Interesting activities on the part of Alabama Representative

The Associated Press new agency has reported some interesting activities on the part of Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus – a US politician becoming increasingly notorious for his sometimes extravagant and on occasion factually challenged attacks on the industry.

 

Apparently Bachus has made many short-term investments whose profitability was directly impacted by political activity in Congress and the Financial Services Committee, of which he is a leading member. AP points out that while many members of Congress hold long-term positions in the stock markets, day trading on stocks directly influenced by Congress is considered both unusual and inappropriate, if not illegal.

 

The news agency has recorded numerous trades by the Alabama Republican in which he bought and quickly sold shares in companies that may have been affected by events in Congress, with some trades taking place in less than a week.

 

When approached with the trades by AP, the Representative refused to speak personally, instead leaving his spokesman to assure the news agency that his employer had never invested in banking or financial firms, and had been careful to stay within the legal limits placed on trading by Congressional laws on ethics.

 

Bachus’ trades have reportedly been largely puts or calls – short-term margin purchases in which speculators expect a quick stock adjustment up or down, the essential insider trade bid.

 

The AP report reveals that Bachus bought shares in the Chinese company Focus Media last December, then two weeks later sold off the stock immediately following a price jump that was caused by a press release concerning a corporate acquisition. He also held Research in Motion shares for two weeks, selling for a profit after the company successfully lobbied Congress for patent protections.

 

Jackpot City Donates Money for Good Cause

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Aussie flood relief receives another A$5 000

Gibraltar-based Jackpot City.com, part of the Carmen Media Group, made a very humane move this week when they donated A$5 000 to help victims of the recent Australian floods. The casino staff donated an initial A$2,170, and casino management doubled that amount.

In addition to the staff donation, JackpotCity.com decided to contribute all proceeds from the casino’s January 2011 Boomerang Australian Pokies Series, which led to another $660 for the flood fund.

The casino recently formed an Australian Flood Relief Fund, whose aim is to raise money for the Queenslanders affected by the January floods. They sent the donation to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

The casino spokesperson Claire Anderson commented: “It is not just the fact that we here at JackpotCity.com employ a number of Australians, including myself, it is that human tragedy transcends country borders. We wish all of our Australian and Queensland players all the best during this trying time.”

Internetworld Award Mr. Green Best Among Online Gambling Sites

Mr. Green positions well among Top 100

An innovative casino established by two Betsson pioneers, Mr. Green.com, has once again proved that it belongs to the very top among online gambling sites, considering its excellent results in Sweden’s Internetworld annual awards, for which all sites with customers in Sweden compete against each other, no matter the contents of the web site.

Regardless of the fact that the online casino saw a drop from the 6th to the 32nd position in competition against all Swedish websites, being beaten by state-run monopoly horse racing site ATG, it still managed to position on top of its rivals, such as Betsson (55th), Unibet (81th) and Svenska Spel (76th), becoming the highest ranking casino operator in the Internetworld Top 100.

This throne has been held by the company for the past three years, stated its Managing Director Michael Pawlo, adding: “2010 has been a year when we have spent a lot of time working on trimming both the company and the web site. Still, it is comforting to know we still stay ahead in the casino game, which is really our niche. I owe it all to our excellent team.”

Apart from this, Mr. Green was also assessed as one of the most accessible web sites, and an external validation test, where sites were tested in line with W3C standards, proved that the website’s position is the same as that of the Swedish tax authority

Land betting shops in the Czech Republic under pressure

Land betting shops in the Czech Republic are taking strain following the government’s decision earlier this year to regulate and licence online gambling, reports the Prague Post. Local companies welcomed the move to free up the Internet and enable them to compete with offshore firms, but initial indications are that it has led to a decline in land business.

The newspaper reports that as a result many of the country’s largest betting companies, such as Tipsport, which owns 1 020 shops in the Czech Republic, are now planning to close dozens of locations. After only three months, online gambling accounts for 30 percent of Tipsport’s business, said spokesman Lubomír Jeek, who expects an even greater interest in online gambling in the future.

“We see the Internet as a new opportunity, rather than something to replace brick-and-mortar shops,” Jeek said.

Jeek hopes that Czech firms will now lure Czechs away from foreign gambling companies. “After the first analysis, we see that many clients who used to bet online with foreign companies are coming to Tipsport,” he said. “Czechs like to bet with Czech companies, and we think this will continue.”

Tomáš Bahník, a spokesman for the Fortuna betting group, which has about 650 shops in the Czech Republic, told the Prague Post that Internet betting has skyrocketed since the new legislation, accounting for 25 percent of total business and causing a 5 percent decline in business in their land outlets. Like Jeek, Bahník expects that Internet gambling will increase, resulting in the closure of some of Fortuna’s less frequented shops.

“We will optimise our branch offices system in the long term,” Bahník said. “We will reduce the number of [land] offices to work more effectively.”

