December 28, 2011

Department of Justice: Wire Act Only Applies to Sports Betting

In an opinion handed down in September, but not made public until two days before Christmas, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Virginia Seitz found that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. Many in the industry, including state and Federal lawmakers, have been awaiting word on the applicability of the Wire Act as it relates to online poker. Now, we apparently have our answer.

In a press release sent out at the close of business on Friday, as many in the poker community were traveling to be with loved ones for Christmas, Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas commented, “This is a much needed clarification of an antiquated and often confusing law. For years, legal scholars and even the courts have debated whether the Wire Act applies to non-sporting activity. Today’s announcement validates the fact that internet poker does not violate this law.”

The Wire Act became law in 1961. Online poker being green-lit under the Wire Act would also seem to hinge on whether poker is defined as a "non-sporting activity."

Friday’s DOJ announcement could pave the way for a bustling online poker business at the state level, where jurisdictions like Nevada and New Jersey have been concerned, at least in part, that legalized online poker could violate the Wire Act and the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Remember, the Black Friday indictments rested on the UIGEA and Illegal Gambling Business Act.

The opinion, which centered on online lottery sales, asserted, “Because the proposed New York and Illinois lottery proposals do not involve wagering on sporting events or contests, the Wire Act does not prohibit them.” It added, “Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a sporting event or contest fall outside of the reach of the Wire Act.” You can read the full opinion by clicking here.

So what does this mean for online poker players in the United States? Could we see legalized online poker in 2012? As states like Nevada are already approving online poker regulations, Pappas detailed, “This will provide policymakers at both the state and Federal level with the legal confidence to move forward with licensing and regulation of online poker and other non-sporting activity within their respective jurisdictions.”

Pappas continued, “However, it is our hope that our Federal policymakers see this as an incentive to move quickly to enact Federal licensing and regulation before various states produce a mix of individual state schemes that may not be the best model to serve consumers.”

According to the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets, Nevada could unleash legalized online poker rooms in 2012, as casino giants like Caesars Entertainment and Boyd Gaming have already applied for licenses. The court clarified relevant language by asserting, “In our view, the references to ‘bets or wagers’… are best read as shorthand references to the ‘bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest.’”

The same opinion contended that the original intention of the Wire Act was to combat phone wagering on sporting events: “The Wire Act’s legislative history reveals that Congress’ overriding goal in the Act was to stop the use of wire communications for sports gambling in particular.”

The clock could be ticking for Federal legalization of online poker. With 2012 being an election year, members of Congress could overlook the revenue potential of legalized online poker and internet gaming in general. Urging lawmakers to act on online poker soon after the New Year was PPA Chairman and former three-term Senator from New York Alfonse D’Amato, who charged, “We urge members of Congress to act quickly based on today’s announcement and pass legislation like HR 2366 to license and regulate online poker at the Federal level.”

Betfair face backlash as punters miss out on millions after in-play betting error

Betfair face a backlash from punters after the bookmakers declared all bets are void following an incredible in-play betting error.

The gambling firm faced an unprecedented multi-million pay-out after odds of 28-1 were offered in-play on a runaway 13-8 favourite at Leopardstown.

There were bizarre scenes in the in-running betting world with a freakish amount traded on Betfair in the 2pm Christmas Hurdle.

A total of £1,642,094 was matched at 28-1 on Voler La Vedette, who went off the 13-8 favourite on-course and won very easily.

Even more strangely, the Betfair graph showed over £21million was offered to back Colm Murphy's mare at those odds, even though she was always in contention and looked the obvious winner even before the final flight.

This meant one layer could potentially have lost £600million in only a few minutes if all of the money had been matched.

Betfair suspended the market in order to investigate, with many of the exchange's members in a state of shock on the website's forum.

After lengthy discussions, it was revealed this was due to a technical error, and that all bets on the event would be cancelled.

A statement from Betfair customer services read: 'Customers betting in-play on this race will have seen that Voler La Vedette was available to back at 29 when the in-running market was suspended, and that a considerable sum was matched on the clear winner at that price.

'An investigation has revealed that this was due to an obvious technical failure which allowed a customer to exceed their exposure limit.

'In accordance with our terms and conditions, all in running bets on this race, both win and place, will be made void.

'We fully appreciate the dissatisfaction this will cause many customers, and apologise for a very poor customer and betting experience.'

December 15, 2011

Betfair gambles on faster website to challenge rivals

The company, whose shares have tanked since last year's £13-a-share float, showed signs of improvement yesterday as it unveiled a maiden 3.2p interim dividend and confirmed the earlier than expected exit of chief executive David Yu, who is stepping down at the year end.

He is handing over on an interim basis to finance director Stephen Morana, who will hold the reins until August's arrival of Breon Corcoran from rival Paddy Power.

"Once that appointment was made I became a lame duck. It's better to have clarity," said Mr Yu, who will still have his £515,000-a-year contract paid up to October next year.

Asked if he should not have waived that given the performance of the shares, Mr Yu said: "We have a contract in place. We will respect that."

He has already been criticised for the 125pc rise in his total pay last year to £824,676, though that was boosted by a short-term incentive plan.

Mr Yu is bowing out after a half in which core betting exchange revenues reached £170m, boosted by second-quarter growth of 12pc. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 36pc to £42.4m, with pre-tax profits up from £7.45m to £20.9m – though last time's were hit by £14.7m of exceptional charges, mainly due to the float. The third quarter has started well with core revenues up 13pc.

Betfair is increasing its fixed-odds betting to compete with bookies that can offer instant in-play bets on such things as the outcome of a penalty. "The exchange is always going to be the vast majority of the business but we accept there are some things it can't do," Mr Yu said.

Mr Morana said Betfair punters were currently going to rivals for 30pc of their bets: "We need to give them no reason to go anywhere else." Betfair is testing a faster website that can download pages in 3 seconds compared to 18. Mr Yu said this had "not been driven" by recent site outages, punters failing to get on bets for the Tote jackpot or a cyber theft of customers' account details. "Betfair is more than 10 years old. When we built the system, we didn't envisage all these products," he said. The shares fell 17.5 to 795.5p.

December 14, 2011

Bovada – The US Version of Bodog Has Arrived

The Bodog name brand has left the US market (kind of) and is now using the URL of As explained earlier this is merely a name change to separate the brand from anything the United Kingdom or other licensed countries may not like, such as opposing the US government. Gamblers from the US can do so fully at Bovada.

The website will run and operate exactly like Bodog did with the exact same games and promotions. There really is no difference for online gamblers. If you are from the United States and try to access Bodog, you will be detected by an IP check, which will tell the system that you are from the United States and send you to A redirect message as to why you are being re-directed will also appear.

Why Bodog chose the .lv extension which stands for Latvia is not known. A more suitable extension would have been .ag or .co in which the United States gamblers are already accustomed to after “Black Friday”. During that period gaming sites who serviced the United States had to redirect their names for fear of losing their sites to the DOJ. The DOJ had authority to seize dot com domain names, but they did not have the authority to seize many other extensions, which is also why is now hosted on

This is now the fourth time Bodog has had to change their domain name because of the United States attack on gambling sites who take bets from the USA. Their first encounter of a name change was because of a legal battle in which Bodog was suspected to be using proprietary software without payment. This lead to the ‘’ domain. After that they decided to rebrand to ‘’ and after eventually getting their domain back, it was again to Now because of US attacks it went from, to, to now Confused yet?

Anyway, if you want to play on what we here at Compatible Poker believe to be the most reputable gaming site online, you can do so from if you are from the USA.

December 13, 2011 prepares for Spanish & Danish markets digital entertainment plc said Tuesday that it expects to be among the first wave of operators to be awarded gaming licences in Spain and Denmark ahead of their respective market openings in 2012.

In a pre-close trading update to the London Stock Exchange this morning, said that revenues since the end of September were in line with management expectations, with full year continuing clean EBITDA margins expected to be in the range of 22 – 24 per cent.

The company submitted licence applications for Spain at the end of last month, with expecting approvals for sports betting, casino, poker and bingo products to be issued in the first wave of licences ahead of the market opening in 2012.

In Denmark, also expects to be among the first wave of operators to become licensed to offer online poker, casino and sports betting at the beginning of January 2012, having submitted licence applications in October.

Since launching its €75m share buy-back programme in September, has purchased 13,970,335 shares at a total purchase price of £17.6m (€20.8m), with an average price of approximately 126 pence per share. These purchased shares have been cancelled.

The company re-affirmed that it remains on-track to deliver approximately €40m of synergies in 2012 and the full €65m of annualised synergies in 2013 as previously announced, despite the postponement of certain integration projects in order for the company to be ready to launch into Spain and Denmark at the beginning of 2012. added that the sale process for Ongame's B2B business is currently at an advanced stage, having attracted a number of interested parties, but is unlikely to be finalised before the end of the year.

December 09, 2011

Biggest Betting Boss in the World, Does Not Want Online Gambling

One of the wealthiest pit-bosses in the world is casino executive Sheldon Adelson; he holds the personal viewpoint that young people should not gamble. While he is right that underage people should not gamble; he may be wrong about the fact that technology in online gambling has not advanced sufficiently to prevent the under-aged from accessing casino websites. He is in opposition to online gambling as he believes it could allow young people to gamble.

Adelson is at the head of the land casino industry’s biggest publicly traded company – Las Vegas Sands Corporation. He is also 78 years old, ranked in Forbes as the world’s 16th richest man, and believes that when he dies, if his body is cryogenically frozen, he can be re-animated when a cure for old-age is found! If that is not narcissistic, then we don’t know what is? So, while Caesars Entertainment Corp, MGM Resorts International, and others are now backing the online industry, and even giving it push for legalization, he comes out with this controversial ideology.

