January 30, 2014

Indonesia: National Police block 146 online gambling sites

National Police chief Gen. Sutarman disclosed on Wednesday that the police had detected at least 146 online gambling sites and blocked their account numbers.

The gambling operations, which have steadily increased in Indonesia, were discovered during routine monitoring, Sutarman said.

Sutarman admitted that gambling activities had changed from conventional operations like Togel, to Internet sites using the latest state-of-the-art technology.

"All the gambling accounts were blocked and we are continuing to investigate. Of the total, 96 accounts were fictitious with some using fake addresses, while the remainder are unknown," Sutarman said as quoted by kompas.com.

He made the remarks during a working meeting at the House of Representatives' Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, in Jakarta on Wednesday.

He explained that the National Police had set up a special team to combat cybercrime. The team first traces sites offering online gambling. If there is a strong indication that an account is offering gambling services, the police immediately block the site.

With regard to the money on the blocked accounts, Sutarman added, it would be confiscated and added to state coffers. The money would be confiscated during the trial process, based on Article 3 [of the Criminal Code] on money laundering.

"We will keep on investigating [...] and any funds proved in court to be linked to money-laundering practices will be confiscated for the state," he said.

Separately, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) has blocked 119 accounts held at four banks, whose funds are allegedly linked to fraudulent and online gambling activities. All of the blocked accounts have used new payment methods (NPMs) for money laundering.

PPATK head M. Yusuf said NMPs were increasingly being used as alternative payment methods for cash obtained from gambling.

"This includes money from Internet gambling," Yusuf said at the PPATK in Jakarta on Friday.

He added that the PPATK had discovered 14 NPM cases using cash derived from fraud and online gambling.

Most NPMs are conducted in Jakarta (35.71 percent), followed by East Java (28.7 percent) and West Java (21.43 percent).

January 29, 2014

Boss of William Hill says Betting shops that cluster are bad

Ralph Topping the Chief Executive at William Hill has said that betting shops that clusters in UK high streets can cause harm and could alienate local communities.

The boss of the UK’s biggest bookmakers says he understands the reasons why people object to new betting shops opening so close together on Britain’s high streets and seen ‘stark examples’ of their impact.

He proposes for local authorities to be given extra powers to stop the issue of betting shops clustering on local high streets.

The announcement from Mr Topping comes as MPs and campaigners continue their fight against bookmakers opening betting shops simply for the use of adding Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to increase revenues through what has been dubbed by anti-gambling campaigners the “crack cocaine” of gambling.

January 25, 2014

Bookmaker's darkest day: Failed coup or another gamble?

24 hours after an inspired and successful £2m gamble on four horses with links to legendary punter Barney Curley, bookmakers were on red alert when another horse with similar associations was the plunge of the day in Kempton’s 5.00 last night.

Pipers Piping, trained in his previous races by John Butler, was backed from 20-1 to 6-4 favourite with BetVictor.

Butler was responsible for one of the gambled-on quartet the previous day, Low Key, who returned from a 350-day lay-off to win at 4-7 having been backed in from 7-1.

Pipers Piping bore a similar profile, a eight-time winner who had fallen from grace and was having his first run for almost a year.

But Pipers Piping could finish no better than seventh so the gamble failed – or did it.

The race was won by 16-1 chance Prohibition, like Pipers Piping previously trained by Butler and having its first run for Mandy Rowland.

Prohibition had been favourite for its last race but due to the interest in its stablemate drifted to 16-1.

The betting patterns resembled an ‘SP job’, a tactic not in breach of any rules of racing, where one horse is backed to improve the odds and disguise interest in another.

Of Wednesday’s infamous quartet, Eye Of The Tiger (Lingfield, 1.30) and Secret Summit (Catterick, 1.40) were once trained by Curley, Low Key is trained by Butler, a former Curley assistant, while Des Donovan, responsible for saddling both Eye Of The Tiger and Indus Valley (Kempton, 4.25) is based in Curley’s old yard at Exning outside Newmarket.

The quartet was available at combined odds of 14,783-1 on Tuesday night, but post-gamble the combined SP odds became a mere 16-1.

The sensational gamble was reminiscent of the £4m coup Curley famously engineered in 2010.

A spokesman for Irish bookmaker Paddy Power said on Wednesday: “There’s no doubt this is one of the blackest days in the history of bookmaking.

“The horses have been backed in singles, doubles, trebles and four-folds and punters who have heard about the gamble have clambered aboard the bandwagon.”

Each of the horses was placed in races they could justifiably win on their best form but due to their lack of recent form they were priced up as outsiders.

January 23, 2014

Another Swiss miss for Bwin.Party

Meanwhile, one of the German betting hopefuls is coming under renewed criticism over the border in Switzerland. Last June, the country’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) called out several online gambling sites it claimed were engaging in “misleading” use of national icons such as the country’s coat of arms to imply some sort of state blessing on their operations. Singled out for particular derision was SCasino.com, which is operated by a subsidiary of Gibraltar-licensed operator Bwin.party digital entertainment.

