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27/06/2001 No.7
he Good Gambler
The Editor or one of our professional correspondants make regular contributions to coverage of the gambling world.
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Sex In The City

Forget the family friendly stuff -- the white tigers, the roller coasters, the wave pools. In a town that is constantly redefining itself, what's old is new again as the entertainment pendulum swings back toward sex appeal. For all the talk about the Disneyfication of Las Vegas as a wholesome, family-oriented destination, topless entertainment is making a comeback in Sin City.

Sure, most of the Strip's signature shows -- the ones featuring tall, bare-breasted showgirls parading in flamboyant headdresses -- have long since closed shop. But in their place, a different breed of erotic show is on the rise -- including matinee burlesque, G-stringed magicians, aerobic dancers in the almost-buff prancing around to canned music.

The biggest hotel in town -- the MGM Grand, which embraced the family market when it opened in 1993 -- is now switching to the rejuvenation of sex in the city. Last year it closed its amusement park and is now refocusing on adult entertainment, bringing in "La Femme". Its not that Vegas is losing money, its just that the big boys woke up and noticed that its the destination for large numbers of men attending conventions. Its no coincidence that the tacky top-less burlesque Frenchy sort-of show, "Folies Bergere," which opened in 1959, is the longest-running show in the USA.

Back in the UK, its almost heartening to hear last month's announcement that annual sales from the lottery had fallen below £5bn for the first time in four years. The National Lottery watchdog has also warned that Camelot, the lottery operator, will donate £5 billion less than it had promised over the next five years because of a funds shortage. People are just not buying the sad dream anymore.

In contrast however, over in California, one ticket took the $70 million first prize in the $141 million rollover lottery, with $43 million worth of sales on the Saturday alone. The winner of course has decided not to show up and claim the prize.

Of course even this gigantic win gets you nowhere on the world's richest list. Forbe's latest map of the Billionaire world shows 538 men and women, topped once more by Bill Gates at $58b. Microsofts co-founder Paul Allen is at no.3 and the CEO Steve Ballmer is no.13. The richest person in Europe is Liliane Bettencourt who owns L'Oréal. The worlds biggest, best and longest running gambler, Warren Edward Buffett is no.2 at the age of 70. His Berkshire Hathaway investment fund has out gunned everything in sight and was up 15% last year when most things were down.

Lastly there's more poker afoot. The European Championship's take place at the Victoria Casino in London. Why this title we don't want to ask, after all how many European poker champions can you have, they seem to be everywhere. Yet the £2000 buy-in should make it fun. Bluesquare is trying to run a book though prices are somewhat conservative. Ask for a price on Sir Clive Sinclair, his form of late is good and he isn't worried about the money. Also noteworthty is Henry Nowakowski at 66-1. No one rates his play but as a previous Euro-champ and 7th place in this year's World Series Championship Final, he must be doing something right!

Take care when betting, if your player does not compete, tour money is lost!