While this is very much a personal stance; “a personal observation regarding technology”, it does not bode well for the online gambling industry in the USA. Adelson has told the head of the American Gaming Association that he will oppose legislation. The Board of Las Vegas Sands Corporation has re-iterated that this is not a formal strategy on the part of the company. However, it goes without saying that a man with the wealth and leverage of Adelson, could put some cats amongst the pigeons.

The land casino industry in the USA has hummed and ha-ad regarding whether they wanted the online industry legalized or not; but now they are actively pursing the legal route. Whether Adelson will ‘rout’ these plans or not, we suppose now remains to be seen?

Gambling Patterns Indicate that 2011 Gold Cup Was Fixed?

The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup that eventually concluded with a thrilling 4-2 Mexico victory over the U.S. captivated soccer fans this past summer. It drew record attendance throughout the proceedings, and that record attendance was eventually capped off with a 93,420-person showing at the Rose Bowl for the final.

According to a new Sports Illustrated report, however, there were also apparently instances of match-fixing occurring throughout.

"There has been information that some matches in the Gold Cup were manipulated," FIFA head of security Chris Eaton confirmed to Grant Wahl of "We worked with CONCACAF at the time, and CONCACAF have been very interested in following up any information that can be revealed in the future on that."

And what specifically led them to this conclusion? Irregular betting patterns over the course of the tournament were prevalent, it seems. Sports Illustrated approached a leading betting-industry expert while researching their report, and he admitted that strange patterns led him to be suspicious of every game featuring Cuba and Grenada, as well as El Salvador’s 5-0 defeat to Mexico in the Gold Cup.

SI noted:

The games involving Grenada (which lost three matches by a combined 15-1) and Cuba (which was outscored 16-1), the insider said, stood out: "It was the sort of thing where we sat around and said, 'Yeah, this looks like it's a 99 percent chance that it's bent.'"

Interestingly enough, the betting that reportedly took place in this instance wasn’t the kind that traditionally springs to mind when it comes to sports gambling. Rather, it was “in-running betting” in which wagers are placed over the course of the game on things that will happen from the point at which the bet was made, going forward.

"With Cuba and Grenada, yes, they're terrible, but there's lots of other teams that are also terrible, and generally those of us in soccer betting are used to pricing out these sorts of games, where you have very good against very bad," the expert told SI. "We see them a lot in the World Cup and European Championship qualifying. What I would say is that the odds movements for in-running betting [in Cuba and Grenada's Gold Cup games] were just incredibly, incredibly unusual and extreme. We're talking about five to 10 times what you would typically see. And these extreme odds movements would be subsequently vindicated by what was happening on the field."

Despite the murmurs of improprieties, though, nothing has been proven as of yet. If there was any wrongdoing, however, more investigations will no doubt chip away at the wall of secrecy that has been built around soccer-related gambling controversies over the last few decades.

Unibet stops all gaming activity in Spain

In order to comply with the new Spanish Gambling regulations, Unibet will stop all gaming activity in Spain as of 20th of December 2011.

The majority of the Spanish banners/text links in your affiliate account will be de-activated on the 14th of December 2011. However, we will keep the best performing banners/text links active and re-direct these to the Brasilian website as of 14th of December 2011.

If you are currently promoting Unibet or Maria in Spain we would kindly ask that you substitute your Spanish banners/text links from your website to avoid dead links.

We have a wide range of geo targeted text links that you can use to promote Unibet and Maria. You will find these in the Media Gallery when searching for language English (International). We also have a range of geo targeted banners in the system that have proven very popular. You will find these in your Media Gallery under the tab Geo location media groups.

If you are already using existing geo targeted banners/text links you do not need to do anything as they will still function correctly.

Rest assured your acquired customers will remain under your affiliate account and you can login at any time as the affiliate account will still be open.

December 08, 2011

UEFA, ARJEL find no unusual betting in Lyon's 7-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in Champions League

An investigation into Lyon's unlikely 7-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb failed to turn up any unusual betting patterns, and even UEFA said Thursday it found nothing suspicious about the outcome.

ARJEL, France's online gambling regulator, routinely looks into "atypical" scorelines, but said it found nothing out of the ordinary — either in the total amount gambled online with French operators, the number of bets, their spread, or in how odds evolved during the game.

The lopsided result helped Lyon advance to the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday. That, combined with the apparent ease with which it scored some of its goals, sparked talk that the match may have been fixed.

Ajax, the team that was eliminated on goal difference after losing to Real Madrid 3-0, asked for a UEFA investigation into Lyon's match.

"By asking a number of open questions, we at least expect to get a clear reaction from their side," Ajax interim director Martin Sturkenboom said. "Doing nothing is not an option. This way, we protect our position for the future should something irregular surface."

UEFA's gambling fraud detection system, which taps into information from more than 400 betting companies and monitors 29,000 games per season, is designed to spot telltale suspicious gambling patterns that could point to match-fixing.

"For the time being this system has not shown any irregular betting patterns around (Wednesday's) games or their outcome that would justify any enquiry on that front," UEFA said.

"UEFA also pays a lot of attention to the sporting behaviour on the pitch and we are currently waiting to receive the reports of the referee, referee observer and match delegate to see if, in their opinion, something suspicious might have happened. If there is anything in these reports that could raise a doubt, UEFA may then charge a disciplinary inspector to investigate the matter. But there is nothing at this stage that would justify doing so."

For some, suspicions were aroused by an apparent wink that Dinamo defender Domagoj Vida appeared to direct at Bafetimbi Gomis as he helped the Lyon forward pluck the ball out of the net after Lisandro scored the French team's fifth goal.

"I have no doubts whatsoever about the integrity of the match or the competition," UEFA President Michel Platini said after an executive committee meeting in Venice, Italy. "I believe in this competition and I believe in the integrity of the players in this competition."

ARJEL's regulatory powers over online gambling in France include combating fraud. The agency said probing matches that, for whatever reason, are deemed to be suspicious is one of its duties.

Lyon said in a statement on its website that ARJEL was simply following its procedures by carrying out postgame checks.

"The club totally approves of this action which is undertaken whenever a sporting result is considered atypical," Lyon said.

It also appeared to frown on suspicious mutterings about the result, saying it "regrets that comments are not being limited to the sporting aspect of an incredible exploit both for Olympique Lyonnais and for French football."

In Croatia, Dinamo issued a statement describing speculation about the result as "shameful, malicious and tendentious."

"(It's) a defeat that was hard to imagine," Dinamo said, noting that coach Krunoslav Jurcic was fired because of it. "A team that was more powerful, superior in numbers and had greater motivation ... won yesterday."

Dinamo midfielder Jerko Leko was sent off in the 28th minute for collecting two yellow cards in quick succession. Lyon failed to score before that and even trailed 1-0 in the first half before its unlikely comeback.

Gomis led the rout with four goals, including a seven-minute hat trick — the fastest ever in the Champions League. Besides Lisandro, Maxime Gonalons and Jimmy Briand also scored.

Because only a win and a deluge of goals would do it, Lyon looked extremely unlikely to qualify ahead of Ajax in Group D. Lyon coach Remi Garde was quoted as saying that qualification was "unimaginable."

The front-page headline of French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday was "Miraculous!"
Ajax needed only a draw at home in the other Group D match against a below-strength Real Madrid to qualify ahead of Lyon. Instead, it lost 3-0. Ajax coach Frank de Boer said Dinamo could have made it harder for Lyon to pull off its stunning feat.

"I know that if you are down to 10 men, as they were after a half hour, I think, that if you play 4-4-1 and you are 1-0 up then you can make it very hard for your opponent," De Boer said. "I've heard that the goals were very easy. But we have to look to ourselves. We didn't do well enough. We should have got a minimum of a point and we didn't."

Wilshere denies betting claim over wager placed on Arsenal's Greek tragedy

Jack Wilshere has denied betting on his own team - which is strictly prohibited by UEFA - during Arsenal’s Champions League defeat to Olympiakos.

The England midfielder, who is currently out of action with an ankle injury, could be in trouble with European football’s governing body after suggesting he had placed a bet on Emmanuel Frimpong to score the first goal in Tuesday night’s game.

Wilshere, 19, said Frimpong could be ‘worth a cheeky £10’ before posting ‘Frimmy nearly won me some money there!’ when the Ghanaian midfielder narrowly missed the target with the score at 0-0.

Olympiakos forward Rafik Djebbour eventually broke the deadlock in the Greek side’s 3-1 win, but Wilshere later insisted he had not put a wager on.
The Arsenal star said before the match: ‘Champions league tonight come on the Arsenal! @Frimpong26AFC 1st goal is 150-1... worth a cheeky £10 right?’

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny replied to Wilshere saying that a bet would be a waste of money, and Frimpong responded: ‘Cheers Guys U can put a tenner on a tackle? whats the odds:)’
UEFA is now looking into Wilshere’s tweets. The midfielder could face a fine or even a ban if found guilty of breaching the rules.

A spokesman said: ‘All persons bound by UEFA’s rules must refrain from any behaviour that could damage the integrity of matches and competitions.

‘A breach of these principles is committed by anyone who participates directly or indirectly in betting or who has a financial interest in such activities.’

Wilshere moved to defend himself after the game, insisting he had been joking. He said: ‘I didn’t actually bet on the game. I know we’re not allowed to! I was only messing #justtobeclear’
The tweets have since been deleted from Wilshere’s account.

December 07, 2011

AGCC launches external review of actions against Full Tilt

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has launched an independent review of its actions and processes leading up to the suspension and eventual revocation of licences belonging to Full Tilt Poker, which will be conducted by the former chairman of the UK Gambling Commission, Peter Dean CBE.

