January 28, 2009

Bookmakers Pay Out On Barcelona League Win

Real Madrid might not be ready to admit that Barcelona have won La Liga yet, but one bookmaker has announced today that they are paying out the Catalan side as champions.

Expekt.com have released a statement this afternoon, confirming that any bets made on Barcelona to win the league will be paid out, even though there are still 18 games left in the season.

"We declare that the title race is over in Spain and congratulate our customers who backed Barcelona to win the Spanish league. The money will start to be paid out to their accounts on Tuesday," said Dan Vikman, press officer for the firm.

This decision by Expect is apparently not just based on the fact that Barcelona are 12 points clear at the top but also the fact they believe they are too strong to drop points.

"We see no big risk with the squad that Barcelona have. They will keep the other teams behind them during the spring, and, if the unlikely should happen, and another team would win, we will make more customers happy later this year and pay out again," declared Vikman.

The news will no doubt be music to the ears of punters who backed Barcelona with Expect, especially as at the start of the season Real Madrid were 1.7 favourites and Barcelona were priced at 2.35.

The good news for those who didn't back Barcelona is that the firm will still pay out if another side can usurp the Catalans at the top of the table, not that they are expecting it to happen.

"Of course, all other league winner bets will still be valid. If another team should win the Spanish league, we will pay out on them as well, but even if there are 18 rounds to go, we see no competition," declared Vikman.

One of the reasons for the company announcing the decision is to probably stop punters betting on Barcelona, even if they are as short-priced at 1.04.

The company could not release figures about how much they would be paying out, but confirmed that it will be a six figure sum in Euros.

January 21, 2009

Winning Bet On Obama's Speech

As previously mentioned, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power had odds on what phrase President Obama would say first in his speech.

Turns out it wasn't "Change has come", which was favored at 8-1.

Instead, the first sentence out of his mouth included the phrase "As I stand here today", which was tied for third at 12-1 odds.

The speech went eighteen minutes and 26 seconds, not as long as the favored 22-25 minutes.

Didn't see Oprah during the speech, which was also favored at 7-4 odds.

In fact, I didn't see any celebrity once the President began speaking, only average Americans, which was probably the point.

Also, I was wrong. President Obama quoted Washington, not Lincoln.

January 19, 2009

PartyGaming's managing director, John O'Malia is to leave at the end of February

The Board of PartyGaming Plc has been given notice by John O’Malia, Group Managing Director, of his intention to leave the Company in order to pursue other business interests. Mr O’Malia will remain with the Group until the end of February 2009 when he will step down from the Board and his duties as Managing Director will be assumed by Jim Ryan, Group Chief Executive.

John O’Malia was Chief Executive of Gamebookers, until it was acquired by PartyGaming in August 2006. Having agreed to remain with the Group following the integration of Gamebookers, he became a member of the senior management team and was appointed to the Board of PartyGaming in May 2008.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan, Group Chief Executive Officer said:

“Over the past two and a half years, John has made a significant contribution to the transformation and leadership of the Group. In particular, his vision and dedication were fundamental to the successful launch of the next generation of our signature PartyPoker.com product in September 2008. John is a natural leader and is keen to fulfil his potential in a more senior management role that will play to his considerable industry and management experience. Whilst saddened by his decision to leave the Group, we wish him every success for the future.”

John O’Malia, Group Managing Director, commented:

"My time at PartyGaming has been extraordinary. We have made enormous strides in repositioning the Group’s gaming portfolio, something that I was determined to achieve before moving on. I am enormously proud of the progress we have made and the fact that many of the Group’s games are now once again recognised as being best in class. Whilst I shall certainly miss the excitement of working for the world’s leading listed online gaming company, I am looking forward to taking on fresh business challenges."

January 15, 2009

Athens Court Allows Stanleybet Shop to Reopen

Following the closure of Stanleybet’s retail outlets in Greece last November by police just days after their launch, the Athens Administrative Court of First Instance on Wednesday provisionally ordered the sealing of the Athens Stanleybet shop to be lifted, allowing it to once again reopen for business.

