Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Brits will Bet on Anything - so say the Yanks

Is Anything Sacred Here? Well, That's Worth a Wager

Novelty betting, mostly a low-stakes venture, has soared in Britain and Ireland in the past five years, attracting a swath of new, casual gamblers, some of them women, who hope to make money off their conviction that "Sex and the City" will hold a reunion by 2005 or that Mr. Beckham will dump his wife by year's end.

The New York Times report on the increase in 'novelty bets' that us Brits will bet on - everything from John Motson's first cliche in his commentary to whether JK Rowling will kill off Harry Potter

Paddy Power states: "We're willing to take bets on anything, even two flies climbing a wall or the price of oil this Friday."

And Graham Sharpe of Hills notes with an air of typical understated (and amusing) patriotism: "There aren't many countries you can do this in ...We don't lead the world in much, but in this, we do.''

The bets mentioned in the article include:
- It took just 69 seconds for John Motson, to utter one of his notorious clichés - "these are nervous moments" - during the start of the England vs. Portugal match back in July.
- how many sips of water the chancellor will take during his budget speech, who will play the next James Bond, and will J. K. Rowling, the author, kill off Harry Potter.
- which character from "The Simpsons" will come out of the closet in January
- who will replace Pope John Paul II
- a woman who bet that her sister, Anne Redhead, a redhead, would give birth to a redhead.

But Paddy Power thankfully looks at this with a bit more realism: "Gambling is possibly too strong a word here.."It's having a laugh"

That it is - but I doubt they would have expected betting on Big Brother or Pop Idol would be such the money spinner its turned out to be

Sunday, August 29, 2004

US Open Tennis - Latest Odds

The second-best tennis tournament in the world starts on monday as the big guns come out to play at the US Open in Flushing Meadows New York - just as the Republican National Convention starts a few subway stops away in Madison Sq Gardens - I know what I'd rather be watching.

Whilst I can't see past the unstoppable Roger Federer, the US player that'll get the NY crowds in to watch will undoubtably be Andy Roddick, but i'm hoping Agassi plays a good tournament.

The bookies show Federer to be a strong favourite, with Roddick just in behind him at 5/2. If you're looking for an outsider for a nice each-way bet, Nalbrandian is proven on the surface and often creeps through quietly to the later stages, Whilst Tim Henman will have to be on better form than his recent Olympic excursion to have any say in the tournament

Anyway, my tickets booked and I'm off to be there for the men's final a week on Sunday!

Latest Odds from Bet 365

Roger Federer 11/8
Andy Roddick 5/2
Lleyton Hewitt 6/1
Andre Agassi 8/1
Marat Safin 18/1
Carlos Moya 25/1
David Nalbandian 33/1
Tim Henman 40/1

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Double Gold for Kelly. Shock Gold for Men's Relay


Another unbelieveable day for Team GB in the athletics - after going into the games thinking the Brits are likely to win very little in the athletics, we've left with 3 golds.

The awesome Kelly Holmes shows again what athletes should be made of (move over Paula Radcliffe) and runs out an easy winner of the 1500m after winning the 800m only a few days ago.

Holmes becomes the first ever British woman to achieve the middle distance double.

And then, to top off a great evening, the British 4*100m relay surprisingly beats the US team by 1/100th of a second, putting behind their awful performance in the individual event (Darren Campbell, how's your injury?)

Of course, the arrogant US 'Dream Team' basketball team being knocked out in the semis just as sweet to watch :-)

All in all - with Amir Khan already a new boxing hero in the making - regardless of whether he wins gold sunday night, its been a lot better than I thought it was going to be..

Khan is 7/4 to beat Kindelan in Sunday's Lightweight Bout - with Kindelan at 2/5 with Bet 365

Kelly Holmes is currently untouchable to become the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year - if your pockets are in need of emptying, she's currently about 1.18 to win the award on betfair.com and 1/8 with William Hill. Matthew Pinsent is 11/2 and Khan closing in at 14/1 third favourite

Previous Blogs:
- Kelly Holmes Wins 800m Gold
- Amir Kahn Odds Cut to 6/5
- 5 Golds for the Olympic Brits in One Day

Friday, August 27, 2004

Las Vegas - Bet on Anything except the President

Bets are off in Las Vegas

In yet another great tale of the absurdities of US gambling and politics - Cnn.com points out that apparantly you're not allowed to bet on the outcome of the upcoming US Presidential Election in Las Vegas.

It is, quite simply, against the law in Vegas to offer this bet - and of course, no-one really knows why - despite the knowledge that, if available, millions would be bet.

So what's a punter to do?

Bet in the UK I guess..

Both William Hill and Bet 365 are predicting a close-run race and currently have Kerry and Bush both at 5/6

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Champions League Draw - Latest Odds

Chelsea face Porto

The first stage of the Champions League was announced today with Chelsea's new manage, Morinho, set to face his old club, Porto in the group stages.

Man Utd have a fairly straightforward group, meeting Lyon, Sparta Prague and Fenerbahce. Arsenal have drawn Panathanaikos, PSV Eindhoven and Rosenborg whilst Liverpool will face Deportivo, Monaco and Olympiakos

Bet 365 have already put Real Madrid as favourites - their groups consists of AS Roma, Bayer Leverkusen and Dynamo Kiev

Outrights for the Champions League:

Real Madrid 11/2
AC Milan 6/1
Arsenal 6/1
Chelsea 7/1
Barcelona 9/1
Man Utd 9/1
Juventus 11/1
Valencia 12/1
Bayern Munich 16/1
Roma 20/1
Inter Milan 20/1
D Coruna 25/1
FC Porto 25/1
Liverpool 25/1
Celtic 80/1

All odds taken from Bet 365

Head of Betfair Australia Gets a Visit by Aussie Federal Cops

Internet gambling operator hits hurdle

The ongoing saga of Betfair's attempt to enter the Australian market continues with a bizarre story as the Australian Federal Police made a visit to the home of Betfair's Australian MD, Mark Davies. Their reason for visiting? A tip-off that Davies was running an illegal online gambling operation from his home.

When the feds realised there was nothing untoward going on, they left the slightly bemused Davies refusing to get too ruffled over the latest twist.

Quite simply, the issue in Australia is this:
Betfair want to enter the Australian market. The Australian government decided it had no reason to disallow this and as soon as they heard this, Betfair went head first into a partnership with gambling big boy and media giant, Kerry Packer.

However, the Australian betting operators are fuming and have waged war against Betfairs plans - arguing that Betfair's betting exchange model has the potential to ruin the local racing industry. And they're not afraid to show their displeasure, likening Betfair to the 'Great Train Robbery' and calling its business "the greatest con job in the world"

Quite simply, the Aussie racing industry are running scared - like the Brits did for a while. But in reality, Betfair has genuinely made the racing industry more competitive and more interesting, opening it up to a whole new generation of horse-racing punters. The Aussies are making themselves look foolish and setting themselves up for a fall as Betfair go quietly and cleverly on their way into the Australian market


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Arsenal Make Football History - Unbeaten for 43 Matches

Arsenal 3-0 Blackburn

Arsenal put 3 past Blackburn to beat Nottingham Forest's 26 year old record of 42 games unbeaten - and I was there to see it :-)

To be fair, Blackburn put up a fairly good fight in the first half as Arsenal were pegged back for most of the first 45 minutes. But it wasn't too long for Arsenal to break the Blackburn defence soon after the second half began as Henry guided in Bergkamp's cross.

Gilberto (actually it was Fabrigaz) made it 2 whilst Henry unselfishly passed to Reyes to make it 3.

To be honest, in the second half it could have been 6 or 7 quite easily if Henry wasn't being quite so altrusitic to his team mates instead of finishing off a series of great moves himself

Divine, sublime, its good to be an Arsenal fan right now

More Links:
- Arsenal FC
- Arsenal Blog
- The Football Blog

Amir Kahn Odds Cut to 6/5

Teenage British Olympic Boxing newcomer, Amir Khan is just 6/5 to get gold if he reaches the final for a fight against Cuban favourite, Kindlan.

Khan has been cut from an initial 12/1 as he is guaranteed a bronze and has taken the Olympic boxing event by storm

And just for good measure, Khan is now 33/1 with William Hill to become the BBC TV's Sports Personality of the year!

