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Morgan Stanley Research July monthly form guide

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Morgan StanleyOnline Gambling: Monthly Form Guide
July 11

Summary:

The biggest regulatory news in June was Alderney’s suspension of Full Tilt’s licence, and the site is now no longer accepting play. We estimate that Full Tilt had around 20% of the non-US poker market, so the closure of the site presents a big opportunity for other Europe facing sites to take share. In the US, a draft of Rep. Joe Barton’s bill to allow online poker was released and Rep. Jim McDermott introduced a bill that would tax the proceeds of online gambling. The chances of a federal bill passing seem to have improved now that both Rep. Spencer Bachus and Senator Jon Kyl, who have both previously been strong opponents of internet gambling, have said they would consider online poker legislation. In Europe, Spanish regulators said they expect companies to be able to apply for licences in November, and Italy announced that it would allow cash poker and casino games from 18 July. In Germany, the prime ministers of the Lander said that they now expect to make a decision on licensing online sports betting in October, and comments from the EU are due on 18 July.

Poker Traffic update:

Full Tilt’s liquidity on Pokerscout declined to zero on 29 June after the company’s Alderney licence was suspended, although in the previous week, it had seen some growth driven by its Rush Poker promotion. Partypoker is now showing positive liquidity growth year on year, assisted by the lapping of the separation of the French poker room, although the company said yesterday that the improvement is yet to impact revenues. The Ongame network also saw a sharp improvement towards the end of the month, also helped by weakening comparatives.

Exhibit 1
PartyPoker.com now showing positive year on year liquidity growth

party poker com liquidity change

Source: Pokerscout, Morgan Stanley Research

Ready to Roll:

We highlight some of the key forthcoming dates and events.

06/07/2011 – Deadline for EU comments on Greek proposals
18/07/2011 – Deadline for EU comments on German proposals
18/07/2011 – First new online casino licenses issued in Italy
26/07/2011 – Full Tilt license suspension hearing
02/08/2011 – 888 Q2 update – TBC
04/08/2011 – Ladbrokes interim results
05/08/2011 – William Hill interim results
10/08/2011 – Unibet Q2 results
25/08/2011 – OPAP H1 results
30/08/2011 – Paddy Power interim results
30/08/2011 – 888 interim results – TBC
31/08/2011 – bwin.party interim results

Biggest Pot:
Sauce123 won June’s biggest pot of $101,035 from Isildur1 (Viktor Blom) on Pokerstars.

US Regulation and Prohibition:

Rep. Joe Barton’s draft bill to allow online poker in the US was released. The bill does not contain detailed regulation, which would be performed by state bodies under the oversight of the Secretary of Commerce.

BolaVerde provided an interesting comparison between the Barton and Campbell Bills.

Rep. Spencer Bachus and Senator Jon Kyl, who have previously been strong opponents of online gambling, have now both said they would consider poker only federal regulation. Bachus said he is not opposed to considering Rep. Joe Barton’s draft legislation.

Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesar’s, said that online poker would be ‘The next great breakthrough… the new growth engine for the business’ in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun. He said that what is needed is for ‘the political process to catch up with” the views of US citizens.

Playtech signed a deal to provide its software to the California Online Poker Association. COPA is a coalition of Indian tribal governments and card rooms who are licensed to offer land-based poker. COPA will offer free play games before any change Iegislation in California.

Officials at the Washington DC lottery are getting ready to roll out ‘demonstration games’ on the internet. Washington is hoping to become the first jurisdiction in the US to offer online gambling.

Nevada passed legislation directing the Nevada Gaming Commission to adopt regulations for online poker and issue licences to casino operators if it is approved by the federal government. A second bill allows for the use of mobile gaming devices in hotel rooms.

Rep. Jim McDermott introduced a federal bill to tax online gambling. The bill is expected to act as a companion to the bill introduced by Rep. John Campbell in March.

European Developments:

Alderney’s Gambling Control Commission suspended Full Tilt’s licence. As a result of the suspension Full Tilt is unable to allow any form of poker game play, permit deposits or withdrawals or register new customers. The AGCC said the decision to suspend the licences followed an investigation prompted by the indictments of the US Attorney General’s office.

Operators will be able to apply for a Spanish online gambling licence in November, according to the new regulator. The first licence should be granted on 1 January 2012. Slot games and exchange betting are likely to be included in the second round of licenses. Both cash and tournament poker will be included in the first games to be regulated.

The start date for cash poker and casino games in Italy will be 18th July. More licences will be issued on the first and third Monday of every month.

The Economist suggested that UK policy towards online gambling has failed given tax revenues have not grown.

Tipp24 said that the German land of Saxony-Anhalt withdrew its appeal of a court ruling which had struck down the application of the Inter State Treaty on gambling to private lottery brokers. The court had performed analysis of gaming addiction in Germany and had found that lotteries were not significant in that context.

The prime ministers of the German lander said that they have delayed their decision on the new State Gambling Treaty in October. The EU is due to provide feedback on the treaty on 18 July.

Sponsor reported that the EC had orally notified the Ministers that the German draft law would be rejected.

Italian regulator AAMS and French regulator ARJEL have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise information sharing and to work together on regulation.

Greece still intends to pass its bill opening online gambling and VLT markets in the country in July. Comments from the EU are due on 6 July.

The Dutch Justice Secretary announced his plans to open up the Netherlands online gambling market by the end of 2012, and the offline market by 2015.

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