The AGCC said the decision had been taken in order to provide full transparency of the actions taken by the commission against Full Tilt, focussing specifically on the appropriateness, timeliness and fairness of the actions undertaken.

The licences of Vantage Limited, Filco Limited, and Oxalic Limited (together trading as Full Tilt Poker) were suspended by the AGCC on June 29th 2011 and revoked by the AGCC Commissioners on September 29th.

“As soon as we became aware that there were possible irregularities in relation to FTP’s operational integrity AGCC acted to discharge fully our statutory obligations,” said André Wilsenach, AGCC’s executive director. “We believe we acted appropriately and fairly at all times but, following our own internal assessment and the inevitable questions that have been raised by third parties, the Commission decided that it is in the best interests of players, licence holders and AGCC itself to commission an independent review and to make the outcome public.”

The AGCC has appointed Peter dean CBE, the former chairman of the UK Gambling Commission, to conduct the review.

Dean was chairman of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, and subsequently the Gambling Commission from 1998 to 2007. Prior to this, he was deputy chairman of the UK’s Monopolies and Mergers Commission from 1990 to 1997 and from 1996 to 2001 served as the Investment Ombudsman appointed by the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation (IMRO) to handle complaints against IMRO regulated companies. He is also a former chairman of the International Association of Gaming Regulators

“I am delighted that Peter Dean has agreed to conduct the review,” continued Wilsenach. “He has many years of experience at the top of the British Gambling Commission and commands wide respect from operators and regulators alike. He has been asked to review fully the actions taken by AGCC in respect of FTP and to focus specifically on the appropriateness, timeliness and fairness of those actions.”

Dean will present a final report and recommendations to the Commission by the end of March 2012.

December 01, 2011

PokerStars buys Cara de Poker

Ahead of early Spanish regulation in 2012, PokerStars has increased its presence with an acquisition of the Spanish iPoker skin Cara de Poker. According to the announcement on the website posted yesterday, player accounts – including their funds and VIP points – are to being moved over the PokerStars platform.

“[Beginning next year] only license holders will be permitted to offer poker games and tournaments to Spanish players, significantly reducing the number of games available,” explains the official statement on the website, referring to the new regulatory system in Spain that will segregate the player pool and create a regulated market.

“Only the largest room in the world and in Spain will be able to offer the number of cash tables and tournaments needed to provide a superior experience,” continues the statement, titled “PokerStars, The Best Possible Choice.”

The Cara de Poker iPoker skin has closed, and customers who start the software are greeted with a message informing them that an account migration to PokerStars is in progress. It’s been reported that PokerStars is certainly well positioned to capitalize on a new Spanish regulated market, assuming regulation proceeds as planned and the poker room receives a license.

Forced into online black market gambling?

A review of the £1.7 billion British online gambling market is set to be reviewed in early December. It’s been reported that a secondary licensing fee on offshore gaming companies operating in British markets could be on the cards. The shakeup means that the government could close tax loopholes taken advantage of by offshore online gambling operators. Most of the top 20 operators in the UK market operate from offshore locations and do not pay taxes or horseracing levies in Britain. William Hill, in particular has voiced themselves on the issue.

It’s been reported that William Hill is the gambling group most likely to be affected by the secondary license fee. It has more than 10% market share and operates offshore. It commissioned professional business services provider Deloittes to carry out a review.

Deloittes concludes that secondary taxation at the point of consumption could lead to an exodus of the more reputable online gambling operators, forcing an estimated 40% of the players to shift to unauthorized and untaxed operators. This would result in the growth of a black market in online gambling. A spokesman for William Hill told The Independent newspaper, “The question for the Government is, should it introduce policy which distorts markets?”

The drastic proposal was aired by Tory MP Matthew Hancock and would involve taking tax from where a bet is placed as opposed to the physical location of the company. It means companies that decided to buy up a money-saving sun-haven need a UK Gambling Commission license. An Independent article quotes the Deloitte report as saying “a 15 per cent tax could mean two-fifths of legitimate firms leaving the UK market.” Hancock wants to determine where online gambling is taking place in an annual Finance Bill.

Changes are expected to come into force this time next year. The UK remains one of the world’s best licensing regimes and companies – private or public – will always be attracted to a country that has the centre of the iGaming universe, London, at its core.

November 24, 2011

Playtech’s £100m plan

Online gaming software company Playtech is aiming to raise £100m by issuing 46.5 million shares at a 2.5% discount on yesterday’s closing price in London. The world’s biggest provider of online gambling software said it would raise the money in the discounted offering to finance acquisition opportunities and investments in new joint ventures.

The placement of about 46.5 million shares would be priced at 215 pence each, representing a 2.5 percent discount to the stock’s closing market price on Tuesday, Playtech said.

Billionaire Israeli founder Teddy Sagi holds a massive 40% stake and said it had identified a number of acquisition opportunities in regards to expanding its existing technology and product offerings.

The Estonia-based company operates a joint venture with Britain’s biggest bookmaker William Hill and provides software to Paddy Power, PartyGaming and Gala Coral.

November 22, 2011

Scots punter wins £132k on £1 bet after correctly predicting 18 football results.. but he needed last minute Arbroath penalty to clinch it

A punter has scooped £132,000 from a "miracle" £1 bet on football results.

The Scots gambler correctly predicted the winners of 18 matches in Scotland and England.

But his accumulator was only sealed by a 94th-minute penalty from Arbroath's Paul Sheerin.

It gave his side a 1-0 victory over Keith and completed the punter's dream line, which included another three Scottish matches and English teams such as West Ham, Leeds, Cardiff and Charlton.
The winner, who wants to remain anonymous, struck his bet at a Coral shop on Paisley Road West in Glasgow on Saturday.

And his payout capped a "devastating" weekend for bookies, who lost around £20million as a host of footie favourites won.

Last night, Coral spokesman David Stevens said: "In 10 years of working ... this is the most extraordinary tipping performance I have seen.

"It's hard enough finding one winner but to get 18 in one day is nothing short of miraculous. We're delighted that this customer has hit the jackpot in time for Christmas.

"It just goes to show you don't have to stake big money to win big money."

Stevens added: "We are still counting the cost of the weekend but we think the results have cost bookmakers about £20million.

"We also had a £48,000 winner south of the Border and lots of smaller wins of a few thousand.
"But the £132,000 winner was the biggest by far.

"And the difference between his win and the rest was that he didn't back top-flight teams - the big guns who people usually back first. That's what makes it so special."

The payout is a latest big-money win for Scots punters. In May, a Glasgow gambler scooped £353,000 on a £1 seven-horse accumulator.

And in August, Dumfries grandad Stuart Smith, 58, became Scotland's first betting shop millionaire, landing the jackpot on the 49's lottery game.

November 18, 2011

Bernard Tapie Signs Deal with DOJ to Acquire Full Tilt Poker

Players holding out hope that their money on Full Tilt Poker would be returned to them sooner rather than later got some great news on Thursday. first broke the story that Groupe Bernard Tapie had signed a deal to purchase the assets of Full Tilt Poker for $80 million US.

As part of the deal Full Tilt Poker agreed to surrender its assets to the Department of Justice. The DOJ was then able to sell those assets to GBT. American players will be paid back by the Department of Justice while GBT assumes all debts for players outside the United States. Estimates put the the amount owed at $390 million with $150 million being owed to U.S. players.

The deal still needs approval of 2/3 of Full Tilt Poker shareholders.

The deal between GBT and the DOJ is expected to be officially announced by Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, on Friday. The story which ran on CNNMoney and Yahoo! Finance was done so ahead of an embargo which should have seen the story made public Friday morning at 6:45 ET.

According to CNN Money, “the government plans to dismiss the civil forfeiture proceedings. This will have no impact on individual proceedings, but it removes a potential liability for shareholders, as it removes all pending proceeding against Full Tilt”. In August, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst were added to the forfeiture and civil money laundering complaint brought by Bharara’s office that originally only named Ray Bitar. All four are members of the board of directors for Full Tilt Poker.

November 17, 2011

Full Tilt Poker News: Settlement Stalled?

Full Tilt Poker players who were allegedly defrauded of their online poker deposits are reportedly becoming anxious as they await news on a deal between Full Tilt Poker's parent company, a French investor, and the U.S. Department of Justice that is expected to result in actions intended to refund the players of over $300 million.

The delay is reportedly unrelated to recent court papers filed by Full Tilt Poker executive Christopher "Jesus" Ferguson laying claim to hundreds of millions in funds seized by the U.S. government in legal action against the online poker operation.

In early November, GBT CEO Laurent Tapie told the French poker magazine iGamingFrance that an acquisition agreement was expected to be finalized, and repayment plans confirmed, within two weeks.

The laywer for Group Bernard Tapie, the intended buyer, said he remains "optimistic" the concerned parties would soon finalize an agreement though the two week mark is fast approaching.

"We are waiting to hear back from the DoJ and still hoping to finalize an agreement," GBT attorney Behnam Dayanim told Poker News Report. "It takes time. We have an oral understanding with the DoJ that we're trying to reduce to writing."

As IBTimes previously reported, Full Tilt Poker was accused of running a "global Ponzi scheme" and was the recipient of both Federal and civil complaints alleging the online gaming company violated regulations and mishandled player funds.

"Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme," Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a motion to amend a previous federal complaint again Full Tilt Poker to include "misuse of players' funds" to the charges.

In the statement, Mr. Bharara claims Full Tilt Poker "cheated and abused its own players to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars" and that "insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited with the company."

