Archive for March, 2009

American Idol Betting Odds: Lambert Now The Gambling Favorite

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

American Idol betting odds fluctuate so much through the course of a season, that it is tough to get a grasp on who will be favored from week to week. This year, Danny Gokey has been the favorite since the live competition has begun.

That will all change tonight when the top nine contestants hit the stage. Adam Lambert had the best week of all the Idol’s last week according to the judges, and now he has become the betting favorite. His odds to win the competition dropped to +110.

Gokey did not fall completely out of favor with the odds makers. He is still the second choice, with odds of +250. The two of the top favorites have been the same from the beginning of the season.

There are only three women left in the competition. Allison Iraheta has the best current odds of any of the women at +500. Lil Rounds, who previously was the ladies favorite, has dropped to +1000, and the long shot of the women is still Megan Joy Corkrey at +6000.

As for the rest of the male vocalists, Matt Giraud has odds of +1000 after a strong performance last week. Even though the judge’s thought he was great, he was in the bottom three, but managed to survive.

Anoop Desai has managed to stay alive after almost being eliminated early in the competition. Kris Allen has flown under the radar but is starting to become one of the popular Idol’s. They are both at +2000. Scott MacIntyre is now the long shot on the male side at +4000.

Categories: Gambling News

Malta Remote Gaming Council criticises own MEPs after EU gambling vote

March 30, 2009 Leave a comment

The recent non-binding vote in the EU Parliament on the Schaldemose own-initiative report has resulted in some critical fallout for Malta’ 5 MEPs.

The non-binding vote approved the concept that the regulation of online gambling in Europe should be left to the individual member states instead of hewing to a pan-European set of regulations. The vote effectively suggests that for Internet gambling, the broad EU principle of free movement of goods and services between member nations should not apply.

An alternative report prepared by British MEP Malcolm Harbour was defeated, and it is the Malta MEPs treatment of this report which has triggered the ire of the Malta Remote Gaming Council.

Harbour’s report was more in tune with the Malta government’s official line on Internet gambling, arguing that it is simply another form of EU economic activity and should therefore be subject to the principle of free movement of goods and services between member nations, to which the European Commission currently works.

“Malta prefers the present internal market rules to regulate the gaming industry over national regulation as some member states have, in the past, tried to stifle competition through their laws,” the Times of Malta remarks.

The newspaper reports that the EU debate had the potential to impact the 4000 Maltese residents working in the online gambling industry on the Mediterranean island, and the MRGC feels it should therefore have been very closely followed throughout by local MEPs.

Instead, says the Council, the four MEPs did not bother to sign as initially supporting Harbour’s alternative report – a document that was in the interest of the island’s industry, and two of them did not attend the session when the crucial vote was taken at all.

Malta Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil was the only one to escape the Council’s disappointment as the sole Malta MEP who followed the dossier with interest and made sure to lend his support throughout.

Although Malta Nationalist MEPs David Casa and Dr Busuttil and Labour MEP Louis Grech voted with the minority and supported the Harbour alternative, the other two Labour MEPs, John Attard Montalto and Glenn Bedingfield, were absent and did not vote.

However, what seems to have most irritated the MRGC is not the plenary vote itself but what happened before, observes The Times.

Before going to plenary Harbour’s report needed at least 40 signatures to be accepted. Although lobbied to do so, only Busuttil of the five Maltese MEPs took the initiative to sign it and lend a helping hand to Harbour.

“This is totally unacceptable,” Alan Alden, general secretary of the MRGC, told the newspaper.

“We just cannot understand how only three of the five Maltese MEPs voted for the alternate resolution submitted. Furthermore, we noted that only Simon Busuttil actually endorsed the alternate resolution initially,” said Alden.

“Malta is always trying to attract investment and needs to do all in its power to protect the remote gaming industry, which accounts for six per cent of GDP, directly employs 2000 people and indirectly about another 2000. We worry about a factory with 150 workers closing down but then ignore an opportunity to do something for this industry. It is totally unacceptable to the council and we intend to pursue this matter further,” Alden stressed.

Asked for their reaction, the four MEPs who did not initially sign the Harbour report said they could not sign because they were not physically present in Brussels when Harbour asked for their signatures.

Asked why they did not vote during the plenary, Attard Montalto and Bedingfield said they missed the session for different circumstances. Attard Montalto was “indisposed” and did not travel to Strasbourg and Bedingfield said he was caught in a flight delay and did not make it on time for the Strasbourg voting session.

