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Showing posts from June, 2010

Nikolic case collapses without major conviction

A blow to keeping corruption out of racing, or vindication for a jockey who did nothing more than discuss his rides with blokes who punt, and then made their own independent decisions? Leading Australian jockey Danny Nikolic was charged over several races where his rides were unplaced and the horses in question were laid for substantial amounts by punters he regularly spoke to. Nikolic cleared of serious charges In dismissing the four charges, RADB chairman Judge Russell Lewis said the board was not satisfied that Nikolic had communicated with the associates or some of them about the chances of his mounts resulting in the associates making lay bets outside their normal betting parameters. "The evidence relied upon by the stewards as a basis for drawing an inference that Nikolic communicated the chances of his mounts raises suspicions about what transpired," Judge Lewis said. "But harbouring suspicions about his conduct is not sufficient to prove the charges." One th

bwin and PartyGaming merger looks off... or is it?

After many months of speculation and discussion between the two firms, it appears that a proposed merger between bwin and PartyGaming is off. This would have been a genuine super-merger, unseen before in the gambling industry, but reasonably common in other business sectors. bwin chief says Party Gaming merger talks failed bwin have long admitted to being keen on acquisition and mergers rather than natural growth, so expect more activity from them in the near future. The article even quotes the bwin boffins as chasing partners in the US. ---- Two minutes after I posted this article, through comes a report denying the original statement... Androsch refutes bwin/Party comments So who do we believe? Was that genuine or trying to protect the share price? Either way, it looks like things aren't progressing quickly.

Malaysian sports betting licence scrapped

After much excitement about granting the first Malaysian sports betting licence to Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd, part of the Berjaya Corp, the government has succumbed to pressure from local Muslim groups and rescinded the offer. This was always a possibility in a country with such a large Muslim population, but one can't help but think they'd missed their big opportunity to cash in on the licence anyway, with the original announcement coming too late for World Cup 2010. Malaysia scraps betting licence amid Muslim anger The local illegal bookies will be very happy!

European F1 Grand Prix preview

Another great day for sport, even with a day off at Wimbledon. It's the Irish Derby at The Curragh, England playing Australia in cricket at Old Trafford, and apparently there's a big football match on this afternoon ;) But before England stops at 3pm, there's a Formula 1 race to watch. Here's my preview, as published at Punting Ace. The European Grand Prix in Valencia is held on a new circuit with only two previous races under its belt. The waterfront setting of the circuit is spectacular, but unfortunately as a race, it's about as exciting to watch as Paul Collingwood in the fourth innings of a Test match that they cannot win. Last year's race was not won by the polesitter Lewis Hamilton, only because his team stuffed up in the pits. Rubens Barrichello started from third, on the 'clean' side of the track, took second before the opening corner, and that was the only overtaking move required to win the race. In 2008, it went 1-2-3-5 from the grid (positio

innovation from a racetrack - wow!

Bringing new punters through the gates, or at least to start betting on racing is one of the biggest tasks the industry has to face. Anything new annoys the dedicated fans and anything old does nothing to convince new faces to get involved. But Canada's leading track Woodbine, often criticised for their high takeout percentages, decided to teach people how to bet and focus on the gambling element rather than fashion, personalities and all the other fluff. How Woodbine is attracting new fans At Woodbine, they grew so exasperated that an expensive television production was producing so little in the way of results that they were ready to pull the plug on the show. But, first, Woodbine management was willing to start over and give it one more try. Their idea was a simple one: make the show all about gambling and portray betting on horses as the exciting cerebral exercise that it is. No longer would they pitch the beauty of the sport or show features on the circuit's top jockeys, t

utterly daft polticians

How ridiculous is a ban on online poker and casinos in a country where the law is openly flaunted, play-for-fun (.net) sites are widely promoted and companies like PokerStars have offices set up there? Australia upholds online gaming ban This is the dilemma in Australia where companies such as Betfair, Centrebet and Sportingbet offer licensed and regulated poker and casino services to punters outside Australia, but by law, can't do so to Australian residents. Yet, the likes of Party Poker and PokerStars can openly advertisely their wares around the nation by sponsoring events and TV coverage through their 'free' sites. Only the extremely daft amongt us, namely Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, believes that these companies do not generate any real money business via this advertising. Australia is one of the biggest markets for foreign poker firms, so all the profits from these companies goes offshore and stays there. This is the same daft politician who is hel

Sky falling in on Tabcorp's monopoly

The Productivity Commission has recommended that Tabcorp's ownership of SkyChannel, the primary racing broadcaster, be investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. This, in conjunction with recommendations that Tabcorp's retail outlet monopoly be ceased and that NSW and Queensland racing authorities get off their high horse and negotiate product fees not based on turnover, which discriminates against competitors of the TABs, are major blows to Tabcorp. Tabcorp on notice The Productivity Commission recommended the Federal Government refer the ownership to the ACCC. The commission found that the "vertical integration of Tabcorp's wagering and broadcast business has potentially serious implications for competition in the wagering market". "As the capacity for punters to view racing is a key factor of production for wagering operators that compete with Tabcorp, this arrangement may frustrate competitive access to racing broadcasts," th

Greek giant Intralot can't crack Australia

This venture, as the second lotteries company in Victoria, looked doomed from the start, considering the monopoly the incumbent Tattersall's have. They control everything, particularly the retail space which is so crucial to lottery ticket sales. Gaming giant Intralot out of luck The spectacular failings of the lottery operator have sunk to new depths and the State Government has engaged legal experts for advice on the "possible cessation of a gambling licensee's operations". Intralot have incredibly deep pockets so they can keep funding a losing venture, but surely they'll have to see some sign of improvement soon...

