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02/02/2003 No.23
he Good Gambler
The Editor or one of our professional correspondants make regular contributions to coverage of the gambling world.
Email : TheEditor on any subject.
Gambling news in 2003

If it looks good, it probably isn't.

The introduction of Casino Stud Poker with progressive side bet has proved a huge hit in UK casinos after the approval of the game in 2002. This is the regular Casino Stud Poker with an extra bet costing £1 that can win part or all of the jackpot prize. The jackpot is collected from all the money around the country that goes into trying to win the jackpot. However 28% of that pool of money is kept by the casino organisation!

For your pound you will win £50 for a flush, £75 for a full house and £100 for quads. The big money comes when you get a straight flush for which you pick up 10% of the jackpot total and if you are lucky enough to find a Royal Flush then the whole jackpot is yours.

It is a little difficult to work out when this becomes a good bet but a quick note to those wishing to play with an edge, your pound will only have an advantage when the Jackpot reaches £263,206 or more. If you sit and play all the time then the house edge against you is on average about 25%.

A new casino has opened in Liverpool with a new style operator. French industrialist Amaury Taittinger who is of the champagne family is the new owner and also runs the hotel chain that owns the two adjacent hotels. It cost £6million. The glass rotunda-fronted casino, run by the champagne magnate has 16 tables for roulette, black jack, stud poker, dice and punto banco. Downstairs, the casino will offer club-style environment, with bar, slot machines, TV and a card room. Lets hope poker does well there.

News has finally surfaced in the press after months of rumours that Gala Casinos and Bingo Halls are on the market once again. If they go for the asking price of £1.25 billion it will be the third owner of the group and fourth owner of the casinos in the past five years.

Last time I pointed out that Rank was performing well in the casino business but was lacking a bookmaker to really compete with Stanley. Now that has changed.
Bingo giant Rank, which also owns Grosvenor casinos and the Hard Rock Café chain, has bought popular betting website Blue Square in a deal worth £65m. The site, established in 1999, has around 113,000 regular customers and will significantly boost Rank's online operations, which have failed to generate the expected number of players. The combined operation will have a turnover of £400m a year from 129,000 regular users.