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Thema: Online Gambling Nachrichten, Nov./Dez. 2006

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    NETeller cashes in despite US legislation
    Money transfer group NETeller has reported a revenue gain of 48 per cent for the third quarter, from $44.9 million to $66.7 million, despite the US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Pre-tax profits for the Isle of Man-based company climbed by 24 per cent to $32.5 million in the period, with shares reaching 149 pence, a rise of 5.1 per cent.

    Jowell criticises US gaming stance
    Culture secretary Tessa Jowell criticised US anti-gambling legislation at the first international summit for online gaming, warning that it could become the 'new prohibition'. She told delegates from over 30 countries that the UK did not support the United States' stance on Internet gambling, and was worried that its legislation would create unregulated off-shore sites.

    Government to allow extradition requests for gaming executives
    The UK government declared at the summit that it would not protect gaming executives from extradition requests where they had taken Internet wagers illegally. It warned that operators would have to abide by the laws of particular countries, and that the UK would not acknowledge people who operated illegally.

    Camelot launches 007 scratchcards
    Britain's National Lottery operator Camelot is launching a James Bond themed scratchcard to coincide with the imminent release of the franchise's latest movie. The card will offer a £70,007 prize and will feature a selection of 12 different scenes from Daniel Craig's first outing as Britain's most famous secret agent.

    Talarius confirms takeover approach
    Share prices in AIM listed AGC operator Talarius jumped by nearly 20 per cent amid rumours of a takeover approach. Commenting on the speculation, the firm confirmed that it had received an approach from a third party, but said that it may or may not lead to an offer being made.

    Caborn urges WTO to 'clear up' Antigua dispute
    Speaking at the gaming summit, sports minister Richard Caborn urged the WTO to 'clear up' Antigua's ongoing dispute with the US. He added that Britain was sympathetic to Antigua's position and said the WTO would reveal its position in 2007.

    Intralot seeks 250 million eur compensation
    Greek lottery company Intralot is asking for 250 million eur in compensation from lottery operator OPAP for 'transitional services' when its national lottery contract expires next year. According to reports, OPAP is arguing that it has no contractual obligation to pay any sum to Intralot, but may offer a much lower amount as a compromise.

    Ryanair signs bingo partnership
    Low-cost airline Ryanair is set to offer bingo and instant win games on its website after announcing a partnership with online bingo operator Jackpotjoy. The Irish travel company?s CEO, Michael O?Leary, said the move would assist them in keeping the fare prices down.

    Ladbrokes in 888 rumours
    British bookmaker Ladbrokes is believed to be interested in purchasing 888 Holdings after reports surfaced that the online gaming company was in takeover talks with a number of third parties. Adding to the speculation is Ladbrokes recent assertion that it wanted to expand into the online gaming market.

    Record Macau income boosts Sands' revenue
    Las Vegas Sands Corp posted a 21 per cent rise in net income to $97.3 million for the third quarter, fuelled by a 39 per cent increase in revenue at its Venetian Macau casino to $339 million. Total revenue for the Nevada-based company rose from $437.6 million to $553.2 million against the same period last year, with shares rising 0.2 per cent to $76.32.

    EC overturns Greek gaming ban
    The Greek government's 2002 ban on electronic and electro-mechanical amusement games contravenes European law according to a ruling by the second chamber of the European Court. Greece was found to have breached the freedom to provide services, freedom of establishment and free movement of goods directives by the court.

    Starpoint sold to Suzo-Happ
    UK-based Starpoint Developments has been acquired by the Suzo-Happ Group for an undisclosed sum. A spokesperson for Suzo-Happ said that Starpoint's factory near London would remain open, and the company would continue operating as a separate entity.

    Brulines achieves its AIM
    Technology firm Brulines has been listed on the Alternative Investment Market, nearly five-months after it originally planned. The company, which tracks AWP performance among other things, intended to float in June but delayed the action citing 'volatile market conditions'.

    Councillor blames Labour for Blackpool's problems
    Blackpool councillor Peter Callow has blamed Blackpool's Labour run council for de-prioritising the town's tourist industry causing its current decline. He said that the council had been 'sitting back' on tourism and was only now waking up to what it means to the city's economy.

    Lib Dems call for casino referendum
    Sheffield's Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Paul Scriven, has said that the council's public consultation over the city's super-casino bid had been poor so far. Responding to a report by the Bishop of Sheffield, which concluded a casino 'would have a major effect on the city, Scriven also called for a city-wide referendum.

    Third time unlucky for Fountainbridge application
    Grosvenor's third attempt to get a casino licence at the Fountainbridge site in Edinburgh has been rejected by city licensing chiefs who said that there were already enough casinos in the city. Lawyers for Grosvenor had argued that the capital had fewer casinos per head than any other Scottish city.

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    RNG sign $1 million agreement with Golden Palace
    Zone4Play's indirect subsidiary RNG Gaming has signed a non-exclusive agreement with Golden Palace for its new multiplayer Blackjack tournament. The guaranteed fees and royalties deal, valued at over $1 million, represents the first license agreement for RNG Gaming and Zone4Play's largest deal to date.

    Bwin denies sales talks
    Austrian gaming firm Bwin denied reports it was in talks with PartyGaming to sell part of the firm, despite continued speculation about a deal. Spokeswoman Karin Klein said that it was in fact talking with PartyGaming about 'lobbying together to show a united stance for the industry in the European Union'.

    PartyGaming announces job losses
    PartyGaming announced that it was cutting more than 800 employees at its subsidiary Ivy Comptech in India. The gaming company said that it was 'right-sizing' its operations in order to go forward in the current industry climate.

    Harrah closes in on LCI purchase
    Harrah's Entertainment now owns nearly 83 per cent of the shares in UK-casino company London Clubs International after a number of recent purchases. The US gaming giant added that it expected to hold 100 per cent of the UK-based casino company by the end of the year.

    Wetherspoon reports strong sales
    JD Wetherspoon has reported a rise in pre-tax profit of 24 per cent to £58.4 million and a rise in yearly sales of £37.7 million to £847 million. The pub company also saw average sales per pub increase by 3 per cent with like for like sales increasing by 2 per cent.

    Kavanagh to discuss Gambling Codes of Practice
    Tom Kavanagh, deputy chief executive of the Gambling Commission will be speaking at the Gambling Codes of Practice seminar being held on November 27th at sponsor Berwin Leighton Paisner's St Magnus House office in London. He will be discussing the key details of the UK's new licensing regime including keeping crime out of gambling, conducting gambling fairly and openly and the application process. For more details, click here.

    OPAP reaches 65 million eur preliminary agreement
    Greek lottery company OPAP has reached a 65 million eur preliminary agreement with Intralot for 'transitional arrangements' in the risk management function of the fixed-odds betting game, Stihima. The agreement will cover the first six months after the expiration of Intralot's current contract with OPAP, in January 2007.

    Ladbrokes conducting preliminary talks with 888
    Executives of UK bookmaker Ladbrokes have allegedly flown to Israel to conduct preliminary talks with 888 Holdings over a potential £470 million takeover. Chief executive John Anderson met with Ladbrokes chief executive Chris Bell, according to The Mail on Sunday, to discuss a cash and shares offer.

