During the hearings today in the USA regarding online gambling regulation the representative for YouBet said that the deal with Churchill Downs racetrack was not a done deal and Mike Brodsky, Executive Chairman of YouBet.com said he represented YouBet and no other entity. 

According to reports in the Los Angeles Business Journal this is definitely the case. The Journal states that at least five separate shareholders of YouBet have filed lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Churchill Downs is underpaying for their company. The actions claim that YouBet executives did not uphold their fiduciary duty to shareholders because they entered an agreement that undervalued the company, they are seeking damages for this. The merger has been approved by the boards of both YouBet and Churchill Downs, and is awaiting approval of YouBet shareholders and federal regulators. The discussion offered by the YouBet chairman Brodsky during the hearings was one that questioned the legality of online horseracing in the USA. The continued availability of online gambling on the horses was supposedly made illegal by the Department of Justice back in 2006. Brodsky pointed at the fact that 88% of online horse racing wagers are transmitted across state lines electronically. Chairman Frank questioned the legality of the practice. The $126.4 million offering from Churchill Downs for YouBet would enable the company to tap into new technologies needed as more people to place bets online. The deal, which is expected to close within the first half of 2010, will result in annual cost savings of about $10 million, Churchill said.

 Shareholders of Youbet will get 0.0598 of Churchill common stock and 97 cents in cash for each Youbet share they own. They will own 16 percent of the combined company after the deal's close. Churchill Downs owns horse racing tracks in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and Louisiana that host such high-profile races as the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. If the deal doe not go through as expected it is a sure bet that YouBet will benefit from regulations on internet gambling in the USA.




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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December 3rd 2009 started the committee thinking about the possibility of regulating online gambling in the USA. The live streaming archive is fascinating to watch as each person comes to the table with an agenda and the committee listens and asks questions seemingly without any bias. The against group and the pro group were well spoken and concise.

Internet gambling was the only topic discussed although jurisdiction was also mentioned. The House Financial Services Committee, is Chaired by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) who has all along tried to bring the issue of internet gambling to the forefront and has been delayed by the severe financial crisis in the economy being dealt with by the House Financial Services Committee. This hearing must feel very satisfying for him as well as supporting congressmen. As was evidenced in his opening remark, “It is nice to be able to think legislatively about other things besides the financial crisis, which has consumed this Committee since September of 2008.” In a comment that reflected his reasoning for regulation, Frank added, “There are a whole range of things on the internet that we would not like underage people to use. The notion that because some people abuse something, you prevent everyone from doing it is as great of a threat to the individual as any cause I have ever seen.”

The ninety minute hearing saw seven witnesses from various concerns from the native bands to the bank. Each had five minutes to express their issues for and against. Regulation seemed be the majority vote for all the obvious reasons. This was a good beginning and hopefully the momentum will carry through and the USA will get a grip on the idea of internet gambling.

The Committee’s Ranking Member, Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), was vocal in his opposition to the proposed regulatory system saying “I believe that internet gambling is, has been, and will continue to be a substantial threat to our youth. Any economic benefits from taxing internet gambling would be more than offset by the harm it causes young people.”

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Harrahs is a name in gambling known all over the globe. Now with the addition of Harrahs new Interactive Division patrons of the trusted casino will be able to play casino games on the internet from everywhere that it is legal except for Germany and the USA. There are few gamblers who haven't heard of the famous Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, well now that symbol of high rolling poker and luxurious casino games is online.

The web site offers a wide selection of games such as Baccarat, Three Card Poker, Craps, Roulette, Caribbean Poker, and Blackjack. Themed from the images of ancient Rome this online casino is going to be a big hit.

Dragonfish casino software will drive the web site with exciting graphics and the feel of the iconic Caesars Palace on the strip in Vegas. For a limited time new players at the new casino can get a huge £500 matched bonus on their first deposit. The VIP program is also being tipped to top any others offered online, with huge rewards for players. Incentive enough to download the software and get playing your favourite games. Harrahs positioned it's new venture in Montreal Quebec Canada close to the USA but out of the country. Mitch Garber former head of PartyGaming runs the show for Harrah's Interactive. Harrah's Interactive Entertainment, is the subsidiary that is overseeing the company's efforts to expand the World Series of Poker overseas and online.

