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CASINO NEWS

Betfair slams latest French rules, but 888 goes ahead with le Poker

O

nline operator Betfair has charged that a new French law on Internet gaming is unfair.

Rules which came into effect on 13 May have forced

Betfair to shut off its Web operations to French customers. It will not be able to provide gaming to the French market again without applying for a licence.

The firm’s Director of European Public Affairs Tim Phillips

said: “We are looking very hard at the French market and how we might operate within the new licensed regime. Though it’s not impossible for a newcomer to create a commercially viable business, most projections show it will be very difficult to do so, given the proposed restrictions imposed on licence-holders.

“French legislation will certainly benefit the incumbent

players and the ultimate loser will be the French consumer. The new law does not adequately open the former monopoly’s market to true competition from other operators,” he said.

The new regime has not, however, deterred operator 888 Holdings, which is creating a Poker network in France with technology partner Microgaming.

888’s CEO Gigi Levy said: “This deal marks a turning point in the industry with big networks collaborating in newly-regulated markets to create a shared pool of liquidity, benefiting customers and assisting in rapidly generating large Poker networks in each market.”

Italian operators line up VLT rollouts while online firms prepare for casinos

T

he Italian gaming market continues to buzz with activity both online and off, following the government’s recent okay to video lottery terminals

(VLTs) and the expected authorisation of online casino games.

Bally Technologies has won orders from two operators

for a total of 3600 VLTs, with 2000 going to HBG Group and 1600 to Sisal Slot.

Starting to ship in the autumn, Bally will be supplying both games content and systems, including its management and reporting suite CMP.

Centralised control and monitoring technology has been designed specifically for the Italian VLT market, said Bally.

Local firm Zest Gaming will represent Bally in the country

for sales and servicing. “Partnering with a leading Italian company such as Zest makes good business sense for Bally, enabling us to capitalise on their already established relationships with customers and their well-entrenched sales and service network in Italy,” said John Connelly, Bally’s VP for International.

In the online sector, meanwhile, Bwin’s Ongame Network has added Casino Italia, MatchGames and TOBS to its Italian Poker network, bringing the number of participating operators to ten.

They join BetPro.it, Bwin itself, Casino di Venezia, Fast Poker, Gioco Digitale, Gmatica, and SportingBet.it.

Bwin plans to expand into casino gaming when Italian legislation – expected in the second half of this year – permits, and has also commissioned Sweden’s Jadestone to develop a network of skill games.

“Skill games are a key product in our vision of gaming as

a part of the entertainment industry. We believe in Italy there is space for the growth of a network that shares this vision, and we found in Jadestone a partner that is willing to commit to creating games that are in line with Italian taste and trends,” said Paolo Di Feo, General Director of Bwin and Gioco Digitale in Italy.

888 Holdings is also entering the Italian gaming market

through a joint venture with TV production company Endemol Italy. It will offer games through the 888.it site based on Endemol brands including Big Brother and Deal Or No Deal.

Hippodrome deal

InTouch Gaming in the UK is to

provide fully-managed casino and Poker-room systems to The Hippodrome Casino when it opens in London next year, becoming the city’s biggest gaming venue. The firm is also supplying player marketing and CRM tools to online operator Gaming VC.

Euro debate

Gaming Laboratories International’s most recent European round table

6 JUNE 2010

Nice gesture

Bally Technologies says it has

received orders for nearly 1000 units of its CashSpin device, which uses gesture-control technology to let players spin a virtual on-screen wheel. “The rate in which we are installing Cash Spin is the fastest we’ve ever seen with any game,” said Gavin Isaacs, Bally’s COO. It is authorised in more than 20 US states and Canadian provinces.

Not very sporting

The Spanish Casino Association, Spanish Confederation of Bingo Organisations and Spanish Game Confederation have made formal complaints to national and regional authorities over delays in regulation of online gaming. They are asking for immediate action against online operators which they say are illegally promoting their sites by sponsoring sporting teams.

Inspiring purchase

Inspired Gaming Group in the UK has been acquired by private-equity firm Vitruvian Partners. Existing management will remain in place.

Okay, maybe

Britain’s Gambling Commission has authorised trials of two new side bets on American Roulette and Punto Banco as well as a variation on Texas Hold ‘Em.

News in brief

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