Latest Odds:

Kindelan M ( Cuba ) 4/6
Amir Khan ( Gbr ) 6/5
Yeleuov S ( Kaz ) 20/1
Khratchev M ( Rus ) 25/1

All odds taken from William Hill

More Links:
Amir Khan - A Boy Amongst Men

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Red Button Gambling - Will Interactive TV Work for Gambling

Raising the red button stakes

If you run through Sky's programme guide recently, you'll find a plethora of TV channels dedicated to 'gambling games' - often backed by Interactive TV gambling pioneers, DITG (operators of TV Bingo channel, Avago)

Most of these channels are quite frankly, dull. Virtual horse-racing with zero atmosphere, stupid darts games and roulette rip-offs populate the channels on an endless loop.

However, the stakes are about to be raised as the high street bookies, William Hill, finally make their way towards the dreaded Sky Interactive Red Button, to offer interactive TV gambling

The Guardian Online reports - as banks such as HSBC remove themselves from Interactive TV after deeming it a failure, the gambling boys are moving in and taking over.

In the next 2 or 3 months, William Hill will brand a new channel dedicated to virtual interactive gambling - set up, as ever, by the aforementioned DITG

As the red button listed handicap lines up for the start, the broadcasting fight as to who can show the most poker shows will also start again in earnest, as Challenge TV plan to show the UK's first 24hr celebrity poker tournament.

Challenge is also about to launch 'Casino Casino' which will deal viewers a virtual hand for fun, rather than money - quite simply because its currently illegal for players to play for money on TV

Read the rest of the article here

- I'll probably reserve judgement on all these new interactive TV gambling initiatives until I see them. The current ones are nothing to write home about - the medium is clunky and tedious and the set-top box isn't geared up for the speed required for good games. Avago is about the only channel that has 'kind of' got it right with its broadcast games. There's always going to be a market for good gambling games on TV - and until Sky gets rid of the junk that currently resides on its programme guide, I won't be pressing the button to play

Monday, August 23, 2004

Kelly Holmes Wins 800m Gold

Finally an athletic event we Brits can be proud of.

I don't care about why Paula Radcliffe suffered in the marathon. I'm sick of seeing the pictures in the papers and the story on TV.
Call me mean. I don't care. Lets see Paula go for the 10,000m and get gold. Then i'll care. Until then, lets move on.

But Kelly Holmes has got her gold quietly and brilliantly.

Good for her

Holmes takes brilliant gold

Saturday, August 21, 2004

5 Golds for the Olympic Brits in One Day

Britain's golden day

I think we need to freeze today for posterity as the Great Britain team won 5 gold medals as well as 3 silvers and 4 bronzes on Saturday alone - and were actually in the top ten in the medals board for a while (jumping up from nowhere)

Today's medals includes:
1 gold in rowing (coxless 4's) as well a 1 silver (womens pairs) and 1 bronze (scull)
2 golds in sailing (finn and yngling) and 1 silver (470)
1 gold in cycling (4km pursuit)
1 gold in 3-day eventing (after being promoted) as well as a silver and bronze
1 bronze in swimming (1500m freestyle)
1 bronze in athletics (womens heptathlon)

The highlight was clearly Pinsent winning his 4th gold in the rowing - with the potential of emulating Steve Redgrave's 5 if he decides to continue to the Beijing games in 2008 - and David Davies' bronze in the 1500m freestyle swimming in a time that slashed 12 seconds off the British record and really pushing Aussie winner Grant Hackett throughout the race showed some great potential

We have a few real chances for more medals including Paula Radcliffe in the Marathon, bright young thing, Amir Khan, in the boxing and even Kelly Holmes finding good form in the 800m.

All in all, after the pretty dull start, the Olympics is really starting to take off for us eternally optimistic Brits

Bet on the Olympics at Bet 365

Friday, August 20, 2004

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals earn £15bn

The virtual wheel of fortune

The Guardian reports on the phenomenon that is virtual roulette that are available in the UK's betting shops (known as Fixed Odds Betting Terminals or FOBTs). The terminals were introduced in the UK less than 3 years ago to a storm of controversy as the Gaming Board and the bookies fought it out to prove what is and what isn't a Fixed Odds Game.

Ultimately, the UK player didn't care what anybody thought and the game has attracted a dedicated following, with a return that offers a maximum prize of £500 on each game - 20 times a traditional fruit machine and the amount the gaming board and bookies finally agreed too.

The Guardianestimates that more than £290m a week is gambled on about 15,000 machines - 3 times as much as the National Lottery and has become the UK's most popular gaming product - literally from out of nowhere. They also reckon that punters are losing more than £8m a week to the big 5 bookies - Ladbrokes, William Hills, Coral, Stanley Bet and the Tote

But official information on these terminals are scarce - with smaller bookies probably operating about 2500 machines whilst Customs and Excise figures show a fourfold leap in betting turnover to £29.4bn since 2001.

The article continues:
What is more clear, however, is that the roulette terminals are becoming an increasingly lucrative source of profits. Britain's two largest betting shop chains, Ladbrokes and William Hill, are due to post interim figures in the next three weeks that are expected to suggest profits from machines have outstripped those made from traditional over the counter bets on horse racing, greyhounds and football. They will have to answer claims that their primary business has essentially switched from sports bookmaking into an amusement arcade operation

These kind of claims are being made to the annoyance of amusement arcade operators - who can only offer the £25 jackpot on their machines - which, when sitting next to a £500 FOBT is not the most attractive box for the player - and to the government who are worried about the proliferation of these machines and have effectively put the terminals "on probation". They are also being blamed for the Government's surprise about-turn on allowing a full-blown industry rollout US-style big-jackpot slots

Ultimately, what the success of these terminals has shown is the huge appetite the UK market has for casino-style games and the latent demand for easier access to them

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Bored of Poker? Try Scrabble

Bingo! The deal with Scrabble

If you're always looking for the next 'big thing' - try Scrabble. The wordgame has been puzzling players since it was invented during the Depression by an out of work architect - and its now the subject of a documentary "Word Wars"

Following 4 top-ranked players, the film follows the eccentric adventures of four 'tile shufflers' as they progress from preliminary rounds of a National competition

And how is scrabble compared to poker? Well, according to one of the players, Joel Sherman:

"Poker has one small advantage over us in that it doesn't really require the amount of study, yet Scrabble is still very accessible...Chess and poker are kind of artificial ... but Scrabble is put together out of things that we absolutely use everyday - language and math skills."

What's most amazing is that the top prize for a National scrabble game was a massive $100,000 - and televised on US TV last year.

Time to get my head in a dictionary...

More Links:
- Internet Scrabble Club
- Official Scrabble Homepage
- National Scrabble Association

Chris Moneymaker Online Chat on ESPN

ESPN.com: SPORTS NATION - Chat with Chris Moneymaker

US Sports Network, ESPN who broadcast the World Series of Poker show are currently doing a few online chat events with their poker stars.

Their first chat was with Chris Moneymaker, who won the 2003 World Series of Poker Championship after qualifying for the event by winning an online poker tournament.

Here's some of the highlights from the chat:

- Tips on how to keep a straight face:
CM: I always pretend like I'm nervous no matter what. I try to fall asleep.

- Who he considers the best player in the world:
CM: Stu Unger, Doyle Brunson

- If luck is an underrated part of the game:
CM: Luck is definitly part of the game. The faster the blind structure, the more luck is involved.

- On his call on opposing player, Dutch, with a 3-3
CM: I just had a read on him throughout the tournament. (the way he played his hands)

- How you deal with knowing you're up against more experienced players
CM: You balance the fear by playing super aggressively...frustrating a more experienced player

- Which pro is the most unnerving to play with
CM: Phil Ivey or Eric Sidel

- The differences between world class players and good players
CM: World Class players can lay down the toughest hands and play any two cards at any time without fear. Their reads are impeccable.

- Is it more fun to play aggressively or have the chip lead and play conservatively
CM: More fun to have the chip lead and play aggressively (!)

- The most common 'tell' of a beginner
CM:if your opponent acts weak he is strong and if he acts strong he is weak.