Stanleybet International opened two betting shops in Greece in late October, one in the Capital Athens and a second in the city of Thessalonica. The branded outlets focused on football betting and a number of seasonal sporting events, delivered as a face-to-face service to customers in order to assure them of the quality and transparency of the transaction.

On November 6th 2008 Greek police raided the stores, resulting in the arrest of a number of Stanleybet employees and customers present at the time of the raid. All those arrested were subsequently released, however both shops were closed down.

The company said the actions of the Greek authorities were in direct contravention of Article 49 of the EC Treaty which guarantees the right of European companies to provide cross-border services.

Commenting on the decision of the Athens court on Wednesday, Adrian Morris, Deputy Managing Director of Stanleybet International said: “Although today’s court decision is purely procedural, we interpret this as a first move by the Greek courts to acknowledge our right to offer our innovative sports betting services to Greek consumers. In addition, it is a clear indication that Greek judges apply laws consistently and without hesitation.

“Our continuing goal is to create a free, competitive and regulated betting market in Greece, fully compliant with EU law. We have called on the Greek government to comply fully with its EU obligations and we intend to open new shops in the coming weeks.”

In February 2008 the European Commission increased pressure on Greece to liberalise its gambling market by issuing a final warning over its restrictive policies. The Commission said at the time that increasing levels of advertising spend and the introduction of new and addictive games, without effective measures to counter gambling addiction, demonstrated that maintaining public health was not a motivating factor behind the existence of the Greek monopoly. The EC has since however been seen to be inactive in pursuing state monopolies which continue to flout European law.

January 09, 2009

Ladbrokes Seeks Lone Complainant of TV Ads

Ladbrokes has launched a tongue-in-cheek press campaign in the style of a missing persons poster offering a £20 reward to find the one viewer who complained to the advertising regulator and got the betting company's TV ad campaign banned.

The company, which today called for a review into the Advertising Standards Authority's ruling banning the two TV ads for its Ladbrokescasino.com online business, has taken out one-page ads in the Sun and the Racing Post.

Ladbroke's press ad campaign features a mock-up of a police photo-fit of a man's face, under the headline "Missing (a funny bone)".

The complainant is described in the ad as: "Body Type: Busy. Nose: Severely out of joint. Last Seen: Throwing toys out of pram."

"We bear them no ill will, we just want to give them a big bunch of flowers and a hug to say sorry," runs a line in the ad.

Ladbrokes goes on to ask readers to see if any of their friends watched the tongue in cheek TV ads for Ladbrokescasino.com "without so much as a snigger".

If so, says the ad, "we may have found our man, and you could earn yourself £20" to use on the casino website.

The ASA banned two tongue-in-cheek Ladbrokescasino.com TV ads for portraying gambling in a "context of toughness" and linking the pastime with recklessness.

PartyGaming Sues Former Owner of EOL

PartyGaming plc has filed a lawsuit against the former owners of Empire Online, alleging that the company failed to deliver on certain income as agreed in the terms of its acquisition by PartyGaming in 2006.

According to court documents obtained by Bloomberg, PartyGaming's lawsuit against Livermore Investments Group was filed in London last month, seeking damages in an amount running into six figures.

At the time of the company's acquisition of Empire Online in December 2006, PartyGaming said that it expected the acquired businesses and assets to generate clean EBITDA of at least $6.0 million.

The company acquired the assets for a consideration of 83,325,934 new ordinary shares in PartyGaming, which equated to approximately $48 million based upon the then average share price of 29.32 pence. A further $10 million was also retained in escrow, to be released in instalments over the following 18 months subject to certain conditions.

The Empire Online assets comprised a substantial number of its gaming websites including the poker site NoblePoker.com and three online casino sites, EnterCasino.com, Clubdicecasino.com, and Carnivalcasino.com.

Livermore Investments is headed by CEO Noam Lanir, the founder and CEO of Empire Online, with Richard Barry Rosenberg continuing in his role as Non-Executive Chairman.