SCasino has since removed the offending iconography, but SECO issued a fresh warning on Monday regarding what it believes to be another Bwin-backed site, onlinecasinoschweiz24.ch – along with Belize-based Virtual Casino Services Inc’s casino-zuerich.com and the unknown operators behind swisscasinoonline.eu. SECO said the sites’ use of the Swiss flag and the geographical terms ‘Schweiz’, ‘Swiss’ and ‘Zuerich’ were intended to “create the impression that the gambling games offered on the websites originate from Switzerland.”

In fact, the sites “have never been approved by the Swiss Federal Gaming Board” because online gambling remains illegal in Switzerland. SECO said the sites in questions are guilty of “violations of both the Federal Act against Unfair Competition and the Federal Act on the Protection of the Swiss Coat of Arms.”

New German sports bet license deadline

Groundhog Day has come early in Germany, where the 41 hopefuls vying for the country’s 20 federal sports betting licenses have received fresh instructions on how to fill out the application forms. Germany began the process of selecting its lucky 20 sports betting licensees shortly after it passed its interstate gambling treaty in mid-2012, but last November the Interior Ministry announced that not one of the applicants had successfully met the qualifications for licensing.

The authorities in Hesse have now issued individual letters to each applicant, pointing out the instances of undotted I’s and uncrossed T’s and requesting further information necessary for the regulators to make their decision. Applicants have been given until March 14 to resubmit their forms. At least one unidentified operator groused to eGaming Review that they hoped this latest go-round would be “more professional” than previous efforts.

Regardless of how much of that fabled Teutonic efficiency is on display this time around, the Ministry will require a few months to process the new applications before making any announcement, which will be followed by a required 15-day standstill period. Operators who fail to make the cut may further gum up the works via legal actions protesting their rejection, making it a virtual lock that no operator will be accepting legal German sports bets until the second half of the year at the earliest.

January 22, 2014

Tennis arrest at company set up by former Betfair staff

Sporting Data, the company embroiled in the "courtsiding" affair at the Australian Open tennis tournament, used the betting exchange to make its wagers.

The company at the centre of the “courtsiding” affair at the Australian Open tennis tournament was set up by three former Betfair staff, who used the betting exchange to place their bets.

Steven High, Martin Pendlebury and Simon Allen are the three directors of Sporting Data, a company that has shot to prominence in Australia after one of its analysts was arrested courtside at the Open a week ago and charged with “engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome”.

Daniel Dobson, 22, was found to have an electronic device sewn into his shorts and linked to a mobile phone that allowed him to relay back the scores to Sporting Data – enabling the company and its clients to exploit a time lag of up to 10 seconds between real-time play and broadcast pictures.

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Sporting Data’s chief executive Mr High said the company had bet £74,346 on the match between Nick Kyrgios and Benjamin Becker at Melbourne’s Rod Laver arena. It made 148 bets on Betfair, whose exchange acts as a middle man to match punters who want to place or lay a wager.

While the exchange does not allow in-play betting on individual points, the information from Mr Dobson theoretically allowed Sporting Data and its clients to gamble on the result of a game, knowing the outcome before those who accepted the wagers.

Mr High, who spent almost seven years at Betfair as senior product manager, said he was “shocked that the police got involved”, adding he was “strongly of the opinion” that Mr Dobson’s conduct was “not illegal” – even under the state of Victoria’s new gambling laws.

In a statement on its website, Sporting Data said “the bets are all determined by the individuals in London and not by the employees on court”, adding: “We have no interest in corrupting the outcome of a match.”

The company makes most of its bets via exchanges because traditional bookmakers subscribe to the ENetPulse service. That takes the score entered by the umpire after each point and is ahead of the broadcast pictures.

Betfair sources said the exchange also uses ENetPulse and relays “this to customers on our website”, though many punters rely on the television pictures.

Mr Pendlebury is a former sportsbook team manager at Betfair, while Mr Allen was a former software engineer at the company.

Curiously, despite a real tennis advantage, Mr High said Sporting Data lost £2,763 on the Kyrgios-Becker match.

January 17, 2014

William Hill boss removes Twitter account after argument

Ralph Topping the Chief Executive of William Hill has removed his Twitter account from public view following a heated exchange with anti-FOBT campaigners.

The argument happened at the beginning of January and was initially an exchange of Twitter communications by William Hill’s public affairs manager, Andrew Lyman and The Campaign for Fairer Gambling group that is funded by millionaire ex-poker player and former games inventor Derek Webb.

