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|Two More Weeks in the World
current fashion in our world is to talk a lot and do little. These last 14 days
have seen a stand off between those who want more regulated gambling, those who
want none and those who will say what will get them elected.
nothing has yet come of the battle between the political parties over Internet
Gambling there. In Nevada they are gearing up to be the first state to legalise
online wagering, seeing, as they do, the threat from British sites that can
offer "safety" and "quality". They have a long hard struggle against the Feds
who are sticking strongly to the notion that the 1961 Wire Act means any
inter-state wagering is clearly illegal. In fact our very own Ladbrokes have
just felt the long arm of this law as their telephone betting operation in
Michigan has been given its closing down orders.
Closer to home, the sad
news from Cardiff in Wales is that the Stakis/Ladbrokes/Gala Casino has
permanently closed after successive problems including infestations and
asbestos. Staff are being relocated and a Card Room is lost. (we think they
weren't making any money).
On a better note, Stanleys have opened up
the new £5.5 million Cascades casino in Leith, Edinburgh. The giant
waterfront venue, the biggest ever built by the gambling and betting giant
Stanley Leisure, features 16 tables for blackjack, roulette and stud poker and
is seen by them as a template for the British casino of the future. I doubt it,
for one thing there's no poker room. It is however a stones throw from The
Royal Yacht Britannia which is now stuck there!
The long awaited 2001
WSOP has opened up with some controversy over deductions from the prize pool
for staff, though most of the players don't care. Some very typical casino
actions have eliminated several dissenting players, a thing Benny wouldn't have
done. Its going to be a hard lesson for poker players and the casino alike, one
that has already been learnt elsewhere. Firstly, they will hike the tax rate
year-on-year as the popularity increases until it over burdens the market.
Secondly, rival tournaments will then take over.
This shows a classic
difference between the US and Europe. In Europe the emphasis is on added value
to attract players and custom, in the U.S its about taking as much as you can
until it bleeds to death. This happened in the world of Backgammon, where the
strength of the U.S players was overwhelmed by a new breed of Europeans brought
up on the Euro-tour. They have since learnt the lesson and begun adding money,
doubling tournament attendance in just two years!
And so to a small
story about the biggest British gambler of all time. Who? Nick Leeson of
course. He was supposed to be running in the London Marathon but managed to get
himself arrested for drunk driving in Watford and stuck in jail for the night.
Seems like a way of getting out of another bad bet. He is currently studying
psychology at Middlesex University. Shouldn't they be studying him.