Gambling News

Unibet exits Spain; 888 Holdings exec pay questioned; 32Red wins domain fight

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32red-unibet-spain-888-holdingsSpanish online poker news site PokerRed.com claims Malta-headquartered operator Unibet is abandoning the Spanish market. Again. Last December, Unibet’s Spanish-language site warned customers that the company would “suspend its activities in Spain on Dec. 20, 2011.” Now PokerRed has published an April 3 email reportedly sent to Unibet’s Spanish customers warning that the company would suspend its activities in Spain on May 14, 2012. (The betting site that cried ‘wolf’?) According to the latest email, customers will be blocked from betting after that date, but will have 30 months in which to withdraw their funds. Better still, Unibet has worked out a deal with Swedish operator Paf (who are staying put in Spain) and interested players can arrange to transfer their balances to Paf to ensure no interruption in service.

UK operator 888 Holdings may be earning kudos for its recent financial report card, but UK corporate governance consultancy Pirc is shaking its head at the pay packets 888 awards its top execs. What Pirc finds particularly irksome is 888’s failure to disclose specifically what targets 888 needs to hit for its execs to collect ‘huge’ bonus payments. This Is London quoted Pirc complaining that the price at which shares are granted under 888’s “long-term incentive scheme” appears something of a mystery. Pirc also questioned the size of former CEO Gigi Levy’s golden handshake and wondered why finance director Aviad Kobrine received “2.6m nil costs options, of whose value cannot be ascertained due to lack of disclosure of the underlying share price at grant date.”

Fresh off its Court of Appeal victory over William Hill’s use/abuse of 32Vegas and 32V, Gibraltar-based online betting operator 32Red Plc has now convinced a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) dispute resolution panel that the domain 32x.com is “confusingly similar” to its own 32red.com. The 32x.com domain was registered by 32X Corporation in 1996 – six years before 32Red.com launched – for the purpose of web development services. In 2006, the domain was acquired by Fred Hill and transferred to his California-based Baysound LLC to run an online gaming site dubbed “The Online Casino.” The WIPO panel felt this was sufficiently suspicious to grant 32Red’s complaint that the use of the 32x.com domain was in bad faith and that the offending domain should be awarded to 32Red. Next on 32Red’s agenda? Collecting back royalties on 1993 feature film Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould and Genesis’ 1974 tune The Chamber of 32 Doors (some of which, after all, could be red).