After completing a four-year run as the World Series of Poker's driving force World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack recently resigned his role with the tournament. According to a statement from Harrahs, " the World Series of Poker remains the market leader with this year's tournament exceeding all expectations, and we are well-positioned for the future. There is no intention at this time to replace the Commissioner role,"

Now that the Caesar's Palace brand is making it's way in the online world of casinos it won't be long before other offerings are put forth by this progressive and leading edge company.

 

 

 

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It wasn't that long ago that the online poker world was shaken up by the scandal involving the Absolute Poker network.

Tokwiro Enterprises which is solely owned by Joseph Tokwiro Norton runs two poker rooms Absolute and Ultimate Bet from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory did admit problems existed. As of November 2008, they jointly operate under the name CEREUS Poker which is one of the ten largest online poker networks in the world. In October of 2007 widespread Internet allegations of cheating led to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission beginning an investigation. It concluded that there was cheating and fined the company Absolute Poker $500,000. The cardroom also refunded $1.6 million to players affected by the incident.

UltimateBet had a cheating scandal similar in nature to that of Absolute Poker. In May 2008, the company released a statement about the scandal, claiming that cheating had taken place from March 2006 to December 2007. Cheating actually began in January 2005, long before Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG acquired UltimateBet from the previous owners.

After just a short time eCOGRA, the standards watchdog for the online gambling industry, has announced that the Cereus online poker network has met the required standards for its Certified Software accreditation seal.

Quad Dimensions, the network's software provider has made new key product developments and substantial improvements to its security and safety measures designed to protect players.

The professional eCOGRA auditing and technical staff has put CEREUS through rigorous testing encompassed every aspect of the company’s software with the Cereus software achieving full compliance of eCOGRA's benchmark practices.

Compliance Manager at eCOGRA Sean Roberts, stated, "Cereus' management’s commitment to compliance, specifically player safety, facilitated an efficient review and certification process,"

Chief operating officer, for Tokwiro Enterprises, Paul Leggett, said, "Their inspection team was extraordinarily thorough, looking at a wide range of elements in our software. We are proud that our product passed the tough requirements to achieve this important accreditation. We have learned a great deal from eCOGRA, and we respect and support their ongoing efforts to make the online poker industry more accountable,"

 

 

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Microgaming is well known in the online gambling world for it's interesting and creative software that performs flawlessly for the player and the operator. The Isle of Man located company has been on the forefront on the industry for a long time. Now and without surprise the firm is being honoured with the 2009 Isle of Man Newspapers Award for Innovation and Independent Thinking. Last year Microgaming's Chief Executive Officer, Roger Raatgever, was named Business Person of the Year and Microgaming received the Company of the Year award. In 2007 the New Business and Programme Development prize was awarded to the firm.

 

Microgaming has been lauded for it's efforts in promoting responsible gambling worldwide as well as locally with the establishment of the Microgaming Health and Care Trust. The company's research and development department have come up with many inventive 'firsts' for gaming enthusiasts. The Isle of Man became Microgaming's home in 2001. The island is known for it's intelligent work force with high IT skill levels. Mr. Raatgever, commented on the award, “We are honoured to be recognised for our innovation and independent thinking as these attributes have been central to our growth over the last decade.
"This award recognises our ability to harness the creativity and passion of our team to inspire the most inventive and cutting-edge games on the market. The Isle of Man is a dynamic place both to work and live, and is a leading jurisdiction in the e-Gaming industry. We are proud to call it home. We look forward to playing an ongoing role in contributing to the economic and social success of the Island for a long time to come.” The media recognition brings about a certain pride within the company as well as within the community that the business supports. Microgaming's success brings with it a prosperous outlook for the people of the Isle of Man.