    UK's online tax plans in trouble
    Ministers have admitted that the government's drive to tempt online gambling firms to pay tax in Britain is running into difficulties. Treasury minister John Healey told tourism industry leaders that the government was having problems fixing a tax rate to persuade the firms to come to the UK.

    CryptoLogic announces profit rise
    CryptoLogic Inc. said that third quarter profit had beaten estimates and risen by 41 per cent, from $5.1 million to $7.2 million. The Canadian company warned that future earnings would be hit by the US gambling legislation.

    Pier closed amid protest from traders
    The final traders on Hastings' beleaguered pier closed their businesses last week after accusing the council of leaving the venue to rot. A spokesperson for owners Ravenclaw said that they were disappointed, but understood their actions.

    Huntingdon to get £1.3 million revamp
    The UK's Huntingdon Racecourse is reportedly getting a £1.3m revamp as part of a £300 million national initiative to 'improve public facilities at courses across the UK'. The Hunts Post said that details of the improvements will be released next month pending planning approval.

    Sustainable English tourism conference launched
    Over 160 tourism professionals including attraction operators and tourist board representatives attended the 'Towards Sustainability in English Tourism' conference last week. They were discussing the effect on future holiday choices resulting from the lifestyle changes enforced by dwindling natural resources.

    Moscow rejects 'Las Vegas' claims
    Moscow has no intention of becoming the Las Vegas of Russia and is strongly opposed to plans for a gambling zone in or near the city, according to deputy mayor Iosif Ordzhonikidze. He added that the government's proposed gambling zone must be placed 'in the middle of a barren field'.

    Big growth in South Korean gambling premises
    The number of gambling houses in South Korea, including casinos and video gambling premises, has risen by over 130 per cent in the last year. The country's National Statistical Office reported that the total number of businesses around the country had only increased 0.6 per cent from 2004.

    Tipp24's financial report shows sharp rise
    German lottery company Tipp24 AG reported a net profit increase of almost 150 per cent to 5.7 million eur for the first nine months of 2006. Earnings before interest and taxes improved to 5.1 million eur from 4.2 million eur, an increase of 21.2 per cent.

    SMF to launch regional casino report
    The Social Market Foundation will be launching a collection of essays entitled 'The Regional Casinos Debate: Regeneration and responsible gambling in the UK' at the House of Commons on November 8th. The report includes contributions by Professor Peter Collins from the Centre for the Study of Gambling at the University of Salford and Brad Smith, the former chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission,.

    Irish bookmakers call for Sunday betting
    Bookmakers in Northern Ireland have called for Sunday betting to be made legal, arguing that it takes place regardless illegally. Campaign spokesman Adrian Eastwood argued that more tax revenue and jobs would be created if it were conducted through licensed bookmakers.

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    Anti-gambling Leach ousted in US elections
    The Unlawful Internet Gaming Act's sponsor, Republican Jim Leach, has been ousted after 30 years in the Senate. Although anti-gambling proponent Bob Goodlatte held his seat, critics are now wondering where the online industry stands in the new Democrat Senate majority.

    Super-casino could raise 'billions' for region
    A report published by the Social Market Foundation argues that a super-casino could be an economic catalyst and attract 'billions' of pounds in investment. In the paper - entitled The Regional Casinos Debate: Regeneration and Responsible Gambling in the UK - the think tank surmised that a regional casino would generate massive tax revenue while creating jobs both in and outside the industry.

    EU issues warning over cultural video games
    The European Union has warned France about its campaign to have video games recognised as a cultural industry. It said that the move, which would give the industry a 20 per cent tax break, could constitute state aid and conflict with EU subsidiary policies.

    DCMS launch permit consultations
    The UK government has launched another two consultations into the amusement industry, this time regarding 'Prize Gaming' permits and 'Family Entertainment Centre Gaming Machine' permits. The DCMS will be used to ascertain whether the sector needs a geeenericcccc form for licenses. For a full report see this week's Coinslot, published today (Thursday).

    Top Ten warns of smoking ban impact
    Top Ten Holdings has recorded first-half pre-tax profits of £0.9 million, down from £1.4 million in the same period last year. The UK-based bingo company blamed prolonged hot weather and exceptional charges, and warned that the upcoming smoking ban in England and Wales would probably have a 'significant impact' on future business.

    BetonSports sells Asian facing company
    BetonSports has sold its Asian-facing online sportsbook Hooball back to the original vendors for a reported $2.25 million. As part of the deal the purchaser has agreed to cancel $5 million of outstanding payment considerations as well as return nearly 4 million BetonSports shares issued as part of the original purchase.

    Gala makes Tote bid
    Gala Coral has made a £425 million offer for the betting shop estate of UK state-owned bookmaker The Tote. Reports have suggested that Gala would prefer the betting firm was split up, and was willing to spend an extra £80 million if necessary.

    IGT announce strong fourth quarter
    International Game Technology (IGT) announced a rise in fourth quarter profits for its gaming division of $197 million, up from $154.3 million. Revenue for the US-based slot machine manufacturer increased by $26.2 million to $333.8 million, while full year net income increased to $473.6 million.

    Blackpool's Rowland to retire
    Blackpool Pleasure Beach director Jim Rowland is to retire in December after 34 years in the amusement industry. Managing director Amanda Thompson called the announcement a 'huge loss', but said that his contributions to the sector would remain for many years to come.

    OPAP appoints Scientific's Anderson
    Greek lottery operator OPAP has appointed ex-vice president of Scientific Games, Kevin Anderson, as special advisor to help bring its fixed odds betting game Stihima in-house. The company called Anderson, who has nearly a quarter of a century of experience in the gaming sector, a valuable addition to the project.

    Senegal consul to Singapore detained for running gaming hall
    Senegal's honorary consul in Singapore has been detained for 'helping to run a common gaming hall.' Benny Kusni, as well as two other members of the Senegal Trade and Investment Committee, face up to three years in jail and fines of up to $32,000 if convicted.

    eCOGRA offers UK its services
    Independent gaming watchdog eCOGRA has offered its services to the UK government following the country's recent move to regulate the industry. CEO Andrew Beveridge said that the organisation wants to offer its full support and unique experience in the sector to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

    Hill reviews executive roles
    UK bookmaker William Hill has announced that chief operating officer and executive director Tom Singer has stepped down from the board following a review of the company's key executive roles. Singer will leave with immediate effect, while chief executive officer David Harding will assume his duties.

    Wynn warns of early financial predictions
    Casino operator Wynn Resorts said that its quarterly profit jump, from a loss of $9.2 million last year to a net profit of $715 million, was due to the sale of rights to build a casino in Macau. The company also announced that revenue had risen to $318.1 million from $251.4 million.

    South African Golden Gaming created to explore opportunities
    Las Vegas Gaming and Golden Pond have partnered to create South African-based venture firm Golden Gaming. The new company will explore gaming and lottery opportunities on the African continent.

