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13/05/2001 No.4
he Good Gambler
The Editor or one of our professional correspondants make regular contributions to coverage of the gambling world.
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Thank Heavens for Money

If it wasn't for money you wouldn't be able to tell what people were up to. Take for instance Labour MP Phil Woolas, the chairman of the all party House of Commons betting and gaming review group. His argument for allowing bookmaker outlets in Sports Bars and Pubs (yes you read that correctly) is that it's the same thing as drinking at home and having a bet on your mobile phone. This man is obviously not paid enough.

But away from sarcasm a real issue is how a review body can leak changes to the law to interested parties before they've been presented in any paper or passed as law. Take for example the Hard Rock Casino construction in Manchester's Printworks development. How is it possible for a company like Rank, known for not spending much money, to spend half a mil' on a gaming floor just for slot machines when its illegal to have more than a dozen or so? The answer of course is that they know the law is going to be changed without so much as a consultation with anyone in the real world. Money makes these things possible.

And then there's Poker. For a time back in April it looked bad for the sport. Gala said that it "wasn't part of their strategic core plan", whatever that means it meant no PokerMillion. The World Series was wrapped up in rumours about high level cheating at the nearby Bellagio. To cap those rumours the 1989 World Champion, Phil Hellmuth, decided to tell everybody that he was to blame for their spread. Not that they weren't true, just he had spread them. Well thank heavens for money because as soon as the cabbage was laid out on the table at the first World Series Event in Downtown Las Vegas, no one took a bit of notice to anything other than cards and money.

This year's World Series will break all records and the rumours have died without foundation. Melbourne's Crown Casino announces a $1 million tournament in January 2003 and all looks well for the sport that has a long way to go.

Other than poker its been quiet on the gambling front, all save bookmaking. Changes taking place all over the world mean Britain and its protected islands, like Gibralter and those in the Carribean, are fast attracting the "wired money". Tax changes here mean more confidence in the market and law changes in Australia mean that some of their biggest bookmakers are moving their operations to the U.K or Gibralter so that their own citizens can still bet with them. Confused? You should be, the Aussie government certainly is.

> Even the Americans are coming, with being run by Ladbrokes outfit in Gibralter and opening to the public this week. One of their promotions is; the person who makes the largest bet in the first week gets to have a party with Hugh Hefner, or is it go to a part with him. In any case, I might be betting small this week.

Lastly, for those who bet with big money the long awaited has gone Beta live. There's no bookmaker margin or tax and only a 2% commission on your winnings. There is however a minimum bet of $100. The jury is out on whether the market can take a new entry after two recent failures. If they've got money behind them to see them through the storm, then I think they will do well.