CasinoShare US, is about to launch at a computer near you and players at Grand Mondial will also be provided a new web address for U.S. facing customers. Internet gambling message boards that are primarily aimed at the United States have been suggesting that a major software change is in the works involving Microgaming online casinos. Players and affiliates have reported they are receiving communications that indicate this change. “As of the 1st of June, 2010, play for U.S. players on CasinoShare and Grand Mondial will be moved off the Microgaming platform and we will begin licensing software from a brand new software provider. This new casino, called CasinoShare US, launches on the 17th of May, 2010. "From a player perspective, the migration process will be completely seamless and [they] won't be required to download new software or open a new account. They will utilize their existing accounts and their balances will be transferred." Other groups include the large Casino Rewards group, and Players Palace who were told the new software will "…offer players the same look and feel as the Players Palace Microgaming software they all know and love, as well as all of the features and most of the games they are currently playing at Players Palace. Essentially the branding will be altered to be more US-centric but the gaming experience, including the customer promotions will remain the same." Casino Rewards players received this communication after web sites were made unavailable, “Microgaming is currently updating their casino systems to provide you with a better gaming experience, due to this system upgrade, your casino account will be unavailable until the upgrade completion. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused by this, however, Microgaming will hopefully complete this upgrade quickly, and you will be able to once again access your account and continue to use our great services. “Please try to login again from time to time as these updates should be completed soon. However we do not have an exact timeframe as to how long it will take until all maintenance is completed. It might be that the casino is unavailable for several days.” This is Microgaming distancing itself from the US market so as to not jeopardize it's chances of returning to the States should the prohibition be lifted.



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GTECH G2's second Thought Leadership Seminar was designed to bring legal and online gambling executives together to process the proposed new changes in laws governing the gambling industry in the U.K. Discussions were based on recommendations from the recent Remote Gaming Review commissioned by the previous government. Most participants returned to their respective jurisdictions and businesses with a better understanding of the possible conditions and concerns associated with the online gambling outlook for companies in the United Kingdom and in Europe. Moderator for the Seminar, Peter Wilson, commented, "It was a well informed and open debate about the Consultation proposals," Wilson went on to say, "Despite what quickly appeared at the start as diametrically opposed camps of Simon Burridge, Nick Hawkins and James Hollis from the industry on the one part, and Paul Bolt representing the Government on the other, some common ground emerged." The expert panel, with moderator Peter Wilson, Partner, Memery Crystal, with Simon Burridge, CEO at Virgin Games; Paul Bolt, Director of Sport and Leisure at the DCMS (the key civil servant responsible for gambling); Nick Hawkins, Legal Director & Company Secretary, Danoptra; and James Hollins, Gambling Equity Analyst, Daniel Stewart. The reforms regarding licensing in the U.K. depends largely on the operators' goodwill in applying for the necessary regulatory requirements. The US experience was noted as an example of operator inconsistency. Delegates were all on the same page when they declared that taxation will be the key element. With Paul Bolt unable to advise us of the Treasury's plans there was, as Nick Hawkins put it, an elephant not just in the room but filling it. The ongoing Consultation process was fully examined with a ll the points of view exposed which must be in by the 18th June 2010. If there a massive critical response these poorly thought out new proposals may end up scrapped for a better more equitable system that gives online gambling operators a fighting chance to compete in the challenging market that is expanding at break neck speed all over the planet.

 

 

 

 

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The outcome of the election in the U.K. has produced a coalition government which does in some ways have it's advantages. As a result the new Conservative Liberal Democrat government has announced the appointment of the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP as Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. One of the responsibilities taken on by the new minister will include the management and control of the UK Gambling Commission. Hunt is a veteran member of the house after first being elected in 2005 as MP for South West Surrey. He was formerly Shadow Culture Secretary (2007-2010) and Shadow Minister for Disabled People (2005 - 2007). Hunt's awareness of the issues is backed up by his earlier experience in the world of publishing. He owned and operated an educational publishing business called Hotcourses prior to pursuing a career in politics.
Hunt seemed genuinely happy with his new role stating, “I am very pleased to have been appointed as the new Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. It is a wonderful moment for me personally, having followed this portfolio for the last two and a half years. “Our sectors, particularly creative industries, culture and tourism – are vital elements in the UK’s economic recovery." He continued, "And the successful delivery of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London gives us a once-in-a-lifetime chance to showcase the country to the world in what will, quite literally, be the greatest show on Earth. I know there is an incredible appetite for change across the country and I want the department to be at the forefront of making it happen." Hunt set up a charity to help AIDS orphans in Africa and he continues to take an active role in maintaining it's vitality. Mr. Hunt's compassion and knowledge will serve the U.K. well. Hunt is married is forty four years old and was educated at Charterhouse school, Godalming and Oxford University.