- Prefer pocket Q's or A,K
CM: Pocket Q's

- Best female poker player
CM: Jennifer Harmon

You can read the rest of the chat transcript here

online poker guide

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

National Lottery on the Decline? Camelot says No

Camelot furious over Mintel claims of National Lottery decline

Research Agency, Mintel has just released a report that claims the National Lottery is on the decline in the UK.

As Mintel's leisure analyst, Mark Brechin, claims; "The situation for Camelot does look pretty precarious..The introduction of new games have failed to sustain long-term interest...The biggest problem seems to be way the lottery is run. People are bored with the main Lotto draw and want more prizes with lower jackpots. They also want to see the money they spend go back to their local communities"

According to the Independent Online

- The report found that the percentage of Britons playing the main Saturday night draw has fallen to 63 per cent in 2004 from 76 per cent in 1999. It argues that the introduction of new games has led to a cannibalisation of sales, and the number of people playing its Thunderball draw has halved over the past five years to just 8 per cent. These figures compare with a 1 per cent drop in betting on sports events, such as horses and greyhounds, over the same period and a 2 per cent drop in fruit and quiz machine use.

Naturally, Camelot, the organisers of the Lottery, are not amused or impressed. They claim the research is just 'spin' and the lottery is in fact enjoying an increase in sales recently. They've also challenged the alleged proportion of players - saying they have maintained their 70% of the UK population buying tickets.

Personally, i'm not a big fan of the lottery - its odds are ridiculous and the games are pointless. I fully agree that cannibalisation is hurting the main Lotto game. The one thing that is clear - Camelot do not seem to fully understand 'gambling' that well - or the mindset of a player - in that, they should stick to what they do know - and just offer a lottery and perhaps some scratchcards. The rest are just superfluous.

However, its all for a good cause (allegedly) - and plays on the dreams of everyone - so lets not knock it too much methinks

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Man in tutu crashes Olympics diving event

Leap of faith

The idiots at G**denPalace.com once again go all out to get their URL in front of the world. Usually, I don't mind the streakers and the stunts that they seem intent on imposing on the public - but this idiot single-handedly ruined an Olympic event for divers that have been training for 4 years to get their chance for Gold - both the favourites for gold, the Chinese and the Russian team divers were so shaken up at this guy's intrusion they failed or messed up their following dives and ruined their chances for medals - allowing a shock win for the Greek divers.

Move on G**denpalace - I'm bored now

100-1 outsider backed down to 8-1 and wins

Swing in betting shocks punters

Now this is the type of gamble i love to see come off for horse-racing punters.

Stuart Williams trained Exponential landed a huge gamble in the Wright Brothers Maiden Stakes at Nottingham when it was backed down from 100-1 to 8-1.

Although he had previously come last of 13 in his last time out, apparantly it wasn't wholly unexpected for his connections and justified the unlikely gamble.

Ladbrokes estimated their losses at £160,000 for the race - a huge amount for a small maiden race at Nottingham

Monday, August 16, 2004

Thorpe Vs Phelps - Latest Odds

Its the biggest swim event of the Olympics and all has not quite gone to plan for the US's Michael Phelps - thwarted in his quest for 7 gold's last night when the South Africans caused a shock by taking the 400m relay

But its the 200m freestlye that has the world buzzing right now - and whilst its been called the match-up of the games there's still a couple of swimmers that could cause an even bigger shock.

In fact, the bookies don't even have Phelps as second favourite, since Dutch reigning champion Pieter van den Hoogenband showed he's still a threat - finishing his semi's in a faster time than Phelps, as did Australian Grant Hackett

Thorpe however, remains favourite for the Gold

Thorpe I ( Aus ) 8/11
Van Den Hoogenband P ( Hol ) 13/8
Phelps M ( Usa ) 4/1
Hackett G ( Aus ) 25/1
Keller K ( Usa ) 50/1

All odds taken from William Hill

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Play Blackjack Whilst you Swim

Gadget Blog, Engadget has kindly pointed out the last refuge for gamblers everywhere - The waterproof Blackjack table

Swimupblackjack.com the manufacturers of this must-have swimming pool accessory (for those of you lucky enough to have pools) have also patented playing cards that won't stick together or be destroyed by water.

Maybe when the new gambling regs come in place in the UK, someone will open an underwater casino

Anyway, I want one. Now!

Gambling on Bugs - the Insect Type

115 Accused of Gambling on Insect Fights

115 men were arrested for allegedly gambling on insects. The Hong Kong police seized about 300 crickets during the bust, whilst the bug gamblers remained in custody.

You think there's a heavyweight division for crickets? Or is it all flyweight?

Athens Olympics 2004 Medals Table

I've added an olympics medal table to the site courtesy of the excellent Athens Olympics Blog - or go straight to the UK summary of medals here

There's also an excellent UK-focused fans-eye Olympics blog - Athens 2004 Blog - an Olympics blog which gives a great rundown of how our UK competitors are faring

More Links
- I would link to the official Olympics Site, but unfortunately, their terms for linking seem way too archaic for me (thanks to Stuart Homfray's weblog for pointing this out)
- LIVE and FREE Olympics coverage (video/audio) from BBC Online - best for Broadband users

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Getting a BA Honours in Gambling

Colleges add gambling courses

Looks like the latest fad for US colleges is to offer Majors or certificate programs in gambling and casinos.

A 4-yr bachelor's degree course is currently being developed in NY, whilst hand-on study includes lab testing of the felt used on card tables and the roulette wheels.

But its the field trips to Vegas and Atlantic City that would really attract the students - and me.

Where do I sign up?

More Links:
- Salford University in Manchester currently offers BSc Business Economics with Gambling Studies

Friday, August 13, 2004

Olympic Bits and Pieces

Google have once again outdone themselves with their cute graphics - Love their Athens 2004 homepage image

If you want an insight into this year's swimming - the Australian press is a good place to look for hints about their team - and whilst the biggest swim event of the games is always going to be Phelps v Thorpe in the 200m men's freestyle, the Ozzie team reckon Hackett is in the form of his life and you can get some great value on him overturning the Thorpe domination of the freestyle events

Bet 365 have Hackett at a tempting 7/2 for the 200m freestyle, whilst Thorpe is unbackable at 1/6

The Olympics has sadly got off to a scandalous start already with the news that Greek 200m hero Kostas Kenteris missed a drugs test yesterday - shades of the Rio Ferdinand fiasco last year.

Kenteris was expected to have lit the Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremony as well as being Greece's flagbearer but that honour has gone to a team member.
And just to pile on the misery for the Greeks, Kenteris was then involved in a road accident

The Men's 100m has finally turned into an interesting race as Asafa Powell has shocked the USA's Maurice Greene twice in recent European events.
Powell is the current favourite to take the Gold at 11/10 with Bet 365 - but no stranger to the Olympics, at 2/1, Greene can definitely pull out the stops to overturn recent results.

Matthew Pinsent is on course for his fourth Olympic Gold Medal - this time without Steve Redgrave. He's in the coxless fours - and whilst Canada are current favourites to take this race at 2/1, Pinsent's fairytale ending can be backed at 3/1 with Bet 365

Bet 365 has a host of odds available on all the top Olympic events

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Good and the Bad of Online Gambling

'Hidden cost' of online gambling

Despite the negativity in the title, BBC Online have reported a reasonably balanced view of online gambling - although it does peter into an 'addiction' report by the end

The Ladbrokes E-Gaming MD comments on the huge growth of the industry in the past 5 to 6 years, claiming:
"In poker, we're turning over £10m in pots every day. That's money that customers are staking one against the other. It's a significant business."

Thats a significant rake for Ladbrokes and they're definitely not the biggest online poker room

The story continues to relate 2 stories of online gamblers - one who plays online because 'its a bit of fun' and prefers the anonymity that the internet offers.

Whilst the second story provides a slightly more negative image of a female gambler that lost £45,000 in 4 weeks playing online poker.

Interestingly, both stories were about women gamblers - the media's current obsession.

However, it is worrying when the player compares the lack of self-control she experienced from her gambling as:
"...it's just not real, it's like playing a GameBoy or a PlayStation. It's just like a video game."

