Issue 163
October 27 - November 2, 2003
Volume 3
page 2

US network to launch casino channel

Creators of the Casino and Gaming Television network in the US are betting that a national interest in gambling will translate into a desire to watch it on TV. The new network is scheduled to launch in 2004 as a digital cable and satellite channel with shows such as "Winning Hand," with poker experts offering tips on the game, and "Dusk 'Til Dawn," a tour of night spots in Las Vegas, Monaco and other gambling destinations.

The number of Americans who bet represents a vast potential audience, said David Hawk, co-founder and co-chairman. More than 50 million Americans made more than 300 million visits to casinos last year, Hawk said, citing research conducted for the American Gaming Association. Other "niche" channels, such as the Golf Channel, have succeeded with a smaller pool to draw from, Hawk said. About 25 million people visited golf courses last year, half the number of casino-goers, he said.

The new channel, being announced Monday, will target the young male crowd, age 21 to 34, which is valuable to advertisers, said Nickolas J. Rhodes, the network's president and chief executive officer. Television has been dealing out an increasing number of gambling-themed shows, including Travel Channel's hit series on the World Poker Tour and the upcoming "Celebrity Poker Showdown" on Bravo.
Still, it remains to be seen whether gambling shows will be successful. "That's the ultimate question," said Bill Carroll, an analyst for Katz Television, a media buying firm. "The marketplace will determine if there really is a need for any of these digital channels that are specially targeted."

The network, which plans to raise $75 million in operating capital by first quarter 2004, is negotiating carriage deals. The goal is to reach 1 million homes initially and be in at least 20 million homes in four years.




Boss Media sells
In order to focus harder on the core business, Boss Media has decided to sell for an amount of USD 5.5 million. The buying company purchases the rights to the brand and the domain name of the gaming portal The company has asked to remain anonymous for the time being.

Peter Bertilsson, CEO of Boss Media, says: "This is part of our overall strategy to focus on developing the best gambling platform in the world. It is hard to have a double interest with both B2C and B2B business. Therefore we are very happy to have found a so strong and committed partner to sell our highly valuable assets to."

Casino is All Consuming in Sanford, Maine
SANFORD, Maine – As reported by the Portland Press Herald: "There is only one topic of discussion in Sanford these days: the casino.

"…While the casino debate has grabbed the attention of statewide voters in the past few weeks, in Sanford the issue has raged for more than a year. It is almost impossible to walk down the street without hearing a casino-related discussion. The red and white political signs for both sides went up months ago. The sign holders, rallies and campaign events have become part of daily life.

"Sanford is where the Passamaquoddy Tribe and Penobscot Nation want to build one of the state's largest construction projects ever if voters approve the Nov. 4 referendum that would allow the tribes to operate a gambling casino in return for 25 percent of the slot revenues. The tribes plan a massive six-story complex with an 875-bed hotel, gambling halls, a convention center, performance theater, retail shops, restaurants and an 18-hole golf course.

"Sanford won the tribes' favor when it became the only community in southern Maine to open the door to a casino last fall. The nonbinding referendum asking residents if they favored legalized gambling in town passed by a 540-vote margin, with just more than half of the voters showing up at the polls.

"…Not only has the casino become the biggest issue to hit town, say many of the town's political observers, the casino debate has left a permanent mark. They say whatever happens next month, the casino proposal has sent Sanford in a new direction.

Natalie Cole
Her Own Style

Paris Las Vegas It can't be easy following in the footsteps of a legend, but Natalie Cole is doing just fine. After 25-plus years in the business, Cole's musical repertoire continues to grow, and she has countless awards and nearly two dozen albums under her belt. Being Nat "King" Cole's daughter, music was Natalie's birthright. She grew up surrounded by her father's contemporaries, but she was also influenced by bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. After more than a quarter of a century in a competitive field, Cole's secret to success, as it turns out, is no big secret at all. "I just go in (to the studio) with my gut, and I just get very surprised at myself sometimes at what comes out of my mouth," she said. Ticke

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