1.01 backers sweating it big time...

Even if Federer comes back from 5-7 3-5, his backers at 1.01 will have been bricking it!

Bookies slaughtered at Royal Ascot

Not a good week for bookies at Royal Ascot, with favourites and plunge horses landing the chocolates all festival. With only six horses winning at 10/1 or bigger - a very low number considering the size of many of the fields - there was no respite at all for bookies. Only Rite of Passage winning the Gold Cup on Thursday at 20/1 was a surprise result in any of the big races. "Punters have never had it so good. Every single day they've given us a right royal bashing," said Ladbrokes' David Williams. "Thank goodness for the England football team. They are our only salvation in a week of misery for the bookies." "It has been carnage, no other word for it," said William Hill spokesman David Hood. "What is it about Ascot? For some bookies the five consecutive losing days of 2010 will make the infamous Dettori day look like a round of drinks. Totesport told a similar story, with spokesman George Primarolo adding: "Punters have clawed back their

Wimbledon previews

As with every tennis Grand Slam, I write detailed betting previews for Australian betting website PuntingAce. This year's tournament looks very attractive for outright betting, it's the most excited I have been in a while for a Slam. For the men's preview, click here For the women's preview, click here Happy punting!

the washup from the Racing NSW v corporates decision

Yesterday's decision doesn't seem to have decided much - Betfair will certainly appeal the verdict against them.Bill Saunders argues that their case was hampered by Racing NSW not releasing relevant information until too late. Betfair was in fact disadvantaged by its lack of knowledge of the rebate arrangement when preparing its statement of claim. Sportsbet, with its case being heard after Betfair, was able to amend its statement of claim accordingly. Racing NSW will almost certainly piss more money up the wall appealing against the Sportsbet verdict as well. One thing that will happen is that all NSW operators, including Tabcorp, will now be forced to pay the fees, which they conveniently didn't have to pay under the flawed V'Landys policy. There is no longer a threshold for payment and no mates' deals for the TABs - one policy for everyone, not just a tax on those evil interstate companies. The last point, re interstate companies, may therefore infringe the cons

Split decision for Racing NSW

The rulings have been made in the Federal Court today and it ended up as a split decision: Sportsbet won the case against Racing NSW over race fields legislation, and specifically against a threshold which favours NSW betting operators. Racing NSW defeated Betfair on the right to charge a turnover fee which, in Betfair's view, discriminates against low-margin operators such as betting exchanges. The only statements in the press so far are the usual chest-beating 'this is obviously a decision in our favour' whether they won or not, so I'll wait until the smoke clears before writing an elongated rant about it.

well, that's us stuffed!

Very disappointing start to the World Cup for Australia. Yes, we were dreaming beyond our ability about beating Germany, but a draw wasn't totally out of the question. Team selection was a little puzzling, with Kennedy left out and Cahill & Garcia thrown up front, against two huge centre-backs... and then virtually all our attacks were in the air. I know Cahill has played up front for Everton, but that was with decent creativity behind him. Kewell obviously isn't fit, we knew before the match he was unlikely to play. That one decent chance in the first few minutes might have changed the game if it had gone in, but after that, we were wholeheartedly thrashed. Germany looked very good, with several fresh faces not seen at this level before. Ozil, apart from his ridiculous dive which rightfully got carded, looked very dangerous and four of the five strikers bagged goals. If they haven't peaked too early, they will be right in the mix for the final. Our defence looked old a

Twitter is melting down!

Has Twitter finally reached breaking point? The Twitter API has been down for hours... what are we supposed to do now? :) More importantly, how am I supposed to berate the posh prats on the BBC tennis coverage bemoaning the fact that British tennis is in such a poor state, while it's people like them, portraying a middle/upper class image from an era when the sport was nowhere near as tough or competitive, who are a key reason why kids don't want to play the game....

guest blogging on France24

During the World Cup, I have been invited to blog for the France24 website. I'll be talking about the different angles of betting, the emotional rollercoaster of cheering for Australia in a sport which doesn't even rank in the top three codes of football in my home country and any controversies that come up - like the demand for video technology at the elite level of the sport. You can read my opening post here .

French Open final preview

Like any Aussie, I'll be cheering loudly today for Samantha Stosur in the women's final. The fact I have a 50/1 ticket on her from several weeks ago is almost irrelevant :D In addition to my Punting Ace preview, I've also done some writing for Betfair Australia. Here's the final piece (byline at the very bottom).

the race for licences in France hots up

As the French government is finally about to push the button to permit online wagering in France and its territories, supposedly in time for the World Cup (gee, don't leave it too late), the big boys are doing the 'proper' thing according to their boards and getting out. William Hill and Betfair have both announced plans to cease doing business with French residents from June, while they consider their plans of whether to seek a local licence of their own, acquire one via a joint venture or continue with legal action. They won't be the only ones. But will the 'ceasing business' be genuine, or a token effort to appease lazy authorities like elsewhere in Europe?