Thats a dubious comparison at best and whilst its important to highlight the potential dangers of gambling addiction, when online casinos and poker are being compared to kids games, its precariously balanced image once again tips heavily towards the anti-gambling brigade

Teenage Gamblers Sought for TV Documentary


It had to happen sooner or later. An Independent TV Company, IWC Media, has jumped on the 'underage gambling' bandwagon and has gone to Hull to look for teenagers that gamble for a new documentary. Why Hull has been singled out, i'm not too sure.

This follows the recent study that was released about underage gambling on the internet, as Jamie Balment, a spokesman for IWC Media states:
"Teenage gambling is a growing problem in the UK and a very prescient issue after the recent National Children's Home online gambling inquiry. The proposed relaxation of the current gambling laws by the Government later this year is also causing concern."

The documentary is hoping to to find kids that gamble online, use fruit machines or play the National Lottery. Once again sensationalist TV will do nothing for the image of gambling - especially as the industry is waiting for the new regulations.

Previous Blogs:
- That nasty evil internet makes kids gamble

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

£7 million Lotto Jackpot won by Convicted Rapist


In a story thats hit most front pages today, Iorworth Hoare, a 52 yr old convicted serial rapist, currently serving life, won £7 million on the Lotto after buying a ticket whilst on weekend leave.

Naturally, most of the UK's tabloid press have taken the high ground and demands a change of the law immediately. To quote The Sun:
The Sun demands a change in the law to stop this madness ever happening again.

Gamblog comments on the typical kneejerk reaction from the politicians and the press. As Gamblog rightly concludes:
- While I deplore the guy and hope his money is taken from him and given to his victims as compensation (every penny) , what has made me laugh is nonsense talk from apparently well educated people , ie poiticians. Ridiculous.

Hoare himself seemed to realise the potential public outcry and immediately hired top London lawyers to try to stop the press from printing the story, but they went ahead anyway

Ultimately, I doubt much can be done to stop prisoners on temporary release from buying lotto tickets. But it would be a justifiable result if the victims can gain compensation from the win

- Rapist's £7m 'should aid victims'

Public Response:
- Your view: Should convicted criminals be allowed to play the Lotto?
- Lottery - Your Views
- Should lottery rules for prisoners be changed?

Gambling on a Natural Disaster

Betting on the gee-gees

Ever wondered about the odds of a natural global disaster?
Well, The Guardian has put together a nice summary of the chances of a 'global geophysical event' - known more simply as the 'gee-gees'

There's a 0.7% chance of a mega-tsunami - caused by asteroids or comets crashing into the sea or islands and forces enormous waves

Super-Eruptions are just as rare. There's a 0.14% chance of one happening in your lifetime - the last one happened a mere 73,500 years ago in Sumatra. The ash would blacken the sky and cause a 'volcanic winter' that could last for 5 years

Comets and Asteroid Strikes are currently becoming less of a threat as new technology and better telescopes can calculate any potential collision course with Earth. These cataclysmic events are thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs and in 1994 a comet collided with Jupiter - a similar impact on Earth would have wiped us all out

I'm not too sure its worth a flutter on the next global disaster though. It would be quote a challenge to go and collect your winnings the next day

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

We've had Poker - now its Blackjack on TV

After all the commotion about poker on TV, it had to happen sooner or later.
There's now a show in the US called Celebrity Blackjack where a group of 'celebs' play a version of blackjack for charity. All prize money is donated to the charity of choice by the celeb. US stand-up comedian Caroline Rhea has just won the first series, but a second series is already in the pipeline.

The show has created its own rules in which 4 "celebrity blackjack jokers' are in play and can be used to steal any card in play

No doubt going to come to a minor UK TV channel sometime soon

Play Blackjack for yourself instead!
- Victor Chandler The Spin Room
- Casino 365
- William Hill Casino
- Harrods Casino

Olympics Betting - will the UK get any medals at the Olympics?

In what looks like one of the poorest UK athletics team we've had in the Olympics in decades, we may even return from the games with no medals at all

Of all the athletic events, only Paula Radcliffe is favourite to win a Track/Field Gold Medal for Great Britain. Radcliffe is quoted at 4/9 to win the Marathon but the shortest priced Brit other then her is Kelly Holmes at 10/1 for the 800 metres.

William Hill are offering just 9/4 for the team returning from the games with no Gold medals with just the one Gold being 4/5 favourite

None 9/4
one Gold 4/5
two 5/1
three or more 13/2.

Latest odds from William Hill

Casino City files uses US First Amendment to Protect Online Gambling Advertising

Casino City Files Suit Against U.S. Department of Justice to Establish its First Amendment Right to Advertise Online Casinos and Sportsbooks

In an interesting twist of events, web portal, Casino City has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice claiming that advertising online casinos is protected by free speech under the US First Amendment

This comes a week after a Californian lawsuit was filed against internet portals including google and yahoo - claiming they were illegally advertising online gambling to Californian citzens.

Amusingly, President Bush's lead attorney for his 2000 Florida vote count, Barry Richard, is the attorney challenging the US Justice Department in the Casino City case.

Casino City CEO, Michael Corfman, says "The public has the right to see the wealth of information we provide on casinos and sportsbooks, and we have the First Amendment right to advertise online gaming on the web to support its free publication."

This also comes at a time when the US and Antigua are set to hold talks to settle the recent WTO ruling against the US that its position against offshore gambling had slashed revenue in Antigua, a country that uses gambling to boost a depressed economy

Last year, federal authorities put out a warning threatening US companies to stop accepting ads from offshore online gambling sites and seized $3 million from Discovery Communications

- This is a brave move by Casino City to try and clear up the mess regarding online gambling in the US and obviously was timed to coincide with the WTO rulings and the current lawsuit against google et al. Whether they succeed remains to be seen, but at least the wheels are being put in motion to try and regain an even footing with the anti-online gambling brigade and begin its potentially arduous task that it is - or could one day be - a legitimate industry for the USA

Monday, August 09, 2004

Faria Alam Breaks Down in Tears


Apparantly Faria is in love with Sven

So she tells Trevor McDonald on ITV's Tonight Show
Just to prove this point, she breaks down in tears and asks the camera's to stop rolling.

I'm getting all tearful just thinking about it all

And David Davies is suffering from memory loss

After reading about Sven and Faria's activities in last Sunday's News of the World, he's probably got the right idea

More Blogs:
- Gamblog reports: Sven Stays, Faria Alam Resigns, Palios and Gibson gone

Recent Blog Post:
Chief Exec Mark Palios resigns from the FA

Playing Blackjack with the Taj Mahal

Gambling the Taj

It seems as if one of the world's great wonders, the Taj Mahal, is not enough to keep tourists in Agra.

Apparantly, ministers in the Utter Pradash part of India is looking at plans to open casinos in Agra - if that would get more tourists to the Taj Mahal. Agra itself is devoid of any other activity to interest tourists - except for its 5-star hotels - and people simply keep away.

A senior minister states there's 2 proposals - one to open the Taj in the night - and secondly to open casinos for more 'excitement'

Express India amusingly comments that the ministry has obviously overlooked the basic concept of marketing and building infrastructure such as airpotys and roads to make it easier to get to the Taj.

Having been to the Taj recently, I'll join in its cynicism. Whilst the Taj under a full moon would be stunning and casinos would make its nightlife slightly more interesting, the government's first steps should really be to improve the surrounding land and buildings (its a mess), re-think its entrance fee requirements (also a mess) - and then worry about its nightlife - casinos would be a nice touch once everything else becomes slightly more inviting

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Gambling in the Press - Sunday Papers

Children at risk of big-stake gambling

The Guardian reports on the negative aspects of internet kiosks that are offering offshore gambling 'to children'. Essentially, it seems that legal internet kiosks are acting as portals to offshore casino sites and since these kiosks are allowed anywhere in the UK, naturally there's been a strong reaction to their accessibility by kids. The operators argue that since the casino is registered offshore - its not covered by UK law.

Whilst the operators are no doubt correct in their interpretation of the current laws, there needs to be some restraint in place to allow the gambling regulation to go through without too much restriction on the part of online casino operators. Whilst I have no issues with offshore gambling in the privacy of someone's home (thats what the internet is all about) - allowing a physical box in a public unlicensed area to offer offshore casinos is really giving gambling a bad name - that it doesn't need right now.

Internet poker is now a £15bn industry - but ministers vow to bring in new controls

Can anybody remember what we did before online poker came along? This story reports on a 24-yr old woman who's main source of income is by playing online poker. Over the past 2 years her winnings have topped £20,000.

