Brits look but do not touch online gaming

Brits have decided to look but not touch when it comes to online gaming, a survey claims.   One in five UK Net users, or 2,400,000 people, visited a games site during December, but only 194,000 actually took part in one of the games (one in twelve).   Americans came out with a slightly better average – 28 per cent of them logged onto games sites in the same month (23,814,000 users) with more than 4,800,000 playing online (one in six).   The most popular US games site was uproar.com, with more than 4,500,000 unique visitors. Commissioner.com was the stickiest site – users spent an average of 129.7 minutes on the site each month. UK players favoured gamesdomain.com, with 234,230 visitors.   The survey, by research company NetValue, also found US gamers were less likely to fit the typical IT geek profile – in Europe the average gamer is a young male (in the UK 98 per cent are men, and 65 per cent are under 24). Things are different in the US though – nearly half the gamers there are women, while only one in five under 24. In Germany 59 per cent are students, compared to just 17 per cent in the US.

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Budapest New casino gamble

AUSTRIAN and US investors have joined forces in a plan to construct a casino and entertainment center near the number 15 main road in north-western Hungary. Austrian construction and tourism group Asamer & Hufnagl Holding (Aramer) and US-based group Royal Distribution have formed an investor consortium to build the facility, which would be located between the towns of Hegyeshalom, Mosonmagyaróvár and Rajka. Hegyeshalom Ipari Park Kft, the Mosonmagyaróvár-based subsidiary of Asamer, already owns approximately 170 hectares of land known as Hegyeshalom Ipari Park. It is thought the joint venture – known as Crystal City – would invest Ft1 billion ($3.3 million) in the industrial park property, about 220km west of Budapest. Plans include four hotels, as well as a casino, and were expected to provide jobs to about 2,500 people. The news was confirmed by Edina Balogh, spokesman for the Finance Ministry, who added that Elemér Terták, Deputy State Secretary of the Finance Ministry, last week met with hopeful investors Joseph Jackson (father of pop idol Michael Jackson) and an Austrian. However, Balogh added plans were still at a preliminary stage and said the ministry did not expect to invite bids for the right to operate a casino for the time being. “We have received no official offer (from the consortium) as yet,” said Balogh. Under recent Hungarian gambling law, all new casinos require a concession tender, according to Márta Sibinger President of the gaming supervision body Szerencsejáték Felúgyelet. “Any new concession would have to be approved by the Finance Ministry,” said Sibinger. She added that currently there were only five casinos operating in Hungary (three in Budapest – the Las Vegas, Tropicana and Várkert – one in the border town of Sopron and another in Szentendre). A casino in Kecskemét closed on May 26.

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Bracks calls for talks on Net gambling

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks wants the Federal Government to sit down with the states to devise a “more workable” approach to a ban on Internet gambling. He says the Government’s proposed laws banning online gaming are impractical, and the states should be asked for their ideas on how to better regulate the industry. “I think the problem with the federal legislation is not so much its intent- if it could work we’d back it, but frankly it won’t work,” he said.

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Bill to be proposed to allow barge gambling

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) – Dockside barge casinos in southwestern Louisiana would provide stiffer competition to an Indian reservation casino that is popular with Texas gamblers and pays no state taxes, a legislator says. Floating casinos in Louisiana would be allowed to replace their riverboats with dockside barges under a bill that would be introduced at a special legislative session that may be held to consider a tax cut for the New Orleans casino, a legislator said Monday. Rep. Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, said that permanent barge casinos could generate up to $100 million in extra annual revenue. Barges are used by dockside casinos in Mississippi. Johns said legislation probably will be filed in early March in anticipation that a special lawmaking session will be called that month to deal with a tax cut for Harrah’s New Orleans Casino. That casino says it will close March 31 without a break from its $100 million minimum annual state tax. Currently, only riverboat casinos in Shreveport-Bossier City are allowed to stay dockside fulltime. However, the cruising requirement for the other boats is largely unenforced. Lake Charles has a pair of two-boat casino complexes, but they face stiff competition for Texas gamblers from a reservation casino in nearby Kinder. Also, the Delta Downs race track at nearby Vinton is expected to have slot machines in the future. “With our boats here, we feel like surely it would allow them to compete on a more even scale with the Indian casino,” Johns said. “We are getting no revenue out of the Indians, and we can’t do a thing about it.” Johns said all boats would be permitted to stay dockside, but those who chose to do so would pay a state tax of 21.5 percent on gambling winnings, instead of the current 18.5 percent rate. Casinos that substituted barges for their boats would pay 23.5 percent. The bill must be considered during a special session because it involves a tax increase that cannot be considered during this year’s regular legislative session. As a backup, Rep. Vic Stelly, R-Moss Bluff, said he plans to file another dockside bill in the regular legislative session that would permit dockside gambling in Lake Charles without any increase in gambling taxes. Dockside gambling would have to be approved by local voter referendums that the casinos would pay for, Stelly said.

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Bill seeks to give voters say on fate of Casinos

2/11/2001 (AP via NJ.com) DETROIT — A Detroit lawmaker says he has support in the state House for a bill that would put Detroit’s riverfront casino plan to a public vote. State Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit, said that nearly 40 state lawmakers have pledged to support the bill that he will introduce in Lansing this week. If approved, the measure would force a referendum by Detroiters in September. “My bill will give the power to decide whether we have riverfront casinos back in the hands of the people of Detroit and out of the hands of the mayor,” Clarke said. Three temporary casinos have opened near downtown Detroit in the last two years. Mayor Dennis Archer said the city needs the larger, Las Vegas-style, permanent casinos to increase tax revenues for the city. But Archer has recently raised the possibility that other sites may be considered if property negotiations continue to stall, The Detroit News reported.

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Betinternet receives takeover bid

5/18/2001 (By Saskia Wirth, FTMarketWatch.com) LONDON – Shares of U.K. online betting company Betinternet.com [UK:BET] surged up to 40 percent on Thursday after it said it had received a takeover bid. The company, which is quoted on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), said it had received approaches from third parties which could lead to an offer for its share capital, and that it was currently reviewing the bid. Shares surged up to 40 percent following the announcement before falling back. They closed up 14.3 percent at 28 pence. Betinternet.com added it also continued to examine various other strategic options for the development of the company, and that one of them was to remain independent. Its business is dominated by football bets which total more than 70 percent. Its fastest growing area is the Far East, where it believes its market penetration will give it a competitive advantage when the soccer World Cup is co-hosted by Japan and Korea in 2002.

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Australian Online Casino Stung By Fraud

Perth, Australia-based Online gamer My Casino [ASX:MYC] was taken for A$4.3 million (US$2.14 million) in what it describes as a “well-organized” fraud using faked credit cards last year. The scam “severely undermined the marketing position of the casino in international markets,” the company says in a report to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). It offers no other details of the fraud. Meanwhile “the entrance of many more gaming sites online has further compounded the situation over the past nine months. This increased competition has reduced industry margins and the number of players visiting our site,” the company says. My Casino has taken steps to reduce staff and running costs, the company said. Directors are said to be considering “various options” that will allow the best possible return on the company’s investment in the online casino industry. Operating revenue for the year to December 31 2000 was A$3.5 million ($1.74 million) but abnormals, including the fraud loss, cost A$8.6 million ($4.28 million). This resulted in a net loss of A$11.26 million ($5.6 million).

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