Monday, October 02, 2006

NFL Bettors: Online Gambling Given Death Sentence By US Government

PartyGaming, Sportingbet Plunge on U.S. Gambling Law (Update8)
By Neil Craven - BLOOMBERG

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Shares of PartyGaming Plc, Sportingbet Plc and 888 Holdings Plc plummeted, wiping out $7 billion of market value, after Congress passed laws to shut down Internet gambling in the U.S.

Legislation to prevent credit-card companies from collecting payments for bets was approved Sept. 30 in the closing hours of the congressional session, the culmination of a U.S. clampdown on online gaming. PartyGaming, the world's biggest Internet poker company, will stop taking wagers from its 900,000 American players. Its stock lost 58 percent of its value.

``The U.S. government has found a way to make life almost impossible'' for gambling Web sites, said Philippe Gijsels, senior equity strategist at Fortis Bank SA's private investment unit in Brussels, which manages $62 billion. The companies ``will have to regroup and rethink their business model,'' he said.

The U.S. accounts for about half of the $12 billion Internet gambling market and considers the industry illegal. PartyGaming is among more than 2,000 offshore companies operating poker and sports-betting Web sites. Authorities have detained British executives of Web bookmakers visiting the U.S., including David Carruthers of Betonsports Plc, who was charged by a federal grand jury in July with illegal interstate gambling.

Gibraltar-based PartyGaming, which trades in London, got more than four-fifths of its sales from the U.S. last year.

``This development is a significant setback for our company, our shareholders, our players and our industry,'' PartyGaming Chief Executive Officer Mitch Garber said in a statement.

Shares Tumble

PartyGaming shares slid 62 pence to 45 pence in London. It was the biggest decliner in the U.K.'s benchmark FTSE 100 Index.

``This bill was having trouble getting through Congress so a lot of investors thought this was not going to happen,'' said Brian Tora, investment director at Gerrard Ltd. in London. ``Suddenly no one really knows how much these companies are going to make in terms of profit.''

The measure, added to unrelated legislation providing $3.4 billion for port security, was passed before Congress recesses to campaign for the Nov. 7 elections.

``I can't believe they actually managed to get it through,'' said Jamie Coleman, who holds PartyGaming shares among the $550 million he helps manage at EFG Wealth Management in London. ``I'm pretty damn shocked, and I'm pretty damn shocked at the way they went about doing it as well.''

U.S. President George W. Bush will sign the bill into law, said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore. No date has been set for the signing.

Bank Regulations

``Internet gambling has been illegal since the inception of the Internet, but there has been no way to enforce it,'' Representative James Leach, an Iowa Republican, said Sept. 30. By making it ``illegal to use a financial instrument to settle an Internet wager,'' Congress is ``putting responsibility on the financial community,'' Leach said.

The legislation directs the Federal Reserve and Department of Justice to issue regulations within nine months to banks establishing policies and procedures for blocking transactions.

``There was an assumption tied into the price of these stocks that the legislation was not going to make it through,'' said Paul Leyland, an analyst at Arbuthnot Securities in London. Unless Congress can ensure the act will be policed, ``this could very quickly transpire to be a toothless piece of legislation,'' he added. ``The devil of all this will be in the detail.''

Poker Industry

The American Gaming Association, which represents casino operators based in Las Vegas and elsewhere, had asked Congress to fund a commission that would study whether online gambling can be regulated and taxed in the U.S. The lobby group's hope is a study may eventually let major casino operators such as MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment Inc. enter the online business.

Harrah's, the world's largest casino operator, today said it received a $15.1 billion takeover offer from Apollo Management LP and Texas Pacific Group.

PartyGaming controlled about 50 percent of the online poker market at the start of this year. Its PartyPoker site is the world's largest online poker gaming venue with about 38 percent of the market in December 2005, three times more than its nearest rival, it has said.

Founder's Losses

The company was founded by a group including Anurag Dikshit, PartyGaming's former operations director, in 1997. With 1.5 billion shares, or 29 percent of the equity, he remains the company's biggest investor, the company said. Today's plunge wiped out about 700 million pounds from his holdings, according to Bloomberg calculations.