The report goes on to claim that the industry is now worth an estimated £15bn. Not the 100's of billions often stated next to online casino figures - but now certainly the fastest growing gambling sector, so much so, that an independent regulator, PokerPulse, has been set up.

Once again, the new gambling regs are the core of the story - as Tessa Jowell finally mentions online poker rooms in her statement, saying; " Our gambling laws are out of date, in some cases going back as far as the 18th century...We need to update them so online poker rooms can operate from the UK, giving players the choice to gamble in a properly regulated environment"

I do think its the first time I've heard online poker mentioned by the government and once again shows how little has been thought out with regards to the new regulations and the internet

Israel overturns 2,000-year-old ban on betting at the races

In a story thats been making the rounds this week, The Telegraph reports on the overturning of a religious ban on betting in Israel. This week, the Israeli government approved organised betting on horses, overturning a ruling that goes back 2000 years - when it was ruled that pigeon races were not allowed under religious law.

The approval made way for a groups of Israeli and foreign businessmen to build a £20 million racecourse in the North of the country and makes way for the creation of 1000's of jobs, helping the depressed economy that currently exists in that part of the country.

Friday, August 06, 2004

How World Poker Tour Came About

Holdin' Em: An Interview w/ Steve Lipscomb, Founder of the World Poker Tour

Interesting interview from the Chicago Sports Review with Steve Lipscomb who founded the World Poker Tour which first aired in 2003.

Some of the highlights:

- Lipscomb went from lawyer to documentary film maker about Southern Baptists to making the Discovery Channel documentary "On the Inside of the World Series of Poker"

- He modestly gives his reason why the WPT is so popular "The show is better, the poker is better. Our whole show is all about the poker"

- He claims the WPT are making stars out of poker players.

- He reckons he's a great poker player (!) But gives kudos to the best players in the business (without whom, of course, he'd be a poorer man)

- Most interestingly, he claims 30% of his audience are women

- Next year the prize money will increase from $10 million to $50 million

- The WPT are planning to go public

The WPT is definitely one of the best shows out there - simply because they get the best players and have some of the biggest prize funds. Can't argue with that

More Links:
Play Poker Online in the UK

The Football Season Starts Again - Latest Football Odds

It seems as if we've only just finished the last season, but the new season starts again with the Community Shield and the Coca Cola English Championship and Leagues One and Two

Arsenal play Man Utd at the Charity (Community) Shield on Sunday as a sneek preview to next week's premiership start - it'll be interesting to see how Arsenal perform amidst the recent transfer rumours.
But the bookies still make the Gunners favourite to beat Utd:

Arsenal v Man Utd
Home 5/4
Draw 2/1
Away 15/8

(Odds Taken from William Hill)

The recently renamed English Championship and League One and Two also begins in earnest tomorrow with West Ham favourites to get back into the premiership, whilst recently relegate Leeds is only 14/1 to regain their place in the premier league

English Championship - Outright
West Ham 5/1
Wolves 11/2
Leicester 7/1
Sunderland 15/2
Wigan 11/1
Sheff Utd 12/1
Nottm Forest 12/1

English League One - Outright
Bristol City 4/1
Tranmere 13/2
Sheff Wed 7/1
Hull 15/2
Swindon 10/1
Walsall 12/1
Barnsley 12/1

English League Two - Outright
Northampton 5/1
Chester 15/2
Yeovil 9/1
Notts County 10/1
Grimsby 11/1
Mansfield 12/1

(Odds Taken from William Hill)

- The Football League Official Site
- Premier League

How to Make a Million - Only Dreamers Need Apply

How to make an instant million

This week, a nurse from Fife, Scotland, won £1 million live on TV during the show, The Vault, by answering (5 fairly simple) questions.
Another lady won a record £20.1m on the National Lottery. A 17 yr-old won a million on a scratchcard, whilst last month, a 74-yr old won over a million - also on the Lottery.

It seems that this was a week for huge million pound+ wins and where dreamers get together and think of ways to spend their winnings - despite the 13.9million-to-one odds that the lottery offers

So how else can you make a million?

The Scotsman has come up with a variety of methods to help you come across that fantasy scenario. However, you need a good amount of luck and some ridiculously long odds.

For those who still pander after the big win with slightly more realism, it'll take £27,777.77 out of your hard-earned cash to win on a single number on roulette (35/1) or a mere £500,000 on red/black or odds/evens to pocket that million.

To win on the horses conjurs up even more long shots - and far off dreams. You need 3 100/1 shots to romp in on a £1 accumulator. Or you need some serious cash up front to back the shorter price favourites to come in. Most bookies are still waiting for their first £1 million winner though.

Whilst ITV's The Vault paid out their million this week, the most famous high prize TV quiz of them all is "Who Wants to be a Millionaire".
However, getting the 15 questions correct is slightly harder then it first appears. According to Ladbrokes the odds of getting all 15 correct in one go ia 1,000,000,000-1.

So if it isn't done through gambling - how else can you make a million? The Scotsman suggests the stock market and taking risks on warrants. If thats not your thing, try spotting a company's potential and getting in on the ground floor - don't you all wish you bought into Microsoft in the early 80's? But the odds of succeeding here is even higher than gambling on the horses or the lottery.

All in all - we can all dream but when reality sets in, we'll probably all sit back with a nice cup of tea and watch someone else win on the telly

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Meet other Poker Players in your Area

International Poker Meetup Day -- Join other Poker Players near London, England

I love this site. Meetup.com is one of those web phenomenons that has largely gone under the radar - despite attracting huge amounts of visitors. It allows like-minded people to set up 'meetings' with each other across the world - and the 'poker meetup' section is booming.

Poker Players Worldwide currently have over 12,000 members signed up and set up dates to go and meet other players in your local community. They're currently setting up a meet in London - and have over 400 other cities worldwide in their network. Like all good community sites, there's messageboards and a place to upload photos of the meets.

Other meetups include Blackjack and Backgammon

- Poker Meetup
- Blackjack Meetup
- Backgammon Meetup

Betting Shop Scam Caught out by New Technology


One of the oldest betting shop scams in the book was caught out by new technology according to an article in This is Nottingham. A Ladbrokes betting shop employee was in cahoots with a regular customer at a store in Basford to process bets after a race had finished.

The punter bet £50, instead of his usual 50p, and the Ladbrokes manager was able to override the betting system so that the bet could be processed and a receipt given.

What she didn't realise is that these days, all bets are stamped electronically with an exact time - to the second.

A discrepancy of about £2000 was discovered after a check on the books found the till receipt stamp showing the bets had been made after the race

The Ladbrokes employee was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, whilst the punter was found guilty of 3 thefts and given a 12 month conditional discharge

A case of close - but no cigar - this time...

Big Brother Eviction Number 9 - Latest Odds

The countdown (and prayers) continues for the end of Big Brother and eviction number 9 looms with Shel odds on favourite to be the next to leave after the 'shock' exit of Stuart on Wednesday night

Latest odds from William Hill for the 9th eviction:

Shell Jubin 1/5
Daniel Bryan 5/1
Jason Cowen 6/1
Nadia Almada 50/1

and from Bet 365

Shell 1/7
Jason 5/1
Daniel 6/1
Nadia 80/1

Outright Winner - Latest Odds

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

When a Gambling Addict Sues a Casino

French casino hit by lawsuit

In the first lawsuit of its kind in France, a court is set to decide if a casino, the state, or the gambler himself is responsible for a gambler's addiction.

As reported on BBC's Crossing Continent's radio programme;
Jean-Philippe Bryk is 43-years-old with a wife and two children. In 1995 he entered his local casino for the first time, just for fun, and won 10,000 francs.
He returned three or four times and won 100,000 francs. He was hooked.
But then he started to lose.
"I spent about 4 to 5 million francs," he said

Byrk goes on to compare the feeling to that of a drug addict and his addiction as a 'cancer' and lays the blame entirely at the casino itself and the way they encourage the gambler by its VIP treatment and comps. He claims; "They drugged me"

As expected, the casino vehemently rejects his claims, stating that Byrk is "an adult of sound mind" and that "it is the responsibility of the player"

Naturally, a lawsuit of this kind could have enormous consequences for the French Gambling industry and could reverberate across the world. If a gambler could blame his addiction on a casino, where would the lawsuits end? Its like an alcoholic suing the pub or the brewery.