The complaint accused Full Tilt executives -- which include Ferguson and another famous poker player, Howard Lederer and -- of pocketing $440 million dollars in player deposits that were supposed to be in secure accounts. Previously, poker player Phil Ivey sued the company, claiming "Full Tilt Poker failed to maintain a reserve account sufficient to satisfy the return of funds to U.S. players."

In a statement on its Web site, Full Tilt Poker blamed "government enforcement activities and significant theft" for its cash-flow problems. The statement insists that Full Tilt Poker "has been actively exploring opportunities with outside investors in order to stabilize the company and pay back our players." It says that company is "fully committed to paying them back in full and restoring confidence in our operations."

According to a September article in Forbes magazine, Lederer claimed the company only had $6 million in funds remaining -- nowhere near enough to refund players whose accounts had been frozen.

But in early October --shortly after the Alderley Gaming Control commission revoked Full Tilt Poker's operating license -- Group Bernard Tapie announced plans to acquire Full Tilt Poker. The purchase was subject to multiple conditions, including an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to reimburse players whose accounts had been frozen. According to Poker News Report, Group Bernard Tapie was "hoping" the Dept. of Justice would refund the players from the over $300 million in seized assets, and allow GBT an extended period to pay off Full Tilt Poker's fines.

According to a Nov. 4 Wall Street Journal report, a source "close to the situation" said "Group Bernard Tapie would pay an amount of money to the Justice Department to resolve the civil dispute with the Justice Department" and refund the overseas players, per the agreement, which would require U.S. players to file claims with the Dept. of Justice to facilitate a refund. There was no indication on the exact sum GBT would pay the Dept. of Justice in regards to U.S. players' claims.

Behnam Dayanim, an attorney for GBT, explained to Poker News Report why the U.S. and overseas player pools were being handled separately.

"There are two big differences between U.S. and Rest-of-World players," Dayanim said. "One difference is that the DoJ views the activity of Full Tilt in offering wagers to U.S. players as being unlawful. It doesn't take that view with ROW [overseas] players."

IBTimes found a press release claiming the Full Tilt Poker investment deal had collapsed, but cannot verify its legitimacy. It appears to have been generated by a possible competitor of Full Tilt Poker.

November 16, 2011

Unibet set to re-enter France with Solfive acquisition

Unibet Group plc has entered into an agreement to acquire France’s Solfive SAS, operator of the Eurosportbet and Eurosportpoker brands in the French market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Unibet will acquire Solfive, owner of SPS Betting France SAS, for an initial consideration of €5.625m plus net cash adjustment of €1.5m, payable upon closing. The acquisition also includes an earn-out component based on performance during the first six months of trading post-acquisition, together with an agreement to provide funds to settle a €2.375m fixed debt.

Solfive acquired SPS Betting in April of this year from French media group TF1 for an undisclosed amount after the company incurred a loss of €26.0m in the 2010 financial year as a result of diffucult market conditions in France.

Once one of its strongest markets, Unibet quit France during the second quarter of 2010 citing the country’s unfavourable licensing conditions.

The company says it will now leverage the legacy strength of the Unibet brand in France and its historic customer base to increase revenues, but maintains that market conditions – which remain poor - will result in the acquisition having an insignificant impact on profitability in 2012.

“This strategic acquisition gives Unibet immediate access to the French market with a technical platform that is already licensed offering sports betting, poker and horse racing,” said Unibet CEO Henrik Tjärnström.

“We will rebrand the business quickly to The combination of Unibet’s strong brand, the efforts already made to build a significant market share for EurosportBet, and the difficult decisions taken by management to control costs give the best opportunity to be successful in a very difficult market.”

The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval from ARJEL, which is expected to be received by the end of the year.

Commenting on the acquisition, Solfive Group CEO Olivier Ou Ramdane said: “The extremely challenging terms and conditions for the French market make it very difficult for an independent operator to develop their business. We are delighted therefore to have this opportunity to work with Unibet, who have the experience, resources and brand legacy in France to succeed in this market in the long term. We are proud of the achievements of the Eurosportbet team in establishing a strong market share and believe that this transaction provides the best platform for the long term success of the business and therefore the best opportunities for the excellent team that we have built.”

November 10, 2011

Germany's Heinz wins World Series of Poker

Now that the 22-year-old German has won the $8.72 million prize at the World Series of Poker, he can steer his life in pretty much whatever direction he wants.

"Honestly I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the money," Heinz said early Wednesday after winning the main event in a marathon session of Texas Hold 'em. "Probably my family is going to get a couple gifts."

Heinz won with an ace high, just nine hands after using the same hand to boost himself from a nearly insurmountable disadvantage against 35-year-old Martin Staszko.

Heinz, of Cologne, Germany, called an all-in bet from Staszko with an ace and a king. Staszko held a seven-10 of clubs.

The board was a five of clubs, deuce of diamonds, nine of spades, jack of hearts and four of diamonds, helping neither player but cementing Heinz's win in the $10,000 buy-in tournament that started in July.

Staskzo won $5.43 million for second place, a nice consolation prize, but it comes without a bracelet — the prize given to WSOP event winners and coveted by all serious card players.
"Have you ever worn it?" Heinz asked 2010 title winner Jonathan Duhamel as Duhamel handed him the bracelet.

"It's got to be the happiest day of my life," Heinz said. "But I can't believe what happened — it's unreal."

Staszko, a chess whiz who once worked for three years at an auto paint shop, said he thought his finish would help poker in his native country.

"I'm never happy if I don't win," Staszko said. "But it's not too bad. Second place is OK."
Staszko, who mainly plays online, said he'll be back to Sin City and the series.
"I'll come back next year," he said. "I hope I can win a bracelet."

Asked before the final table began whether they'd accept second place money right then and forgo a shot at the title, Heinz said yes; Staszko said no.

Now, Heinz is happy they played the game.

Once it was down to the two players, they exchanged the lead nine times over 119 hands. At one point, Staszko had a nearly 4-1 chip edge on Heinz.

But Heinz, who started the day with just over half the chips in play, convinced Staszko to gamble with less-than-ideal hands in an attempt to put the no-limit Texas Hold 'em tournament away.

"I tried not to lose my nerve," Heinz said. "At some point I was not making a hand. I was getting frustrated, honestly. I just tried to play my game."

Las Vegas poker professional Ben Lamb was eliminated early Tuesday night in four hands. He pushed all-in on the first hand of play with a king-jack, hoping to induce Staszko to fold pocket sevens.

But Staszko called and kept his marginal advantage as the five community cards were dealt.
"I got the sense he wasn't like super strong, but he actually was stronger than I thought he was," Lamb said.

That left Lamb very short on chips, and he pushed all-in again three hands later with a queen-six. This time, Staszko had pocket jacks and eliminated Lamb.

"Every poker player dreams of having the year I had, so I don't want to sit here and have people like cry for me," he said. "I'll be OK."

The 26-year-old Lamb won $4 million for finishing in third place.

Each player must lose all his chips to be eliminated from the $10,000 buy-in tournament, and win all the chips in play to take the crown.

Heinz, who said he had a rough six-month run in poker before the series and was thinking about whether to go back to college, aggressively stormed from seventh in chips to first at the nine-hand final table on Sunday.

He went from 16.4 million in chips to 107.8 million in just more than 7½ hours of play, propelling to a higher finish than at least six of his competitors.

Lamb, an experienced professional who made his mark at the 58-tournament series this year by winning Player of the Year honors, had a large contingent of rowdy supporters and a smaller group of friends and poker experts feeding him information about his play and his opponents.

For the first time, every hand at the final table was playing out nearly live on ESPN, including tense stretches of several minutes during which players mulled difficult decisions.

The play was aired on a 15-minute delay with hole cards revealed once hands ended — enough time to ensure gambling regulators that players couldn't cheat.

The game was played in front of a crowd of hundreds at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino near the Las Vegas Strip, in the same theater where magicians Penn & Teller regularly perform.

"It was just awesome to have so many of your friends and family following you, cheering you," Heinz said.

November 09, 2011

Interwetten signs Czech ice hockey club sponsorship deal

Following its recent sponsorship of La Liga side Sevilla FC, Interwetten has confirmed that it will also become the official sponsor of Czech Republic ice hockey club HC Sparta Prague.

Interwetten said that the sponsorship deal will help to increase the company’s presence in the Czech sports betting market, where it has been in operation since the start of the year.

HC Sparta Prague was founded in 1893 as AC Královské Vinohrady and is one of the most successful clubs in Czech ice hockey history. Currently playing in the Czech Extraliga, the team plays its home games in Tesla Arena, which is the second largest hockey stadium in the Czech Republic with a capacity of nearly 14,000 spectators.

Under the agreement, the company will have a brand presence at the Tesla Arena stadium in the form of advertising hoardings, as well as advertisements on videos around the stadium and a banner on the club’s official website.

In addition, Interwetten customers will now be able to exchange Club Points in the Interwetten Club for VIP tickets for every home tie and other gifts goodies from HC Sparta Prague.

“HC Sparta Prague is delighted to welcome as one of the best-known European sports betting providers and a further international partner,” said Antonin Charouz, owner HC Sparta Prague. “And this new partnership seems to have given our players a boost: since the first commercial appearance of Interwetten at the Tesla Arena, the club has been going from strength to strength on the ice and is now first in the table.”

Interwetten managing director Birgit Bosch said of the two new sponsorship deals: “We are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to work with two top international teams in Sevilla FC and HC Sparta Prag. These partnerships underline Interwetten’s position of ranking among the best of the best and offering our customers the very best entertainment – something we have in common with our new partners.

“Football, the number 1 in betting sports, has been a fixed component of our sponsoring activities from day one. Ice hockey is among the most popular sports in the Czech Republic, meaning that our sponsorship of HC Sparta Prag will represent a valuable addition to our sponsoring portfolio.”

