According to recent reports Ladbrokes the betting giant from the U.K. has decided it will sell off it's land based betting shops located in Italy. Ladbrokes has agreed to a deal with an affiliate of Italian gaming and betting business Cogetech. The €5.25million price tag will give Ladbrokes a break from mounting losses incurred by running the retail betting shop chain in Italy and allow Ladbrokes to concentrate on it's online business ventures. Cogetech will now maintain the entire Italian retail estate of 82 shops and 51 corners and Ladbroke's head office in Milan. The bookmaker’s Italian retail business posted a loss of £9.9m during 2009 experiencing a significant downturn with the slumping economy. This is swift action following Ladbroke's appointment of new CEO Richard Glynn even though the move to sell the outlets was announced after posting losses in August of 2009. Finances was reason enough to liquidate the outlets caused by lower revenue growth, the presence of illegal shops, competition and the need for higher capital investment to make a dent in the online gambling market in Italy. The bookmaker has expanded its online operations in Italy with the recent launch of a Ladbrokes poker room on Microgaming's Italian poker network. The company sees the expansion continuing with an online casino and bingo offering coming to a Ladbrokes web site soon as regulations in the opening Italian market continue to evolve. France and Spain are also target markets that Ladbrokes will grow into as countries in Europe open up and regulate the online gambling industry. Ladbrokes recently brokered a deal with French media and television company Canal +. The Spanish land based interests Ladbrokes owns are safe for the time being as it will retain it's joint venture with Spain's Cirsa that has reportedly been doing break even business so far this year. This may not continue if there is not a suitable resolution to expansion in Spain outside of Madrid.

 

 

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When the government of the US decided to ban online gambling within it's borders many internationally recognized and stock market listed online gambling company's assets were effectively shredded. The fall out from the prohibition has shown significant losses of revenue for those who invested in the growing and at that time legal online gambling industry. A legal action has been launched by shareholders in a Delaware USA court to try to recoup some money from two of the Vanguard Group Inc.'s funds. Reuters news agency reported recently that, the company and it's controlling executives allegedly invested the money unwisely in four illegal online gambling operations hosted by offshore companies. In 2008 a similar court case was filed in Manhattan with no success as the presiding judge determined the Vanguard Group was not responsible for shareholder's losses but it was the US government crackdown which ruined the online gambling companies. Similar actions have been filed in Missouri and New York against Kansas City-based American Century Investments and in California against Los Angeles-based Causeway Capital Management LLC. None of these other law suits have been successfully won by New York attorney Thomas Sheridan who wants to see mutual fund companies held accountable. Vanguard International Equity Index Funds and Vanguard Horizon Funds are being sued by Marylynn Hartsel of Florida and Deanna Parker of South Carolina, who seek a class action status on behalf of investors who bought shares in the funds before July 17, 2006. Reuters reports tha the plaintiffs claim that even before the 2006 law was passed, investors from Vanguard should have heeded many warning signs, including a notice in the 2005 prospectus by PartyGaming that its activities were seen as illegal by authorities. Neteller also made it clear in its 2004 prospectus, that online gambling was to be considered an illegal activity in the USA.
The suit contends the investment companies knew they were violating U.S. laws by investing in Sportingbet, Bwin Interactive Entertainment, PartyGaming and Neteller. Vanguard, spokesperson, John Woerth, told Reuters, "We feel it is important to emphasize that Vanguard adheres to the highest ethical standards in every aspect of our business. We believe that the plaintiffs' case is without merit, and we intend to defend the matter vigorously."






