as "securing fair contributions from overseas licensed operators towards the cost of regulation" on the agenda. Increased concerns about the extent of match-fixing in various sports prompted the report which is expected to help ensure more information is provided by offshore operators about suspicious betting patterns. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Gambling Commission in the U.K. produced to report together in expectations of getting a "secondary licensing", regime established. It is not expected to use it to force overseas operators to pay the statutory horse racing levy. Sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe assured horse racing operators that this will not stop debate over the future of the tax on online gambling operators and when the review was commissioned he said, "getting a fairer deal for U.K. operators" was one of his "top priorities". Displeasure was noted from the government of the U.K. when William Hill and Ladbrokes moved operations offshore after concessions were granted to the industry. The move cost the horse racing industry an estimated £4.2m, and the overall take from the tax on bookmakers' gross profits was £93m in 2008-09, down 20% on the previous year. With a new system, offshore bookmakers would also have to be licensed in the U.K. If companies do not comply they would be banned from advertising in Britain.

Clive Hawkswood, CEO of The Remote Gambling Association, which represents major online gambling operators, said, although operators would be willing to listen to the proposal, "The reason our companies are offshore is not because of the Gambling Commission, but because of tax. If they want to go for this dual licensing approach, we'd have to sit down and work through the details. But none of that is undo-able."

 

 

 

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Based in Gibraltar, 888 Holdings Plc., has signed an agreement to purchase Wink Bingo for as much as £60 million to upgrade 888's presence in this growing area of the online gambling market. Wink's current owners Daub Ltd, will receive an initial payment of £11 million plus a payout of up to £48.7 million in the second quarter of 2011 depending on performance, with a final total of £59.7 million which translates into about $96 million USD.

Chief Executive Officer of 888 Holdings, Gigi Levy, commented that the purchase of Wink Bingo will help the company expand its online footprint "in the lucrative U.K. market". This is 888's second acquisition, of a bingo operation buying Globalcom Ltd. for $43.4 million back in March of 2007. Bingo is thought to be the future new growth area for the online gambling industry. 888 was forced by American regulators to cease operations in that country shredding it's market value three years ago. Levy thinks that the company will once again have a chance in the future U.S. market should the country revamp it's current ban on online gambling.

Wink Bingo came on strong in early 2008 and soon became a valued asset with great brand recognition. Wink Bingo attracted more than 60,000 active players a month and generated revenues of £15 million and pre-tax profits of £1.3 million in the 11 months prior to 30 November. Gala Coral, PartyGaming and Gamesys are all major players in the online bingo market and now with the Wink acquisition 888 will be more competitive. Foxy Bingo which is owned by Cashcade was bought by PartyPoker for £96 million last July after 888 lost it's bid for that company. Levy was quoted in the Times Online, as saying, ''They see it (bingo) as a social rather than a gambling experience.'' adding, while the majority of players were in the U.K., there was room for attracting more players in Spain and Scandinavia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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Treasure Nile, a popular progressive slot has proven to be a great river of wealth for a Belgian online gambler. A member of the Jackpot Factory Group the All Slots Online Casino was the vehicle for the big 131,076.71 euro win. Warm congratulations were sent to the big winner player David R., by the casino. The casino uses the award winning Microgaming casino software and is consistently giving customers new and exciting slots to play as well as big bonuses.

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StanleyBet International was established in 1997, and is Europe’s leading cross-border retail sports betting company with a total of over 1,400 outlets. They are licensed in the UK, Croatia, Romania and Malta and have created a unique cross-border business model which is compatible with European law. Stanleybet International continues to champion the right to free trade and campaigns for a regulated cross-border market which adheres to the principles of the European Union.

Italy’s Abruzzo region was recently hit hard by a devastating earthquake leaving many people homeless and it's infrastructure in shambles. StanleyBet International has come to the region's rescue with a large donation of funds to enable the area to recover. This good will gesture is one the Italian people of the area are very thankful for. The earthquake that rocked the region last April was the worst experienced in thirty years.

The British bookmaker StanleyBet will help victims of the earthquake by donating 1.3 million Euros that will go towards the construction of a new school in the village of Arista. This is the largest contribution made so far by a foreign company and will get the primary school reopened by the start of the new term in 2010. It will accommodate ninety students in thirteen classrooms and allow children in the area to resume their education after an eight month absence. The managing director for StanleyBet International, John Whittaker, commented on the donation, “We have very close links in Italy as well as employing a significant number of Italian nationals within our business. After such a tragic event, we felt it was incumbent on us to help in any way we could and, as a result, we decided to fund the rebuilding of the school.”

Enzo Lucci, the Mayor for Arista, was pleased to comment on the charitable donation from StanleyBet, “We are very grateful to StanleyBet for its generous contribution and making the new school a reality – it means that our children will now have a building in which to learn.”