November 08, 2011

Aussie online betting operators call on Govt to lift laws

Australian online betting companies have called for the relaxation of online gambling laws, claiming the regulations restrict them from competing with offshore companies.

In its submission to the Federal Government’s review of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA), online betting company Sportsbet claimed the regulations should be amended to allow Australian-based websites to offer “in-the-run” betting, which refers to the placing of bets once an even has commenced.

“Betting after an event has commenced is available over the phone and in retail outlets in Australia,” the submission reads.

“With Australian-based websites prohibited from offering betting in the run in online, Australians are choosing to place bets in the run online through unregulated overseas websites.”

The company claims the issue is separate from that of the broader online gaming debate, and that it is simply an issue of platform neutrality as this form of betting already exists over the phone and in TAB retail outlets.

“Sportsbet urges government to address this issue as a matter of urgency and allow betting in the run online with Australian registered wagering operators.

“This would achieve the stated goal of platform neutrality, remove a major disadvantage to licensed Australian online wagering operators and allow Australian consumers to bet in the run safely.”

Fellow online wagering firm, Betfair, has joined Sportsbet in the push for the removal of the restrictions around online in-play betting online as well as online interactive games.

“This approach would ensure that the issues surrounding problem gambling and integrity in sporting contests can be managed more effectively from within Australia,” Betfair’s submission reads. “Further, Australian consumers of these services would be afforded enhanced consumer protection, tax revenues would remain in Australia and can be used to fund problem gambling programs and research projects and Australian operators will be able to compete with offshore gambling operators on an even playing field.”

“One key reason that the IGA is presently ineffective is that it failed to regulate services, and instead focused on the methods by which those services are delivered (e.g. telephone, internet) and therefore became antiquated on a rapid basis.”

According to Sportsbet the prohibition of Australian-based websites offering online gaming is ineffective in reducing problem gambling as Australian continue to spend in the order of $1 billion annually on online gaming through unregulated offshore sites.

Also weighing in on the topic with its submission was Tabcorp, which was in agreement with its competitors and stated online gambling must be deregulated so Australian are not forced to bet with offshore operators.

“This will also enable domestic operators to compete on a level playing field where player protection standards can be assured.”

Tabcorp also claimed a national code of conduct for wagering and sports betting should be established to cover elements of the industry including marketing, credit betting, the offering of financial inducements to open an account and to convey messages of responsible gambling, self-exclusion and compliance with the code.

The call comes at a time when the focus on problem gambling has been fixed on implementing controls on poker machines to eliminate problem gambling.

The Federal Government has continued the upward battle to implement its mandatory pre-commitment scheme with all states, except Tasmania, complaining that it should remain optional.

The scheme would require patrons to nominate their maximum losses before they started playing the pokies.

PokerStars targets new online poker world record

Online poker room PokerStars is looking to beat its own Guinness World Record for the largest ever online poker tournament, with a new record attempt set to take place on Sunday December 4th.

PokerStars last beat the record for the largest ever online poker tournament back in December 2009 when 149,196 players took part in a tournament arrange two days after Christmas. This was more than double the previous record of 65,000 players set earlier that year in July.

On Sunday December 4th, PokerStars will attempt to break the record again, with a $1 buy-in tournament kicking off at 12:30pm (ET). The tournament will have a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool, with $50,000 guaranteed for first place.

PokerStars will also be placing a $10 bounty on the head of every member of Team PokerStars Pro who takes part.

“It's exciting and unique to be part of a World Record,” said Team PokerStars Pro member Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, who holds a personal Guinness World Record for most online poker tables played in one hour (62, with a profit of $23.60). “I'm looking forward to doing it again on December 4. It will be great to see so many players come together to make history once again at the world's largest poker site.”

The record attempt will be overseen and confirmed by Guinness World Records and listed in their renowned database of world bests.

Commentators may be told to tone down TV betting plugs

Sport commentators would have to tell fans to "gamble responsibly" under proposed new gambling rules.

The Independent Gambling Authority has asked the gambling industry to comment on 12 ideas it is considering as part of an update to industry rules.

Networks are increasingly being paid "plug" money to cite odds during games.

"One option might be for the gambling provider to procure that the same commentators will speak, in a neutral tone, the mandatory warning message on a minimum frequency throughout sporting events," the IGA says in a discussion paper for the industry.

The IGA believes conventional television, radio and print advertising of gambling is "well comprehended" under its existing code of practice, but it may have to toughen up on emerging forms of advertising such as online, at-venue and product placement.

Uniting Care Wesley manager Mark Henley has told the IGA it should also investigate the "contempt" some betting companies show for existing warning messages.

"One company earlier this year concluded their radio advertising with a fast delivery of the following responsible gambling message: `Gamble responsibly, don't drink too much and be nice to your mother'," he said.

"The wording coupled with the delivery is clearly, in my opinion, applying ridicule to the requirement ... to include a responsible gambling message.

"A complaint was lodged with the IGA in March this year. We haven't had a reply."

Other ideas that the IGA has put to the industry for discussion include whether industry bodies to prevent problem gambling are effective, free betting credits should be banned and more training is needed for staff at gambling venues.

In a submission to the IGA inquiry, the Adelaide Casino has lobbied for continued special treatment.

It says: "Adelaide Casino requires a separate code from other sectors and deserves credit for the proven, continued success of the host responsibility co-ordinator program. We thank the authority for the faith shown in Adelaide Casino, following Review 2006 and submit that the findings remain valid."

November 03, 2011

Bwin.Party, MGM & Boyd join forces have finally come out and announced their deal in the US with MGM & Boyd Gaming and the deal looks very good for the European Operator.

The company said, “the deal was central to’s strategy for entering the US market, subject to appropriate US legislation being passed.”

The deal would see the formation of a new entity – 65% owned by, 25% by MGM and 10% for Boyd – that would operate under the PartyPoker and World Poker Tour brands.

While there is no certainty that online poker legislation will be enacted in the US or when, is preparing to enter into a preliminary suitability review in the State of Nevada.

It is understood the deal is on a 15-year business-to-business agreement with MGM & Boyd that will enable them to offer real money online poker services under their own brands in the US using the technology platform & associated services. Under the terms of these agreements both MGM & Boyd are exclusive to & the will receive a share of the online poker revenue generated by those services.

Commenting on the announcement, Jim Ryan & Norbert Teufelberger, the Co-CEOs of, said:

“Our strategy has been designed to address any & all legislative outcomes, whether federal or state-by-state. We are particularly excited to be working with MGM & Boyd. Combining their significant assets & regulatory expertise with the strength of our PartyPoker & World Poker Tour brands, all supported by our in-house technology, makes us perfectly positioned for any future opening of the US online poker market.”

Jim Murren, Chairman & CEO of MGM Resorts International, said:

“MGM has long been supportive of Federal legislation to strengthen UIGEA & provide the needed regulations & consumer protections for online poker. MGM is proud to have as our partner as they have the assets & experience that, combined with our brands, can ensure a secure, fair & entertaining online poker experience.”

Keith Smith, President & CEO of Boyd Gaming, said:

“We believe the right approach to offering legal online poker in the United States is through a federal regulatory structure that ensures the games are conducted with the greatest possible integrity & security. Should Congress enact legislation to legalise Internet poker, this agreement will allow us to partner with the world's most experienced & prestigious online operator to offer a secure, fair & entertaining experience for players in the United States.”

November 02, 2011

Full Tilt Poker Deal with DOJ

Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar has sent out an email this morning to shareholders announcing a deal has been agreed with FTP and the DOJ. Here is the statement in full:

"I am pleased to announce that today the Department of Justice and Groupe Bernard Tapie have reached an agreement in principle regarding the acquisition of the companies comprising FullTiltPoker. My understanding is the deal provides that in exchange for an agreed upon payment by GBT, and a GBT commitment to assume responsibility for payment of ROW players, DoJ will reimburse US players and settle the outstanding civil litigation with the companies comprising FTP. Beyond these conditions, issues like the time frame and process for repayment of players remain unclear at this point and time.

With DoJ’s consent now in hand, GBT may now proceed to finalize an agreement to acquire the companies or assets that comprise FTP. That agreement will very likely address the status of your shares or interests in the successor company. When I receive that agreement, I will coordinate with our attorneys to ensure the terms of that proposed agreement will be shared with the membership and voted on."

Pakistan spot-fixing scandal: ICC needed News of the World to supply bullets

But match-fixing is a reality with which cricket followers in other countries have learned to cope – or else they have switched off the game altogether.

In the heyday of match-fixing in England, we did not do it for anything so sordid as money. It was good old-fashioned barter: we will lose this championship game if you let us win the Sunday League match. Only on one occasion that I know of was betting involved, and that cannot be revealed here, as the law tends to bat on the side of the fixer.

But from the 1990s, according to Justice Cooke during his summing up, and a few years earlier by other reckonings, fixing for money spread through south Asia – and through quite a few cricketers from other countries who played in south Asia.

Pakistan were first to grasp this stinging nettle. In 1999 their government appointed Justice Qayyum to inquire. As usual there, nothing was straightforward: rumours circulated about the game the judge was playing, and about the pressure the government put on him to make his sentences mild.

Nevertheless, former Pakistan captain Salim Malik was banned for life in 2000. Here at last was certifiable evidence that something was rotten in the state of international cricket.

Malik still lives in Lahore but does little more than play golf, go to his club, and brood – with some reason. He is the only one still carrying the can. All the others shamed and fined by Qayyum have come again, and risen to equal heights of eminence as coaches and commentators, without a single act of contrition.

