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Despite opposition, casinos test Net gaming

2/14/2001 (By JOE WEINERT, PressPlus) ATLANTIC CITY – Days after the Casino Association of New Jersey announced its opposition to an Internet gambling bill, the Trump casinos were secretly checking out a similar form of at-home gambling.

Home Gambling Network Inc. of Las Vegas held a private demonstration of its “live remote wagering” system Wednesday afternoon at Trump Taj Mahal.

The small audience included Mark Brown, chief operating officer of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., other “enthusiastic” Trump executives, Assemblymen Kenneth LeFevre, R-2nd, and Nicholas Asselta, R-1st, and gaming lawyer Lloyd Levenson, according to people familiar with the meeting.

The Home Gambling Network is not an Internet casino, but “a close cousin” to online gambling, according to a casino executive familiar with the system. Players using the Home Gambling Network would wager on a casino’s actual live table games through telephones, the Internet or other devices. They can view a live image of the action and bet against other gamblers.

Wagering is done through an instant bank-to-bank electronic transfer.

No bets were placed during Wednesday’s demonstration, said one person familiar with the meeting.

According to company literature, Home Gambling Network licenses its system only to legal gambling operations. It lists no licensees on its Web site.

Neither the Division of Gaming Enforcement nor the Casino Control Commission was aware of the Taj demonstration, spokespersons for those agencies said.

Neither a Home Gambling Network spokesman, Brown, Asselta nor Levenson returned phone calls seeking comment.

LeFevre did confirm his presence at the meeting, and said he liked what he saw.

“If you were to walk through the casinos today, half of their tables are not being used. This would allow tables not being utilized to be used for the (home gambling) system, so obviously there would be greater revenue,” LeFevre said.

“At first blush, it does look interesting. I’m trying to find something that might be wrong about it,” he said.

Mel Molnick, president of Home Gambling Network, and Chris Almida, president of the firm’s parent company, i2corp.com, led the Taj presentation.

“We are excited at the opportunity to demonstrate HGN’s concept of remote wagering on live games-events with electronic transactions to a major U.S. gaming jurisdiction that is considering the legalization of remote wagering,” Molnick said in a prepared statement.

The local casino industry, however, has formally opposed the Internet gambling bill introduced last month by two assemblymen.

“It is …

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Ensign, Reid work behind scenes to kill college sports bet ban

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Senate freshman John Ensign and veteran Democratic Sen. Harry Reid are plotting strategy to kill a bill to ban betting on college sports.

The measure proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and sought by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, has support from members of Congress and several high-profile college coaches.

The Nevada senators expect it to move faster than it did last year, when it failed to get to the floor for a vote.

“Harry and I have to kill it behind the scenes,” Ensign told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “If it comes up for a vote on the floor, we’ll lose.”

Ensign will take his seat in the Senate chamber for the first time Saturday.

Although Ensign isn’t a neophyte to Congress – he was in the House from 1995 to 1999 – being a senator is a whole new experience. Ensign was elected in 1994 as part of the Republican revolution led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

“We were taking Washington by storm, we had a mandate from the American people,” Ensign said.

But arriving in the Senate in 2001 is a much different experience, he said.

“In the House you couldn’t really do much unless you were part of the majority,” Ensign said. “In the Senate, one senator can kill anything unless you have the 60 votes to override. But you also can build small coalitions and get things done and that’s what I intend to do.”

Having a Democrat and a Republican representing Nevada in both houses of Congress is a boon for the state, Ensign said. Ensign can lobby Republican senators and Reid work with the Democrats.

Ensign says his spots on the Commerce and Banking committees were a pleasant surprise. It usually takes years to earn enough seniority for a spot on commerce, he said. Those two committees deal with many issues including transportation, insurance, banking and securities.

Nuclear waste will be another top priority for Ensign. He says the battle lies in the permanent storage dump, not the issue of temporarily storing waste in southern Nevada. He’s already talked with Bush Department of Energy Secretary nominee Spencer Abraham.…

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eBet Ltd completes cashless gaming system trial

Internet gaming company eBet Ltd expects to begin installing its cashless gaming system into clubs and hotels almost immediately after successful trials in New South Wales.

The Government-Accredited Testing Facility (ATF) has recommended the mag-stripe cashless gaming system receive unconditional approval from the Liquor Administration Board (LAB) following the trials, eBet managing director Keith Cullen said.

eBet, which experienced strong revenue growth in the first half year, expected the solid upward trend to improve when sales of the cashless systems commenced shortly, with great profitability in the next financial year.

The company hoped its “first-mover advantage” would help it snare significant market share in the systems, which has already generated interest.

“We have received inquiries and expressions of interest from clubs and hotels representing several thousand gaming machines that are keen to install cashless systems,” Mr Cullen said in a statement.

The cashless gaming systems were trialled at Sydney’s Wentworthville Leagues Club and Cheers Bar and Grill, in the final step of the formal LAB approval process before their sale in NSW.

The ATF’s report was expected to have been lodged with LAB today.

“The LAB will now review the report and we anticipate approval to commence installations following that review,” Mr Cullen said.

He said NSW was a very important market for the company, with its existing customer base of more than 130 venues operating more than 12,000 gaming machines.

“From this base we believe we can capture a significant share of the 100,000-machine market with this exciting new product and having already enjoyed success in Singapore, New Zealand and Greece, we will of course continue to pursue international sales.”

At 1444 AEDT eBet shares were steady at 17.5 cents.…

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e-Gaming Still Thriving

Bear Stearns’ latest gaming industry report,E-Gaming Revisited, provides insightful analysis on the past, present and future of Internet gambling. We’ll take a two part look at what the report has to say, starting with the current state of the e-gaming industry.

