Archive for June, 2010

Australia: Sportsbet takes on New South Wales over gambling levy

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Online betting group Sportsbet Party Limited has won an important legal action in the state of News South Wales, where an Australian federal court has ruled that the state may no longer impose fees on interstate gambling providers in order to protect its main wagering taxpayer, TabCorp Holdings Limited.

Darwin-based SportsBet is majority-owned by online and land-based bookmaker Paddy Power, and regulator Racing New South Wales is now required to pay back around A$2 million.

TabCorp’s Tab Limited has an exclusive retail licence to provide wagering throughout New South Wales until 2013, giving it a 95% market share. It pays various fees as part of this licence, which amounted to A$221 million for the 2006 to 2007 financial year, while its turnover was A$3.3 billion last year.

Racing New South Wales began charging all bookmakers a 1.5% fee on all turnover in excess of A$ 5 million, alleging for the right to use race field information. State government spokesmen justified this by saying that it would halt ‘free riding’ by online and telephone bookmakers registered in other states, which it claimed would likely take A$150 million from Tab Limited over the next decade and A$719 million by 2028.

Justice Nye Perram stated that there had been ‘no doubt’ that low-margin interstate corporate bookmakers were a threat to TabCorp but that Racing New South Wales could not portray itself as an independent regulator as it had a commercial share in Tab Limited’s success and a conflict of interest in imposing fees.

“There can be little confidence in the instrumental capabilities of a system that puts the power of taxation in the hands of entities dependent substantially for their funding on the commercial fortunes of one of the taxpayers,” the judge said.

SportsBet said it had paid its fee under protest, amounting to approximately A$229,000 a month, and Justice Perram found that the bookmaker had been discriminated against because the charge collected from Tab Limited and on-course New South Wales bookmakers had been returned through rebates ensuring that they were not out of pocket.

“Each of the state of New South Wales, Racing New South Wales and Harness Racing New South Wales intended to engage in discriminatory protectionism.” said Justice Perram.

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Playtech casinos release five new video slots

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Internet gambling fans have four new games to look forward to this month follow a launch announcement by software developer Playtech. The games are all 5 reel video slots with themes that range from the Rocky boxing series of movies to the famous Marvel character The Punisher.

Boxing, and the heroic exploits of Sylvester Stallone as the self-made champion boxer Rocky Balboa, support the theme for a 5 reel, 25 pay-line video slot named for the classic series of films that attracted such large numbers of fans in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties.

The theme is carried by excellent graphics and even film clips, and the interactive bonus round lets players choose typical Rocky opponents such as Drago and Creed in condensed ten round fights that carry a prize for the player every time the hero wins.

The legend of Robin Hood forms the basis for The Archer, a 5 reel, 243 ways to win video slot. The symbols are evocative of the famous folklore tale with forests, gold and of course archers and their bows. Archer also has an expand and split feature, which allows more than one symbol to occupy one space at the same time, increasing win opportunities for the player.

Pharaoh’s Secret has an Ancient Egyptian theme that features symbols such as pyramids, scarab beetles and underground passages. This is one of the first games from Playtech that has the Xtra Win factor, which can add up to 50% to the total bet that has been placed by the player, although it is only available when all 20 lines are being played. The game has a bonus round that is triggered when players get three or more of the scatter symbols. The bonus round will allow players to choose one of three symbols, revealing an amount that is won or free spins.

Punisher War Zone is a 5 reel, 20 pay-line video slot has five reels and 20 pay lines that features some of the most popular characters from the Marvel comics character based movies. There is a scatter feature as well as wild symbols, along with a skull icon which will dramatically increase winnings. If a player gets four skulls collected under one reel, the win will be four times their initial wager plus five free spins. Punisher War Zone also has a progressive jackpot and a Marvel Multi-Level Mystery Jackpot. When a player gets this jackpot, they have the chance to win one of four available progressive jackpots.

In Discovery, another 5 reel, 20 pay-line slot, the theme takes the player to the adventurous times of one of the world’s great navigators and explorers – Christopher Columbus, teamed rather intriguingly with Princess Pocohontas.

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PPA plans “money bomb” to support the drive for legalised online poker

June 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Building on the momentum of the past year, the Poker Players Alliance announced this week that it will drop a fundraising “money bomb” on July 1st in order to raise additional funds leading up to a crucial vote this summer on legislation to license and regulate online poker.

A money bomb is when an organisation asks all of its members and supporters to make a financial donation – of any amount – to the group on one specific day. The PPA hopes to raise $25,000 from its over one million members throughout the United States.

