Monday, January 31, 2005

20% of Online Gamblers are Women

Online gambling soars in Britain

According to a report compiled by 888.com, online gambling in the UK has grown a massive 566% since 2003 - and this increase is attributed to the rise in female gamblers.

Apparantly, women represented only 4% of gamblers in the early 90's - but now more than 20% of British women visit a casino more than once a year.

Yougov appears to back this up, claiming that 30-40% of online gamblers in the UK are women - whilst Britain makes up 80% of Europe's online gamblers

I don't think there's any doubt to the fact the online gambling has grown in the last couple of years - especially with the boom in poker, however, I do have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the growth also comes from online access to the National Lottery, as well as, to a much lesser extent, softer low stake gaming sites such as Jackpot Joy and Cyberslotz - rather than hard-gaming casino sites.. Of course, this is just my sneaky suspicion


FA Cup Fifth Round Draw

FA Cup fifth round draw:
The next round for the FA cup brings up a couple of good fixtures as both Man Utd and Chelsea face tough away games at Everton and Newcastle respectively.

Bolton v Derby or Fulham
West Bromwich Albion or Tottenham v Nottingham Forest
Everton v Manchester United
Charlton Athletic v Leicester City
Burnley v Blackburn
Southampton v Brentford or Hartlepool
Newcastle v Chelsea
Arsenal v West Ham or Sheffield United


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Visiting ICE

Haven't been around much the last couple of days as I've been visiting the annual ICE show which is essentially a large UK casino exhibition.

This is the 4th year i've been and have watched the online element grown - but its still small and crowded in a small corner at the back of the hall.

I thought i'd return this year with something new and interesting in the industry. But nothing. It seems to have been static for 3 years now - as 'poker' becomes the new 'casino' and a bunch of new software suppliers crop up and try to get in on the action.

The Online Casino industry - mainly supplier side - has consolidated as the big suppliers share the biggest operators between them (microgaming, cryptologic, boss media, RTG, Playtech)

People are still mumbling about mobile gaming and TV gaming but no-one will yet admit that either are making any money (thats because they're not).

I even had one exec tell me that 'Flash' games are superior to download. This 'flash' vs 'download' argument has long since died - Haven't they heard of the broadband revolution? Do players care anymore what technology it is - as long as it plays fair and plays well.

All I know is that I don't want to hear anymore about the UK Gambling Bill.

Its a shame I can't be less cynical - but in a world in which technology is progressing at rapid speeds, the online gaming industry seems to be stuck in its own self-made timewarp


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

2005 Academy Awards - Oscars - Latest Odds

Its the awards season again and the latest Oscar nominations have just been announced. This year they're dominated by 3 movies: 'The Aviator', 'Million Dollar Baby' and 'Finding Neverland. I've seen all 3 and both The Aviator and Finding Neverland are worthy contenders (although the latter probably won't win much/if anything)

I think this is the year for Scorsese. He's never won the best director oscar and I wasn't expecting much in The Aviator, but was thankfully proved wrong - its excellent. However, Hollywood favourite Clint Eastwood did a fine job directing the female boxing movie Million Dollar Baby (he just did an awful job acting in it)

The acting honours seem fairly straightforward with Jamie Foxx being the odds on favourite for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biopic 'Ray' whilst Hilary Swank was superb in 'million dollar baby'

The more interesting catagory (especially for British interest) will be for Best Supporting Actor which sees Clive Owen nominated for 'Closer'

Academy Awards 2005 - Best Film
All odds taken from Bet365
The Aviator 8/13
Million Dollar Baby 11/5
Sideways 5/1
Ray 16/1
Finding Neverland 20/1
Bet now with Bet365

Academy Awards 2005 - Best Actor
All odds taken from Bet365
Jamie Foxx (Ray) 1/7
Leonardo Di Caprio (The Aviator) 11/2
Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland) 14/1
Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) 16/1
Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) 16/1
Bet now with Bet365

Academy Awards 2005 - Best Actress
All odds taken from Bet365
Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) 8/13
Annette Bening (Being Julia) 15/8
Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) 9/2
Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) 28/1
Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full Of Grace) 33/1
Bet now with Bet365

Academy Awards 2005 - Best Director
All odds taken from Bet365
Martin Scorsese - The Aviator 4/11
Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby 7/4
Alexander Payne - Sideways 16/1
Taylor Hackford - Ray 28/1
Mike Leigh - Vera Drake 40/1
Bet now with Bet365