 

 

 

 

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The face of gambling is changing rapidly in Australia as a new generation comes into focus and gambling venues vie for a piece of the action from the next wave of gaming enthusiasts. There is the constant competition between traditional forms of gambling such as horse racing and pokies and the new vogue activities such as poker and casino play. It has been estimated that Australians spend $18.2 billion a year on gambling, $11.4 billion of which is on poker machines, and $2.5 billion on racing, with $172 million bet on various sports. Sports betting is showing the greatest expansion with most other gambling activities being the same over the past twenty years. Elmer Funke Kupper, managing director, for Tabcorp which employs about 11,000 people, commented on the gambling state of affairs in Australia, ''The next generation of customers is quite different from our traditional customer base,'' adding, ''They are much more tech savvy, more impatient, and they wager, more as a part of a social interaction.'' The radical changes to gambling being brought on by the online gambling industry and the changing demographic has lead to many questions as to whether or not the horse racing sector will continue to survive and be supported. Numbers are declining and interest is dropping as more popularised forms of gambling eclipse the horse racing venue. Two conferences, the inaugural Australian Racing Conference and the Asian Racing Conference, are being held to answer the questions plaguing racing mostly who will fund the industry. Legal disputes over funding models for the state-based racing bodies have erupted recently with the Productivity Commission producing a draft report, recommending a national approach to funding. Betfair the betting exchange is waiting on a decision from the Federal Court, that will determine if Betfair must pay Racing New South Wales 1.5 per cent of its turnover, which Betfair argues is 60 per cent of its revenue. Andrew Twaits, chief executive officer at Betfair, said, while funding models are determined, racing is at risk of becoming a ''niche gambling product''. Adding, ''I think that unless racing focuses on trying to reclaim its mainstream status in society, then that's a very real risk,''

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Anticipating a better outcome in the recent vote by the National Indian Gaming Association the Morongo Band of California Mission Indians were upset that a motion to block Barney Frank's federal legislative proposal to legalise and regulate online gambling in the USA was defeated. The Indian Country Today reported recently that, "Tribal members of the National Indian Gaming Association voted 27-6 with one abstention to table what was intended as a compromise resolution in response to proposed bills by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and others to legalize and tax online poker." The issue of online gambling has divided tribes with some believing that if legal it will cut into profits gained by Native casinos and poker rooms. There are 440 tribal casinos in 28 states, with the opposing tribes contending that the use of the web for gambling is an opportunity to expand hospitality markets in the regions that need more revenues. Some Indian operators are sitting on the fence saying this is a complex issue that should be thoroughly thought out before committing to action. These sceptical bands "were apparently the tribes who carried the vote to table the motion." Robert Martin, Morongo chairperson, said, “I’m disappointed. Very, very much so. I thought we had the votes to get it done."
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Chief Miko Beasley Denson, commented, “I want to know more. I don’t want to make a decision prematurely,” It was suggested that a study be done to assess impact on Tribal gaming by online gambling legalisation. Most tribal counsels have came to the conclusion that the benefits of working with the Federal government will give the Tribal gambling establishments a much fairer shake should the legalisation eventually come to pass. Lynn Malerba, chairperson for the Mohegan band said, “I don’t believe gaming tribes are opposed to Internet gaming as much as the legislation,” adding in the news article, “We’re looking to protect IGRA. We’re looking to protect tribal-state compacts. Why not help craft the language?”

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In Australia it is illegal to advertise offshore online gambling services to the Australian public. The same holds true in Canada, online gambling website advertising has not been sanctioned by the Federal government in either country. In a recently received email directed to the marketing managers of the clubs organized by National Rugby League in Australia it is revealed that the officials of the League are going to promote an international online poker company. The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 specifically prohibits unregulated foreign gambling companies from providing gambling services to the population of Australia. A report in The Sun-Herald newspaper has exposed that FullTiltPoker.net is a possible advertiser with the National Rugby League, and it's sixteen clubs. Full Tilt Poker will pay a fee of $100,000 for the privilege of having their logo on the web sites of each club. The loophole in the Gambling Act is the .net .com difference. Full Tilt Poker is directing people to the practice poker players site where there is not for real money play going on but some impressive prizes.

Damien Mahoney, an official with the NRL said, “At this stage, they are looking at along-term involvement with an investment of over 100k, incorporating display advertising and brand integration into the content of the sites,” adding in the news article, “However, as this is new territory for the network and a potentially sensitive area, we have proposed that a smaller display campaign be trialed over the next few months. The advertising will only promote their 'practice' site where no money exchanges hands.” confirming the legality of the deal. PokerStars.net, another practice site associated with Poker Stars, a UK online gambling company is also advertising in the Australian sports sector with Cronulla unveiling their new uniforms bearing large badges with the PokerStars.net logo on both sleeves. NRL spokesman John Brady said the FullTiltPoker.net sponsorship deal did not contravene the law because it is advertising the free play web site.