    Gamestec signs new supply deal
    UK amusement machine operator Gamestec has secured a long term extension with bar company Barracuda Group. Under terms of the new deal, Gamestec will manage gaming and amusement machines for 80 per cent of the pub company's sites.

    Tipp24 increase profits
    German lottery company Tipp24 AG has reported an increase in profit of 3.4 million eur, to 5.7 million eur for the first nine months of 2006. The company acknowledged the difficult legal environment over the future of Germany's gaming market, and predicted that it expects to raise revenue by 30-40 per cent in each of the next two years if it remains unchanged.

    Playwize left reeling after online investment
    UK games developer Playwize announced pre-tax losses of £915,000 for the six months to September, versus £66,000 for the same period last year. The company blamed the passing of legislation on internet gambling in the US, which it said 'had a negative impact on the industry as a whole'.

    888 value rises amid buyout speculation
    Shares in 888 Holdings jumped by over 8 per cent after rumours of a takeover bid from Ladbrokes surfaced. The online gaming company, whose shares lost over a quarter of their value on the first day after US anti-gaming legislation was passed, hit a peak of 120p taking the company's market value to £404 million.

    Manches LLP Free E-Gaming Breakfast Seminar
    The last in a series of free E-Gaming Breakfast Seminar's from Manches LLP focuses on Mergers and Acquisitions of Remote Gaming Companies. This takes place on the 23rd Nov. Speakers include; Chris Treneman of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Robin Stevens of MRI Moores Rowland. Reserve your free place.

    Machine tampering gang arrested in London
    Around 150 UK police officers arrested 11 men across London suspected of tampering with betting shop machines to receive payouts illegally. The gang is thought to have stung 75 betting shops across the country.

    Irish lottery prices criticised
    The Irish national lottery has been heavily criticised for increasing the price of its tickets from 2 eur to 3 eur, making it, alongside Italy and Spain, one of the most expensive in Europe. The Consumers' Association of Ireland called the rise "an extraordinary hike in anyone's terms".

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    German states prepare for online prohibition
    The heads of Germany's 16 federal states are preparing to sign rules prohibiting foreign companies from offering Internet betting in the territories according to the country's Focus magazine. The report said that it would implement the ban by requesting Internet service providers filter out offending sites or banks not transfer cash out of Germany to pay for bets.

    Playtech purchases rival Tribeca
    Gambling software company Playtech has agreed to buy rival Tribeca for £39 million. Playtech's value rose to over £410 million after the announcement, which it said was 'in line with its strategy of extending its geographical reach'.

    Bowmans launch Russian and Chinese versions of poker site
    Bowman's is launching its online poker brand East with the introduction of both Russian and Chinese-language versions of its site. Bowman also announced that it has teamed with global payment transfer company WebMoney for the venture.

    Las Vegas sees September revenue fall
    Gambling revenue in Nevada fell 2.7 per cent to $984.9 million in September, from $1.01 billion in the same period last year. Takings on the Las Vegas strip fell by 4.3 per cent to $516.3 million while casinos in Reno, North Nevada reported gaming revenues of $69.9 million, a fall of 1.1 per cent.

    Sega profits rise 52 per cent
    Sega Sammy Holdings has announced a profit rise of 52 per cent in the fiscal first-half of this year, and reported a net income rise of $323 million. The Japanese manufacturer attributed the hike to a hit slot machine product and solid amusement equipment sales.

    Bookmaker buying Italian shops
    Ladbrokes is thought to be in the process of buying three betting shops in Turin, Italy. The purchases are the first in a joint venture with native operator Pianeta Scommesse, which chief executive Chris Bell hoped would help the group build an estate of around 200 shops in the country and eventually add £20 million to group profits.

    Terry Horan
    InterGame's general sales manager Terry Horan, 49, died suddenly on November 10. Terry was an effervescent character who will be sadly missed by his colleagues and friends in the business. Everyone at Gaming Industry News offer their sincere condolences to his wife Kath and family.

    Lottomatica profits dip on GTech purchase
    Lottomatica announced a net fall in profit of 65 per cent, from 111 million eur to 39 million eur, for the first nine months of 2006 against the same period last year. The Italian lottery operator attributed the fall to costs related to the purchase of US firm GTech.

    Jowell lobbied for lottery assurances
    Tessa Jowell has been asked for 'urgent' assurances that the rising 2012 Olympic bill would not have a damaging effect on the National Lottery's ability to fund other good causes. Opposition MPs said that the lack of clarity over the Olympic budget was causing considerable concern and warned that the impact on traditional lottery causes could be 'horrendous'.

    FA to investigate manager betting allegations
    The English Football Association is to investigate allegations by an ex-Victor Chandler employee that a number of Premiership managers laid bets on competitions they were involved with. PR guru Max Clifford, working on behalf of Victor Chandler, confirmed that a High Court injunction had been granted prohibiting the identification of the managers.

    MP calls for compulsory purchase order on Hastings Pier
    Hastings' Labour MP Michael Foster has called on the local council to apply for a compulsory purchase order to buy the Sussex town's beleaguered pier. Speaking at a debate over the future of the venue, Foster said that existing owners Ravenclaw had a 'proven record' of doing nothing and therefore found it difficult to believe that the company would undertake the necessary repairs, despite assurances.

    Las Vegas Sands to raise $12 billion in Macau development
    Las Vegas Sands said that it aimed to raise between $6 billion and $12 billion from the sale of retail space on its Cotai Strip development in Macau. With an additional $1 billion to $4 billion expected to be raised through the sale of apartments around The Venetian Macao, the sales are likely to outstrip the casino company's total investment in the Chinese venture of $11 billion.

    BetonSports agrees to US ban
    BetonSports has agreed with the US Attorney's Office in Missouri to close its US facing business. The online gaming firm said that the permanent injunction, which replaced the temporary restraining order, was a 'major step' in negotiations to settle the outstanding criminal case in the country.

    Local tourism tax blasted by STF
    The Scottish Tourism Foundation has condemned a report by the independent Scottish Local Government Finance Review Committee which suggested councils be given the power to impose a tourism levy independently of central administration. The STF's chief executive called the recommendation 'disastrous' for the industry as it would ultimately make Scottish tourism uncompetitive.

    Government panel member admits meeting with AEG
    James Froomberg, a member of the five-man casino advisory panel, admitted meeting with the UK boss of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) over the potential acquisition of Wembley Arena according to the Sunday Times newspaper. The Conservative shadow culture minister Hugo Swire said Tessa Jowell's integrity safeguards were now in tatters and questioned the conflict of interest in Froomberg's position.

    Betfair warns of broadcast delay
    A report in the News of the World claimed that professional punters are winning 'thousands' on exchanges, using the SiS broadcast system found in shops to bet against customers relying on normal television services, which are reported to have up to a two-second delay. Although not an illegal practice, Betfair acknowledged the delay existed and said that it was the only bookmaker to publish warnings about the potential problem.

    PPA calls Democrat victory favourable
    The Poker Players' Alliance responded to the new US political landscape by calling it a more favourable environment for the association. Michael Bolcerek, president of the PPA, added that poker stood a better chance of achieving an exemption from the recently signed anti-gambling bill with the Democrats now taking power in Congress.