Academy Awards 2005 - Best Supporting Actor
All odds taken from Bet365
Thomas Haden Church - (Sideways) 6/5
Clive Owen (Closer) 13/8
Morgan Freeman - (Million Dollar Baby) 11/4
Jamie Foxx - (Collateral) 14/1
Alan Alda - (The Aviator) 25/1
Bet now with Bet365

Academy Awards 2005 - Best Supporting Actress
All odds taken from Bet365
Virginia Madsen - (Sideways) 7/5
Cate Blanchett - (The Aviator) 13/8
Natalie Portman - (Closer) 11/4
Laura Linney (Kinsey) 8/1
Sophie Okonedo - (Hotel Rwanda) 25/1
Bet now with Bet365




Betting Scam Uses a Mobile Phone and the Internet

Overseas 'spies' in betting scam

So picture this. Someone in a crowd at a football match in Europe with a mobile phone poised in hand. A goal is scored and a call is placed to give the update to a contact in Hong Kong. The latency before a website offering 'betting-in-running' can update their pages allows the contact to promptly place a large bet of approximately £1000 on who will score the next goal.

Simple.

Until the gang got caught - as 20 people were arrested last weekend for running an illegal bookmaking operation.

Its not known yet how much money was made in the 6 weeks the syndicate was operating - but clearly enough to send ringers to European matches.

I'd say the onus is on the bookies to ensure they clock the time of the goal when they close the market - which i'm assuming the majority do, but there maybe the odd slip-up or technical hiccup that allows the loophole to happen - its unlikely that the UK bookies haven't already taken this into consideration on their sites - unfortunately!


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Big Brother Betting Leaks - Allegedly

Bets off after Big Brother 'leak'

Dodgy bets on Friday's eviction, which saw both Jeremy Edwards and Caprice leave the Big Brother house has forced William Hill to stop taking bets on the Celebrity event

According to Hills, 4 people tried to place large bets on the surprise eviction, despite odds as short as 1/14 - causing suspicion that someone leaked inside information on voting activity - although it was unlikely to be anyone from the production company, Endemol or Channel 4

To be honest, with all these 'phone-ins' for TV reality shows, it doesn't surprise me that some information may leak out. Whilst the voting is kept under-wraps, there's always chance of a leak - whether by accident or on purpose - i'm just amazed it doesn't happen more often


Thursday, January 20, 2005

600 Arrests in China for Online Gambling

Online gambling sees 600 arrested

The Chinese authorities have arrested 600 people involved, organising or using online gambling - in their recent clampdown of illegal gaming activities. They've also seized nearly $3 million.

The arrests come after an investigation into a Taiwanese company had shown to be co-operating with mainland 'criminals' and allowing players to gamble on online casinos.

Further arrests were made after an investigation into football betting activity.

Sources show that over $130 million was gambled in the last 6 months

Read more at Gamblog or read the rest of the article here


Criminal Intelligence to Investigate Money Laundering Links with Betting

Crime team to investigate link with betting

The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS - not to be mistaken for the US Navy's CIS and TV show of the same name!) will be undertaking an investigation to discover if criminals are using UK bookmakers for money-laundering, according to The Telegraph Online

There have been some reports recently that betting may be unknowingly "facilitating the laundering of ill-gotten gains or the funding of terrorist activities, anonymously, and without trace." and the government has asked NCIS to make a 'risk assessment' into bookmaking - which, because of a regulatory loophole, are excluded from the same money-laundering regulations applied to the financial industry and casinos

Whilst I can see the discrepancy between casinos and betting - there always will be one since they currently come under different government departments - with the huge increases in betting revenues making headlines and the gambling industry continually getting negative press, the undercurrent to blow any potential findings way out of proportion is already bubbling under


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Australian Open Tennis - Latest Odds

The beginning of the new year brings with it the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the season and the usual suspects are out in force - although according to the bookies, Roger Federer is pretty untouchable at a short 8/13 - with joint second favourites Leyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick at a friendly each way (1,2) 7/1

Tennis : Men's Australian Open - Outright
All odds taken from William Hill
R Federer 8/13
L Hewitt 7/1
A Roddick 7/1
M Safin 10/1
A Agassi 16/1
J Johansson 20/1
G Coria 25/1
D Nalbandian 25/1
T Henman 33/1
T Haas 33/1
F Gonzalez 50/1
Bet Now at William Hill

Meanwhile, the women's tournament is slightly more competitive with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova vying for favouritism at 10/3 and 7/2 respectively

Tennis : Women's Australian Open - Outright
All odds taken from William Hill
Serena Williams 10/3
M Sharapova 7/2
L Davenport 6/1
A Molik 6/1
A Mauresmo 7/1
E Dementieva 10/1
A Myskina 10/1
S Kuznetsova 16/1
Venus Williams 20/1
A Ivanovic 33/1
V Zvonareva 40/1
T Golovin 50/1
N Petrova 50/1
Bet Now at William Hill


Monday, January 17, 2005

Have Roulette Machines Increased Gambling Addiction?