Categories: Gambling News

Sweden considers instituting ISP level blocks on gambling websites

March 30, 2009 Leave a comment

It didn’t work in Italy, and it is creating major waves of protest in Australia at present – the prospect of governments forcing Internet Service Providers to impose blocks censoring online gambling websites.

Sweden is the latest country to consider the censorship option, reports The Stockholm News this weekend. The newspaper reveals that a government report suggesting the blocks is at present undergoing a public consultative process, and picking up plenty of flak as it does so.

With Wednesday April 1st as the deadline, the criticism is likely to escalate, the newspaper reports. By then, regional authorities, local governments, relevant organisations and private interests will have all expressed views on how Internet gambling should be regulated going forward in a country already notorious for its state-sponsored gambling monopolistic system.

The main objections to the proposal are that it constitutes blatant censorship and is offensive to the democratic principle of freedom of speech.

The proposal is one of many in the government report on the future of Swedish gambling, and suggests that a Swedish government agency should have sole responsibility to decide what is and is not acceptable in terms of Internet content, and issue orders for ISPs to block specific websites.

It is not at this stage known if this alternative is to be operated under the cloak of secrecy as has been the recent case in Australia and its Australian Media and Communications Authority trials.

Major ISPs such as Bahnhof have already condemned the proposal as rank censorship, and Jon Karlung of the Svensha Dagbladet newspaper has editorially posed the question: “Is it really a good idea for the Swedish state to decide to what Internet destinations its citizens may have access?”

In practice, several Swedish ISPs voluntarily block internet sites that depict child pornography, but there is no state filtering, and Karlung believes this is an important issue. Forcing ISPs to block Internet content would be the first state censorship in history, he points out.

Government agencies are also critical of the proposal. The Swedish Post and Telecommunications Agency, the High Courts and the Agency for Administrative development have issues concerning the blocking of Internet access. Attention is drawn in recent responses to the fact that it is not presently illegal to visit the Internet sites of foreign gambling companies, therefore why should legal accessibility be prevented by the government?

The High Courts in the counties of Skåne and Blekinge have characterised the proposal as “disproportional” and point to the risk that one kind of state filtering of Internet access can lead to an unwelcome expansion of state censorship authority to other industries or interests on the Web.

“What really must be taken into account is that there are no similar regulations in any other area of Swedish law”, the courts write in their response to the government report.

In similar vein, the Agency for Administrative Development opined that the proposal will mean “a ban for Swedish citizens to use parts of the Internet” and recommended wider and deeper discussion on the possible consequences of the proposal.

The Ministry of Finance, which commissioned the report, has declined to make any comments until the consultative phase has been completed, but Finance Minister Anders Borg is on prior record as saying that blocking Internet access may be going “…a little bit too far” and to have questioned the proportionality of the concept.

On the other side of the discussion, Social Democratic spokesperson Lars Wegendal has said that his party supports the idea of a state filter on foreign online gambling sites.

Categories: Gambling News

Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet Bad Bead Jackpot Pays $800000 – Online Casino News

March 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Recently eyebrows were raised when Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet’s CEREUS network’s Bad Beat Jackpot hit over half a million. This six-figure jackpot was one of the largest seen online and promised someone who lost a hand with quad eights or better a life-changing sum.

“Another life-changing jackpot is about to be hit at the online poker tables,” stated Annie Duke, UltimateBet’s Cardroom Consultant at the time. “One lucky Texas Hold’ em player is about to win in a day what most people make working several years. It’s unbelievable.”

It was even more unbelievable when the bubble finally burst – EMILIE14’s straight flush lost to PEACE2UALL’s Royal Flush, showering players with a total jackpot of $807,543.95.

For his loss at the table, EMILIE14 secured $270,843.03. The winner of the hand left the table $132,904.14 richer and two other players who were seated in the hand each took home $2,678.25 in cash. 57 other players each pocketed $1,678.25 for no other reason than they happened to be playing at Bad Beat Jackpot Tables with the same stakes.


Categories: Gambling News

1.8m euro Beach Life progressive jackpot won at Europa Casino

March 28, 2009 Leave a comment

French online gambler Alain M. is riding high this week after hitting Playtech's Beach Life progressive slot jackpot for €1,812,394 at Europa Casino – and he had only been playing for 20 minutes in the session!