    G2E 2006 opens its doors
    Las Vegas' three-day G2E 2006 gaming show opens its doors today (14-16th) with over 750 exhibitors and 100 conference sessions scheduled for the event. The Expo's organisers did warn that, due to the federal crackdown on internet gambling, several online companies had decided not to send their executives to the show.

    Priest uses 3rd century text to denounce video games
    A priest from Florence, Kentucky has denounced violent video games using the writings of 3rd century priest St. Hesycios, who claimed that seeing violence and not dismissing it immediately becomes a compulsion. Father Germogen Tucker declared that playing video games was hence a sin.

    Gaming Law conference announced
    The Excellence in Gaming Law conference has been scheduled for Wednesday 29th November at sponsor Addleshaw Goddard's Aldersgate Street office in London. Subjects being covered on the day include legal issues affecting business strategy and performance in the gaming sector and laws affecting the current European gambling climate. Click for registration details.

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    Bodog completes Betcorp buyout
    Calvin Ayres' online group Bodog has agreed to purchase Betcorp for a reported $9 million after shareholders for Betcorp agreed the sale. Betcorp, which operates sportsbooks and Oasis, lost around 85 per cent of its revenue when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was implemented, necessitating the move.

    Seminal tribe leads Hard Rock bid
    The US' Seminal tribe is believed to be favourite to win the Hard Rock Cafe auction after tabling a £530 million bid for the chain. The Native American tribe from Florida already operates two Hard Rock cafes under license with current owners Rank, and entered the bidding at the last minute according to reports.

    Duma passes gambling zone bill
    Russia's State Duma has passed President Vladimir Putin's bill enforcing gambling zones on its first reading by a 440-0 vote, with just one abstention. The bill outlines new gambling zones within Russia and a new set of legislation for permits within these areas.

    Channel 854 closed by Hill
    William Hill has pulled the plug on its greyhound racing TV Channel 854. The bookmakers communication director David Hood told Betting Business that the closure was due to its failure to attract significant players of its interactive games.

    Namco restructures European business
    Namco Europe Limited is undergoing a name change to Namco Holdings UK Limited as part of its European business restructure. The coin-op distribution and the web and mobile content businesses will be incorporated in new companies, respectively trading as Namco Europe Limited - of which current sales director John Mckenzie has been promoted to MD - and Namco Bandai Networks Europe Limited. Namco Operations Europe Limited, Brent Sales and Brent Electronics are unaffected by the changes

    Bingo to big business, Ticketline UK sold
    Cardiff-based ticket agency Ticketline UK has been sold to two Welsh businessmen for an undisclosed sum. The multi-million pound company, which boasts an annual turnover of £6 million and ticket sales of more than 100,000 per year, started in the 1970s by organising coach trips for a bingo club at a Church in the Docks area of Cardiff.

    BISL blasts Jowell's planned gambling fees
    The UK's Business in Sport and Leisure has called for the government's planned fees for premises licences and gaming permits to be changed after branding them 'outrageous'. BISL's chief executive Brigid Simmonds warned that customers who enjoy gambling as a leisure activity may be forced underground.

    MGM boss accuses US of pandering to religion
    MGM's CEO Terry Lanni has said that the US' new anti-gambling legislation 'makes no sense whatsoever'. Speaking at G2E he accused the Republican party of 'pandering to the religious right' and urged the new Democrat leadership to explore the legalisation of online gambling.

    Earls Court show announces international line-up
    ATEI has announced that nearly 50 per cent of its 105 confirmed exhibitors for the January 2007 show will be international. Italy is on course to be the most represented country with 19 exhibitors making the trip followed by Spain (14), Poland (10) and Taiwan (9). For free registration details, click here.

    Ladbrokes announces slowdown in gross win
    Shares in Ladbrokes have fallen almost 5 per cent after the bookmaker announced that gross win had only risen by 8 per cent over the first 10 months of 2006. Chief executive Christopher Bell attributed the slow performance to a spate of poor racing and football results.

    RGA has a bigger role to play
    The Remote Gambling Association's chairman Nick Rust has said that his organisation has a bigger role to play since the upheaval in America and Europe. Speaking at the recent AGM, he emphasised the importance of a unified trade association in the current climate. For a full report, see the latest edition of Betting Business, published this week.

    Technology at forefront of G2E
    Downloadable server-based gaming on slot machines was being tipped as the technology of the future at this year's G2E exhibition in Las Vegas, with Bally and Aristocrat confirming they had entered into a joint partnership to develop downloadable games on their respective platforms using common protocols.

    Octavian International acquired by eBet
    Australian casino systems company eBet has bought its European counterpart Octavian International in a deal worth more than $45m. Announced on the second day of the G2E trade show, the move sees Harmen Brenninkmeijer, founder of Octavian, become the new executive chairman with the company, which is also changing its name to Octavian Global Technologies.

    NSM and Sound Leisure settle patent dispute
    A long and protracted legal dispute between NSM Music Group and Sound Leisure has been halted. Instead, both firms have jointly announced that they have settled their differences in connection with key digital download and network management patents. NSM and Sound Leisure have entered into an agreement providing Sound Leisure rights to certain key, patented technology, allowing for the download of music to jukeboxes and remote management of multimedia networks, such as digital jukeboxes. Additionally, NSM and Sound Leisure have agreed to pursue joint policing of the key patents across Europe, taking steps to ensure infringement by third parties is eradicated. For a detailed report read this week's Coinslot.

    EU urges code of conduct for video games
    The European Union is urging the video game industry and EU member states to start talks on a voluntary code of conduct for violent video games. A spokesperson for EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said that the Commission did not want to prohibit violent games, and was considering a pan-European rating system.

    Concerns raised over Racing UK's anticipated charges
    Ivan Yates, owner of Irish-based Celtic Bookmakers, has said Racing UK's plans to charge bookmakers extra for coverage from its 30 racecourses makes no sense. "All we'll be getting is extra costs," he told Betting Business magazine. For a full report, see the latest edition, published this week.

    Playtech stamps presence in London show
    Israeli-based Playtech Software is set to have the largest presence at ICEi 2007, after the organisers confirmed it had taken the biggest stand for the show. Other exhibitors with notable stands at the Earls Court show include Boss Media, Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority and the Isle of Man Government.

    Tote consortium discussing foreign investment
    The racing consortium vying to buy the UK's state-owned Tote bookmakers is thought to be discussing options with foreign operators in an attempt to meet the £400 million price tag. The group, comprising the Racecourse Association and Racecourse Holdings Trust, is reported to be holding talks with Australian operators Tabcorp and Tattersalls, and South Africa's Phumelela.

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    Wynn announces second Macau resort
    Wynn Resorts is planning a second hotel development next to its newly opened casino in Macau. The casino company said that the new hotel would be part of a 'fine-tuning strategy' in its $1.2 billion project in the Chinese enclave.

    Bwin reports 50m loss
    Austrian gaming group Bwin Interactive has reported a net loss of 49.8 million eur for the first nine months of 2006, compared with a 1.4 million profit for the same period last year. The company attributed the loss to depreciation, expensive marketing contracts with football clubs including AC Milan and marketing campaigns ahead of this year's World Cup tournament.