 

 

 

 

 

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The banking system in the USA has enough on it's plate for now. They were part of the recent request by several business sectors in the States for the postponement of the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act. The banks are the ones that are to enforce the prohibition by not allowing transactions related to gambling on the internet.

Congressman Barney Frank, Kentucky politicians, horseracing organizations and the Poker Players Alliance seem to be garnering all the credit for getting the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve to postpone the implementation of the UIGEA. The regulations and definitions of illegal Internet gambling are vague at best say the banking institutions which poses problems for the administration of the UIGEA demands.

In a joint statement by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department they publicly declared, "The agencies acknowledge some of the challenges regulated entities are experiencing with the act's definition of 'unlawful Internet gambling," "Moreover ..., several members of Congress have indicated interest in revising the Act.
The agencies are thus persuaded that a limited extension of the compliance date for regulated entities is appropriate,"

Named among the submissions the Fed and Treasury considered were Wells Fargo, the American Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association and a large group of businesses associated with the gaming industry in America. CreditCards.com reported in it's latest issue an evaluation of what the financial organizations are up against, "a thicket of confusing and often contradictory definitions and rules." Among other things, the UIGEA never got around to defining the term "illegal Internet gambling."

Of course there was opposition to the delay in implementation of the law from the usual suspects the Republicans. In a letter sent to the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., they maintained, "Simply delaying the compliance date serves no interest except that of the Internet gambling enterprises that have long evaded American gambling laws and will continue to do so until effective enforcement is in place,"

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The internet has changed from being something just young people used to keep in touch and play video games to something the older generation has taken to as their own means of connecting. Most land based casinos are frequented by with the aging gambler who has the time and some disposable income to play the slots or poker and many of the other casino games. Now as the web becomes more accessible to more and more people retired pensioners and the elderly are learning to use the laptops that their grandchildren have given them for Christmas and are joining facebook and other social networking groups in an effort to stay in touch. The skill of being able to negotiate the mouse has created a new consumer group for online gambling, the senior.

"Elderly people are beginning to understand that not knowing how to use a computer is like living in a country where you don't understand the language," said, Keith Cleaver who is sixty three and a teacher of computer skills to seniors. A University of Toronto professor says that playing online keeps the brain tuned up and keeps aging minds sharp and alert. The social aspect of online chat while playing poker, bingo, keno, or other casino games adds to the seniors feeling of being connected and not isolated by their age. Solitary games played alone at home are not nearly as stimulating for older people as connecting to online sites that offer a variety and greater range of information for the new older consumer. To be able to stay on top of a game and talk with friends while doing it has a positive effect on the brain's memory functions.

Ronald Baecker is Professor of Computer Science, at the University of Toronto has gathered a group of fourteen researchers to delve into a project called TAG, Technologies for Aging Gracefully and are planning to begin testing an online poker game that would allow seniors to chat and strategise with a partner online. Online gambling is a new sport for the older demographic and it is sure to be made easier as online casinos see the trend develop.

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Gala Coral Group is a victim of the latest round of changes in the world of Bingo in the U.K. Between the Gambling Act 2005 and the Smoking Ban land based bingo halls are taking a beating and efforts to keep the bingo player coming out are failing, creating a serious problem when there is a building to maintain and a staff to pay. Gala Coral Group has been looking at the online aspect of the bingo business but has not moved fast enough to capitalize on the trend. Online bingo is showing the most rapid growth in the online gambling industry. Taxation is a big issue which is crippling the land based bingo operators. The recent hike in GPT by 46% and the removal of VAT has caused much controversy in the U.K. parliament, considering the fact that land based bingo is the softest form of gambling but is now the highest taxed.

Gala Coral Group staved off a hostile take over bid by Harrahs Entertainment the large American gambling operation about four years ago. Now Gala is again looking for an influx of cash to keep their heads above water and are again being looked at by an American investment company. Blackstone Group has made a bid of £300m (€332.56m) in return for a 40 to 60 per cent stake, in the Gala Coral Group operation. According to rumours in the financial world there are eight other private equity firms looking at Gala assets.

