A year in review. Online casinos and Gambling January – April 2006

January
Part one in a series of news reviews covering the online casino and gambling sectors. 

The year started off great for William Hill, as the U.K bookmaker and online casino operator reported record annual earnings of £240 million for 2005, £10 million higher than expected. The excellent results were mainly driven by the increasing popularity of their online poker and online casino.

Embarrassment for the British government, as Peter Dean, the then chairman of the Gambling Commission, claimed that ‘super casinos’ with million pound slot machines were ‘not such a big deal’. Dean also claimed that Tessa Jowell had exaggerated the case for super casinos to ensure the bill was passed through to Parliament speedily.
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The Euro Millions jackpot also reached a record £125 million, meaning if a single person won the jackpot in the U.K., they would become the 554th richest person in the U.K. They didn’t however, as the jackpot was shared amongst two winners from France and one from Portugal.

Still in the U.K, a 60 year-old blind man was bizarrely given a job as a bingo caller!

Online casino operator Golden Palace, true to their outrageous PR stunts, bought a Kidney stone taken from Captain Kirk, aka William Shatner.

February
In Leeds, influential casino boss Barry DeLacey was found murdered in his flat. DeLacey was the former QE2 casino manager and of the founders of the casino group, Blue Chip Casinos.

Online casino and poker group 888 were also said to be interested in adding a sportsbook to their portfolio, with Ladbrokes tipped as a target. Little did they know then of the turnaround in fortunes they would face later in the year as Ladbrokes plans a take over of 888.

Cities across Britain began battling it out in an effort to be granted a gambling licence for a super casino from the Gambling Commission.

In the U.S, a couple who met by playing online poker announced that they would marry in March.

In court, PartyGaming paid Empire $250 million to settle a dispute over ownership of marketing and online assets.

The rumours of the U.S banning online gambling began to surface as Bob Goodlatte spoke out against online gambling.

A sore loser from Scotland couldn’t deal with his three-hour losing streak on William Hill’s online casino, so he decided to go to his local William Hill bookmaker and recoup his losses.

Ladbrokes announce that they sold its Hilton International Hotel company.

Not out of the news for long, a Golden Palace streaker invades a curling game at the Winter Olympics.

March
The European Commission block a move by the government to sell the state-owned bookmaker, the Tote, to a consortium from the racing industry, stating that the price was so low it constituted state-aid. This saga would rumble on all year.

Richard Caborn, UK minister for Sport, said he envisaged eight Las Vegas-style casinos being opened up around the country.

The Hard Rock Casino migrate its online casino platform from Wagerworks to Playtech - signalling the start of the Israeli owned software platforms growing dominance in the market. 

Playtech then announce that they will be floating on the London Stock Exchange, hoping to raise £175 million.

Gordon Brown, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduces a licence fee for betting machines (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) in Bookmakers, costing the industry millions of pounds.

Online casino company, Mansion, table an offer of £60 million to sponsor Manchester United.

April
Two football teams from Ireland deny allegations of match fixing. The game between Glenavon and Armagh City ended in a 4-0 victory for the former.

A new gambling code drafted by the Advertising Standards Authority, explored the possibility of allowing casino and gambling websites to advertise on television and radio.

32Red casino sign a shirt-sponsorship deal with Aston Villa.

A court in San Francisco rules in favour of casino giant Harrah’s Entertainment, after they fired a female employee for not wearing make-up.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2006-12-27 12:11:00




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