    Simmonds urges licensees to send opinions to DCMS
    Business in Sport and Leisure's chief executive Brigid Simmonds has urged pub licensees to voice their opinion to the DCMS about the planned rise in costs for gaming machines. She said that opponents of the hike should call for a more realistic option before the 22 December consultation deadline arrives.

    Astra announces structural changes
    Novomatic's Astra Games has announced two structural changes as part its preparation for 2007. Clive Barret has joined the group as General Manager, while marketing executive Richard Barr will take responsibility for sales of Novo Casino UK.

    'Air' Jordan linked to casino development
    State regulators in Philadelphia were told that ex- NBA superstar Michael Jordan would become an investor in a new casino development on the city's Delaware River if they won the license. Pinnacle Entertainment said that partner Robert Johnson had agreed to sell a part of his stake to basketball executive Jordan to help improve its 'draw'.

    Polish strong man wins award
    Polish manufacturer X-Line Ltd has won the prize for innovation at the Machines Fair in Warsaw for its new 'Strong-Man' arm-wrestling machine. Produced in collaboration with researchers from the Silesian Technical University, the electronic machine includes an automation design with over 80 lighting points and sound messages in seven languages. X-Line will be showing the Strong Man at ATEI in January.

    ATEI exhibitors top 200
    Last Thursday's Gaming Industry News carried a story incorrectly citing the number of exhibitors confirmed for ATEI 2007. The actual figures, as of the end of October, should have read 212 unique companies - of which just under half (105) are drawn from 23 countries outside the United Kingdom. G.I.N.'s editorial team apologises for the error. Registration is free.

    Danish amusement park submits hotel plan
    The Danish Trivoli amusement park in Copenhagen has submitted plans to build a 335-foot luxury hotel tower designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster. It said the project was an attempt to move the park away from being a seasonal resort to an all-year round business.

    Samvo signs agreement with Betbrokers
    UK-based retail and wholesale brokerage Betbrokers has signed a counterparty agreement with Asian-focused bookmaker Samvo Entertainment. Under the terms of the agreement, Betbrokers will be able to place bets with Samvo on behalf of its retail and wholesale clients, whilst providing Samvo with access to Betbrokers' services to help to square their books.

    Tony G donates half winnings to charity
    Professional poker player Tony 'G' Guoga has donated half of his first place $451,700 Betfair Asian Poker Tour prize to charity. Guoga said: " This is not a large amount compared to what people like Bill Gates give to charity but it is a gesture to show that pokers not all about the money. "

    Admiral purchases 155 pubs from Green King
    Admiral Taverns has agreed to purchase 155 pubs from operator Greene King for £56.5 million. The properties, 140 of which are tenanted and 15 managed, are located mainly in the south of England and will take Admiral's total portfolio of premises to 1,950.

    Ladbrokes results shows fall-out from Champions League
    Ladbrokes said they remained optimistic despite posting an 8 per cent increase in total gross profit for the first 10 months of 2006, a slowdown from the 12 per cent reported in the first-half of the year. Chief Executive Chris Bell blamed the results on the Champions League results in October, which saw all the favourites win over a three-day stretch.

    DCMS opposed to levy extension
    Government sources cited in The Guardian newspaper claimed that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport remained 'fundamentally opposed' to extending a levy forcing bookmakers to contribute a portion of its non-racing revenue to sport. The report also said that sports minister Richard Caborn would support a voluntary contribution from the betting industry.

    Goldman Sachs in potential Tote bid
    Private equity firm Principal Investment Area could be about to bid around £400 million for the UK government-owned Tote bookmakers according to a report in the Sunday Express newspaper. Principal, which is part of the investment firm Goldman Sach's, will likely offer more than the £405 million bid tabled by Gala Coral.

    Fife clubs start taxation petition
    Bingo clubs in Fife, Scotland are calling on the public to sign a petition asking Chancellor Gordon Brown to bring bingo taxation in line with other gaming activities. Kirkcaldy's Premier Bingo club, which is spearheading the initiative, called the campaign a bid to save the country's independent halls.

    Fairground sells Spin Palace
    Fairground Gaming Holdings has sold its gaming group and infrastructure, The Spin Palace Group, back to original vendor Seahouse Holdings in an £11 million deal. Seahouse will pay £5 million in cash, with the remaining £6 million funded by the reclassification of 9.1 million ordinary shares in Fairground Gaming into deferred shares.

    ICE announce maiden exhibitors
    January's ICE 2007 show at the Earl's Court exhibition centre in London has added 28 new companies from 19 different countries to its list of confirmed exhibitors, which now stands at 164. French company Caro Developpement leads all newcomers in floor space with a 201.8 sqm stand, while organisers announced exhibitors from countries as far a field as Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan and Kazakhstan. Registration is free.

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    Moneybookers for sale
    German retail tycoon Otto Beisheim has put UK-based ePayment provider Moneybookers up for sale, with a price tag of around £100 million. Payment processor Neteller, whose share price plummeted 81 per cent in the wake of the US' anti-gambling legislation, is thought to be interested in the company in order to bolster its presence in the European gaming market.

    Admiral wants a thousand more venues
    Admiral Taverns' owner Gary Landesberg said that the pub company is looking for a further 1,000 pubs, days after buying over 150 premises from Greene King for £56.5 million. The latest purchases have taken Admiral's pub portfolio to nearly 2,000, making it the third biggest pub landlord in the UK.

    Ainsworth falls into red
    Ainsworth Game Technology announced that it would fall Au$15 million into the red for the six months to December blaming a slow down in sales and regulatory licensing in both its native Australia and key overseas markets. The group posted a profit of Au$3.2 million in the year to June on the back of a rights issue which raised Au$21 million.

    Gamestec staff strip for Children in Need
    Leeds-based amusement and gaming machine operator Gamestec have raised £1,650 for Children in Need as staff stripped off for a 'cheeky' calendar. MD Rolf Nielsen called the event a great success and said that he was positive the calendar would raise even more money for the charity once it went on sale in the next few weeks.

    Talarius sold to European Gaming
    Gaming company Talarius Plc, owner of the Quicksilver brand of adult gaming centres, has agreed to a £137.2 million cash offer from European Gaming, a venture company owned by Australian firm Tattersall's and Macquarie Bank. Talarius called the 270p per share offer 'fair value' for the business.

    Research supports Spanish market
    A new study by Munich-based research company MECN has shown that the Spanish online gambling market could grow to a 4.2 billion eur industry by the year 2010. It identified Spain as a key region for future growth, with overall gambling potential reaching 39 billion eur in 3 years.

    Sound Leisure 'talking swing'
    Sound Leisure has been discussing its latest product, a 'talking' swing sign which plays recorded messages when it detects movement. Founder and chairman Alan Black said that the company is currently applying its jukebox technology to retailing, which includes producing touch-screen marketing panels for shop fronts and audiovisual displays to go inside.