India came next, and did the best job so far. Their Central Bureau of Investigation did not, like the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, simply wash and wring their hands. The CBI used 'robust' interrogation techniques, firstly to make the Indian bank clerk-turned-bookmaker MK Gupta sing, which he did, like a lark, telling them all about his fixes.

The CBI then grilled the Indian cricketers named by Gupta. Of course, one or two were too famous to be brought down. But at least the Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, and the one-day vice-captain Ajay Jadeja, were banned, and a few more besides. Not that anyone pleaded guilty, as in Pakistan: it would be more than your life was worth to confess.

Unfortunately the CBI could not grill any of the non-Indian players that Gupta had spoken of dealing with. Most Test-playing countries had at least one international player who had dealt with him, and their boards all did an excellent job in blocking like nightwatchmen, until the media went away.

Only the mafia did not go away. The period around 2000 and 2001 when India and Pakistan held inquiries, and when the late Hansie Cronje confessed in South Africa, was the window: the moment when the sport's governing bodies, fired by the indignation of cricket followers, might just have broken the links between the south Asian mafia and the dressing-room. But there were too many skeletons in too many cupboards, the moment passed, and match-fixing became much more discreet, if no less systemic.

The King Inquiry in South Africa was a classic. The terms of reference were so limited that the lid could only be opened a little – and as soon as Cronje made a confession it was closed, so no more damage could be done to the national image. A partial confession too, some would say, as he got no further than exposing a couple of his non-white players, Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams.

Since then, until Tuesday, virtually nothing. In the last decade the ICC has pinned Kenya's captain, Maurice Odumbe, and banned him for five years, but that was for 'associating with a known bookmaker'. The only other player who has been banned (for two years), Marlon Samuels of the West Indies, was guilty of nothing more than naivety in talking to a punter.

The ICC have now equipped themselves to fire shots, but they needed the News of the World to supply the bullets, when their own ACSU should have done so.

William Hill withdraws from Probability talks

Shares in mobile gambling specialist Probability plc have slumped 16 per cent in London this morning after UK bookmaker William Hill confirmed that it does not intend to make an offer for the company.

William Hill was originally required to make an offer for Probability by no later than 5pm on October 17th, or to announce that it does not intend to make an offer.

Last month Probability said that following a joint submission with William Hill, the two companies had been granted an extension until November 14th to reach an agreement, pursuant to Rule 2.6(c) of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers.

This morning however, William Hill said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange that it does not intend to make an offer for Probability.

Under Rule 2.8 of the Takeover Code, William Hill reserves the right to announce an offer, or participate in an offer, for Probability within the next six months so long as various conditions are met.

These include an agreement or recommendation from the board of Probability, an announcement by or on behalf of a third party of a firm intention to make an offer for Probability or if Probability announces that it has received an approach in relation to a possible offer from a third party.

Finally, William Hill can also act in the event that Probability announces a "whitewash" proposal or a reverse takeover or if there is a material change of circumstances.

October 26, 2011

Will Hill says staff dispute resolved, managers dismissed

William Hill plc says its has ended the disruption at its William Hill Online (WHO) operations centres in Israel, Bulgaria and the Philippines with seven senior WHO managers losing their jobs as a result of the walkouts last week.

The walkouts are believed to have been sparked by concerns that the British bookmaker planned to relocate support functions to its operational base in Gibraltar, a move which William Hill has denied. In response to the walkouts which negatively impacted the company’s share price, William Hill said that senior managers at its Tel Aviv support centre would face disciplinary action.

In a stock market announcement Tuesday, William Hill said that all seven managers have now left the business, with normal business activity resuming at all three locations. The company added that “William Hill Online remains committed to its operation in Tel Aviv”.

William Hill’s joint venture partner in WHO, Playtech, which was also involved in the discussions, said the resolution paves the way for WHO to continue to go from strength to strength.

The company’s chief executive, Mor Weizer, said: “Having been asked by William Hill's Chief Executive, Ralph Topping, to assist, I am very pleased that this issue is now behind William Hill Online. It is very positive for both shareholders that the business can now continue to move forward.”

The successful resolution of the disruption comes just in time for William Hill, which reports its third quarter results tomorrow.

October 21, 2011

Donald Trump: US should legalize Internet betting

Donald Trump sees money — lots of it — flowing away from him. That, he said, needs to change.

The real estate mogul and founder of an Atlantic City casino company says the United States should legalize Internet gambling. The company that bears his name, Trump Entertainment Resorts, is moving forward with plans to establish an online betting venture as soon as it's legal.

The company says it wants to get in on the ground floor of the Internet gambling business, and is close to selecting a joint venture partner to run an online gambling operation. The idea is to be well-placed and ready to go as soon as such activity is legalized in the United States.

"It should be approved here," Trump told The Associated Press on Thursday. "An awful lot of money is leaving the U.S. that should and could stay in this country."

Trump Entertainment, which includes Donald Trump and daughter, Ivanka, and the Avenue Capital hedge fund, would own 10 percent of the new venture.

Donald Trump said the key to success in the online gambling market is having the best brand.
"We think we have the hottest brand there is, the Trump brand, my personal brand," he said. "We think it's going to do phenomenally well."

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trump Entertainment said it has "determined that such a joint venture represents the most advantageous way for the company to participate in opportunities in online gaming at minimal cost to the company."

No cost estimates were given, and Robert Griffin, the company's CEO, declined to comment Thursday. But in March, after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill passed by New Jersey lawmakers that would have allowed Internet betting solely within New Jersey's borders, Griffin said the money lost to offshore operators should benefit New Jersey.

The law would have made New Jersey the first state in the nation to allow Internet betting.
"Currently, millions of Americans engage in online gaming with illegal offshore operators, and do so with no oversight, no regulation or no consumer protections," Griffin said at the time. "It makes sense for the state of New Jersey to regulate this activity, enforce strict standards to ensure games are fair and safe, and in turn be able to collect tax revenue instead of having those dollars and the jobs they support leaving New Jersey and going illegally overseas."

Christie said he vetoed the law fearing it was unconstitutional and could lead to an explosion of betting parlors throughout the state. By law, gambling in New Jersey is restricted to Atlantic City.

But a New Jersey lawmaker is asserting that individual states have the legal right to offer in-state Internet gambling within their own borders.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, wrote in July to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asserting that New Jersey and all other states can legally offer online betting within their borders.

Lesniak said he will introduce legislation in November to address the main concerns expressed by Christie.

The filing said the company, Donald and Ivanka Trump, and Avenue Capital have signed an agreement authorizing the joint venture once it becomes legal, and that prohibits any of them from seeking other online gambling ventures through May 2012.

Atlantic City is in the midst of a nearly five-year revenue slump brought on by increasing competition from casinos in neighboring states, and worsened by the continuing unsteady economy.

October 18, 2011

Tel Aviv walkout prompts Will Hill disciplinary action

UK bookmaker William Hill said Tuesday that several senior managers at its online support centre in Tel Aviv, Israel, are to face disciplinary action following a mass walkout earlier this week by staff. The walkout was prompted by rumours that the company plans to relocate support operations to the UK or Gibraltar.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange this afternoon, William Hill confirmed that its chief marketing officer Eyal Sanoff had resigned from his role at the end of last month, while other senior managers are facing disciplinary action in relation to the disruption this week within the marketing business in Tel Aviv, as well as in the customer service and back office operations in Manila and Bulgaria.

According to media reports, nearly 200 staff at the company’s online support centre in Tel Aviv left their desks earlier this week, amidst concerns that William Hill was contemplating moving all of its operations to its base in the UK or Gibraltar.

William Hill Online said that senior management, thought to include COO Jim Mullen, were currently on the ground in Tel Aviv working through these issues and confirmed that the office in Tel Aviv would be closed from tomorrow through to early next week, as normal, through the Jewish holiday period.

“The vast majority of employees of the marketing team in Tel Aviv have good working relationships with the business and with colleagues across William Hill Online,” the company said in a statement. “William Hill Online is committed to its sales and marketing operation in Tel Aviv and contrary to media reports has no intention of relocating this operation.

“William Hill Online can confirm that this situation is not directly affecting the availability of any consumer facing websites at present within the Group. There will be a further update as necessary.”

October 14, 2011

Eastern Russia to get first casino

A Casino & Leisure developer has won permission to build Primorye region’s first legal casino. The First Eastern Gaming Company is finalizing the design for an entertainment complex, which will include the casino.

The region is one of Russia’s four legal gambling zones, which were established by federal law in 2009.

The law that brought about the new scheme was signed in 2006, but many people expected that it would never be enforced. The law limits all gambling to Azov City, the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea, the Altai region of Siberia and the Primorsky region of Russia’s Far East.

The development is close enough to China to have some impact on Macau and even Singapore should the developers be able to impact those markets.

How large, what exact facilities and what are the target client’s is still unknown from “First Eastern” developers, but The iGaming Post will bring you more on this story soon.

October 12, 2011

Sportingbet targets Danish market with new acquisitions

Sportingbet has made a move into the soon-to-be liberalised Danish online gaming market following the acquisition of Danish bookmakers Danbook Limited and Scandic Bookmakers Limited for a combined £8.5m.

Sportingbet said that its wholly owned subsidiaries, Sportingbet Holdings Limited (SHL) and Interactive Sports (C.I.) Limited (ISCI), have each entered into a conditional binding agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of Danbook and Scandic respectively.

Danbook and Scandic are both focused on the Danish market, where they offer customers a full range of fixed odds sports betting, casino, poker and games. The aggregate maximum consideration payable for both Danbook and Scandic is £8.5m.

Denmark has passed regulatory legislation that comes into force on January 1st 2012, with the first licenses due to be issued on December 15th.

