Sports betting and gambling news archive

News archive

News items that were displayed on the Smartgambler front page during 2004, with the latest material appearing at the top.

Proceed to 2005 news archive

Kafelnikov to switch sports

December 2004
Word has it that Russian tennis star Yevgeny Kafelnikov has unofficially retired from the ATP tennis circuit to play professional poker. Kafelnikov, sometimes criticized as being motivated too much by money during his tennis career, has already won at least one poker tournament and is reputed to be a strong player.

Archived January 2005

Roulette attack given green light

December 2004 After a 9 month investigation, Scotland Yard has determined that two Serbian men and a 'chic' Hungarian woman who won around 1.3 million pounds playing roulette over two visits to the Ritz Hotel Casino have not broken any law and are free to leave the country with their winnings. The mechanical attack involved using a laser device to track the position and speed of the ball and rate of decay, calculating the most probable landing point with a microprocessor which then displayed its recommendations via a mobile phone. Because the attack did not interfere with the roulette mechanism and merely observed and calculated, it was deemed not have broken any specific law. Similar attacks in other countries have not necessarily enjoyed the same legal interpretation, so the team picked their target well.

Archived January 2005

Betfair blunders on Aussie Idol

November 2004 English based betting exchange Betfair is recovering from a red faced episode in which they failed to close betting on the final result of popular TV talent show Australian Idol until approximately one hour after the result was known. In the know bettors had a field day backing winner Casey Donovan at generous odds after the judges' verdict had already been delivered. Betfair has agreed to reverse all bets placed after the result was known, something made possible by their betting software system which records when every bet is made and between which parties. Presumably Betfair will have to wear the losses on any amounts already paid to bettors who have since withdrawn the money and closed their accounts.

Archived December 2004

Western Australian government enforces betting ad ban

November 2004 A major racing publication has been contacted by the WA department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor and told that it was illegal for them to continue publishing ads for racing services not registered in WA if their publication was sold in WA. They were also advised that they could not carry ads for sites that promoted betting sites not registered in WA. This is an interesting development in light of the constitutional right to free trade between the States and will no doubt be subject to scrutiny by constitutional experts in the legal industry.

Archived November 2004

Betcorp flags sale of Sportsbet Australia

September 2004 ASX listed online gaming company Betcorp Ltd has flagged its intention to sell subsidiary Sportsbet Australia. Betcorp, who recently appointed two new directors after a boardroom shake up, will concentrate on their Northern Territory and Antiguan operations and will close their Sydney office. After painting a glowing picture of their Sportsbet Australia division in a recent report to shareholders, Betcorp subsequently dismissed the soon to be sold subsidiary as 'immaterial' to their overall position.

Archived November 2004

Turmoil at Betcorp

August 2004 ASX listed multinational online bookmaker and casino owner Betcorp Ltd has been rocked by three of its four directors resigning. Following on from a disappointing loss reported recently after a profit in the corresponding period last year, Betcorp senior management started falling on their swords right left and centre. The company has sought and received a trading halt pending the appointment of a new CEO and is said to be undergoing due diligence by a possible new owner. All its betting operations appear to be functioning normally.

Archived September 2004

IAS / Canbet merger

August 2004 Call it a merger or call it a takeover, Mark Read's listed IAS Bet is acquiring all the capital of Canbet Ltd in a deal that combines the operations of two leading online bookmaking firms. In a statement released to the ASX on August 6th 2004, the companies said that shared aims for profit growth and expansion in foreign markets and certain complementarities in their operations (Canbet currently does not offer horse racing), made the merger a good fit. The mostly scrip deal comes despite a struggling IAS share price in recent months, perceived as reflecting market concerns over court action pertaining to a possible multi million dollar payout over an IAS client who lost the sum to the bookmaker after embezzling it from his employer (a leading bank) over a lengthy period of time.

Archived September 2004

Olympic takes action.

July 2004 Spotted by one of our members on the website of major bookmaker, Olympic.
7/20/2004 3:00 PM
Sargis Sargsian vs Gregory Carraz
There will be no betting on this match due to Sargsian being of Unsavoury Character

Archived August 2004

Government decides against regulating betting exchanges.

July 2004 The federal government decision not to regulate has drawn predictable responses from most quarters, with competitors to the exchanges mostly pushing the line that racing will now become more corrupt. Breaking ranks with industry vested interests was bookmaker Michael Eskander, whose philosophical reaction to the news will earn him fans amongst the group with most to gain from the increased competition that betting exchanges introduce, the punting public.