PartyGaming's IPO made Dikshit the 207th richest person in the world in 2006, according to Forbes magazine's web site.

The poker industry has grown as events including the World Series of Poker encourage more people to play games such as Texas Hold'em online. According to research company Christensen Capital Advisors, online poker grew to a $1 billion business in 2004 from $90 million in 2002.

PartyGaming sold shares to the public in June 2005. It said in its prospectus that the Justice Department ``considers that companies offering online gaming to U.S. residents are in violation of existing federal laws'' and that investors may lose their money if the company is banned from the U.S.

`Devastating Loss'

888 said suspending its U.S. operations will have a ``material adverse impact'' on earnings. Chief Operating Officer Gigi Levy said on a conference call that about half the company's revenue comes from U.S. clients. Its stock dropped 38.25 pence, or 26 percent, to 108.25 pence today.

``We will step up a gear in terms of looking at the rest of the world,'' said 888 Chief Executive Officer John Anderson. ``It's a devastating loss. Most of the rest of the world is quite sensible in terms of regulation. If you look at the prohibition of booze in the U.S., gangsters made a lot of money from that.''

Sportingbet tumbled 64 percent to 66 pence. The company today said the U.S. rules prompted it to abandon talks to buy World Gaming Plc, whose shares slid 76 percent today. Former Sportingbet Chairman Peter Dicks, facing extradition to Louisiana, was set free last week by New York authorities.

There were 23 online gaming-related stocks on London's Alternative Investment Market at the end of August.

Empire Online Ltd., whose online gambling brands include Club Dice, fell 16.5 pence, or 25 percent, to 50.5 pence. Leisure & Gaming Plc, whose brands include VIPsports, lost 75 percent to 9.75 pence in London. NETeller Plc, a U.K. provider of money transfers for Internet gaming, fell 215 pence, or 61 percent, to 140 pence.

Excapsa Software Inc., a Toronto-based maker of software for gambling Web sites, slid 71 percent to 13 pence in London. CryptoLogic Inc., another Canadian maker of online gambling software, was 15 percent lower in Toronto as European stock markets closed.

Playtech Ltd. a British Virgin Islands-based gaming-software developer, tumbled 41 percent to 145.75 pence. Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG slid 35 percent in Vienna.

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Craven in London at .

Last Updated: October 2, 2006 12:09 EDT

Albert Haynesworth - Suspended for Five Games - ESPN

Haynesworth suspended for unprecedented five games news services

The NFL has handed down a lengthy five-game suspension to Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth for kicking Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode in the head.

That length of suspension represents the biggest on-field disciplinary action in league history. Charles Martin held the previous high for a suspension, sitting two games for his bodyslam of Bears quarterback Jim McMahon on Nov. 23, 1986.

"This is an unprecedented suspension. I feel like his actions on the field were also unprecented," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

"I felt there needed to be some serious action taken from a discipline standpoint, and I think what the league has done now is adequate."

The suspension will cost Haynesworth $190,070 -- or one-seventeenth of his 2006 base salary of $646,251.

"I think five games, five paychecks is substantial," Fisher said.

The suspension takes effect immediately. Haynesworth can return on Nov. 19 for the Titans' game at Philadelphia.

"There is absolutely no place in the game, or anywhere else, for the inexcusable action that occurred in yesterday's Titans-Cowboys game," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

Haynesworth was contrite after the incident.

"I apologize to Andre," he said Sunday. "What I did was disgusting. It's something that should never happen. I mean, I'm not a dirty player. I don't play dirty. I have respect for the game. What I feel like is I disgraced the game, disgraced my team and disgraced my last name."

Julius Jones had just scored on a 5-yard run, putting Dallas up 20-6 in what wound up as a 45-14 victory. Gurode's helmet came off, and Haynesworth, standing over him, used his right foot to kick Gurode in the head.

Gurode said they hadn't been talking or having any exchanges that led to Haynesworth kicking him twice. He received stitches above his forehead and beneath his eye.

"In all my years of football, this has never happened to me. I've never been kicked in the face like this, and I've never seen anybody kick nobody else in the face," Gurode said.