 

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Prism Casino powered by Real Time Software has brought to the consumer a new set of games to play. The Prism Casino is an online casino that since its creation has brought quality and continuous improvement to the online player. Prism Casino announced recently it will offer players even more selection to choose from. The newest additions are three exciting five reel slot games with the latest in innovative software features. Two of the newest game additions Naughty or Nice and Santa Strikes Back are Christmas themed slots with incredible graphics and sound. Santa Strikes Back is the sequel to the popular online slot Rudolph's Revenge, with intensive adventures that are going to have slot machine lovers playing for hours. These new slot games offer new free game features, bonuses and special jackpots making these the most exciting games ever for the slot lover.

Naughty or Nice is a five reel slot machine that is sure to have slot players singing Christmas carols all year long. Naughty or Nice is played with 50 lines and a max bet of $5 per line. It offers a Naughty or Nice Free Feature where 10 free games are awarded and prizes are doubled. Naughty or Nice comes with a Progressive Jackpot feature which is randomly activated, regardless of the amount being wagered.

Santa Strikes Back is the sequel to the famous Rudolph's Revenge slot adventure. In Rudolph's Revenge, Rudolph triesto take Christmas and the North Pole away from Santa Claus. In the Santa Strikes Back offering, Santa manages to get back up on his feet and gives Rudolph a run for the money. Santa Strikes Backs feature great fights between Santa and Rudolph and offers large payouts and two free game options. Prism Casino in its attempt to keep customers coming back keeps upgrading their games and makes sure it continuously offers new and exciting games to it's portfolio.

 

 

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According to the U.K.'s Sunday Times the private equity giant Apollo from the U.S.A. is planning a last minute take over of U.K. bookmaker and bingo operator Gala Coral with a financial restructuring plan. Apollo's proposition is to pay £250m (€281.6m) in exchange for a 50 per cent share of the company. This is the latest episode in the bid for controlling interest of Gala, which is owned by the private equity firms Candover, Cinven and Permira. There were reports recently that the Blackstone Group was also interested in acquiring the Gala Coral assets. A group of the gaming company’s junior lenders were reportedly looking to take control of Gala also. Apollo would have majority voting rights, should the deal be accepted, in effect giving Apollo control. Senior lending partners would receive the offered funds with junior lending partners receiving the remaining fifty percent of shares. Gala has run into difficulties of late due to unexpected taxes and new changes in the regulations in the U.K. Gala has a debt load of 2.9 billion euros which combined with the recession and lower consumer spending has made the debt almost unmanageable.

Executive Chairman Neil Goulden,said,"Given the Group's strong competitive position and very solid cash flows, we continue to believe that a consensual restructuring is a viable and realistic prospect and I will continue to lead and facilitate this process with the engagement of all stakeholder groups,"

"The Board has received a number of offers and is currently discussing these with the Senior Lenders Coordinating Committee...we would expect to make significant progress in the coming weeks and be able to update on progress early in the New Year,"

Apollo is familiar with the gambling industry with one of the world's largest casino operators Harrah's Entertainment within it's portfolio. Apollo bought bonds in the debt-laden casino chain. Along with Blackstone Group and TPG, the firm bought Harrah's in a $27 billion buy-out in January of 2008.




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The new iPhone has been a great boon to those people who are on the move and want to keep up with the latest news weather and sports. The application list for the iPhone grows by the day and now is starting to include apps for online gambling. Having an iPhone is like having your own casino at our fingertips literally. The touch screen feature makes this telephone a sleek and graceful addition to any ones technical arsenal.

Back in 2005 Ladbrokes was one of the first online casinos to offer it's products to the mobile gaming market, which has grown to include 15 casino and slots games, all available on iPhones. The great graphics and massive memory make the iPhone a chosen tool for mobile gambling by many tech savvy individuals.

Sports punters are usually busy people with lots on their schedules so Ladbrokes has created a sports betting facility to keep up with the ever changing gambling habits of the wagering public. Developed by mobile technology specialists, Mfuse, the new application will expand the opportunities to punt to the growing group of iPhone users.

Ladbrokes has over 25,000 active mobile account holders and is confident the trend will continue. With a 50% rise in active mobile phone users and taking into account the popularity of the iPhone along with more complex and smoother mobile online gambling web offerings the increase shows no signs of slowing down.

Ladbrokes Managing Director of Remote Gaming, John O'Reilly, said, "Mobile betting and gaming will be a key driver of growth in the sector in the next few years - the Ladbrokes iPhone application is another step forward in making mobile betting and gaming easier to access." When one considers the mobile cell phone use in the world today has grown exponentially over the last few years it makes perfect sense for online gambling operators to create applications that will enable the on the move business person to follow their favourite team or bet at their convenience whenever and wherever they want.

 

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