Clearly the casino didn't notice this gambler's problem - and that makes way for hundreds of arguments as to whether a casino should stop a player from gambling due to signs of addiction.

However, small things can help the process, - such as self-imposed player bans like those in the US - and even online. But ultimately, if a gambler walks into a casino - the minute money is put down, they can win or lose and its up to them to acknowledge when to walk out - or get help in doing so

Looks like Viera's Real Close to Going

Real close in on Vieira

In probably the most talked about transfer in recent months, it appears that Patrick Viera is actually going to make the move from Arsenal to Real Madrid.

Whilst not fully confirmed yet, Spanish Radio station, Cadena SER, says Arsenal are merely delaying the announcement as they look for a replacement, despite Arsene Wenger continued comments that he's certain Viera will stay at Highbury. Its looking highly unlikely now.

Now comes the rumours as to who's going to replace him and it appears, according to The Mirror's back pages, its Portugal's Euro 2004's star, Maniche. Although, that rumour has recently been denied by Porto. That obviously means little though in the fickle world of football transfers.

Its a huge blow to Arsenal - for whom Viera has been the backbone of the team for 8 years now. But clearly, if its in his mind to leave, then he should. There's no point having a player remain at a team when all season he'll have a 'what if' mulling around his head.

More Links:
- Vieira's Real deal chances

Leaving Poker to work in the City

The card life

In an amusing distortion of the norm, the BBC website reports on how Poker wunderkind, James Vogl, is about to give up poker for a job in the City - a bit like running away from the circus to become a window cleaner.

James, a mere babe in the poker world at 24, recently won $400,000 (and a chunky gold bracelet) at the World Series of Poker and is one of the circuit's rising young things. He was the only European to win a stage at this year's WSOP.

He broke into the poker world after exhausting the backgammon circuit and realising that some people in the game just didn't pay up - unlike poker which is played at casinos and debts are enforced. He found himself 'naturally talented'.

However, he doesn't seem to like the not-so 9-to-5 lifestyle required by poker players. The North London kid wants to settle down, take off his chunky gold bracelets and is planning to retire from the pro poker circuit for the more mundane reality of a job in the City.

He may find his new City colleagues more interested in the cards than trading shares

More Links:
- UK Online Poker Guide
- World Series of Poker

Yahoo and Google hit with lawsuit over gambling ads

Major Web sites hit with suit over gambling ads

A lawsuit has been filed in California alleging that companies illegally sell gambling ads on their websites. The 60-page suit names 13 major websites including: Yahoo, Google, Overture, Ask Jeeves, Looksmart, Altavista, Lycos and Cnet.

The 60-page filing states: "This is a private Attorney General action brought as a class action and on behalf of the California general public against the major Internet search engine websites which advertise illegal Internet gambling in California."

The lawsuit wants to put a stop to companies accepting illegal ads in California and claims these companies have received "millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains"

'Rothken Law Firm', the main attorneys involved specialise in high tech litigation and are no stranger to online gambling suits. They successfully litigated the Internet Gambling case against VISA and Mastercard back in 1998

Someone clearly has nothing better to do with their life.

Despite the fact that its unclear as to whether Californian law bans gambling ads - or merely just bans online gambling, the sad thing about all this is that they'll probably win.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The explosion of Poker on TV

TV tourneys fuel a rage

In the last few months there has been an explosion of poker coverage on TV in the US. Whilst poker has been shown before, albeit in a tedious fashion showing a group of players sitting around a smokey table. It took the UK's Channel Four and their coverage of 'Late Night Poker' - with their unique camera angles, glass table tops and interesting commentary, that really made way for this new televised phenomenon

According to Gary C.W. Chun of the Honolulu Star the TV coverage has increased competition between players. He points out -
2000 "WSOP" champion, Chris Ferguson, claims that TV has revolutionised poker, forcing professional players to refine and often rethink their game. 'Tells' are easier to pick up on TV and as more players are lured to poker, the bar will be raised for players.

Most importantly, more games and more TV equals more money.

The "World Poker Tour" (which is shown on Challenge TV in the UK) now averages 5 million viewers on cable channel the Travel Channel (which for cable, is exceptional numbers) and this has caused its competitors to add to their own coverage. Sports channel, ESPN shows the "World Series of Poker" whilst Bravo show "Celebrity Poker Showdown" which attracts 1.7 million viewers.

To put this in perspective for the UK, in the first series of Late Night Poker, 1.3 million viewers tuned in for the show - which was broadcast after midnight

US network, Fox Sports Net, also showed Late Night Poker and has followed this by broadcasting "Showdown at the Sands" - less than 24 hours after the winner was crowned

The boom in televised poker doesn't look like it'll stop soon, especially as it starts making celebrities out of the players - for example, the media coverage that Chris Moneymaker received after qualifying through an online poker room.

According to Steve Liscomb, president and founder of "World Poker Tour" poker has "...become this great spectator sport on television. I tell my producers that the first objective of the show is to have viewers feel like they're sitting in a seat on the table, and to feel like the poker gods have struck them down when they lose a million in chips on the turn of the river card. It's the ability to tap into the 50 to 80 million players at home. ... That's human drama, storytelling representing the human condition"

In that overblown American way, he could well be right

More Links:
- Presentable TV - producers of Late Night Poker
- World Poker Tour TV Show
- World Series of Poker on ESPN
- Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo TV
- Challenge TV - UK home of World Poker Tour and Celebrity Poker Showdown

Previous Blogs:
- Who's Who in UK Poker

Bana installed as favourite for 007

Following the 'exclusive' story by the News of the World that Aussie actor, Eric Bana will be the next James Bond (since Pierce Brosnan allegedly has not been called back for the role), William Hill have installed Hulk star Bana as the new Evens favourite to take on the mantle of super spy James Bond, despite Bana recently denying this. Former favourite, Clive Owen, has been relegated to second favourite at 9/2

Hugh Jackman 11/2.
Colin Farrell 6/1
Orlando Bloom 10/1
Jude Law 12/1
Christian Bale, Gerard Butler & Ewan McGregor; 14/1
Hugh Grant 20/1
Greg Wise, Jeremy Northam & Russell Crowe, 25/1
Will Smith, 50/1
Robbie Williams 100/1

(All odds taken from William Hill)

- His name is Bana, Eric Bana
- Is Bana the New James Bond?

FSA puts out a warning to spread betting firms

FSA warns spread betting firms

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) who's job is to protect investor's interests has put out a letter warning spread betting firms to clean up their act or face heavy fines. Its criticised firms for luring customers with hard-hitting promotions whilst failing to make clear the potential risks of spread betting.

The article, by Helen Loveless of This is Money states:

"Originally, spread betting was the province of City professionals who would bet on the movement of financial markets and currencies. However, in recent years betting on sporting events has become widespread. The recent Euro 2004 soccer tournament is thought to have made spread betting companies millions of pounds.

But as it has become more popular the proportion of inexperienced consumers placing* bets has also risen. Figures show the number of people opening accounts is rising by around 20% a year, with around 80% of those being opened online. " Read More

The FSA is worried that inexperienced investors maybe turning to spread betting without realising the huge risks involved - in other words they can pay out far more then their original stake if the market turns against them.

The FSA confirmed it would be prepared to impose fines on companies that mislead consumers

a Brief History of Gambling in the US

Gambling has roots in history

Gambling in America had a history as soon as Christopher Columbus sailed the oceans blue and the colonists first set foot along the East Coast.

