BUSINESS

Morgan Stanley September Monthly Form Guide

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Morgan StanleyOnline Gambling: Monthly Form Guide
Sept 11

Summary:

There were several developments within the USA at the Federal and State level. Legislation has been introduced to ensure that online wagering on horse racing in the US remains legal. Caesars Entertainment stepped up a lobbying campaign aimed at legalising online poker games operated by US companies, with the issue seeing further commentary in the mainstream press. At the State level, in New Jersey a new bill was introduced to legalise online gambling, as DC delayed its planned launch of online lottery games. Efforts to legalise online poker in California appear to have slipped into 2012. Full Tilt Poker paid its overdue licence fees and also admitted that it was not prepared for the full effect of Black Friday, as it still struggles to pay back players. Within Germany a court said it doubted that the state’s monopoly on sports betting was legal ahead of the planned relaxation of gambling laws. Schleswig-Holstein’s plans to regulate all forms of online gambling (a move that received approval from the EU) were delayed as opposition parties within the Lander requested its ruling coalition refrain from pushing through the bill. The head of William Hill warned that the UK government was “stepping on a minefield” trying to change taxation of internet gambling operators and bwin.party announced that it is planning to sell its OnGame Poker Network, which is expected to attract interest from US sources.

Poker Traffic update:

Despite August being a seasonally weak month, European operators continued to see strong liquidity, with iPoker’s liquidity around 40% higher than before the indictments and PartyPoker’s liquidity around 20% higher.

Exhibit 1:

Partypoker’s liquidity has dropped slightly to around 20% above its levels at the date of the indictments, although we are now in a seasonally weaker period.

poker liquidity september

Ready to Roll:

We highlight some of the key forthcoming dates and events.

06/09/2011 – Betfair IMS – Confirmed
19/09/2011 – Alderney Full Tilt hearing
22/09/2011 – Gala Coral Roundtable (Places available. Contact Kate.Pike@morganstanley.com)
28/09/2011 – Betfred Roundtable (Places available. Contact Kate.Pike@morganstanley.com)
29-30/09/2011 – Gibraltar online gambling field trip (Places available. Contact Kate.Pike@morganstanley.com)

US Regulation and Prohibition

Full Tilt Poker Pays Overdue License Fees. Licensee Still Suspended by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.

US Rep. Chris Gibson introduces legislation that would ensure that Internet wagering on horse racing stays legal. Recently, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve implemented new rules to crack down on illegal Internet gambling, which has unintentionally created confusion regarding the validity of credit card transactions for legitimate Internet-based wagers.

Launch of DC online gambling delayed again; community forums won’t start until mid-September. The D.C. Lottery announced that it will reschedule community forums that will give residents an opportunity to weigh in on the prospect of local businesses becoming hot spots for Internet gambling.

Call for change to US gambling laws. Caesars Entertainment, one of the world’s largest casino groups, is stepping up a lobbying campaign aimed at legalising online poker to fix a “bizarre” regulatory framework that allows US-based gamblers to play yet bars US companies from operating the games.

California Bills to legalise online gambling drift into 2012. Lobbyists and political campaigns are benefiting from the protracted discussion, collecting millions of dollars from the card rooms, race tracks and Indian tribes seeking to shape the future of Internet wagering.

…while lobbying efforts increase. A group of casino operators has taken to radio and television with ads urging state lawmakers to legalize Internet poker in California, prompting opponents to step up pressure for legislators to table the proposal for the year.

The New York Times considered DCs online gambling laws… By year’s end the district hopes to introduce an Internet gambling hub that would allow Washington residents to play blackjack, poker and other casino-style games.

…while New Jersey reintroduces internet gambling bill… New Jersey state senator Raymond Lesniak reintroduced legislation to make New Jersey the first state to legalise online gambling. The biggest change to his original Internet gambling bill will be language to prevent Internet gambling cafés popping up across the state.

…and the New York Post highlights the potential for Federal legislation in 2011. America appears closer than ever to being able to gamble online — a bill aimed at legalizing Internet casino gaming could find its way before Congress by the end of the year.

Full Tilt explains why it has been unable to pay back players since Black Friday. Full Tilt said it “was not prepared for the far-reaching, US government enforcement effort of Black Friday”. It also said that at least six groups of investors had visited Dublin to inspect its operation and that it has engaged an additional financial advisor through an investment banking group to help its search for a cash infusion as well as a new management team.

European Developments

William Hill chief says GIB is ‘The’ gaming hub. The head of Britain’s biggest bookmaker has warned that the UK Government is in danger of “stepping on a minefield” with its recent proposed changes to the licensing and the taxation of internet gambling operators.

OnGame Poker Network to be sold off by year end. The proposed sale (confirmed by the company) is being negotiated by bwin.party digital entertainment for its OnGame Poker network. The sale is said to have attracted interest from sources in the USA with the final price tag coming in at between 20 million to 30 million EUROS.

Schleswig-Holstein eyes unified Treaty. Opposition parties in Schleswig-Holstein have requested its ruling coalition refrain from pushing through legislation that would turn the region into the “Las Vegas of Germany.”

Court doubts German sports bet monopoly is legal A German court said it doubted that the German state’s monopoly on sports betting was legal ahead of a planned relaxation of the country’s stringent gambling laws.

Paddy Power’s Sportsbet business won a case in Australia. This supports its right to offer its Betbox touchscreen machines.

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