According to the report, the days of easy entry into the online gambling business are gone. Investment capital is much harder to come by, successful advertising is more expensive and the cost of acquiring real-money players is increasing. Operators must now have sufficient capital to “incentivize mature surfers to switch their loyalty.”

Directly related, of course, is the fact that competition between online casinos is intense and there is a general “shake-out” happening between e-gaming companies “causing those with minimal resources and less capital… to disappear into thin air.”

Estimates indicate that there are about 1700 casinos and sportsbooks competing for something like 4 million online bettors. It’s worth noting that a large casino can have as many as 200,000 registered players or more while smaller casinos are left to struggle along with only a few hundred or less.

Around the world the various e-gaming nations remain in a high state of flux insofar as their e-gaming laws and regulations are concerned. Antigua and the U.K. stand out as legislative leaders, opening up their marketplaces to access from e-gaming interests.

Meanwhile, Europe has a strong and growing technological lead, especially in the wide distribution of WAP-capable cell phones and a rapidly evolving high-speed telecommunications infrastructure.

The dominant position held by the USA in terms of overall numbers of e-gamers has eroded. Approximately 46% of e-gamers now originate outside of the US — up almost 10% from Bear Stearns’ 2000 report.

The report also provides some interesting profiles of the online gamer. “The majority of customers visiting casino sites are retired.” Further analysis indicates that females gamblers were more numerous than their male counterparts, making up 53-55% of the online gambling population. Men did, however, tend to dominate the high-roller and VIP categories.…

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Cybergambling Tip Beware of Imposters

Things are not always what they appear to be … particularly on the World Wide Web. And as we’ve learned over time, the anonymity that comes along with the Internet isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

It’s fairly well known that online gamblers are better off playing at high-profile sites operated by reputable gaming companies. Recognizable brands are always a plus, but keep in mind that brands are hijacked quite frequently on the Internet.

If I wanted to set up an offshore online casino called “Caesars Palace” or “Harrah’s” it’s doubtful that anyone could stop me. I wouldn’t fool everyone, but there’s definitely a fair share of Internet users who would mistake bogus sites like this for the real deal. It’s dirty and it seems ridiculous that it’s so easy to get away with, but such fraudulent activity is not uncommon.

This isn’t so much an effort to scam players as it is a deceptive means of drawing traffic to sites, but fraud is fraud and such sites should obviously be avoided.

The perpetrators use two tricks. One is to purchase a domain name that contains a brand name but isn’t owned by the same operator that owns the brand. For example, if I owned a popular site called BalestraClub.com, anyone could easily set up a site at BalestraClubCasino.com or TheBalestraClub.com to divert traffic. They might even steal the graphics from my site to make it look identical to my casino.

The second trick is to purchase “typo” domains. For example, an online casino located at the domains “www.CeasarsPalace.com” or “www.Harahs.com” could attract stray Web surfers who type carelessly. (In case this went over your head, the correct spellings are “Caesars” and “Harrah’s.”)

So, what can you do to avoid these sites?

Averting the second trick is no big secret: Be careful what you’re typing and make sure you’ve got the right spelling.

As far as avoiding the first trick goes, your best defense is to do some homework. Doing a “whois” search at NetworkSolutions.com to double check a site operator’s identity might uncover a rat. The only problem is that I could easily register my look-alike URL under a bogus company name, so it’s not a flawless solution.

It would also be beneficial to read consumer publications from time to time to stay up on what’s happening online–particularly publications that feature watchdog/consumer protection pieces.

You might also …

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Gambling part of NZ curriculum

5/25/2003 (The Star Online) AUCKLAND: Casino gambling, gunsmithing and how to use a chainsaw are among some of the subjects New Zealand high school and tertiary students can study, raising concerns among critics, local press reported yesterday.

The latest course National Certificate of Educational Achievement authorities are considering introducing is in rugby refereeing.

They have already approved the study of kapa haka – a traditional Maori war dance.

One high-profile secondary school principal slammed as “ludicrous” the proliferation of subjects available in secondary schools.

“What do all these qualifications mean?” Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris, who is also chairman of lobby group Education Forum, asked.

“I just think we’re short-changing our kids by offering that sort of thing,” he told yesterday’s Dominion Post.

“Schools are there to educate. Reading, writing and maths – what’s happening is that those subjects are being demeaned by how to operate a chainsaw. It’s play-way education … I honestly just cringe and worry about our education system where everybody passes and everybody does well.”

Since the introduction in 1998 of a new national secondary school qualification, many new subjects have been on offer.…

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Gambling laws set for overhaul

4/6/2001 (BBC) A Home Office committee is set to recommend a radical overhaul of Britain’s gambling laws, according to reports.

The Economist magazine reports that the Gambling Review Body will call for better regulation of casinos, betting and bingo when it publishes its findings in June.

It quotes informed sources as saying that the review body will recommend a single regulator to oversee gambling in the UK.

The Home Office has refused to comment on the article, saying only that the review body has not finished its work yet.

But, according to The Economist, the review body has found that current legislation is out-of-date and needs “fundamental reform”.

It suggests that its findings will be accepted by ministers.

Work ‘not finished’

But the Home Office said submissions were still being taken by the committee and nothing would be finalised until June.

The body, which is chaired by former Treasury adviser Sir Alan Budd, is understood to have taken submissions from more than 200 key players in the gambling industry.

It is expected to outline new rules on advertising and opening times of casinos, bingo halls and betting shops.

But a Home Office spokesman said: “The Gambling Review Body is due to report to ministers later this year and its findings will be published.

“One of its main terms of reference when it was set up by the Home Office was to consider and make recommendations on current regulations for gambling in Great Britain.…

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