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Operating from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, in Quebec Canada the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has issued licenses to over 50 online gambling operators who between them run more than 250 gaming sites. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is known for its enforcment of the regulations. Adequate compensation was assured by the Commission when patrons were hit by the super user scandal that erupted in some of it's licensed poker rooms a while ago. Maintaining it's strict ethics is something the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is bound to do as it has recently proved with the complete suspension of licensee Grand Prive group. The advisory notice sites the Grand Prive group's failure to file a Material Change Report as the reason for the suspension. Grand Prive group did not inform the Commission that it had recently switched software suppliers. Maricass International Holdings Inc. which is known as Grand Prive Group and it's web locations Bella Vegas, Big Dollar, Casino Grand Bay, Fortune Junction, Grand Bay Casino, Jackpot Wheel, Jupiter Club, Kasino Grand Bay, Lake Palace and Road House Reels. Are all affected by the advisory signed by Murray Marshall, the general counsel of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Grand Prive will be given a second chance to file the appropriate documents that outlines details of it software changes and should it not comply it's licenses will be suspended permanently. The Commission has alerted other online gambling jurisdictions, and the public, with a statement, "the Commission is not responsible for these sites should they continue to operate from another jurisdiction". Microgaming the former software provider may be looking for answers from the Grand Prive group as they were not informed the change in software. Grand Prive is reportedly using BetonSoft software to keep it's operations active, with the prefix 'Bet'. BetonSoft is licensed in the Netherlands Antilles jurisdiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cake Network is a Dutch Antilles based online poker network, in the top ten in the online poker sector. Cake Network is owned by it's parent company Cake Gaming N.V. and is hosted by Cyberluck, a Curacao based Regulating and Gaming Licensing & Hosting provider also licensed in the jurisdiction of the Netherlands Antilles. Other network partners include Sportsbook.com, Red Star Poker and BetUS with the Cake Network currently is at 35 partners including the well attended, Doyles Room which just came on board in 2009. Cake Poker has recently announced that the network would be dropping all players residing in France. This includes every site on the Cake Network such as Doyles Room, the Greek, Sports Interaction, Power Poker and many more casinos and sports books that use the casino or poker platform. Cake has responded with a statement “Due to new French legislation, players in France will not be able to play for real money from April 9th. Players will of course be able to access the Cashier after April 9th so that they can withdraw their funds. We are looking into obtaining the relevant licenses to adhere to the new legislation as a matter of priority and once the circumstances change, we will be in contact to let all players concerned know. We do hope to welcome French players back to our software soon. I apologize for the inconvenience caused.”Basically this looks like a reshuffling of the deck in the French online gambling market. As France becomes a regulated environment for online gambling companies those that want to get a piece of the action are attempting to comply with the new rules set out for the industry there. France is requesting all gambling sites that want to accept players from France to apply and obtain a proper licence. Newly entered text in the law is asking for French players who wish to play at a gambling site, must sign up at the site, only after the site has been licensed by the government. A finalized version of the wording of the law, has gone through the Nation Assembly with approval and will be reviewed by the European Commission before getting the signature of approval from the President at the end of April 2010.

 

 

 

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The newly liberated French online gambling market has spawned a number of spin off benefits for companies other than just the online gambling operations. Media outlets such as television, newspapers and magazines are all garnering business because of the new market. Internet betting firms need to drive customers to their offerings that are on the web so these traditional means of advertising are usually employed in the process. In order to compete Ladbrokes from the UK teamed up with Channel CANAL+ and online betting giant Bwin renewed a partnership with L'Equipe sports news publications. Now Metropole 6 Group, reportedly France's second most watched television network has struck a deal with the French online gambling group Mangas Gaming. These activities are to be subject to the betting companies achieving licensing status with French regulator ARJEL which has yet to begin. The collaboration between M6 and Mangas and it's subsidiaries Everest Poker, Expekt, Bet-at-home and Betclic, will go for four years minimum. Everest and Betclic are to present their services on M6's network of websites, and sponsor poker and sports content across M6's nine digital channels. Nicolas Béraud, Mangas group's chief executive officer, said: "We are delighted about the visibility M6 will provide to our brands and services on both its channels and websites, especially in the poker segment." Managing Director of Metropole 6, Valéry Gerfaud, said: "We have chosen to actively participate in the growth of the online gaming industry by joining our forces to the leading French sports betting and online gambling group and providing our know-how in contents creation and interactivity." In order to keep online gambling in the public eye many companies have successfully made arrangements with large newspaper chains and television networks including Eurosport TV and the The Poker Channel, and the UK interactive television and the internet gambling group NetplayTV.