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France has been making the all the right announcements concerning their new regulated system offering online gambling to it's citizens but are they really doing what they claim to be doing. The Right2bet, advocacy group that is campaigning for fair access to online wagering within the European Union, has made it's views known recently that they are not happy with the French reforms. Right2bet says that the conditions imposed by the French government on online gambling operators looking to apply for a license to provide products in France are too excessive for most companies to be competitive. The tax rates imposed will keep most online gambling industry operators from seeing any benefit from being licensed in France. The consumer based and petition oriented Right2bet campaign lead by manager Gary Mullen, commented, “It is an attempt by the French government to make its betting laws look compatible with European Union law concerning the free movement of trade, when in fact it is an attempt to shore-up the state-run monopolies by placing draconian restrictions on any private operator wanting to enter the market.” Mullen continued to explain, “The right2bet betting challenge has shown that punters who bet with private operators receive significantly better odds than those who bet with the French monopoly. Not only will French punters suffer worse choice and poorer value, but they will also suffer from a lack of protection. The provision of an IP-block will do the very thing the French authorities wish to avoid. IP-blocking has been notoriously unsuccessful in the past at restricting access to operators that want to get around it." He added, “Unlike those operators that respect French law regardless of their opposition to it, those operators that choose to successfully bypass the IP-block are unlikely to exercise a high level of social responsibility by protecting French punters. The result will be a growing black market in France based around irresponsible operators, meaning French punters will again get a raw deal.”

 

 

 

 

 

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The Global iGaming Summit & Expo GiGSE has been a great success in Montreal Canada. The Summit was a North American event that brought together many of the worlds online gambling executives to discuss the future of the industry and it's challenges. It has been estimated that Canadians spent approximately $800 million on online gambling in 2009. Provincial governments in Canada are quickly finding reasons to enter the online gambling market knowing very well that each day that goes by they lose potential revenues to offshore companies offering casinos and wagering to Canada's tech savvy punters. An online gambling consultant with the Atlantic Lottery corporation Bob Rybak, presented delegates at the Summit with detailed information about the British Columbia, Atlantic Lottery, Loto-Quebec online gambling plans to present online gambling services across a common platform. Manitoba and Ontario are also making moves to engage in the online gambling industry. Rybak pointed out the offerings were very close to completion and the technology was in place with proper political spin and timing being the only obstacle to launching the services. As expected online casinos will follow online sports betting and online poker in the product offering. Jean-Pierre Roy Loto-Quebec spokesperson said that their first online gambling product will be poker. At the Summit, concerns were voiced about the problems associated with online gambling such as security and age verification issues, which can be addressed swiftly with the technology available to operators today. The manager for responsible gaming at Betsson, Hillevi Stuhrenberg addressed the issue of problem gambling emphasizing that addressing these issues was not only a social responsibility for the online gambling operators but their success depended on it. Geo-locating software ensures that gamblers outside the permitted jurisdictions are not allowed to wager. In Canada online gambling regulation is coming and most of those who oppose the activity see that government involvement means a safer and managed environment for players to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

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A joint venture has been announced recently involving media giant Endemol Italy and notable online gambling company 888 Holdings. The joint venture set to launch in the last half of 2010 will see a major new line up of branded games including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

Endemol is an international production company based in the Netherlands with subsidiaries and joint ventures in twenty three countries around the world. It is controlled by the biggest Italian media company, Mediaset and it's co-founder John de Mol. This 888 and Endemol partnership will target the Italian market once the Italian Gaming Authority provides final regulations for casino games later this year. Chief Executive Officer, of 888 Holdings, Gigi Levy, said, “Now that online gaming has become an established and hugely popular form of entertainment, strategic partnerships with media companies are critical for growth, especially in newly regulated markets such as Italy. The combination of our gaming expertise and Endemol’s brands, production capabilities and media assets will create a compelling new gaming offering for Italian consumers. The potential of the Italian market is enormous and this partnership strongly positions us to capitalise on this.”

President and Chief Executive Officer, Paolo Bassetti, of Endemol Italy, also commented on the strength of this joint venture, “Endemol has always prided itself at being at the forefront of market evolution. The Italian market represents a huge opportunity for online gaming and Endemol’s brands are ideally suited for this platform. This is an area we have been interested in for some time and as a world leader in online gaming, 888 is the perfect partner.” 888 Holdings has made other moves recently to consolidate it's presence in the emerging new markets in Europe with a recent announcement that the firm will team up with Microgaming to form a French poker network.

 

 

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In the online gambling world a good news story is always fun to report. A Mega Moolah 5-reel Drive Bonus Slot Game offered by Platinum Play one of Europe’s leading online casinos paid a lucky participant a major prize recently a win of €39,746.64. Platinum Play has had a number of winners lately with a player from Germany, Sneschana Z., taking home the incredible prize. While it will take some time for her to decide what to do with all that cash the lucky slot player thought maybe a vacation was in the works and maybe a drivers license. Platinum Play Online Casino has a large selection of online games and slots to offer many with large potential payouts guaranteed to get players excited. Phillip A.’s combined recent win of $40,150 from the Aces and Faces and Jacks or Better Video Poker games will keep him going strong for awhile. Founded in early 2004, Platinum Play Online Casino was created with the aim of offering a reputable online casino environment where players can enjoy themselves in a safe and secure setting in the privacy of their own homes. With more than 400 games to choose from the safe and reliable online casino is accredited by eCOGRA that certifies only reputable online casinos. The Microgaming software provides only the very best games with innovative and new offerings coming online every month. Platinum Play Online Casino forms part of the Fortune Lounge Group whose international credentials prove that playing online can match any experience a land based casino can provide. Massive jackpots are available through the International Casino Games and International Slots League which are great and enticing premier promotions. Other winners from the Fortune Lounge Group of casinos include a Royal Vegas customer who took home $50,000 after playing a Deuces and Joker Poker game and another $50,100 dollar winner who was playing a Bars and Stripes poker slot at the Royal Vegas online casino.