    Fourth company may enter Tote bidding
    Former Tote chief executive John Heaton has said that his current company, Interactive Gaming Holdings, would be interested in bidding for the UK state-owned bookmaker when it came on the market. Heaton added that IGH would have to find partners to finance a formal bid for the £400 million valued company.

    Enterprise sells Scottish portfolio to Iranian entrepreneur
    Enterprise Inns has sold its 137 Scottish pubs to entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz's R20 investment vehicle for £115 million, citing 'strategic reasons'. Tchenguiz also announced that he had bought a further 46 pubs from Scottish & Newcastle Plc and the Globe Pub Company.

    ICEi exhibitors grow
    No fewer than 20 of the 25 exhibitors returning to ICEi 2007 have opted to increase their stand size, by an average of 150 per cent. Taking place in London's Earls Court Exhibition Centre across 23-25 January, ICEi is also boasting a 40 per cent rise in floor space to accommodate the 36 already confirmed companies, hailing from 16 jurisdictions. Registration is free.

    Australian IGA given 20 year warning
    Australia's Independent Gambling Authority has been told that it would take at least 20 years to achieve Adelaide state government's target of removing 3000 poker machines from hotels and clubs unless the trading system was immediately reformed. Representatives of key Adelaide welfare and church groups also claimed that there was also a 'high degree of scepticism' over the government's handling of the reduction in gaming machine numbers.

    Purvis appointed UK sales MD of Cyberview
    David Purvis has been named as Managing Director of UK sales and operations at Cyberview Technology, making him the company's top UK executive. He will now report directly to group CEO Seamus McGill.

    BISL annual conference to discuss gambling fee consultation
    The DCMS' long awaited consultation 'Gambling Fees for Premises and Permits' will be a central subject of discussion at the Business In Sport and Leisure's annual conference on November 30th. Chief executive Brigid Simmonds will be on hand at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London to discuss her views on the fees, alongside Neil Goulden, chairman of BISL and chief executive of Gala Coral Group.

    Government and Commission defend consultation process
    Culture Minister Richard Caborn was given a relatively easy time by delegates at this year's BACTA Convention. One of the recurring themes he had to tackle was concern over the vast amount of consultation the industry is currently wading through regarding secondary legislation contained in the Gambling Act 2005. When challenged over timings he answered: "I can be as bureaucratic as you like, but that's not the way to get good legislation." Backing his views was Gambling Commission chairman Peter Dean who, during question time, added that the consultation process - while onerous - was crucial and that the industry should crack on with it.

    US customers find alternative methods of payment
    A former New Jersey gambling regulator has said that sites are simply setting up offshore where US law enforcers can't reach them and gamblers will find alternative ways to pay them. Frank Catania, who now lobbies on behalf of the online-gambling industry, argued that the Federal Reserve is not expected to force banks to screen personal cheques or any payment methods that are more difficult to track, hence players sending in cheques would be 'fine'.

    Jowell's Olympic deficit to be funded by lottery
    British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell MP told the House of Commons that the £900 million extra cost of the 2012 London Olympics would likely be partially funded by lottery money. The UK Liberal Democrats' Don Foster MP said that extra plans for regeneration should be privately funded and not siphoned off National Lottery good causes.

    Ascot calls in consultants
    Engineering consultants Arup and High-Point Rendel have been asked to provide solutions for 'viewing problems' at Ascot racecourse's new £200 million grandstand. The venue has received more than 1,000 complaints about the problem since opening in June this year.

    Bookmaker cites poor performances for racecourse pitch sale
    Ubet2win has agreed to sell the remainder of its English racecourse pitches for just £160,000, a write down of over £170,000 on their book price, due to 'continued poor performances'. The gaming company added that it had already sold its pitches at Ascot and Aintree for £22,500.

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    888 close to signing mobile deals
    888 Holding is close to signing a number of deals with Europe's mobile phone operators according to Reuters. Negotiations were 'in the final stages' and would see the company's gambling services offered over handsets.

    Betfair linked with Timeform purchase
    Betfair is being linked with a £15 million deal to buy Portway Press Ltd, publisher of the 'punters bible' Timeform. The online betting exchange called the negotiations 'confidential', while further reports suggested the deal could be finalised as early as Friday.

    Breaking the ICE
    ICEi will be hosting a networking party at the Albannach cocktail lounge in London's Trafalgar Square during the 2007 show. Entitled 'Breaking the ICE', the event will be held on the evening of Tuesday 23 January, and will be spread across the bar's three floors and encompass the venue's 'Doon' nightclub.

    Opponents criticise pub gambling plans
    The UK government has been accused of encouraging a dangerous mixture of alcohol and gambling after reports suggested that it was getting ready to ease restrictions on playing card games for money in pubs. Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, called the combination a 'heady mix' while the opposition Conservative party's shadow culture secretary Hugo Swire said the government should be warning about the dangers of gambling addiction rather than encouraging the 'dangerous mixture' in pubs.

    Tabcorp praises increased wagering
    Australia's Tabcorp Holdings has announced company revenue growth of 4.8 per cent for the year to 18 November, based mainly on an increase in wagering to 8.8 per cent. MD Matthew Slatter said that overall gaming had earnings (EBIT) of Au $260.2 million, up 0.3 per cent, with the casinos division declaring earnings of Au $423.3 million.

    ATEI reports on new exhibitors
    At least 60 of the 212 exhibitors attending ATEI 2007 will be new to the coin-op spectacular according to the latest organiser update. Registration is free to the three-day event which takes place at Earl's Court, London 23-25 January.

    Bognor bingo caller wins national title
    Brett Hyrjak of Bognor Regis' Gala Bingo Club has been named Bingo Caller of the Year after beating competition from six regional winners at the South East London competition. 30-year old Hyrjak said that he was 'absolutely speechless' after winning £500 and a trip to Las Vegas.

    Greek Intralot to bid for Turkish lottery
    Greek gaming company Intracom has announced that its subsidiary Intralot would 'absolutely' be involved in submitting a bid during the privatisation process of the Turkish National Lottery. Intracom CEO Socrates Kokkalis said that it would be setting up a consortium comprising four companies, one of which would be Turkish, for the process.

    Research reveals nearly 6 million online visitors
    As many as 5.8 million people a month visited online gambling sites from April to September according to figures compiled by the internet media and market research company Nielsen/Net Ratings. Recent research by the Gambling Commission for the UK government stated that there were one million regular UK online gamblers.

    Former officer arrested in covert bingo scam
    A former police officer who told staff at a Bradford bingo hall that he was on a 'covert mission' in an attempt to steal money has been jailed for four-years. Matthew Brakewell, who later told officers that he had been testing the hall's security systems, was caught after being recognised from CCTV footage circulated from a similar crime two weeks earlier.

    Betting industry warned of US-style backlash
    Arbuthnot Securities' analyst Paul Leyland has said that current lobbying pressure on the EU gambling market could act as the catalyst for a US-style crackdown on the betting sector. Speaking to the UK Independent newspaper, he also warned that individual states, rather than the EU, would rule the market for the 'foreseeable future'.