 

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The authorities in the USA that have been following illegal gambling operations for the past 32 months have now put their investigation into arrest mode. The New York Police Department’s Organised Crime Division have charged 38 individuals with operating illegal online sports gambling businesses. Richard A Brown, Queens District Attorney Brown was backed up by members of the NYPD, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Broward County Sherriff’s Office during the press conference that explained the proceedings.

The defendants allegedly ran online sports betting websites and a toll-free phone number to distribute and collected wagers through out the USA. If the accused are found guilty a prison term of up to twenty five years could be sentenced. It is estimated over $170 million in wagers had been collected during the time the police were investigating the activities of these businesses. Charges will include money laundering, promoting gambling, conspiracy, and enterprise corruption charges. Millions of dollars in property and large quantities of cash have been seized during the raids on the various individuals homes and businesses.

Arrests were made in Arizona. Florida, New York, Louisiana, and Nevada. Modern technology, was the main tool used by the accused operators of the online sports books. Brown revealed there were five gambling websites as far as they knew that were big enough to handle large volumes of wagering from anywhere in the USA. Brown commented, “Unfortunately for the defendants, the law enforcement community is just as adept in using new technology to stop those involved in such criminal pursuits,” adding, “Today’s arrests close down two highly lucrative gambling operations and send a loud and clear message that law enforcement will keep up the pressure.” The pressure should be on the US government to clarify it's position on online gambling and bring needed legislation to the country and make online gambling a regulated and licensed form of entertainment.

 

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Latin America is on the verge of becoming the hottest market in the world for online gamblers. Online gambling operator Vision Media has become the first company in the region to order a white label sports book from software provider OddsMatrix. OddsMatrix Ltd was founded in 2007 by BetBrain Ltd. in the United Kingdom. Registered in Malta 2008 holding a class 2 betting license in Malta. The firm currently has offices in Malta, England, Denmark, China, and Romania. OddsMatrix is a provider of a full service sports betting solution, known commonly as a white label solution. The new operation will be displayed across the Vision Media network of online gambling sites, which includes BetMotion.com, CopacabanaPoker.com, ApostoGano.com, and ApostouGanhou.com, offering a mix of poker, casino and bingo. The manager of business relations at Vision Media, Stefan Sluijter, commented, “Sports betting is an important component of Vision Media’s future growth strategy and we were looking for the right partner to help us deliver this content. We will offer a sports betting service with competitive odds across a comprehensive range of events and markets." The network OddsMatrix software will be available in time for action on soccer's World Cup this year with full integration with the Vision Media platform allowing punters to bet with existing accounts. CEO of EveryMatrix, owner of the OddsMatrix white label solution, Stian Hornsletten, said, “Our partnership with Vision Media will enable them to enhance their overall product offering, and will give EveryMatrix access to Latin America. We’re confident that sports betting will very quickly start to contribute to the growth of the Vision Media business.” OddsMatrix is growing in popularity as the software white label of choice as the list of clients suggests now including Tell Gaming, Chili Gaming, Tower Gaming, Setanta Bet, NoiQ, BetFriends, Best Games, Pepe Games, BeteXpress, Mr123, EuroPoker, Vision Media, BetWize, JuegosLucky, Mermaid Poker, Sun Poker, GUTS.com, Danbook, BetClick, Centrebet, Globet, Oxygen, Zedbet and IASbet.

 

 

 

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