In an argument over the merits of a Daily Mail article headlined “Gambling’s crack cocaine” about “betting machines that enslave the poor and earn bookies BILLIONS”, Mr Topping joined the debate on Twitter saying “his uncle died in WW2 for freedom. He would (twirl) in his overseas grave at its restriction. Died for honesty. Great value to die for”.

As the exchanges got more heated the boss of William Hill then said that the campaigners were hiding their funding source and had “success fees” for driving out FOBTs from bookmaker shops, in total the Twitter jousting lasted seven hours.

Only a few days later Topping took his Twitter account private – and his tweets disappeared from public view.

The FOBT debate is a high stakes one, analysts say that they are worth £1.5 billion in profits for bookmakers and represents 25% of William Hill’s earnings.

If politicians acted to reduce the maximum bet on FOBTs by 50% of the current limit then William Hill’s group pre-tax profit for 2015 would be 30% lower than at present. Even lowering the amount of FOBTs in a shop by one machine would still take 10% from William Hill’s total profits for the year.

William Hill spokeswoman Kate Miller said “it was a reasoned debate that is commonplace on social media. He was raising questions about the campaigner’s funding. Ralph Topping took his account private because he is travelling.”

January 16, 2014

British books lick their wounds after disastrous Premier League results

Misery loves company and this week, US sportsbooks still reeling over the massive losses from the NFL Divisional round playoffs can take comfort knowing that they counterparts over in the UK are feeling the same way.

It was a bad weekend for British books who had to stomach the sight of seeing the top seven teams in the English Premier League win all of their matches over the weekend. It got so bad that, according to Reuters, the total losses piled up to the tune of 30 million pounds, which is about $49 million based on US exchange rates. Smashing a hammer over their heads must’ve felt a little better than stomaching the amount punters took from books over the weekend.

“This is as bad a weekend as there’s ever been,” Ladbrokes spokesman Ciaran O’Brien told the news agency. All of the top seven teams – Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham, and Manchester United – in the EPL posted wins over the weekend. It’s a rare occurrence that books’ have affectionally (or not) dubbed a “magnificent seven” result, in large part because these seven teams, despite getting shorter odds, are still heavily bet on by the public.

Usually a loss or draw from at least one of these teams is enough to offset the losses when any of these teams win. But when all of them show end up with three points to their total, it turns into a recipe for disaster that this week translated to losses amounting to close to $50 million for sportsbooks.

Results like this are rare though, so it shouldn’t mean too much for the bottom line of these books. But as they say, once is too many, especially when that particular instance results in lighter pockets.

January 15, 2014

Problem gambling declines in the UK

The UK Gambling Commissions recent survey contained in the Health Survey for England shows a decline in overall gambling and also a reduction in problem gambling within the UK population.

The data, contained in the Health Survey for England (2012) show that 65% of adults (almost 28 million people) in England gambled in the past year. Excluding those who gamble only on the National Lottery draw, the figure is 43%.

The rate of problem gambling in the adult population is estimated to be 0.5% on one measure and 0.4% on the other measure used (see notes).

The Health Survey gambling questions were designed to be broadly comparable with the 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey, which gave figures for Great Britain of 73% for gambling participation (56% excluding those who had only gambled on the National Lottery draw), with problem gambling at 0.9% and 0.7% on the corresponding measures.

While firm trend figures will not be available until further health surveys, patterns of decline have also been seen in data collected through the Gambling Commission omnibus survey, and the patterns of distribution for gambling participation appear to remain broadly stable. In particular, younger men tend to gamble on a wide range of activities including those associated more strongly with problem gambling. Problem gambling also appears to be more prevalent in areas where the local environment is more challenging in terms of health deprivation. This supports the need for more targeted efforts to prevent and mitigate the risks in these groups.

The Commission will publish its own in-depth analysis in a series of papers to be published next spring, drawing on the data from both this Survey and the Scottish Health Survey.

Rebekah Eden, the Commission’s Programme Director – Evidence and Analysis, said:
“The figures suggest that fewer people are experiencing gambling problems directly, but that there are groups of the population where the risks remain significantly greater. This puts even greater emphasis on the industry finding ways to identify people who are suffering problems or who are at risk, and intervening effectively.”

January 14, 2014

Bermuda readies casino gaming legislation

The Bermuda government is expected to legalise casino gaming for the first time, according to Shawn Crockwell, Bermuda Tourism Minister. Gaming will be used as an anchor to lift the hospitality industry, with casinos only permitted in existing or new hotels, rather than standalone facilities.

Speaking at a press conference last week, the Minister said that the Government would begin a public education program later this month to outline its “vision, goals, objectives and measurable outcomes associated with casino gaming.” He remarked that the Government has “worked diligently” in order to establish the gaming industry should be operated on the island.