Roulette 'worsens gambling addiction'

Do the popular roulette games found at UK bookies on FOBTs (fixed odds betting terminals) and the current saviour of the hugh street bookie increase addiction?

According to Gamcare the betting industry funded gambling addiction charity, there's been a significant increase in phonecalls from people suggesting they have developed a problem in betting shops.

However, according to a recent report by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), there was no evidence of increased problem gambling.

Further details of Gamcare's findings will be made next month, but in the meantime, the explosion of the roulette FOBT will continue to be a cause for debate.

It will be interesting however how the ratio of FOBT-related problem gambling callers compare with other forms of gambling specifically within Gamcare. As the ABB correctly suggest, the sheer visibility of Gamcare's details on every box would naturally cause an increase specifically to Gamcare. This isn't an excuse for FOBTs - but it should indicate some sort of significance with the findings


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Sly's Mom Odds On to be First Eviction in Celeb Big Brother

Sylvester Stallone's mum, Jackie, has been installed as 1/6 to be the first eviction from Celebrity Big Brother. She's up against John McCririck, who's fight with BB about Diet Coke (the guy drinks diet coke?) has been the only vaguely amusing moment in the show so far.

Mama Stallone entered the house as a surprise to ex-daughter-in-law Brigitte Nielsen and is currently living in cloud cuckoo cuckoo land underneath the rubbery make-up

Celebrity Big Brother - 1st Eviction
All odds taken from William Hill
Jackie Stallone 1/6
John Mc Cririck 7/2

Meanwhile, ex-dancer Bez, is favourite to take the overall title

Celebrity Big Brother 3 - Outright
All odds taken from William Hill
Bez 13/8
Kenzie 9/4
Jeremy Edwards 4/1
John Mc Cririck 8/1
Caprice 10/1
Brigitte Nielsen 10/1
Lisa I' Anson 25/1
Jackie Stallone 25/1


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Brit Awards 2005 - Latest Odds

Its that time of year again - the Brit Awards has matured over the last few years from being a laughable joke of a ceremony (Sam Fox anyone?) to something the 'pop' and 'rock' artistes take slightly more seriously. Although if the strange nominations for the best song in the last 25 years is anything to go by, I'm not too sure they've quite hit adolescence yet. Thankfully, the best British Album nominees make up for that blip with a good showing for one of the UK's strongest years for music in a long while. The nominees for the Best British Single, however, isn't. I'm not too sure Band Aid 25 - as worthy as it is - really should be included - let alone be 1/7 favourite. But hey, i'm not the one nominating

Anyway, here's the latest odds for the top categories courtesy of Bet365

Brits 25 - The Best Song Award 2005
Angels - Robbie Williams 2/5
We Are The Champions - Queen 11/2
Leave Right Now - Will Young 9/2
Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush 12/1
Love Will Tear Us Apart- Joy Division 20/1
(all odds taken from Bet365)

Brit Awards - British Male Solo Artist
The Streets 2/1
Will Young 9/4
Lemar 5/2
Jamie Cullum 11/2
Morrissey 6/1
(all odds taken from Bet365)

Brit Awards - Mastercard British Album
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand 1/3
Keane - Hopes and Fears 5/1
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free 5/1
Snow Patrol - Final Straw 10/1
Muse - Absolution 12/1
(all odds taken from Bet365)

Brit Awards - British Single
Jamelia - Thank You 4/1
BandAid20- Do They know Its Christmas 1/7
LMC vs U2 - Take Me To The Clouds Above 16/1
Shapeshifters - Lola's Theme 28/1
Will Young - Your Game 10/1
(all odds taken from Bet365)

Brit Awards - British Female Solo Artist
Joss Stone 2/1
Natasha Bedingfield 11/4
Jamelia 11/4
Amy Winehouse 7/2
PJ Harvey 6/1
(all odds taken from Bet365)



Gambling Addiction Starts in the Brain

Gamblers' brains addiction clue

According to a new study, gambling addicts show the same type of brain response as drug addicts.

