Issue N6, 2007

February 15, 2007

AGA Head Not Optimistic about Poker Exemption

The President of the American Gaming Association, Frank Fahrenkopf put a dampening on the feelings of optimism that swept through the online gambling industry this week, after he said that their wasn’t “a chance in hell” that poker would be exempted from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Recent reports considered that poker might not be covered by the UIGEA after the Poker Player’s Alliance president, Michael Bolcerek, met with officials in Florida and managed to retrieve from them the understanding that poker was a game of skill and thus, could not be considered a true form of gambling.

However, in an interview with a reporter of the Las Vegas Sun, Frank Fahrenkopf dispelled the buoyant mood in the industry and said that the legalization of internet gambling was far from a reality. He also referred to a study that his association is trying to promote which will research whether the industry has the technology to control underage gambling and gambling addicts. However, he stated that even if the study found that this technology existed, the chances of legalization still remained slim. Reports Record Growth

While some companies are still floundering since the United States introduced its anti-gambling UIGEA legislation last year, others are reporting record growth, despite the situation in the industry. One such company, announced this week that it had a 35% increase in real memberships within the final quarter of 2006. now has a whopping 3.6 million members gambling at its online casinos. was forced to exit the United States gambling market after the UIGEA was signed into law by President George Bush, however this does not seem to have impacted the company’s growth in any way. focused its attention on its non-U.S. markets and took several wise business steps to attract a more international clientele. The company released a new online casino in German and Spanish and took advantage of Italy’s laxer gambling laws to procure itself a sportsbetting license. Thanks to these moves, its non-U.S. business reported a rise of 28% over 2005 and a net gaming revenue of $157-million. Prospects for look good since it plans to launch a mobile gambling casino this year.

European Market to Dominate Casino Affiliate Convention

The sixth annual Casino Affiliate Convention and Gaming Marketing Conference is due to take place in the Netherlands in May 2007, but already organizers have announced that the conference is fully booked up. The event is considered the largest convention on gaming advertising and marketing, and provides a platform for many companies in the sportsbook, poker and gambling world. The conference is to be held at Amsterdam’s NH Grand Krasnapolsky Hotel.

This year, the focus will be on the European market more than ever as companies struggle to come to terms with a post-UIGEA market. More than 250 European affiliates attended the 2006 conference and this year, the numbers are expected to rise even further. Topics of major importance to be discussed at the 2007 CAC conference include marketing from three different perspectives (internet, affiliate and traditional), as well as the direction that the internet gambling market is taking.

New Survey to Track Norwegians’ Gambling Habits

This week, a survey was distributed to over 10,000 random homes across Norway in a bid to glean more information about the gambling habits of the country’s population. SINTEF Health Research sent out a similar questionnaire in 2002 and the organization is now trying to see how habits have changed since then. SINTEF is particularly keen to see whether the rise in internet gambling over the past five years has any connection to gambling addiction in the country.

Since 2002, the number of Norwegians who gamble has risen by 25%. The Norwegian Gaming Board (NGB) is hoping to see whether gambling problems have also increased since then. Five years ago, almost 50,000 Norwegians between the ages of 15 and 74 had serious gambling problems. Since then, internet gambling has become much more popular and wide-spread and SINTEF and the NGB want to track the effect of this phenomena on the gambling habits of the country.

In 2005, Norwegians gambled a whopping NOK 4-billion on internet gambling, a pastime that is unregulated in this European country. This number was double the amount spent by gamblers in 2003. It will be interesting to see how much this number has risen within the last two years.

For the first time, the SINTEF survey will also ask questions to family members of people with serious gambling addictions. It will track how the lives of these families are affected by compulsive habits and whether the portfolio of a classic addict (under-25, men and non-Norwegian ethnic backgrounds) has changed in the past five years.