CrockwellA public referendum previously announced to determine the outcome of casinos has been dropped by the Government, claiming that the Opposition Labour Party had threatened to undermine the process. Instead, the measure will now go through Parliament and a forum would be established for the public to provide feedback on the subject and still have a voice throughout the process.

“It is paramount that the Government now engages the public with salient information concerning what we are proposing and all of the main issues surrounding the industry,” informed Crockwell. “We want to disseminate the facts and hear everyone’s view on the issue.”

A series of public consultation meetings and programs will commence on 27th January. Topics will include the integrated resort model, favoured by the Government; infrastructure and job creation; tourism and hospitality; and the social impact of legalised gaming. A dedicated website will launch for the public to voice their opinion and six town hall meetings have been lined up next month.

“We will be working with numerous entities to ensure the information provided is timely and accurate,” continued Crockwell. “We are also confident the majority of Bermudians support the introduction of casino-style gaming. This is supported by recent polling results which suggest that approximately 70 percent of Bermudians favour legalisation of gaming in Bermuda.”

Travel and tourism to Bermuda are showing signs of growth and government date shows 84 percent of visitors arrive from the US. The introduction of cruise ship casinos last year increased the number of ships porting on Bermuda shores. Integrated resorts that offer casinos would appeal to customers from the US, as well as the rest of the world.

“Casino gaming is not a panacea,” concluded Crockwell, “but a much needed amenity for our tourism product. We have a wonderful opportunity to set the example by working together to implement the best holistic casino gaming model this world has seen. We must augment our tourism offerings and we must enhance our tourism infrastructure.”

January 13, 2014

Have Paddy Power broken UN sanctions over North Korean debacle?

Have Paddy Power gone a step too far with their North Korean joke, after the Associated Press run a series of stories suggesting that the Irish funsters, and Dennis Rodman, may have broken UN Export Sanctions, and US Treasury Laws, by giving the North Korean leader birthday gifts.

The wheels on the Paddy Power/Dennis Rodman/North Korea bus keep on turning with news coming out of the weekend press suggesting that the Irish Bookmaker, and the former NBA Basketball star, may be in hot water over birthday gifts that were handed to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.


In October 2006, the North Koreans angered the European Union by moving ahead with its planned nuclear testing. The result was the imposition of UN Security Resolution 1718, which banned a list of ‘luxury goods’ for export to North Korea. US Treasury Law also forbids the export of luxury goods into North Korea either directly, or indirectly, meaning even if Rodman had given the gifts on behalf of Paddy Power he could still be facing the Beak.

The noise surrounds a game of pass the parcel that saw Kim Jong-un receiving an Irish whiskey set for his 31st birthday during the high profile visit to the state back in mid-December.

Paddy Power have issued a statement to NK News, a website based in South Korea, confirming that it did send the presents but was ‘satisfied’ that it had not broken any sanctions.

“The whiskey set consisted of a bottle of Jameson, a decanter and two glasses … I can confirm that we didn’t buy anything else for Dennis to give to Kim.” A Paddy Power spokesperson was quoted as saying in the Telegraph this weekend.

Dennis Halpin, a former US consul to Busan, chirped in to say he believes the gifts were in excess of £6,000 and included European crystal, Italian Suits and a Mulberry handbag; Paddy Power have denied these claims.

It seems karma is biting Rodman on his ass, as he has also angered his fellow countrymen after making comments with respect to imprisoned American Kenneth Bae, who was sentenced to 15 years’ labor in a North Korean prison back in Nov 2012.

Speaking to CNN, from North Korea, Rodman said, “If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? Why is he held captive in this country? I’d love to speak about this.”

Stick to the basketball Dennis.

After a quiet word in the shell a publicist working for Rodman distributed an apologetic e-mail to the Associated press

“I want to apologize first to Kenneth Bae’s family. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry. I take full responsibility for my actions. It had been a very stressful day. Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates. My dreams of basketball diplomacy were quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset.”

The quick turnaround came after Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, slammed Rodman’s comments and suggested that he may have harmed Bae’s chances of freedom.

“He is playing games with my brother’s life. He is clearly uninformed about Kenneth’s case, and he is certainly not in any position to pass judgment.” Chung told the Telegraph.

We all know that the North Korean leader needs to take a chill pill, and the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, believes he has the answer: The Teletubbies.

Hague has revealed that BBC Worldwide is negotiating with the North Korean television companies to provide them with programs such as Doctor Who, Eastenders, The Good Life and Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, in a bid to expose the North Koreans to the life that we lead in the West.

“I have always believed that what brought down the Berlin Wall was not highbrow diplomacy but Dallas and Dynasty.” A senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office source told The Sunday Times.

Now we are expecting psychedelic alien toys to prevent a nuclear war.

“You couldn’t send Dad’s Army as it is about war.” Said the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Sir Richard Ottaway.

I guess Tenko, Bridge Over the River Kwai and The Railwayman are also out of the question.