Here's a quick timeline of the historical and political influence of gambling in America

1492: The crew on Columbus' 3 ships gambled the throughout the voyage by playing cards
1612: four lotteries were approved by the king to help the struggling colony of Virgina
1665: the first oval-shaped horse-racing track opened in Long Island
1832: there were 420 major lotteries in the US and plenty of scandal.
1833: Andrew Jackson passed laws outlawing lotteries. They continued illegally
1877: Charles Fey invented the nickel slot machines.
1919: Arnold Rothstein bribed the Chicago White Sox to lose the World Series.
- Bugsy Siegel used organised crime money to help develop Las Vegas and built the Flamingo Casino

- Revolutionary War: 4 lotteries were established to help provide supplies to George Washington's troops
- Thomas Jefferson gambled on blackjack. He then held a lottery to pay off personal debts
- Benjamin Franklin, a frequent lottery player, owned the printing shop that printed the tickets
- Andrew Jackson - one of the biggest gamblers amongst early presidents, bet everything he owned on one race. It was his horse, Truxton, versus another named Greyhound. Thankfully Jackson won, which bailed him out of serious financial difficulty in which his money was tied up in undeveloped land - later to become Memphis, TN. Jackson once killed a man in a duel over a gambling debt
- Lotteries were used to finance the development of Yale, Harvard, Princetown and Dartmouth Colleges. They also helped build Washington DC

In other words, gambling is as old as America itself.

Korea hedges its bets on casinos

Asia Bets Big on Gambling While Korea Hedges

Fascinating article about the current state of gambling in South Korea. As billions of dollars flow into Asia, Korea has remained stagnate in its current gambling position. There is currently only one casino for Korean nationals despite watching its neighbours Japan, Taiwan and Singapore developing and granting casino licenses to increase local community revenues.

Paradise Casino, the Seoul-based casino for overseas gamblers only is located downtown along the Han River. Its open 24/7 and brought in revenue of nearly $200mil. According to OhMyNews who went along to the casino one evening, the place only touches on luxury and the atmosphere 'lacklustre'.

The gamblers arrive from Japan and China to play the table games offered - including baccarat, blackjack, American roulette, craps, tai sai (Sic Bo) and slots. Most come for convenience simply 'just to gamble'.

Whilst there is only one casino in Seoul, there are 8 casinos in Jeju island. However, the culture and perceived risks of opening more Korean National casinos has seen the status quo prevail for almost 40 years.

However, with the local economy on a downturn and neighbouring countries about to reap the benefits of gambling taxes, it seems that the Korean government will soon not be able to ignore the need for a 'shot-in-the-arm' to Korea's economy. And gambling might just provide that.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Big Brother Outright Odds - the surge for Jason continues

(Hill odds amended August 5)

Amended 2 August - Nadia is now a ridiculous 1/40 to win Big Brother outright with Bet365. They clearly don't want to lay her (no pun intended), whilst Hills have pushed daniel out to 4th favourite - Stuart being shortened into 14/1. William Hill have also released their wednesday eviction odds:

Amended August 5

Shell Jubin 2/5 NOW 8/15
Stuart Wilson 11/4 NOW 2/1
Jason Cowen 13/2 NOW 5/1
Daniel Bryan 12/1 NOW 33/1
Nadia Almada 50/1 NOW 100/1

Stuart was evicted

There had to be a late surge this week for the final of Big Brother 5 and it looks as if Jungle Cat Jason is making headway along the outside.

Last week, you could get odds of 25/1 or more for the blond-haired muscleman, but he's now shortened to second favourite, overtaking Daniel who's out to a tempting 10/1, leaving Nadia at an untouchable (and still surprising) 1/7

(amended Aug 5)

Nadia Almada 1/7 NOW 1/14
Jason Cowen 8/1 NOW 13/2
Daniel Bryan 10/1 NOW 18/1
Stuart Wilson 16/1 NOW 16/1 EVICTED AUG 4
Shell Jubin 25/1 NOW 50/1

All odds from William Hill

Bet 365 has kept Daniel in as second favourite with Jason at a slightly more favourable 9/1

Nadia 1/10 NOW 1/66
Daniel 17/2 NOW 11/1
Jason 9/1 NOW 11/1
Stuart 16/1 NOW 22/1 EVICTED AUG 4
Shell 18/1 NOW 50/1

Bet 365 also offer odds for this wednesday's eviction with Shell being clear favourite to go

Shell 2/7 NOW 4/9
Stuart 9/2 NOW 5/2
Jason 11/2 NOW 13/2
Daniel 9/1 NOW 14/1
Nadia 40/1 NOW 80/1

Can the US find a way back to online gambling?

Could U.S. bid to curb gambling on the Web go way of prohibition?

With all the anti-online gambling stories that make their way from across the Atlantic, and the uncertainty about whether the 'wire act' can really prohibit online betting, its a refreshing change of pace to find a US news website presenting the facts about the current industry.

Using the recent £50mil+ BetonSports floatation as its inspiration, the article discusses the growth of the industry and events concerning the US stance.

It writes:
- U.S. opposition to Web gambling has hurt Antigua and Barbuda.... The industry employed 3,000 people and was responsible for 8 percent to 10 percent of the nation's GDP
- But then the U.S. cracked down.. In 2000, the Justice Department successfully prosecuted Jay Cohen....who was running a betting operation called the World Sports Exchange from Antigua..In 2002, after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer went after Citibank and PayPal for processing credit-card payments for online gambling, both agreed to stop.
- Last year, the Justice Department notified the National Association of Broadcasters that accepting money from Web gambling advertisers could be considered "aiding and abetting" an illegal activity....The result: Online gambling ads vanished from Google, Yahoo and Howard Stern's radio show, among other venues.
- In part because of U.S. actions, Antigua and Barbuda says, its gambling industry has shrunk to only 31 licensed companies from a peak of 112, and it now employs fewer than 500 people
- In March, a WTO court sided with Antigua and Barbuda; the two sides have said they hope to negotiate a settlement by Aug. 23
- If Antigua wins, other countries could bring similar charges against the U.S

The article goes on to discuss recent developments in the UK and Australia and the reality that whatever happens, the US will really be unable to stop the increase in online gambling.

At the end of the day, if the US continues to take an aggressive anti-gambling stance they could lose out on additional revenue and return to the dark days of prohibition leaving the door wide open for backstreet operators. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the talks between Antigua and the US this month and whether the US can begin to make way to look at regulating what could be an important industry for them.

Conversely it may still boil down to the bible-thumping middle america that has made huge inroads in forming governmental policy - leaving the case for online-gambling trailing in its wake

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Chief Exec Mark Palios resigns from the FA

Palios resigns from FA

The Faria Alam / Sven Goran Eriksson sex scandal continues to make waves as FA Chief Exec, Mark Palios dramatically resigned tonight - along with Head of Communications, Colin Gibson.

As the News of the World reported even more tawdry details of Ms Alam's sexual prowess through the halls of Soho Square and the truth of the cover up of her affair with Palios in exchange for details of Eriksson's private life, it became all too much to the already tarnished image of the FA.

Eriksson had an affair with FA secretary, Alam, although the FA originally denied this, until it was forced to do a U-turn after having to admit that Palios also had an affair with her

Palios said in a statement on the FA's website:

A personal statement from Mark Palios

"I have resigned this evening as Chief Executive of The FA.

"I informed the Chairman of my decision at six o’clock.

"I am very sad that I feel this is necessary.

"It has been a privilege to be Chief Executive of The FA, but with privilege comes the burden of responsibility. And it has been important for me to take ultimate responsibility for everything The FA has done in good times and bad.

"Personally, I do not accept that I have been guilty of any wrong doing.

"But it has become clear to me that my action tonight is essential to enable The Football Association to begin to return to normality.

"When I joined The FA it faced many serious challenges. A lot of very good things have been achieved in the past 13 months. I have had the privilege to work with an outstanding Leadership Team.

"For the time being, I intend to keep any further thoughts to myself."

Meanwhile, Eriksson is still being investigated by an FA inquiry over the allegations that he lied about being involved with Alam. The team is due to decide his fate on thursday

With Big Brother final evictions taking place this week - and Erikkson's D-Day up on Thursday, its a field day for tabloids. But does the FA really need to turn itself into a soap opera? Personally, a manager's private life is his own, until it interferes with my Sunday breakfast

FA quiet over allegations

Previous Blog:
sven's head on the block is a bookies bonanza

July Premiership Transfers and Latest Odds

With the on-again off-again transfer of Arsenal's Patrick Viera to Real Madrid seemingly off-again, here's some of the premiership football transfers that have made it so far this summer


[In] Robin van Persie (Feyenoord, £2.75m), Manuel Almunia (Celta Vigo, undisclosed), Mathieu Flamini (Marseille, undisclosed)

[Out] David Bentley (Norwich, loan), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Barcelona, undisclosed), Sylvain Wiltord (free), Kanu (free), Martin Keown (Leicester, free), Igor Stepanovs (released), Ray Parlour (Middlesbrough, free)


[In] Martin Laursen (AC Milan, £3m), Carlton Cole (Chelsea, season-long loan)

[Out] Peter Crouch (Southampton, £2m), Dion Dublin (Leicester, free), Rob Edwards (Wolves, £150,000)


[In] Emile Heskey (Liverpool, £3.5m), Muzzy Izzet (Leicester City, free), Mario Melchiot (Chelsea, free), Jesper Gronkjaer (Chelsea, £2.2m)

[Out] Darren Purse (West Brom, £750,000)


[In] Paul Dickov (Leicester City, £150,000), Dominic Matteo (Leeds United, free), Javier de Pedro (Real Socieded, undisclosed)

[Out] Andy Cole (Fulham, free).