 

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According to reports from Hong Kong GigaMedia Limited has announced that it has finalized the sale of a 60 percent interest in its online gambling software business. Mangas Gaming, a leader in European gambling with operations including BetClic, Expekt, and Bet-at-Home, offering sports betting, poker and casino services to over four million registered users in over 25 countries has acquired GigaMedia effective immediately.

Arthur Wang, Chief Executive Officer, for GigaMedia commented, "We are very pleased to join our Everest Poker business with Mangas Gaming to create one of Europe's largest and best gaming platforms," adding, "Together we have the size and scale to claim top market share in the large European Community, providing the highest entertainment value for our players and thereby driving the best investment value for our shareholders."

Mangas Gaming is jointly owned by the Lov Group of the French media entrepreneur Stephane Courbit in partnership with the Societe des Bains de Mer de Monaco, which is controlled by the Principality of Monaco. Mangas has made an initial cash payment of an estimated $100 million USD, followed by a final earn-out payment to be made after the May 2012 valuation depending upon the fair market value of the business at that time. The remaining 40 percent interest will be still be controlled by GigaMedia with a put option to sell all or part to Mangas beginning in 2013. Beginning in 2015, Mangas will have a call option on any remaining shares held by GigaMedia. For both GigaMedia's put option and Mangas's call option, the price will be determined then based upon then fair market value.

Interest has been around the share price of GigaMedia now there is a large cash influence in the company value. The drawn out sale was dragging the company market price down largely due to transition and integration issues related to the sale of the company's gambling software business. 

 

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There are many forms of gambling on the planet from horse racing to hockey people bet on everything, sometimes on a hunch sometimes on a tip and sometimes on solid research. Whatever your particular method or area of interest placing your money on the line is the hardest first step. Being prepared to lose is always a good start but knowing how to win is probably better. One field of wagering that has seen it's fair share of controversy over the years is financial spread betting. Which since it's inception back in the seventies has become increasingly more popular and professional. In a nutshell, financial spread betting involves betting on shares, bonds, interest rates, currencies, indices, options and commodities. Bookmakers quote a spread for each bet giving the gambler a chance to agree or disagree and go long or go short. The advantages of spread betting over fixed odds betting are that it is more flexible than for markets or events that involve points rather than a win/lose outcome. You don’t have to wait for the expiry of the bet before cashing in losses or winnings, bets can be closed at any time at the spread quoted by your bookmaker at that moment. The disadvantage compared to fixed-odds betting is that you stand to lose a lot more than your stake, although with some financial spread bets, it is possible to fix a “stop-loss” limit with the bookmaker, which limits your losses without limiting your winnings. Approximately 30,000 spread bet accounts were opened last year, 2009 and the largest study of gambling in the UK on behalf of the Gambling Commission found that serious problems developed in almost 15% of spread betters compared to 1% of other gambling. Being prepared and informed when getting into this form of online gambling can minimize risks and keep participation within reasonable boundaries.

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Open-source enterprise application software provider ForgeRock has been organized by three former Sun Microsystems executives to offer their services to one of the world's largest online gambling operator Betfair among other clients. Simon Phipps, Lasse Andresen and Hermann Svoren have joined Oslo-based ForgeRock the official steward of the ForgeRock I3 Open Platform project. Their new OpenAM Identity Management customers were rolled out to identify some of the system advantages. The ForgeRock I³ Open Platform is an open, high-performance and unified platform addressing Interaction, Identity and Integration issues facing enterprises today.

The I³ Open Platform is built from proven and award-winning open source projects. Veteran Simon Phipps will be joining the ForgeRock board and executive team as chief strategy officer. Phipps brings his experience of open source communities, governance and open standards to the company. He joins chief executive officer, Lasse Andresen and director of sales, Hermann Svoren. Phipps is a director of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and board advisor of Open Source for America.

The ForgeRock I³ Open Platform provides a secure and integrated application platform comprising premier quality Portal, Identity, Access and Federation management solutions alongside an Enterprise Service Bus that brings all business services together. It achieves all this without compromising either the user experience, security or the flexibility to add services or new aggregated content, while protecting software freedoms from lock-in. The ForgeRock philosophy of keeping code ownership within the community is one that clients have embraced as part of the open source concept. Phipps said that this is one of the great advantages of open source software, "With open source, the company may fold but the community carries on."

Refering to the fact that ForgeRock is rescuing the abandoned Oracle OpenSSO project. ForgeRock will provide a bridge for former Oracle customers, so that a new architecture does not to be applied. BetFair, agrees with the liberal open source development policies employed by ForgeRock that include a contributor agreement asking for a license opening the code to the project and its users.

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