“We would not be where we are today without the support and dedication of the poker community. Yet, there is much more to be done to assure that every American has the right to enjoy a game of poker from their computer, in a casino or at their kitchen table,” said Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the PPA.

“This unique fundraising effort is another way for our members and all players to demonstrate to lawmakers the broad support for online poker, while at the same time helping PPA continues its advocacy efforts.”

As a reminder to donate on July 1st, players can visit the website to download the event to their calendars. Even if individuals are not members of the PPA, they are able to donate for this drive and will not be required to become a member.

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Merger talks between Bwin and Party Gaming abandoned

June 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Merger discussions between online gambling giants Bwin Interactive and Party Gaming, both listed companies on the Vienna and London stock exchanges respectively, have come to naught, reports Reuters news agency.

Speculation on the talks has been rife in the industry for some months, and will now be laid to rest on the news that Bwin’s supervisory board chairman and biggest single shareholder, Hannes Androsch, has confirmed that talks have collapsed.

“In the end, talks have not led to the desired outcome,” he was quoted as saying by Austria’s Trend magazine this week.

Analysts predicted that a merger between the two giants could set off a wave of consolidation in the fragmented industry.

Trend magazine speculates that Bwin is now looking for a joint venture partner in the United States and is considering the sale of a minority stake of up to 11% to an as yet unidentified San Francisco-based company.

This was to some extent confirmed by Bwin’s co-chief executive, Norbert Teufelberger, who told the magazine: “Bwin wants to tackle the task of entering the United States with a competent and local partner. We are holding talks to do this.”

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Ohio lottery clerk error results in $250k win

June 27, 2010 Leave a comment

The fickle finger of fate worked rather well for an Ohio store clerk this week, landing her a totally unexpected $250,000 windfall. According to an Associated Press report, store clerk Naomi Mauller of New Lexington, Ohio forgot to add an extra game to a customer’s lottery ticket, so she created a new and correct ticket for the customer and bought the $2 ticket on which she had made the error.

Both tickets won, giving each ticket holder a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

Mauller said she will to use the money to buy a car and pay off some debt.

Categories: Gambling News

Malaysian punter sues newspaper over online gambling ad

June 27, 2010 Leave a comment

A Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia contractor has filed a High Court claim against a private limited company and a newspaper, alleging that they induced him to gamble. Chuah Yan Keng (43) claims that the newspaper published an advertisement last year on services provided by another defendant company and/or three unidentified online gambling websites, reports The Star newspaper.

The advertisement was published at the request of the company, which is the wholesale agent for the websites.

The plaintiff claims he paid RM150,000 into the company’s nominated bank account and obtained an access code. He later placed bets through the online gambling websites, and was fortunate enough to win RM261,286.35, but the company refused to pay him.

He subsequently discovered that the company was not licensed to offer online gambling, a serious offence in a country with such strong anti-gambling measures.

The action is based on idea that the defendants have a statutory duty under the Consumer Protection Act 1999 not to make a false or misleading representation, and that the publisher of the newspaper failed to make all reasonable inquiries to ascertain if the company was also providing illegal online gambling services.

The plaintiff is seeking RM150,000 in special damages, RM261,286.35 in aggravated and or exemplary damages, costs, interest and further relief deemed fit by the court.

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Tropical Storm Alex Could Place Online Gambling Sites In Danger

June 26, 2010 Leave a comment

There is not much that can shut down a successful online gambling operation. Gaming operators licensed in Caribbean countries are usually reliable when it comes to their customer service, but there are natural causes that sometimes threaten their operations.

Hurricane season recently started and Tropical Storm Alex has become the first storm of the year to threaten the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast. A tropical storm warning has already been issued for Belize, and Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula are all starting to see dangerous weather.

Online gambling has become the center of many political debates in South and North America in recent years. While legislators in the US and some South American countries wrestle with whether or not to regulate online gambling, places such as Costa Rica and Panama have become places where online gambling operators have flocked.

Land-based casinos are also at the mercy of the weather and tropical storms, in particular, that turn into hurricanes. The Gulf Coast had to shut down many of their casinos after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area several years ago.

In addition to the businesses that may be affected by seasonal weather, the clean-up of the BP oil spill may be affected as well. Currently, there are over 6,000 vessels and 38,000 people involved in helping clean up the spill. The Coast Guard said that if Tropical Alex strengthens, there could be a delay in the process of up to two weeks.

The online gambling sites are at one of their peak times for customers. The World Cup in South Africa is drawing millions of dollars in bets at sports books around the world, and the tournament still has several weeks remaining until a champion is crowned.

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