[In] Michael Bridges (Leeds United, free), Les Ferdinand (Leicester City, free), Radhi Jaidi (Esperance de Tunis, undisclosed), Gary Speed (Newcastle, £750,000)

[Out] Simon Charlton (Norwich City, £250,000)


[In] Stephan Andersen (AB Copenhagen, £750,000), Dennis Rommedahl (PSV Eindhoven, £2m), Talal el Karkouri (Paris St-Germain, £1m)

[Out] Stephen Hughes (Coventry City, free), Claus Jensen (Fulham, £1.25m)


[In] Jose Mourinho (coach, Porto), Petr Cech (Rennes, £7.1m), Paulo Ferreira (Porto, £13.2m), Arjen Robben (PSV Eindhoven, £12m), Mateja Kezman (PSV Eindhoven, £5m), Didier Drogba (Marseille, £24m), Tiago Mendes (Benfica, £10m)

[Out] Claudio Ranieri (coach, Valencia), Marcel Desailly (released), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Middlesbrough, free), Juan Sebastian Veron (Inter, season-long loan), Jesper Gronkjaer (Birmingham City, £2.2m)


[In] Mark Hudson (Fulham, undisclosed), Julian Speroni (Dundee, £750,000), Joonas Kolkka (Borussia Moenchengladbach, undisclosed).

[Out] Julian Gray (Birmingham, free),


[In] Marcus Bent (Ipswich Town, £400,000), Bjarni Thor Vidarsson (FH Harnarfjordur, undisclosed), Tim Cahill (Millwall, £2m)

[Out] Niclas Alexandersson (IFK Gothenburg, free), Paul Gerrard (Nottingham Forest, free), David Unsworth (Portsmouth, free), Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham, undisclosed)


[In] Andy Cole (Blackburn, free), Claus Jensen (Charlton, £1.25m), Tomasz Radzinski (Everton, undisclosed)

[Out] Sean Davis (Tottenham, £3m), Mark Hudson (Crystal Palace, undisclosed)


[In] Rafael Benitez (coach, Valencia), Djibril Cisse (Auxerre, £14m), Josemi (Malaga, £2m)

[Out] Gerard Houllier (coach), Emile Heskey (Birmingham, £3.5m), Markus Babbel (Stuttgart, free)


[In] Ben Thatcher (Leicester City, free),Danny Mills (Leeds United, free)

[Out] Stephen Elliott (Sunderland, free), Glenn Whelan (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Danny Tiatto (Leicester, free), Matias Vuoso (Santos Laguna, undisclosed)


[In] Gabriel Heinze (Paris St-Germain, £6.9m), Alan Smith (Leeds United, £7m), Gerard Pique (Barcelona, undisclosed), Giuseppe Rossi (Parma, free)

[Out] Fabien Barthez (Marseille, free), Mark Lynch (Sunderland)


[In] Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea, free), Mark Viduka (Leeds United, £4.5m), Michael Reiziger (Barcelona, free), Ray Parlour (Arsenal, free)

[Out] Michael Ricketts (Leeds United, free)


[In] James Milner (Leeds United, £4m), Patrick Kluivert (Barcelona, free)

[Out] Lomano LuaLua (Portsmouth, £1.75m), Gary Speed (Bolton, £750,000)


[In] David Bentley (Arsenal, season-long loan), Youssef Safri (Coventry City, £500,000), Simon Charlton (Bolton Wanderers, £250,000)

[Out] Iwan Roberts (Gillingham, free)


[In] David Unsworth (Everton, free), Lomano LuaLua (Newcastle, £1.75m)

[Out] Teddy Sheringham (West Ham, free), Tim Sherwood (Coventry City, free), Carl Robinson (Sunderland, free)


[In] Peter Crouch (Aston Villa, £2m), Jelle van Damme (Ajax, £2.5m

[Out] Agustin Delgado (Aucas, free)


[In] Jacques Santini (coach, France), Sean Davis (Fulham, £3m), Pedro Mendes (Porto, £2m), Paul Robinson (Leeds United, £1.5m), Rodrigo Defendi (Cruzeiro, £600,000)

[Out] Darren Anderton (released), Helder Postiga (Porto, £5m), Gustavo Poyet (released), Christian Ziege (released), Sergei Rebrov (released)


[In] Martin Albrechtsen (FC Copenhagen, £2.7m), Darren Purse (Birmingham City, £750,000)

[Out] Tamika Mkandawire (Hereford, free),

- All Premiership transfers
- All July transfer news
- Dodgy footballing transfer rumours

Latest Premiership Odds:
Arsenal 11/8
Chelsea 15/8
Man Utd 5/2
Liverpool 12/1
Newcastle 50/1

All odds taken from William Hill

The government responds to underage gambling report

Government to crack down on online gambling by children

As expected, the government has responded almost immediately to last week's report that underage children can gamble online. However, its not the kneejerk reaction I thought I might hear - but one that is actually - surprisingly- steeped in common sense.

- Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, said that the Gambling Commission will conduct spot-checks on gambling websites

And so they should. But it shouldn't take an ill-researched survey for this to happen

- Bookmakers should conduct rigorous age verification checks or face fines

Agreed. Like shopkeepers should for selling underage kids cigarettes and alcohol

Ms Jowell continued at how shocked she was to hear about underage kids gambling on the internet. Its all slightly alarmist, but the reaction about issuing penalties and fines surely didn't need to be in place simply because of the report. It should have been thought about regardless - whether about online or land-based gambling

At the end of the day, all this has shown is that the government, in releasing their gambling reviews, have paid little attention to the online environment. Its still up to the bookies and casinos to do what they can to stop underage gambling. But its also up to the banks to help in all this in the bigger picture and so far, I see no-one from the government pointing their finger at these institutions

Related Blog:
That nasty internet makes kids gamble

Who's Who in Poker

It seems as if there's a new game on the block these days and its poker. Everywhere you look - online, on TV and on billboards across the country, it seems as if we can't get enough of Poker - usually the Texas Hold'em variety.

Whilst the World Series of Poker has long been the premier event in the Poker establishment with millions to be won, with the success of Channel Four's Late Night Poker, as well as the televised broadcast of the World Poker Tour, it appears that poker is creating its own superstars.

Here's a small list of some of the better known Brits on the circuit:

The Hendon Mob
In the shady suburbs of North London come the notorious Hendon Mob, made up of 4 great players that have honed their style to be among the best in Europe.

The 4 include:
Barny Boatman: Barny is a known risk taker and doubles as a TV commentator and writer. He apparantly models his play on 'tommy cooper' but that doesn't stop him from reaching many major finals

Ross Boatman: Barny's brother, Ross is also familiar to TV viewers as a regular in 'London's Burning'. Being an actor also seems to help him at the poker table as he continues to juggle his 2 successful careers

Joe Beevers: Dapper Joe is famous for his impeccable suits and consistent play - especially during the Late Night Poker series

Ram Vaswani: Known as 'crazy horse' Ram will gamble on anything but takes his poker seriously. He can shift gears from careful to wild in a matter of minutes

One of the world's finest players is Dave Ulliot - also known as 'devilfish' Dave took up poker at 16 and after trawling the local poker halls, realised the best way to profit is through tournaments and went to where every gambler finds his mecca, Vegas. His 'devilfish' persona has made him one of the most feared and respected players on the World Circuit

Learn to play Texas Hold'em
Where to Play Poker Online