"What I did was disgusting," the Titans' Albert Haynesworth said of his stomp on Cowboys center Andre Gurode's face.
A flag was thrown, and Haynesworth followed an official toward the Titans' sideline, protesting.

Haynesworth pulled off his helmet and slammed it to the ground, prompting another flag. Referee Jerome Boger disqualified Haynesworth, and the player walked off the field after talking briefly with Fisher.

"It's ridiculous to get to that point. Two back-to-back penalties like that, there's no place for it," Fisher said.

Gurode didn't play the rest of the second half.

"This vision was kind of blurry in my left eye," he said. "If it was clear, I would have tried to come back in to play."

The Associated Press and's John Clayton contributed to this report.

State Farm / NFL Sponsorship Press Release -

Mia Jazo-Harris Matt Hill
State Farm Insurance® National Football League
(309) 766-5242 (212) 450-2080



Nation’s #1 Auto Insurer Teams with the Most Recognized Sports Property in the U.S.

Bloomington, Ill. and New York, October 2, 2006 – State Farm® and the NFL announced today a three-year sponsorship agreement. This marks the first time that the nation’s largest insurer of homes and automobiles has joined forces with the nation’s most popular sport. The three-year agreement presents State Farm with numerous marketing and advertising incentives, the opportunity to leverage the NFL brand, as well as the firstever presenting sponsorship of the NFL Pro Bowl beginning with the 2007 game.

“This sponsorship of the NFL allows State Farm to communicate through a channel that reaches millions of people and has an incredibly loyal fan base,” said Mark Gibson, assistant vice president - advertising, State Farm. “With this alliance, State Farm is able to leverage the power of the NFL, and effectively reinforce its message that it is committed to being customers’ first and best choice.”

The partnership agreement also includes trademark rights, broadcast and online media elements, and title sponsorship of “NFL Match Up,” a weekly program that provides an in-depth analysis of the weekend’s best games. State Farm plans to support the NFL partnership with an integrated marketing plan including national advertising, consumer marketing programs, and on-line promotion.

"We are pleased to welcome State Farm to our roster of sponsors," said Peter Murray, NFL VP of partnership marketing and corporate sales. "We look forward to working with State Farm on year-round marketing programs, including the presenting sponsorship of one of our fans' favorite events, the Pro Bowl."

State Farm continues to pursue unique opportunities in the marketing arena. In the past year, State Farm has expanded its front-line sponsorships to include NASCAR drivers Jeff Burton and Reed Sorenson; USA Basketball; USSA Snowboarding, and Disney-Pixar’s smash hit, “CARS.” State Farm is also an official corporate sponsor of the NCAA. By teaming with the NFL, the number one sport in the U.S., State Farm can further extend its brand to new audiences.

More information about State Farm and the National Football League can be found at and

About State Farm

State Farm® insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer.
State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve over 74 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the
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Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No.22 on the Fortune 500
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# # #

Albert Haynesworth - Video Of Stomping v. Cowboys

This is a video showing the play and the stomping incident involving the Titans Albert Haynesworth. It's not a pretty thing to see.


President Bush and Staff Fired Colin Powell - Terrible Treatment Of A Hero

This video and the Washington Post article this post is linked to explain how former Secretary of State Colin Powell was fired by the Bush Administration. I've long believed that Condelessa Rice was stabing Powell in the back in her own quest for power. Why do I think this? Because she allowed herself to be the person who took Powell's place.

Vice President Cheney, Andrew Card, Donald Rumsfeld, and other plotted to take down Colin Powell because he was a more popular figure than Bush and the only voice of reason who could have kept the United States out of this mess that is the Iraq War.

But what these people did was apparently set up false intelligence and used Powell to present it. Terrible.

The Washington Post article is a must-read. In it, Powell's reported to have said that the President didn't seem to know why Powell was in what turned out to be his farewell meeting. That's an old trick sociopathic politician and public official play. I've worked for some of them. President Bush knew all along. Bet on it.

Albert Haynesworth - Expresses Outrage

Albert Haynesworth did appologize, but one has to wonder just what the hell was going through his head to do something like that?