The area of the brain that shows activity when rewarded is less active amongst addicts - so in order to increase this activity, the addict needs a higher dosage or drugs or excessive gambling.

Or so says the German study.

The experiment was set up like this:
Brain activity of 12 compulsive gamblers was compared with that of non-gamblers
They were given a game of chance to play - whereby 2 face down cards were shown. The subject would pick one and if it came up red, they would win 1 Euro.

The results showed that activity in the ventral striatum was less active in the pathological gamblers.

Well - put me in that bracket then because I wouldn't get excited about winning 1 euro on a 50:50 card game - and i'm certainly no compulsive gambler.

Not to quibble too much about the weight put on scientific experiments, I don't think anyone is querying the idea that gambling addicts exist - and there no doubt is a physical reaction in the brain that may cause - or be a response - to addictive behaviour.

However, there are so many other variables - usually unquantifiable and external - that can cause addiction and its difficult to put any of them into a controlled study. But I guess, on a positive note - its a start.


Monday, January 10, 2005

FA Cup Fourth Round Draw

After the fun of watching Exeter draw against Man Utd last weekend, the draw for the 4th round hasn't given us anything potentially too exciting I don't think - except perhaps Charlton v Yeovil.

IF (and its a huge and unfortunately unlikely if) Exeter do beat Man Utd they get a much harder game at home to Middlesbrough ;-)

Derby v Watford or Fulham
Man Utd or Exeter v Middlesbrough
Cardiff or Blackburn v Colchester
Chelsea v Birmingham
West Ham v Sheff Utd
Oldham v Bolton
Arsenal v Wolverhampton
Everton v Sunderland
Nottm Forest v Peterborough
Brentford v Hartlepool or Boston
Reading or Swansea v Leicester or Blackpool
Burnley or Liverpool v Bournemouth
Southampton v Portsmouth
West Brom v Tottenham
Newcastle v Coventry
Charlton v Yeovil


Into 2005 with Blackjack Shufflers and Big Brother

So, finally back from my short holidays - in which I was reminded once again that playing blackjack with a shuffling machine is wholly unexciting and pointless.

Now, i'm not the best player in the world and I definitely don't card count - but I'd say i'm a competent blackjack player - I follow Basic Strategy to the card and i'll happily hit on 16 without blinking if the dealer has a 7 - and take a card on 12 if a 2 is showing.

But I do find the game lacking when those nasty card shufflers are used on a table - and unfortunately, more and more casinos are using them. Maybe its just me, but the interest in the game just wanes when you can't see where in the 4 or 6 decks the dealer deals from - and the 'feel' you get when you see cards that were dealt. There's not even a drinks break available when the shuffling routine happens and the dealer methodically cuts the decks and shuffles - something I find fascinating.

The shufflers for me, however, takes that interest away from the game. I know its to stop card counters, but it also takes away the fun for us average players. For some reason, when I get dealt 4's and 7's continuosly as a top card, I feel cheated. If I was dealt those from an open set of decks, I'd feel less inclined to worry because I would have more of a 'feel' of the dealt cards.

Make any sense? Probably not - and i'm just ranting.

So ramble over and onto Celebrity Big Brother.
The fun of not being in the UK in the last week is that I haven't caught any of the show - but no doubt that'll change.
So, for those that are addicted..I mean watching religiously...here's the latest odds from Bet365.

It looks like the chap from Holby City is favourite to win outright - followed by someone from a boyband (I think). I really do need to catch up!

Big Brother Outright Winner (all odds taken from Bet365)

Jeremy Edwards 2/1
Kenzie 5/2
Bez 10/3
Germaine Greer 11/2
Caprice 8/1
John McCririck 14/1
Brigitte Neilsen 25/1
Lisa I' Anson 40/1


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Quick Time Out

OK, I haven't gone AWOL again - just taking a wee time out after the holidays - but if I see anything interesting on my travels, i'll try and log in.

Otherwise, no huge plans for 2005 - although I will be developing a new related blog hopefully in the near future - details to be revealed shortly (bet you're all on the edge of your seat now)


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

Have a great 2005

My predictions -

mobile betting is "the next big thing"
interactive TV betting is "the next big thing"

Lets get them both into a boxing ring and fight it out. Personally, i've heard both comments thrown around the industry for the last 5 years and still nothing's really taken off in a big way

But can poker keep up the momentum? Will the UK gambling bill ever go through? and does anyone really care anymore?

Anyway, have a happy and successful new year :-)