    VWE signs worldwide distribution deal
    Vegas Wireless Entertainment (VWE) has signed a non-exclusive agreement with WirelesStudios Inc. to distribute mobile gaming content across its international network. Under terms of the agreement, VWE will initially launch 2 games from its Play4Fun platform on the network to operators and portals in the UK, Italy and Canada, and through third parties throughout Europe and Asia.

    Korea announces April crackdown
    South Korea's government announced that a ban on amusement arcades using gift certificates for payouts would be enforced from April next year. Minister of Culture and Tourism Kim Myung-gon also said that the government was planning to instigate stricter licensing regulations for arcade operators.

    Computec to launch video game magazine for women
    German-based media company Computec Media AG is launching a magazine targeted specifically at female video gamers. Game Vanilla will begin its regular print run in March 2007 after a trial supplement period in a women's lifestyle magazine.

    Scientific signs Games Media purchase letter
    In a statement issued today (Monday), New York-headquartered Scientific Games said that it had signed a letter of intent to purchase UK-based digital content specyclopcasinot Games Media Ltd and related companies. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Scientific said that it expected the acquisition to close prior to the end of 2006.

    Betspoker bucks trend, announces listing is preparing to list on the Plus market (previously Ofex), through a reverse takeover of NetGames Holdings. The online gaming company said that it was proceeding because it does not take bets from the US market.

    Commission approves half of new casino applications
    The UK's Gambling Commission has confirmed that almost half the casino operators who entered applications for venues ahead of April's new gambling regulations had been approved. The Commission announced that it had dealt with 29 applications so far and that all had been passed, with another 34 applications currently being processed.

    Ainsworth to launch SLIMLINE at ICE
    Gaming machine manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology will be using ICE 2007 to launch its new Ambassador SLIMLINE cabinet on the market. GM of Ainsworth's European operation, Georg Steiner, said the company would also use the London Earls Court show, held across 23-25 January, to culminate the international roll out of Ainsworth's corporate re-brand.

    Blackpool Tower's terror walk approved
    Leisure Parcs' plans for a 168ft high 'Walk of Terror' across the legs of Blackpool Tower have been approved by the city's Borough council. The tower's owner must now wait for approval from the secretary of state before revealing plans of the walk.

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    EU approves Hill's Spanish venture
    William Hill's proposed joint venture with Spanish gaming group Codere has been given the go-ahead by the European Union after an investigation concluded that the partnership did not pose competition concerns. The two groups signed a memorandum of understanding in August to create a sports betting business in Spain, sparking the enquiry.

    ICEi 2007 adds to international flavour
    Organisers of ICEi 2007 have announced that nine of the 36 already confirmed exhibitors will be new to the show, and will hail from destinations as varied as Austria, the US and the Virgin Islands. The event takes place across 23-25 January at London's Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Registration is Free.

    eCOGRA appoints independent director Henbrey
    eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance) has appointed chartered accountant Bill Henbrey as an additional independent director to its Board. Henbrey joins the independent standards authority after recently retiring from BDO Stoy Hayward in London, where he was head of the betting and gaming unit.

    Italian gambling bids submitted
    Greek gaming firm Intralot has submitted bids for 500 of Italy's gambling units under the country's betting privatisation tender. Eurobet is reported to have placed bids for 200 betting shops, Italian company Sisal for 160 shops and UK-based Ladbrokes for 85 shops.

    Cryptologic starts Hill negotiations
    Software developer CryptoLogic's subsidiary WagerLogic Limited is currently in the process of negotiating a business renewal contract with betting group William Hill. The companies have signed a non-binding term sheet, which maps out provisions to sign a three-year long form contract.

    Media Corp reports record profits
    Internet casino operator Media Corporation has announced after-tax profits of £2.5 million in the year to September, a rise of 660 per cent compared with the same period last year. The London-based group's chief executive, Justin Drummond, reported that it had achieved the record profit despite a lower turnover of £11.9 million, against £18.8 million last year.

    CAP guidelines favour Dome bid
    Shadow culture secretary Hugo Swire has said that the Casino Advisory Panel's new super-casino guidelines favour the Millennium Dome, after it recommended that the winning bid should have a diversified tourist appeal. He argued that, as an existing tourist attraction, the Dome now has "an incredibly strong case."

    Bruce Lee theme park announced
    A Bruce Lee themed amusement park is to be built on the kung-fu star's ancestral home near Hong Kong. Costs for the development, which will include a memorial hall and martial arts academy, are reported to be in the region of £13 million.

    BISL outlines industry challenges
    Business In Sport and Leisure's chief executive, Brigid Simmonds OBE, has outlined the challenges facing the leisure, hospitality and tourism industry for the coming year at today's (Thursday) BISL Annual Conference in London. Key topics include the Licensing Act and the recommendations of the Better Regulation Commission Report, concerns about the government's financial regulations on the gambling industry and the upcoming smoking ban.

    Brighton named UK's most popular destination
    Brighton and Hove has been named the most popular coastal destination for foreign visitors in the UK by the International Passenger Survey, beating popular resorts such as Blackpool and Bournemouth. According to the survey, visitor numbers to the South-coast city increased by 23 per cent in 2005, to 332,000, compared with 270,000 in 2004.

    Sky calls for regulation on participation TV
    SkyBet's managing director Nick Rust has called on the government to regulate participation TV channels such as ITV Play and Quiz Call under the new Gambling Act. Broadcast regulator Ofcom later told the panel that 'self-regulation, not a change to the law' was the best policy.

    Penta buys into Geronimo
    Private equity firm Penta Capital has bought a controlling stake in Geronimo Inns for a reported £10 million. In a further announcement, the group said Barclays had committed over £14 million in new banking facilities to the pub group as part of its plan to double the size of its estate over the next three years.

    Genting reports record year for Malaysian resort
    Leisure group Genting said that its Malaysian resort is set for a record year, thanks to rising regional tourism. Chairman Lim Kok Thay added that its Malaysian operations would not be affected if it won the bid to build and operate Singapore's second casino resort.

    Penn plans Harrah's takeover
    Penn National Gaming is planning a bid for Harrah's Entertainment worth more than $15 billion according to a report in The Financial Times newspaper. The US casino company is believed to have lined up a number of investment partners, including banks Lehman Brothers and Wachovia, and the hedge fund group DE Shaw, for the deal.

    Professor sets record straight on Mail headline
    Nottingham Trent University's Dr Mark Griffiths told Coinslot that he was misrepresented and misquoted by the UK's Daily Mail newspaper when it published findings from his response to the DCMS consultation on AWP stakes and prizes. For the full interview see this week's edition, published today (Thursday).

    Licensing minister Woodward calls new regulation 'encouraging'
    The UK's new licensing laws are having a 'positive impact' according to the government's licensing minister Shaun Woodward. He called signs from the first year encouraging and noted that there had not been the explosion of 24-hour licensed venues that many people predicted.

    Sportingbet criticises UK government
    Sportingbet has criticised the UK government for its lack of support of the online gaming industry after posting a loss before tax of £241.4 million for the first quarter, due to a one-off exceptional charge of £252 million for exiting the US market. The gaming group went on to accuse Britain of making 'little real progress' in defining a regulatory framework for companies wanting to relocate to the UK.

