in on: Gaming
Liz Benston, Our Partner at Las Vegas Sun
the chief executive of Betonsports.com was arrested by the feds,
resulting in the company folding its operations and leaving
American gamblers high and dry.
law enforcement nabbed the chairman of one of the world's largest
sports betting operations, Sportingbet Plc.
President Bush signed a bill into law making it a crime for
banks and other financial institutions to process online bets.
day, Sportingbet said it would no longer serve American customers
and had sold its U.S. operations for $1 to an Antigua-based
A few gamblers
have since reported problems recovering their deposits and winnings,
with the company claiming that it is transferring the money
into another account and will release the money soon.
latest twist for a company that attached $100,000 in dollar
bills to a billboard on the Strip and created a national media
frenzy when thieves stole some of the loot.
are more likely to get their money back from a company traded
on the London Stock Exchange such as Sportingbet than a black
market site flying under the radar, said Ted Sevransky, a Las
Vegas sports handicapper who runs Sportsmemo.com.
sports books "are not banks. They are not required to keep
a certain amount of cash in reserve" should customers make
a run for their money," he said.
a sharp dichotomy between the companies traded on the stock
exchange and the ones that are privately held," Sevransky
traded giants are run by upper-crust Englishmen who don't want
a protracted legal fight with the United States. The smaller,
private operators are former "rogue bookies in the U.S.
who realized they could go offshore and make more money than
they could possibly imagine."
gambling law, which will be difficult to enforce, is nevertheless
leaving many gamblers between a rock and a hard place.
bigger sports book conglomerates are far more affected by the
perception of this legislation than the smaller, independent
outfits," Sevransky said.
Entertainment is offering its loyalty club gamblers more than
denim jackets and sun visors as consolation prizes.
of casinos offer catalogs' worth of midpriced merchandise for
regulars to sift through, Harrah's is offering its gamblers
top-drawer gifts from Gucci, Coach and Tiffany & Co.
has opened a redemption center at The Pier at Caesars, a new
high-end mall in Atlantic City that is similar to the Forum
Shops at Caesars.
In a consumer
test, the company, which owns the adjacent Caesars Atlantic
City, is allowing gamblers to redeem points earned on their
Total Rewards player club cards for Discover-brand gift cards
good at most of the mall's retailers.
system - which actually encourages gamblers to leave a casino
to collect their goodies - is believed to be unique for an industry
that normally tries to keep customers inside its casinos for
as long as possible.
the gamblers then return to the casino floor - looking just
a bit more chic.
like the choices, said David Norton, senior vice president of
relationship marketing at Harrah's, and the company is considering
implementing the system in Las Vegas.