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Industry News

by Roy Brindley |  Published: Oct 01, 2007

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Crypto Clearance
Software developer CryptoLogic Limited recently reported financial results for the three months ending June 30, 2007, which show the company recorded revenue of $16.2 million and an after-tax loss of $2.6 million due principally to $4.0 million in reorganization costs related to establishing a new corporate headquarters in Ireland.

"CryptoLogic took major steps this quarter toward a return to growth and profitability - with an increase in operating revenue, and a decrease in operating costs," said Javaid Aziz, CryptoLogic's CEO.

"Since December, CryptoLogic has launched 11 new customer sites, and we have four more in the pipeline - including two for Holland Casino, and one for the World Poker Tour. With the confidence of huge global brands, good growth from our European base, and encouraging progress in Asia, CryptoLogic's outlook improves every day."

PKR Gives Casino Gaming a Spin

Playtech, the international designer, developer, and licensor of software to the online and land-based gaming industry, recently announced that it has signed a new licence agreement to be the exclusive supplier of casino software to PKR.com, the online 3-D poker operator.

In less than a year of operation, PKR has become a major force in the online poker market, growing rapidly to currently hosting more than 7,000 concurrent players at peak times.

Playtech recently signed a similar deal with Mansion.

No Limit DVD Premiers in October

Indie poker film No Limit goes on sale on DVD on Oct. 10.

With a narrative more compelling than many feature films, this documentary brilliantly illuminates the high-stakes world of professional poker.

In it, filmmaker Susan Genard competes in a series of poker tournaments, hoping she'll win enough money to save the nearly moribund film company she runs with partner Tim Rhys, co-director of this film and the father of her 4-year-old child.

Numerous secondary themes add subtext to No Limit: the addictiveness of gambling, greed, endurance, boldness, individuality, and more.

It's well worth seeing.

9 p.m. and Later for UK TV Adverts
Casinos and bookmakers have been banned from advertising on British television screens before 9 p.m., following a government U-turn on the liberalisation of gambling laws.

There was a strong possibility that gambling advertisements on TV could have disappeared even before the Gambling Act of 2005 came into force, as Gordon Brown's ministerial shake-up - which replaced Tessa Jowell with James Purnell as secretary of state at the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport - threw a spanner in the works.

Purnell's instant examination of upcoming events in his new portfolio, combined with the prime minister's apparent rethinking on a possible gambling explosion, resulted first in the super-casino project being scrapped and then the advertising proposals being revised.

Quick work by a group led by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), which first published an industry code of social responsibility in March, staved off the threat of a total ban by introducing a clause that bars TV ads for gambling products being shown before 9 p.m.

However, there will be an exemption for bingo firms and advertising during sporting events. The decision has thrown gambling firms and broadcasters into chaos, with millions of pounds' worth of ads already booked.

The new guidelines, arrived at after protracted negotiations between 12 industry bodies and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, also ban the use of logos and promotional material on merchandise designed for children, including replica football shirts featuring sponsors' logos.

The guidelines will affect only sponsorship deals signed from September onward. Spurs, Middlesbrough, and Blackburn are among the clubs currently sponsored by gambling firms.

Bookmakers and casinos also will have to comply with previously announced advertising codes that prevent them from portraying or encouraging behaviour that could lead to "financial, emotional, or social harm." Nor must they link gambling to seduction, sexual success, or enhanced attractiveness.

SkyBet Figures
SkyBet, the online and telephone betting arm of BSkyB, increased revenue in the year ending June 30 to £47 million, compared with £37 million in 2006.

Betting and Gaming Director Richard Flint commented: "SkyBet's poker site had done extremely well last year."

Grosvenor Appoints Marketers
Grosvenor Casinos has hired Dynamo to handle its UK direct marketing.

The agency was appointed after a six-way competitive pitch, and initially has been asked to deliver a series of local promotions.

The company operates 32 casinos in the UK, including five in London, and has more than 500,000 active members. It also operates an online gaming site, at grosvenorcasinos.com.

Grosvenor, which also operates two casinos in Belgium, is part of The Rank Gaming Division, which also owns Mecca Bingo, Hard Rock Casino, and online and telephone sports-betting brand Blue Square.

Grosvenor also runs the biggest UK poker tour, in association with Blue Square. The competition is taking place at 10 casinos across the UK, and will be broadcast on Channel 4 later this year.

World Poker Tour in China Link-Up
The China Leisure Sports Administrative Center (CLSAC), the national sports federation governing leisure sports under the China State Sports Administration, has announced that it will launch the first National Traktor Poker Tournament in China and has selected the World Poker Tour as the exclusive marketing partner for the tour.

The five-year partnership is a landmark agreement in China leisure sports history, and will focus on growing the sport of Traktor Poker, known as Tuo La Ji, China's most popular poker game.

Ladbrokes EOCOP

Ladbrokespoker.com has announced details of its third Ladbrokes European Online Championship of Poker.



Interestingly, the main event, won last year by Londoner Graeme "Grazza" Newman, will be a two-day tournament.

Late Night Poker Returns
Late Night Poker will be returning to British television screens in its original format early in 2008.

