A year in review. Online casinos and Gambling May – August 2006

Part two in a series of news reviews covering the online casino and gambling sector. 

May
Las Vegas Sands win a casino licence to build the first casino in Singapore, costing three billion dollars.

A bid from Coventry to operate one of the super casinos in the U.K was thrown out by the government, leaving the city’s officials demanding answers. Kent town, Dartford, suffered similar fate, where as Sheffield went the over way and was put on the shortlist of candidates.

The full list of candidates in competition for the UK’s first super casino was announced: Blackpool, Wembley Stadium, Cardiff, Glasgow, the Millennium Dome, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield were all short-listed.

Two men were jailed in Nottingham after they raided a casino and escaped with £45,000. They received a total of 22 years in prison.

Kerzner International sells their casino operation to its management in a $3.2 billion deal, netting the Cayzer family $237 million.

June
As the world cup begins, bookies reveal they are having a hard time as all the favourites seem to be performing as expected. However, they appear to be crocodile tears, as a survey conducted by Nielsen/Net Ratings showed that approximately 2.5 million Britons went on to gambling sites, with bookies doubling their winnings to over £1 billion from the last world cup in 2002.

Lads’ mag, Maxim, agrees to lend its name to a £640 million Las Vegas hotel and casino.

32Red buy Littlewood’s ailing Bet Direct in a deal for over £11 million and was met with open arms by investors. However, that optimism would not last the whole year as Bet Direct turns into the industries hot potato. 

There are calls in Australia for revenue gained from betting on sports events by gambling companies to be put back into the sport.

The French National Lottery is accused of cheating players by printing scratchcards in a predetermined fashion. A successful businessman, Robert Riblet, went on to file a two million Euro lawsuit against the lottery.

Tessa Jowell confirms that the UK will host an International Gambling Summit, scheduled for October, in an attempt to unify the various legislations of the numerous regulatory bodies.

July
In a massive shock to the gambling industry, David Carruthers, chief executive of online gaming group BetOnSports, was arrested as he changed planes in America en route to Costa Rica. He was charged by American federal prosecutors with racketeering, conspiracy and fraud.

Shares in online gambling companies plummet as panic spreads throughout the industry and many close their US facing businesses. Sportingbet were amongst the worst hit, losing 50% of its revenue as almost £1 billion was wiped from the market in days.

UK Deputy Prime Minster, John Prescott, reacted angrily to claims of corruption over his friendship with Philip Anschutz, as the US tycoon looks to open a super casino at London’s Dome.

Top Irish jockey, Kieren Fallon, loses his appeal over allegations he was involved in a betting scam but always maintained his innocence.

The government announce that casinos, betting shops and online gambling websites will be allowed to advertise on television from next year, under new proposed laws in the Gambling Act.

Ladbrokes return to the casino industry after a gap of more than five years when it opened the £5 million Ladbrokes Casino and Sports Bar at the Hilton in Paddington, London.

Rank look into the possibility of selling its world-renowned restaurant business, the Hard Rock Café for a potential £500 million.

August
The government face more criticism as it’s revealed that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) have admitted they have started building work on a casino at the Millennium Dome. AEG claimed it would be too costly to wait for a decision on the location of the UK’s new casinos. Many see this move as antagonising and somewhat presumptuous.

The world’s very first strip poker tournament was hosted by Paddy Power in London. Winner John Young from Slough generously gave the £10,000 prize money to charity.

After the world cup in Germany, bookies report record figures with over $2 billion wagered would wide. William Hill announced that punters were betting almost £30 million per day.

Spain begins to look more closely into the possibility of regulating gambling as a partnership between William Hill and Codere hint at a possible relaxing of laws.

Harrah’s eyes a potential buyout of the UK’s Stanley Leisure and London Clubs International.

Ladbrokes announces that it will not be entering the US market, although the decision was not final and would be up for review in the coming months. That review would turn out to be very brief indeed.

There is speculation that PartyGaming is the prime candidate for acquiring the Victor Chandler Group which includes an online casino, online poker room, sportbook and telephone betting operation.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2006-12-28 11:13:31




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