Sportingbet said that it views this regulatory framework as representing a “commercially viable opportunity”, and has already applied for a licence in the country. The company believes that a combination of Danbook and Scandic, together with its existing Danish business and the recently acquired Centrebet, will transform Sportingbet into one of the largest players in the Danish market.

“These acquisitions emphasise Sportingbet's commitment to generating revenue from regulated markets,” said Andrew McIver, Sportingbet chief executive. “We have already demonstrated our ability to deliver strong growth in licensed territories such as Australia and we are excited by the opportunity that Denmark represents.”

The deal is expected to close in early 2012 following the satisfaction of conditions including the successful award of new Danish gambling licences to both Danbook and Scandic, and the launch of websites compliant with the new Danish regulations.

The maximum aggregate consideration payable across both transactions comprises £4m of cash and £0.5m of Sportingbet shares payable immediately on closing, with a further £4m of cash to be paid across both transactions following the successful migration of the businesses of Danbook and Scandic onto the Sportingbet platform.

Sportingbet added that a number of key individuals within Danbook and Scandic will be retained to provide services to Sportingbet and the enlarged group.

October 11, 2011

Ladbrokes terminates Sportingbet talks

Shares in Sportingbet plc have slumped more than 20 per cent in London this afternoon after the company confirmed that highly preliminary discussions regarding a potential acquisition of the company by Ladbrokes have been terminated.

The Boards of Sportingbet and Ladbrokes agreed to end discussions as the parties were unable to agree either a suitable structure or one that delivered sufficient value to shareholders in a meaningful timeframe.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday, Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn said that the termination of the talks reflected the company’s attempts to accelerate growth but “without exposure to non mitigatable regulatory liability.”

“In August of last year we laid out a very clear organic strategy and investment programme for the reinvigoration of Ladbrokes,” said Glynn. “We were also clear on the intention to explore opportunities which enabled us to accelerate our progress that enhanced shareholder value and without exposure to non mitigatable regulatory liability.

“The potential benefits and risks associated with a combination with Sportingbet were clear to us from the outset and have been well covered by the market. Having completed our analysis we have been unable to agree a structure which delivers increased shareholder value within an acceptable regulatory environment. We have therefore agreed to end our discussions.

“Throughout this process we have remained fully focused on the execution of our organic strategy and continue to make good progress in its implementation, which remains on track. We are confident this plan will deliver significant value to our shareholders and we will continue to take a disciplined approach over potential opportunities to accelerate it."

In a statement, Sportingbet confirmed that it is currently not in discussions with any other party regarding a potential offer for the company.

“As stated in the company's final results announcement last week, the Board of Sportingbet remains focussed on its overall strategy of providing a first class sports betting product and of increasing its exposure to regulated markets,” said Andrew McIver, Sportingbet’s group chief executive. “The Board remains highly confident of Sportingbet's prospects as an independent company.”

The company said that discussions are progressing with GVC Holdings plc regarding a possible disposal of its Turkish language website, with a further update on to be provided when appropriate.

Bookmakers fear 'nightmare' scenario of Wales World Cup win

For Saturdays semi-final, William Hill was offering the miserly odds of 4/5 on Wales winning and 11/10 on France.

Ladbrokes were yesterday offering 11/8 odds on a Wales versus New Zealand final and 9/2 on Wales versus Australia.

Ladbrokes Alex Donohue said: Were cheering on Australia in a big way for the tournament. New Zealand would be an acceptable result but a Wales win would leave us in despair.

Sky Bet was offering 4/6 odds for Wales and 6/5 for France to prevail on Saturday, a distinct shift from 24 hours earlier when France were at evens and Wales the narrow 5/6 favourites.

Bookmaker Stan James said the semi final lineups have led to a shake-up in Rugby World Cup betting with

The big Rugby World Cup betting story so far is that New Zealand can be backed now at a bigger price than they were available pre-tournament, he said.

New Zealand were on offer at 1/2 with before the Rugby World Cup began, with New Zealand having looked the proverbial good thing, but despite them having reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals the wheels have at times looked like they might be coming off their train.

New Zealand can now be backed at odds of 8/13 to win the Rugby World Cup.

He added: Wales have been a revelation in this Rugby World Cup, and are now 11/2 chances to win the Rugby World Cup outright having been a massive 80/1 at one stage during the summer.

Here at we make Wales slight favourites to beat France (13/2 to win the Rugby World Cup) in their semi-final clash on Saturday.

October 10, 2011

CMC Markets upgrades trading platform

Spread betting firm CMC Markets has upgraded its new Next Gen trading platform, moving to a totally customised package allowing customers to create their perfect trading platform.

As part of the company's ongoing commitment to offer the best trading technology, CMC has been working with its customers to give them the developments they want. Customer feedback from CMC's Traders Club events and customer service department has allowed CMC to develop its platform offering in line with its customers' needs and requirement.

Customers can now trade on a fully customised screen allowing them to save enhanced charts, use technical pattern and candlestick highlighting functions and develop their own bespoke drawing tools and technical indicators.

In addition, the iPhone and iPad charting software has also received a significant upgrade with the introduction of more technical tools, drawing tools, and increased data points.

“A key part of our strategy has been to invest heavily in bringing our customers the best technology on the market,” said Peter Cruddas, founder of CMC Markets. “We recognise that our clients have individual needs and the developments to our Next Gen platform are giving our customers exactly what they've asked us for. The move to a totally customised package allows customers to create their perfect trading platform.”

October 06, 2011

Full Tilt Poker equity stakes?

A rescue effort of Full Tilt Poker has been proposed by the family-owned French investment company. According to a source close to the issue, the alleged rescue plan could involve equity stakes to some of the troubled website’s thousands of customers.

According to the Wall Street Journal publication, Benham Dayanim, lawyer for the Groupe Bernard Tapie, said that “the Tapies may address Full Tilt’s liabilities by offering equity in a revived company to poker players owed the most money.” The WSJ report also implied that the Groupe Bernard Tapie is seeking investment from the current owners of Full Tilt. However, this move would mean they would be left with no management role in any new company.

After the whole fiasco of watching Full Tilt Poker fall apart, any kind of rescue efforts will not be smooth. There are plenty of hurdles that the Groupe Bernard Tapie must clear before any potential takeover can proceed. The biggest hurdle is notably an agreement from the US Department of Justice and a new operating licence after the Alderney Gambling Control Commission’s recent revocation.

The company said in a statement posted Thursday on the website that the Alderney decision to revoke Full Tilt’s license “makes it more difficult to execute the sale of the company and hence repay its players” but that it “remains committed to repaying its players in full and continues in active negotiations.”

Full Tilt has player liabilities of over $300m.

The company has expressed their hope with bringing the situation out of the abyss, according to the source close to FTP.

Motherwell FC footballer arrested following betting probe

A footballer for Scottish Premier League side Motherwell FC has been arrested at his home by Merseyside Police following allegations of betting irregularities in a match last December.

Stewart Regan, chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, confirmed that the Scottish FA had received notification from the UK Gambling Commission that midfielder Steve Jennings had been arrested.

“This follows extensive enquiries in relation to alleged betting irregularities at a Scottish Premier League match between Motherwell and Hearts on December 14, 2010,” said Regan in a statement this morning. “While the investigation involves several other individuals out with Scotland, it is important to stress that the evidence gathered throughout this thorough period of investigation has involved only one Scottish match.

“Motherwell FC are aware of the situation and will issue a response in due course. The Scottish FA will make no further comment at this stage.”

During the match against Hearts at Fir Park, Jennings was sent off near the end of the game for dissent against the referee after his side were refused a penalty. Bookmaker Blue Square reported several large bets that day on a Motherwell player being sent off during the game.

Jennings is one of nine men arrested by Mersey Police across Merseyside and Glasgow in a joint operation with the Gambling Commission for conspiracy to defraud.

Meanwhile in Australia, National Rugby League player Ryan Tandy has been found guilty of match-fixing in relation to a match involving the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs last August.

The 30-year old former Canterbury player escaped a jail sentence but has been handed a AUD$4,000 fine and a 12 month good behaviour bond by magistrate Janet Wahlquist. He is like to be banned for life from the game however, after the NRL reaffirmed that it will impose life bans on any persons convicted of match-fixing.

The NRL said that there are a number of other legal matters still to be heard in connection with the investigation and that given the time of the season and the imminent nature of those hearings, the NRL will reserve imposing any penalties on any person found guilty of fixing any part of a match until such time as those matters are resolved.

“Clearly there remain some complex legal arguments to be heard and the rights of individuals through that process must be respected,” said NRL chief executive, David Gallop. “The outcome for anyone found guilty of interfering with a match for any improper purpose could not be more apparent.

“From the outset, the NRL has involved independent investigators and sought the assistance of the NSW Police in dealing with betting irregularities around the first scoring option in this match and we remain convinced that was and remains best course of action.

“We welcome the assistance of the authorities in treating these matters seriously and look forward to the conclusion of all proceedings. We also welcome Federal and State Governments’ recognition of the importance of giving sports the legislative support and regulatory assistance in dealing with sports betting issues. We look forward to seeing these policies finalised across all states.”

Bodog creates new role to keep at forefront of industry

Online gaming and betting operator Bodog Europe has appointed Novomatic’s Harald Kaiblinger to the newly created role of research and development director.

Bodog said that Kaiblinger joins the company with the specific aim of unearthing the newest and best products, as well as platforms that can keep the business at the forefront of the industry.

Kaiblinger joins Bodog from gaming giant Novomatic, where he held a similar role.