The series is being recorded during late October with its traditional format of seven-seat heats and a runners-up second-chance playoff, making way for an eight-seat final.

PartyPoker is sponsoring the event, which has a $335,000 prize pool. Former Late Night Poker winners are: Dave Ulliott, Simon Trumper, Phil Hellmuth, Hemish Shah, Padraig Parkinson, and Peter Costa.

Late Night Poker spin-offs, Late Night Poker Ace and Late Night Poker Masters, have been won by John Shaw, Raul Mestre, and David Tighe.

Hill on the Move
William Hill is set to transfer its online gambling operation from the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean to Gibraltar.

The move coincides with the introduction of a government ban on the advertising in the UK of gambling websites that operate outside the European Economic Area, or so-called "white-listed" territories.

Other online gambling sites operating from the Dutch Antilles include Betfred Casino, Interpoker.com, and Littlewoodscasino.com. These firms are expected to follow William Hill's example and move on.

A spokesman for William Hill confirmed that its online business would be moving to an EEA territory in order to gain exemption from the advertising ban. "The business won't be affected in any way, because we have been aware of the change for some time," he added.

Ladbrokes Party for Poker Million

Ladbrokespoker.com is staging its now legendary "Live Final Poker Million Party" - for friends and families of the finalists of the televised tournament, plus regular Ladbrokes poker players - at the Marriott Hotel in London's West End on Dec. 21.

Nigel Blower, head of events at Ladbrokespoker.com, said: "This is the third year we will be integrating our Live Final Party with Sky's live coverage of the final table of the Poker Million. We will be entertaining nearly 500 people, and for the die-hards, after-party activities will again be running until 6 a.m. at the Ladbrokes Casino in Paddington."

Tickets for the Live Final Party again will be at a premium, and available exclusively through promotions at Ladbrokespoker.com.

Jaxx Jumps on Poker

Jaxx.co.uk, a British poker site run by German lottery and betting operator Fluxx, has announced its intention to launch a poker and casino site.

Boss Mark Irvine, formerly with UKbetting and Bet365, heads the operation from London, while customer support is dealt with from Germany and Malta.

Ladbrokes Partners With Press

The Sun and the News of the World are launching a new partnership with Ladbrokes to offer exclusive sports betting and online poker to readers. Ladbrokes will become the official gaming partner of TheSun.co.uk and the Newsoftheworld.co.uk and will host co-branded online betting and gaming provided.

Beverley Sets Pace at PartyPoker Women's World Open
Beverley Pace is the new PartyPoker Women's World Open champion after defeating Jen Mason in London recently. Pace, from Bromley, Kent, UK, is the wife of comedian and poker player Norman Pace. She defeated Mason when her pocket sixes held up against Mason's A-J offsuit.

"I'm very happy," she declared. "This is my first big win and I intend to give myself a bankroll to play more tournaments for bigger stakes in the near future. I was sixth in the Ladies European Championship in April and went to the WSOP and Aussie Millions this year, but haven't really cashed significantly."

Mason has been on a hot streak in recent months, and many fancied her to capture the title after it got heads up. "I was pleased to beat Jen Mason," said Pace. "I have huge respect for her and she has taught me a lot on the circuit. Perhaps she didn't do herself any favours, as I have picked up a lot about how she plays!"

Pace pointed to a reraise against Mason, to which her opponent folded an ace, and pushing all in against Jackie Vaswani with pocket eights after her opponent had hit a smaller pair on a low-card flop as key turning points in the tournament. "I had respect for my opponents on the final table, but I did think I was in with a good chance," she said. Pace had come through a heat that featured Lucy Rokach, who is seventh on the women's all-time money list.

She has been married to husband Norman for 30 years, and the couple is well-known and popular on the UK circuit. A part-time poker player for four-and-a-half years, Pace spends a lot of her spare time chairing the Meningitis Research Foundation charity. "Norman says that I'm a better player than him, but I think we are probably about the same standard," she said.

"Women's tournaments are good for getting more ladies into the game," she continued. "The standard is no different to a mixed-sex game, but they do encourage some to come forward who wouldn't do so otherwise."

The tournament was PartyPoker's first-ever all-female event, and was produced by Matchroom Sport. Thirty-six players from across the globe battled it out for a share of a $108,000 prize pool. The buy-in for the tournament was $3,000, with the winner taking home $50,000.

Among the lineup were U.S. trio Liz Lieu, Jennifer Tilly, and Shannon Elizabeth. Tilly finished third in her heat, which was won by Mason, while Elizabeth and Lieu both busted out early in their heats. Other participants included Katharine Hartree, Xuyen "Bad Girl" Pham, former PartyPoker World Open winner Pippa Flanders, European ladies champion Jackie Meecham, and Lucy Rokach. The show will be televised in the UK later in the year on Five. Commentary will be provided by Jesse May and Shannon Elizabeth.

The official results were:
1. Beverley Pace (UK): $50,000
2. Jen Mason (UK): $22,000
3. Maria Demetriou (UK): $14,000
4. Bronwyn Campbell (Canada): $10,000
5. Jackie Vaswani (UK): $7,000
6. Kara Scott (UK): $5,000