The Prague Post report highlights a complaint by local betting companies on the prevalence of foreign online betting firms doing business in the region. Local operators say that such companies have an unfair advantage because they are not subject to Czech law and taxes.

“Foreign companies have always worked here illegally,” Bahník said. “Making the market free for all companies was the solution for all interested parties. But Czech companies still have worse conditions than foreign betting companies, which don’t have to pay taxes.”

Radek Leatka, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry, said that the regulation of online gambling was only accepted by the government when Czech companies found a way to monitor their online users and exclude underaged gamblers..

Under the new Czech law, those who want to gamble online must first register in a shop, providing verification that they are over 18. If they cannot provide identification, they are not allowed to access the online gambling portal.

The latest figures from the Finance Ministry show that gambling is a significant industry in the Czech Republic, accounting for more than 108 billion Koruny (180 CZK = Euro 6.61726) in bets in 2007. Jeek explained that most Czechs like to bet on sports results, specifically soccer, which accounts for 60 percent of Tipsport’s business. Business in branches may be down, he said, but there is no sign that the gambling industry is losing popularity.

“We have the same odds on the Internet and in our locations, and we see it as a big advantage to be able to offer both types of gambling to our customers,” he said.

IGT Launches New Game

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Wipeout – a new, surfing-themed game

A new game release came this week from International Game Technology (IGT) to complement their extensive offering – it’s a new, surfing-themed slot, Wipeout.

The new launch is played on five reels and ten paylines, and it prides itself on a new style of Free Spins, an interesting bonus feature in which players play for as long as they have spare lives, also being awarded for surviving 25 and 50 spins.

“Wipeout has already benefited from a successful land-based launch and with all the hallmarks of other IGT titles we are confident that this game will be a success online with the fantastic visuals and engaging content that players will enjoy,” commented Oliver Lofthouse, Executive Director, EMEA, Interactive.

Inspired Gaming meets all Italian requirements

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Inspired Gaming meets all AAMS requirements

Server Based Gaming specialist Inspired Gaming has announced that it has met all Italian market VLT requirements set by regulator L’Amministrazione autonoma dei monopoli di Stato (AAMS). The firm claims that it is only the third company to achieve this standard, which enables it to deploy its Open VLT platform in the new Italian market

Inspired’s Open VLT platform operates an Open API that makes it easy for third parties to develop games for the platform, giving operators a wider range of games from Inspired and a number of top third party content providers. The company will launch the platform from Psiclone, Max Gaming and Inspired, and more games are planned to follow from leading providers such as Merkur Gaming and Magic Dreams.

The platform offers an important feature in the form of its advanced wide-area progressive jackpot systems and display solutions, and supports a multi-level system, game and venue-wide progressive jackpot, all fully configurable for combinations of Inspired or third party games.

“This is a key growth milestone for Inspired, said Luke Alvarez, CEO of Inspired. “The Italian VLT market is the most exciting opportunity the gaming industry has seen in years and we’re proud to be one of the first three suppliers to complete the testing process.

“Our Italy team has been working hard to make sure that Inspired, and our customers, are ahead of the game in what will become a competitive playing field. The years of investment in the technology behind our Open VLT platform has ensured that it was flexible enough to respond swiftly to the demands and challenges of the testing process.

“We’ve forged an excellent relationship with our VLT partner Sisal and look forward to going live with our Open VLT terminals in its many venues.”

IGT-UK and WagerWorks announced a restructuring

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IGT-UK and WagerWorks announced a restructuring of their respective UK businesses this week as a result of which the UK operations of WagerWorks are to be integrated into the IGT UK activities. Both companies are IGT subsidiaries.

The merged operations will be managed by newly appointed Oliver Lofthouse as Director and General Manager. He was previously a Director at Mars Snackfoods, holds an MBA and will replace John Wimsett, who has recently been appointed Managing Director of IGT South America. Lofthouse, who will join the company on September 22th 2008, will report directly to Robert White, and will join the IGT-UK Executive Committee.

Lofthouse will be responsible for managing and developing the WagerWorks online gaming business in the UK and continental Europe, as well as continuing to focus on its existing casino supply business in the UK.

White explained: “As our respective customer bases and technologies are increasingly converging, the integration of the UK division of WagerWorks into IGT-UK Gaming is a natural next step. This is consistent with our strategy of developing new markets and new routes to market for IGT-UK’s market-leading game content and systems, and builds on the recent acquisitions of Cyberview and Million-2-1.

“I am delighted to welcome Oliver to the Group and look forward to working with him to develop the newly integrated IGT-UK Gaming business in the future. He added: “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank John Wimsett for his outstanding contribution to IGT-UK Gaming over the past six years, and to wish him the best of luck in his new role in South America.”

Paul Mathews, the current President of WagerWorks and Senior Vice President of IGT’s Thin Client Systems Group, will continue to lead all Thin Client product management, system and game development in USA, which supports WagerWorks and its customers.

IGT acquired Wagerworks in 2005.