Blackstone is a leading global alternative asset manager and provider of financial advisory services listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Total fee earnings assets under Blackstone's management was $96.3 billion as of September 30, 2009. Services by Blackstone include the management of corporate private equity funds, real estate funds, hedge funds, funds of funds, debt funds, separately managed accounts, collateralized loan obligation vehicles and closed-end mutual funds. If accepted, Blackstone’s bid would disrupt an agreement drawn up between Gala’s junior lenders and its current private equity owners, Cinven, Permira and Candover. The agreement was intended to keep the company’s gaming and bingo divisions together. This bid for control may not transpire and Gala Coral will remain out of American hands for a while longer.

 

 

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes will give us a great game to watch and wager on this Sunday November 29, 2009 in the open to the elements McMahon Stadium in Calgary Alberta Canada. According to the weather forecast it will be a sunny day with relatively warm temperatures of 10 c, good for Canada in November.

Roughriders' head coach Ken Miller who at sixty eight years old speaks from the heart, said, "This is really a dream come true," adding, "Being a head coach in a Grey Cup game . . . I can't think of anything better, or anything higher, or anything else I'd rather be doing right now." Quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders Darian Durant, who once played at the University of North Carolina in the USA said, "I've definitely played in front of more people, played against some first-round picks or whatever, but this is for all the marbles,"

Statistics say the Montreal Quebec Alouettes are a superior football team. They are favoured in the odds by books online. One really outstanding asset for the team is quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who's record for the year has been outstanding with 396 completions in 550 attempts, 4,639 yards, 26 touchdowns, six interceptions. Marc Trestman the Alouettes' head coach says that Calvillo's work ethic has paid off as the quarterback seems to get better with age.

With respect to his opponents in the big game Saskatchewan's defensive end Stevie Baggs, said, "Those guys deserve to be favourites, just because of their record alone,"

The Roughriders are known for their back to the wall performances and will be sure to fill the bill as a team that gets going when things get tough. In this case the underdog may have a vicious bite and could very well pull the rabbit out of the hat this time.

There seems to be a weak link in the Alouettes' armour and they may not be as strong on the field as their glorious history suggests. They are just 1-5 in the championship game and have lost in their last four attempts for the cup. McMahon Stadium's capacity of 46 thousand people is sure to be filled and those with an eye on wagering on this game are going with either their heads on the Alouettes or their hearts on the Roughriders.

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Players Investment Club's chief executive officer Chuck Kidd has publicly stated that the payment dispute between the PIC Club and the Merge online poker network seems to be headed for the courts. Outstanding funds owed to players has now been taken care of although the PIC Club still claims fees that are outstanding and has handed the matter over to it's lawyers to collect.

The recent action by Kidd to apparently get Merge Online Poker Network to own up to it's obligations advising members that, "This issue has now been turned over to the lawyers for further collection."

Mr. Kidd has made the issue a very public one, "Since early July, I have been trying to get the Merge Network to pay not only the arrears on fees that were owed to PIC Club but also the money to fund the Players cash out account," Kidd was scathing in his e mail address stating, "During this time I made many concessions to Merge in an attempt to get them to pay. At every promise they made to pay the arrears and acknowledging that the money was indeed owed they kept stalling and sending me the 'Checks in the Mail' story over and over. Adding, "One excuse even involved their CFO being caught in a Typhoon in Japan. It soon became evident that they had no intention of paying their debt and worse they were going to stiff the players. I sought council with many people I respect in this industry and to a person they agreed that I needed to make this issue known. Not only as a possible means to collect our funds but also to expose that Merge was either financially in trouble or was operating unethically,"

Even though it is rumoured that Merge has only paid out approximately one third of the funds owed to PIC Club the public exposure seems to have paid off for the PIC Club.

"Well they finally sent enough money to cover the players cash outs. It is unfortunate that it took shaming them in a Public Arena for them to do what was right by the players and the attacks on PIC Club and I personally are still going on." Mr. Kidd said recently.

 

 

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