    Merlin in casino talks with Ladbrokes
    Legoland owner Merlin Entertainments is in talks with Ladbrokes over joining the UK bookmaker's bid to run a super-casino in Blackpool. Reports in The Telegraph newspaper said that the partnership also provisionally included the Hilton hotel group.

    Ladbrokes takeover rumours circulate
    Rumours have been circulating of a leveraged buyout of Ladbrokes after traders betting on the creditworthiness of companies revealed a large rise in business for contracts based on the bookmaker's debt. The UK gaming company has seen its market value fall by almost £1 billion this year, after earnings suffered from a string of winning bets on football and horse racing.

    HRI to discuss Betfair windfall
    Horse Racing Ireland will meet to discuss how to spend its Eur 1 million windfall from Betfair amid rumours of a 'difference of opinion' among the organisation's governing bodies. Brian Kavanagh, HRI chief executive, denied the rift and commented that everything was still under discussion.

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    Lottery company plans German exodus
    German lottery company Fluxx AG has stated that it may have to abandon its native market if the country's 16 states eventually pass a law banning private operators. Fluxx's chief financial officer Stefan Haenel said that the company would not give up on Germany without a fight, but warned that it would be going to 'utilise opportunities' outside the country.

    eCOGRA appoints new watchdog team
    Online watchdog eCOGRA has created a dedicated team to monitor the 111 sites accredited with their 'Play It Safe' seal. The new four-person team will be responsible for on-site assessments and ensuring companies adhere to the organisation's standards and regulations.

    Ireland's Civil Law bill waiting in parliament
    The Republic of Ireland's Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006, which includes provisions designed to increase the legal limits on stake and prize money in slot machines (AWPs), is currently waiting at the committee stage in the Dáil. In further Irish news it is understood that betting shops will be given permission to start trials of FOBTs in the New Year.

    Whittaker Brothers sign Chinese carousel deal
    Whittaker Brothers has signed a contract with Chinese manufacturers Zhongshan Luck to import and distribute coin-operated horse carousels. The deal will boost the Lancashire-based firm's £1.75 million turnover by 20 per cent according to director John Whittaker.

    Bingo keeps patients in place
    Bingo is proving the best way to stop mental health patients from absconding, according to a report published in the Nursing Times. The survey, conducted at the South Essex Partnership NHS Trust, acknowledged that games were also partially responsible for a reduction in incidents of violence, petty theft and illegal drug use in the ward.

    ICE breaks the mould
    The ICE and ICEi exhibitions, which take place at London's Earls Court (23-25 January 2007), will occupy close to 15,000sqm (161,400sq.ft) of floor space; a year-on-year increase of nearly 50 per cent. As of December, a total of 237 exhibitors from 42 national territories have confirmed their presence at the high profile b2b event. Registration is Free.

    Talarius estate hits 200
    Talarius has increased its estate of Adult Gaming Centres to 200, following the purchase of two AGCs from The Wilson Fun Company. The AGCs, which are based in Gillingham, Kent, will be operated under Talarius' Quicksilver brand.

    Carlton director attacks commission
    Carlton Club's operations director Chris Barr has hit out at recent comments made by Peter Dean, chairman of the Gambling Commission, labelling them 'at best insensitive and at worst downright crass'. Dean had urged operators to 'crack on' despite a self-admitted 'onerous' workload being placed on the industry by the Commission's lack of a consultation timetable. The full report is featured in this weeks Coinslot, available today (Thursday).

    Anti-gambling drug takes a hit
    San Diego-based firm Somaxon Pharmaceuticals has admitted that trials of a drug aimed at curbing gambling addiction had been a failure. Chief executive Ken Cohen called results 'largely disappointing' adding that the company would now evaluate the data from the trials before making any further determinations regarding the future of the program.

    Arlington calls on government to accept the seaside
    Arlington Leisure's John Oram has called on the government to be far more accepting of the traditional seaside industry as part of the UK's heritage. He reasoned that if government had been more supportive then not so many people would be holidaying abroad.

    Excel forms new sales outlet with Garlando
    Pool table manufacturer Excel Leisure has teamed with Italian football table producer Garlando to form a new division dedicated to distributing the latter's entire range of domestic products to the UK market. The new division will trade as Garlando UK and is currently launching a dedicated website for retail customers.

    Commission launches new raids on illegal operators
    Nearly a dozen unregistered gambling machines were seized in Burnley last week as part of the Gambling Commission's drive to shut down illegal operators. The Commission's local inspector Pippa Coombes said that it was 'determined to crack down on the suppliers and operators of these machines.' For a full report read this week's Coinslot, released today (Thursday).

    JPM and Games Warehouse sign SWP deal
    Games developer JPM International has signed a perpetual game content distribution agreement with Games Warehouse, to deliver server based terminals to clubs and pubs across the UK. Under the terms of the licence, JPM will initially deliver the company's Catchphrase and Hangman 3 SWP games.

    Harrah's mulling revised offer
    Harrah's Entertainment has announced that a committee of non-management directors were reviewing Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group's new takeover offer of $83.50 per share. The special committee plans to meet to consider the offer, which values the company at $15.5 billion.

    Mobile entertainment to grow by $30 billion
    The mobile entertainment market is set to grow from $17 billion to $47 billion by 2009 according to estimates by UK-based Juniper Research. The study predicted that the Asia-Pacific region will dominate the market with a 37 per cent share of global revenues, closely followed by Europe at 35 per cent and added that the value of bets placed through mobile devices would exceed that of the music industry, the current highest earner, by 2011.

    Whitbread's strong results fuel takeover speculation
    Hospitality and leisure firm Whitbread has posted a 10.1 per cent rise in sales for the 39 weeks to November and a 3.9 per cent increase in like for like sales. The news increased speculation that US property group Starwood Capital, which recently acquired a 3 per cent stake in Whitbread, is preparing a cash bid for the company worth more than £4 billion.

    PBL continues search for Asian opportunities
    Publishing and Broadcasting Limited's executive chairman James Packer has said that his company would continue to search for investment opportunities in the Asian gaming market despite failing to win Singapore's second casino license. In a statement, Packer called the company's participation a valuable experience and said that they had always considered their bid to be an outside chance.

    Government favours Tote management buyout
    The Tote's management were invited to lead a bid to buy the state-owned bookmakers from the government at a meeting between industry figures and the Department for Culture Media and Sport. The government is also thought to have ruled out overseas investment in the bid, dashing the Racing Consortium's current plans to include Australia's Tabcorp or Phumelela from South Africa.

    HRA bans Lowestoft bookmaker
    The Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA) has banned Lowestoft bookmaker and racehorse owner Owen Churchill for 8-years after finding him guilty of plotting to corrupt the sport. Jockeys Dean Williams and Brian Reilly were also banned for 18-months apiece for assisting Churchill.

    Felix in £10 million sponsorship deal
    Felix Corporation has announced three new deals with Brewers Fayre, Beefeater and TGI Friday's, worth around £10 million. The combined initiatives will see the three brand's sales promotion offers dispensed via Felix's Max Box interactive kiosks and its voucher dispensing ATM function.


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