Archived August 2004

Victorian crackdown on casino money laundering

June 2004 Following the flurry of publicity about criminal activity in the state, the Victorian government has asked Melbourne's Crown Casino to stop alleged underworld kingpin Antonios Mokbel and his brothers from gambling at the casino. Similar requests in the past have seen a number of alleged underworld figures prevented from using Crown's gambling facilities. Crown spokesperson Gary O'Neill said the casino would co-operate with authorities on such requests.

Archived July 2004

Dominican keno scam challenged

June 2004 News has come through that a Mr Carl Leyva has filed criminal fraud charges and a civil law suit against the Hotel Melia and Diamante Casino. The owner, Mon Elias, one of the most powerful men in the Dominican Republic, is also named in the suit. Mr Leyva allegedly lost US $20,000 to the operation which is described in the Scams section of this website.

Archived July 2004

IAS moves into betting exchange market

April 2004 Mark Read's listed bookmaking company International All Sports has announced the acquisition of 50% of Gibraltar based Internet Betting Company PLC which operates betting exchange Sources have indicated that IAS would like to get a license to operate their own betting exchange in Australia but it is still too early to know whether such licenses will be issued.

Archived May 2004

Bookmakers Association CEO lashes exchanges again.
March 2004. Tim Ryan, well known scribe from the Australian horse racing industry, has taken aim at betting exchanges again in a March 12th article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Ryan has switched the focus of his attacks to the unique facility on betting exchanges of 'laying' particular participants in a sporting event, or betting on them not to win.

Ryan's argument is that this is likely to encourage corruption that could bring the sports in question into disrepute and ultimately deter punters from betting on them at all. Smartgambler sees this line of reasoning as a more enduring argument than previous attempts to discredit exchanges, such as the controversial rationale that they contribute nothing to the sports they make their business from.

Archived April 2004.

More denial of service attacks on Bookies.
March 2004.
SportOdds, Canbet and other high profile bookmakers are amongst the latest victims of the spate of denial of service attacks attributed to East European and Russian criminal extortionists.

Interpol is believed to be working on the problem, but the inability of international law enforcement to stop the so called Nigerian scams after so much time raises questions about the efficacy of authorities against this kind of elusive target.

Archived March 2004.

Russian mafia strikes again?
Febuary 2004.
Another denial of service attack that crashed the server of online bookie Gamebookers in mid February bears all the hallmarks of the rash of extortion attempts that have been widely attributed to Russian organised crime. The theory is that rather than allow their sites to be shut down over the lucrative weekend betting period that major online bookies will pay extortion money to criminal gangs. Clearly some companies have not been willing to co-operate. At this rate bookies will end up as objects of sympathy, an unfamiliar role!

Archived March 2004.

Criminal high rollers cause problem for Aussie bookies
January 2004.
In a bizarre case of synchronicity, two major Australian online sports betting and racing bookmakers have been caught up in separate scandals involving high roller embezzlers who gambled away the proceeds of crime in excessively large wagers.

Mark Read's IASbet was forced to make an announcement to the Australian stock exchange after its shares were temporarily suspended following the arrest of a high rolling embezzler who used the Darwin based bookmaker to lose millions of dollars of stolen money. IAS claim to have acted correctly at all times, but possible legal action to recover some or all of the lost money sent IAS shares tumbling.

Meanwhile, the Australian Supreme Court has found that AUD $2.78 million out of AUD $11.5 million stolen and gambled by another dishonest employee must be repaid by another Darwin based bookmaker, Sportingbet Australia. The company is appealing the decision.

In both cases the legal issues revolve around the duty of care on the part of bookies to note any suspicious behaviour on the part of clients that may indicate money laundering activities or the use of stolen money.

Archived March 2004

Industry mergers and takeovers continue
October 2003. Sydney based SportOdds group, the sports betting vehicle of Con and Peter Kafataris, has purchased Centrebet from Jupiters Limited in a further rationalisation of the Australian gaming sector.

Archived January 2004

Mafia linked to bookie problems
October 2003. Canbet and other major online betting websites have been subjected to a spate of denial of service attacks, which have severely disrupted services on occasion. Rumours have surfaced that the attacks are the work of a Russian organised crime syndicate attempting to extract money from online bookmakers
in a cyber equivalent of the old style protection rackets.

Archived January 2004

Proceed to 2005 news archive



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