“Bodog is a brand that never likes to sit still and this is what attracted me,” said Kaiblinger, following his appointment. “In igaming it is crucial to keep moving and to never rest on your laurels. There is always a new product or a new platform that can change the landscape of a business or even the whole industry and you need to move fast to capitalise on these opportunities. Bodog Europe has created this role so we can do just that.”

Patrik Selin, CEO of Bodog Europe, added: “Harald is a great addition to the team here in London and the role is one I believe to be vital in this industry where a new poker or mobile explosion can happen so quickly. We need to put ourselves at the front of those curves and Harald will help us in that pursuit.”

October 05, 2011

Greek gambling laws breach EU state aid rules, says RGA

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), whose members include most of the leading gaming operators, has lodged a complaint with the European Commission challenging the compatibility of the Greek government’s new gambling law with EU State aid requirements.

The complaint focuses on the favourable tax treatment afforded to the land-based services of OPAP, the part state-owned gambling operator, in relation to private online gambling operators.

The Greek Parliament adopted new gambling legislation in August of this year, which regulates remote gambling.

The RGA said that it welcomed the fact that the legislation provides for the licensing of online operators, however it believes that the legislation has been geared towards delivering an unfair economic advantage to the existing monopoly operator OPAP.

October 03, 2011

William Hill signs exclusive betting partnership with ESPN

Bookmaker William Hill has signed a multi-platform deal to become the exclusive sponsor of ESPN’s televised UK coverage of three domestic football leagues in Europe, while also becoming the exclusive UK betting partner for ESPN’s forthcoming mobile app for football news and information site, ESPNsoccernet.

Under the agreement, William Hill will be the exclusive sponsor of ESPN’s televised UK coverage of Italy’s Serie A, the Russian Premier League and the Dutch Eredivisie as part of an integrated, multi-platform affiliation with European football.

William Hill will sponsor all of ESPN’s televised match coverage – live, delayed and highlights – of the three domestic football leagues, with pre- and end-break TV bumpers. The sponsorship also extends to ESPN’s various preview and review TV shows around the leagues.

“Our multi-platform coverage of Europe’s top football leagues is a popular part of the ESPN offering to fans and brands alike,” said Alan Fagan, director advertising sales, ESPN EMEA. “Our agreement with William Hill, one of the UK’s leading brands, reflects how we can deliver value to top-flight advertisers, connecting them with loyal and passionate UK football fans across multiple screens. ESPN has an unrivalled ability to serve advertisers with local precision and solutions in the UK, and in markets around the world.”

William Hill will also be the exclusive UK betting partner for ESPN’s forthcoming mobile app for football news and information site, ESPNsoccernet. As well as display advertising, William Hill will be integrated into the app with a ‘bet now’ button enabling users to place bets on football action as it happens.

“ESPN is one of the leading names in sports media and we’re really looking forward to working with them,” said Kristof Fahy, William Hill’s chief marketing officer. “This multi-platform deal will enable us to promote our brand and services to millions of sports fans across the UK, while our mobile betting partnership with ESPN looks like a real winner.”

Completing the multi-platform deal, William Hill will run display banners and rich-media ads online with ESPNsoccernet.

Paddy Power migrates online casino to Playtech platform

Extending the relationship between the two parties, Irish online gaming operator Paddy Power has migrated its online casino to Playtech’s platform following the signing of a new multi-year agreement.

Paddy Power has re-launched its Playtech-powered online casino product today, including a comprehensive games library comprising slots, table and card games and a wide range of branded content in both download and web-based formats.

In addition, Paddy Power will benefit from Playtech's advanced player management tools, including loyalty functionality which will create significant opportunities for Paddy Power to enhance player returns.

“We have built a strong relationship with Paddy Power over several years and are delighted to be able to further consolidate our service provision to one of the industry's leading players through this agreement to provide our leading casino technology,” said Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer.

Paddy Power's relationship with Playtech began in 2007 when it became a member of Playtech's iPoker network. More recently Paddy Power joined Playtech's Virtue Fusion bingo network. The company’s online casino was previously powered by IGT’s WagerWorks.

“We are excited to announce the launch of Paddy Power's new casino using Playtech's technology,” said Paddy Power’s head of gaming Christopher Coyne, and casino manager Denise Dunne in a joint statement. “We believe it will be best-in-class with an abundance of excellent games added to our market leading casino promotions for players.

“Playtech was chosen following a rigorous selection process from amongst the leading casino suppliers. The project teams have delivered a fantastic online casino which we believe will significantly enhance our online offering.”

September 30, 2011

Microgaming forms management board for poker network

Online gaming developer Microgaming has established a network management board, a body which will control the development and operational running of the Microgaming Poker Network, comprising of representatives from primary operators on the network.

The board comprises of a single representative from the primary operators on the Microgaming Poker Network, a representative from Microgaming’s network games team and a chairman, sourced from within the industry.

Operators and Microgaming will share votes on key decisions, with proportional shares determined by a formula agreed by the voting members of the board. The board members will additionally determine the criteria for membership to the board, with the chairman and industry experts to be non-voting members.

The responsibilities of the board will include the construction of the development roadmap, the setting of network-wide policies for marketing and rake-back, including penalties for breaches, and the planning of network-wide promotions.

“Poker is a difficult industry to be in, and that difficulty is heightened when operators are not in control of their own destinies,” said Lydia Melton, head of network games at Microgaming. “By establishing the Network Management Board, we are essentially ceding control of the Microgaming Poker Network to the primary operators on the Network.

“Microgaming is a technology company with over 15 years of experience in this industry, and we will continue to develop and progress our poker software, as guided by the NMB, with no reduction in resources or drive. When others are slowing down, it is full steam ahead at Microgaming.

“The industry needs this, and we strongly believe that we are the only network willing to make such a fundamental change to how we operate.”

Microgaming said that the formation of the board was one part of the project to change the Microgaming Poker Network to what the company referred to as a Sportsbook Poker Network, in which all members contribute towards the success of each other and to the network as a whole.

The first meeting of new board will take place in early November, with members expected to include the likes of Ladbrokes, Stan James, Unibet, Triobet, Digibet, and 32Red amongst others.

German Court blocks chances of online gaming

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc, Betfair and others lost a top appeals court case over Germany’s ban on online gambling.

The Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest civil court, said in five suits brought by state-owned lotteries that the prohibition is justified to combat dangers associated with gambling. Shares of Bwin fell as much as 12 percent.

“Because of the greater dangers of the Internet, above all anonymity, lack of social control and accessibility at any time, this sales venue can be subject to stricter regulation,” Presiding Judge Joachim Bornkamm said after the rulings.

The European Union’s top court ruled last year that Germany’s betting monopoly, which allows most sports betting to be done only through state-controlled companies, violates European laws. Germany has faced criticism for allowing private horse betting while outlawing other forms of private sport bets. The EU court ruling didn’t bring an end to the various suits pending in Germany over the issue.

Bwin e.K., the company’s German unit that was involved in the lawsuit, said it will consider whether to file a constitutional complaint. Any such step wouldn’t yield a ruling until the end of this year when the current rules elapse anyway, the company said.

‘Won’t Last can’t last’

“The ban violates European rules and won’t last,” Bwin e.K. said. “A regulated market opening is the only way to combat the black market in Germany and to comply with EU requirements.”
German states are debating on how to revise their state treaty that sets current rules. The state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided to open its market. The state treaty, which took effect in 2008 and is elapsing on Dec. 31, was an effort to take earlier rulings by the EU court and the nation’s constitutional court into account.

Bwin shares fell 6.7 percent to 119.2 pence at the close of London trading after falling as much as 12 percent following the ruling.

Today’s decision matches a June ruling by Germany’s top administrative court, which also cleared the online ban because it covers private offers and government-owned lotteries.

“When looking into whether a regime is coherent, you don’t have to look at the total market,” Bornkamm said. “The online sector is a marked-out area that can easily be viewed as isolated.”
While the states tolerate private horse race betting on the Internet in practice, the volume of those bets is so small they don’t make the whole system incoherent, the judge said.

The court rejected the arguments that Bwin e.K. could make use of a license issued by the former East German government or that exceptions need to apply to companies who hold license from other European countries.

“Our ruling is valid only for the rules that apply until the end of this year,” said Bornkamm.

September 29, 2011

Full Tilt Poker license revoked

Full Tilt Poker has had its license revoked by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC)
The Post will release behind the scenes information on the mystery investors and how FTP operated soon.

Here is the full statement from the AGCC:

AGCC Commissioners, sitting as a tribunal, have today revoked the licences of Vantage Limited, Filco Limited and Oxalic Limited, trading as Full Tilt Poker (FTP), with immediate effect. This follows the earlier suspension of the licences on 29th June 2011.

At a hearing held in London over six days, it emerged that FTP had fundamentally misled AGCC about their operational integrity by continuously reporting as liquid funds balances that had been covertly seized or restrained by US authorities, or that were otherwise not actually available to the operator. Serious breaches of AGCC regulations include false reporting, unauthorised provision of credit, and failure to report material events.

At the commencement of these proceedings on 26th July AGCC made clear its preference tohold the hearing in public, to the benefit of players and media alike. However, the tribunalwas persuaded that the hearing should be held in camera on the basis of claims by FTP thatthis would maximise the chance of a commercial rescue of the business for the benefit ofplayers. For this reason an adjournment of 54 days was allowed.

It is important to note that the revocation of FTP’s licences does not, as has been suggested,prevent a reactivation of the business under new ownership and management.

Unresolvedclaims by players against FTP become a matter for the police and civil authorities. Now thatFTP’s licences have been revoked, AGCC no longer has jurisdiction over these companies.The licence of Orinic Limited, a recently added geographic sub-division of the FTP pokerroom, remains suspended.