In an interview with casino management, Alain recounted: “I was shocked when I saw the reels and I still don’t believe how much money I have won. I love online gaming, it’s better than land based casinos as you can’t smoke or drink in them anymore and its more convenient, I play online everyday”.

The lucky player went on to say, “My advice to other players is to keep on playing and never stop, because you never know when you’re going to win and it’s worth it!”.

Alain is planning to go on a cruise or travel around Asia with part of his windfall from the 5 reel, 20 pay-line Beach Life slot.

Categories: Gambling News

International: EU finds UIGEA in violation of WTO

March 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Friday, the EU Trade Commission released the findings of its 12-month investigation into the legality the U.S.’s ban on online gaming. The report asserts that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, a U.S. law that requires American financial institutions to block payments to online casinos, poker rooms and bookmakers, violates World Trade Organization agreements between the U.S. and Europe.

The investigation, launched last March, found that the UIGEA violates trade rules because it does not ban domestic online-gaming companies from operating in the U.S. American companies like Churchill Downs Inc., which owns and operates Kentucky’s famous horse track, continue to offer online gaming without incrimination, the investigation’s report notes. This, it says, constitutes protectionism as the law blocks European operators from accessing to the U.S. market.

"EU companies are discriminated against," the report concludes. “U.S. companies are allowed to freely operate online gambling on horse racing in the U.S., while European companies and individuals cannot and even face legal action."

Although many European online-gaming companies suffered a loss of market value because of the U.S. law, the commission’s report does not suggest the EU file a formal complaint with the WTO. Instead, it suggests a negotiated solution with the Obama administration.

"It is for the U.S. to decide how best to regulate Internet gambling in its market," EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said. "But this must be done in a way that fully respects WTO obligations.

“(I am) hopeful that we can find a swift, negotiated solution to this issue."


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Categories: Gambling News

British gambling industry execs lobby to prevent tax increases

March 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Top British gambling industry executives have warned the British government that tax increases and tighter regulation on fixed odds betting terminals could have a detrimental effect on the industry that could be manifested in closed shops and lost jobs, reports The Telegraph newspaper this week.

Tax and restrictive measures would not only initiatiate business cut-backs, but also undermine the ability of British gambling groups to effectively compete with offshore rivals, warned Chris Bell of Ladbrokes, Gala Coral's Neil Goulden and Ralph Topping of William Hill in a meeting with Minister of Sport Gerry Sutcliffe and Angela Eagle, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury the newspaper reported.

The government officials were informed that the industry directly employed 40,000 people and supported a further 60,000 jobs in racing and other betting-dependent industries an that British companies might be forced to consider re-locating if tax and regulatory burdens became too onerous.

The meeting took place against a backdrop of speculation that government was considering a raise in gross profits tax from 15% to 17% and the introduction of tougher regulations on fixed-odds betting terminals.

The executives made a presentation to the government representatives, drawing attention to the £920 million bookies pay annually in direct taxes, including corporation tax, gross profits tax and VAT – a figure that tops £1 billion when local taxes are included. Betting companies also contribute more than £130 million a year in levies to the horse and greyhound racing industries, while providing sporting events with £100 million via sponsorship and other commercial arrangements.

“Analysis by London Economics indicates that an increase in gross profits tax from 15% to 17% would result in the closure of 845 betting shops and see the loss of 3,190 full time jobs,” the bookies warned in the presentation. pointing out that the recession was already hurting 2,500 of the UK’s 8,600 shops that are making less than £30,000 profit per year.

The industry delegation emphasised the “severe competitive pressures from offshore operators paying little or no tax or levies”, such as the Internet and telephone businesses of Irish bookie Paddy Power and Gibraltar-based Bwin.

Paddy Power, for example, routes such bets via servers on the Isle of Man, paying only 1.5% tax on gross profits – a saving that it can then recycle into advertising and into offering better odds to UK punters.

Warwick Bartlett, the Association of British Bookmakers chairman, said: “The problem is that the tax rate on e-gaming is too high in the UK.” He added that bookies were having to reconsider whether they could remain located in Britain.

“They are reaching a tipping point,” Bartlett said. “It’s not a question of what they want to do. They have got the staff here, the expertise here and the infrastructure here. But they may not have a choice. Their shareholders are going to start asking what are you doing here?”

Categories: Gambling News