POSTED 12:32 a.m. EDT, October 2, 2006


We've received a flood of e-mails this evening from readers who were astounded by the gross display of criminal violence that played out on LP Field Sunday afternoon.

For those of you who missed it, Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth stomped on the face of Cowboys center Andre Gurode, opening a gash that per published reports required 30 stitches to close. We've finally seen the entire video -- despite reports that Gurode's helmet came off, it's clear the Haynesworth had a role in forcibly removing it. And then Haynesworth put his cleats on Gurode's head not once but twice.

It's possible that Gurode had been holding Haynesworth all afternoon or, as we've heard about other centers, grabbing Haynesworth's frank and beans during and/or after plays. Regardless, Haynesworth's actions were beyond anything that should occur on a football field, and he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

In order to ensure that this one doesn't get brushed under the rug by the powers-that-be in Tennessee, we encourage all concerned readers to make your voices heard.

How, you aks? By contacting the chief law enforcement official directly:

Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III
District Attorney General
Washington Square, Suite 500
222 2nd Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37201-1649
Phone (615) 862-5500
Fax (615) 862-5599

We'll post the text of the letter we send. Ideally, readers in Nashville (i.e., voters) will send in their own.

UPDATE: Thanks to a reader who explored the web site a bit more carefully than we did, there's a page that allows a crime to be reported. Why don't we all fill the thing out and send it in? (We just did.)

Meanwhile, we've found something in the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy that, in theory, permits the league to jettison Haynesworth, if it so chooses. In a provision addressing "Persons Engaged in Violent Activity in the Workplace," the Policy states that "[c]riminal conduct in the workplace or against other employees is prohibited," and that "[a]ny Covered Person who commits or threatens violent acts against co-workers, regardless of whether an arrest is made or criminal charges are brought, shall be subject to evaluation, counseling and discipline, including termination from employment."

Including termination from employment.

Think about it. If you stand up right now and go over to the guy who makes that weird sound when he sips his coffee, throw him to the ground, and jam your shoe repeatedly on his face until he has a 30-stitch gash, your ass would be fired before they even start cleaning the blood off of the carpet.

So why should Haynesworth get a pass? Violence is violence. "Losing it" on a football field is no different than "losing it" in a factory. And if a guy loses it in that manner, he should lose his job -- just like your or I would.

He also should go to jail. Just like you or I would.

To the new Commissioner, we say that this is a prime opportunity to put your own thumbprint on the league just as plainly as your signature is on the official game ball. Don't call Paul Tagliabue and ask him what he would have done. This atmosphere of tolerance festered on his watch.

Instead, you should set your jaw, clench your teeth, and fire Albert Haynesworth.

Will the union make a fuss? If they do, who cares? If they want to come off as soft on such serious issues at a time when the league is becoming a spin-off of America's Most Wanted, let 'em.

Besides, as Gene Upshaw and company wrestle with advocating the rights of a guy who'd already be a license plate specialist but for his God-given size and skills, what about the rights of Andre Gurode?

It's easy for other players to side with their union brothers in disputes against "the man." In this specific case, however, the players are more likely to identify with the victim than with the perpetrator.

And the one thing we can guarantee is that, if Haynesworth isn't fired, something like what he did on Sunday eventually will happen again.

Mark Foley - A Simple Reminder That No One's What You Think They Are

For some reason, I'm not surprised that this story about Rep. Mark Foley came out. No, not because I know him. Never met the man. But because it's yet another reminder that no one really is who we think they are. Moreover, the more we try to hide who we really are, the more likely the truth's going to see the light of day.

It also reminds me of a conversation I had with a special friend I was having dinner with about just under a month ago. I explained that I don't use another name in my Internet communications, and that I'm open because I think 1) its the best way to protect my identity, 2) if I did hide information about my identity, one way or another the truth would come out, and 3) if I were hiding it would be because I didn't want to be discovered doing something I should not have done. So, the answer is be open in ones actions.

Now if Foley were such a person, he'd never send such emails to 16-year old congressional pages. Yikes! But he elected to do something for which he never thought he'd get caught. Well, he did.

It's not a happy story. I hope Foley gets the help he obviously needs.