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Casino website Titan
links up with Spanish casino group, By Lucy Killgren
- 6th Feb 2009
on Friday said it hoped to strengthen its position
in the Hispanic market through the launch of a
three year alliance with Spain’s leading
gaming group, as it reported a steep fall in fourth
quarter revenues from its traditional online gambling
which operates online gaming websites like PartyPoker.com
and PartyCasino.com, said its alliance with Cirsa
Gaming Corporation would enable it to “explore
and develop internet gaming opportunities in Spanish-speaking
29-year-old Cirsa is based in Barcelona and began
as a manufacturer of slot machines. It owns and
operates bingo halls, casinos and amusement arcades
and operates in 70 countries. In Spain, where
it is the market leader, it runs 57 bingo clubs,
four casinos and 139 amusement arcades.
spokesman for PartyGaming said: “Cirsa is
a pretty well-known and trusted name. this is
about us leveraging these brands, like we have
done with ITV.”
Play runs a series of games such as Emmerdale
Bingo, powered by PartyGaming.
said it was in discussion with other well-known
- but unnamed - operators about forming similar
Ryan, chief executive, said: “”We
believe the combination of Cirsa’s assets
with our online gaming expertise will create a
major opportunity for both companies, especially
throughout the Spanish speaking world.”
news of the partnership with Cirsa came as PartyGaming
reported an 18 per cent fall in fourth quarter
revenues. US dollar currency movements, promotions,
tough competition and a delay in the launch of
a loyalty scheme launched in December, had all
taken their toll on revenues
for the three months December 31 fell from $122.4m
to $100.4m. Foreign exchange movements had adversely
impacted revenues in the fourth quarter by about
said on Friday that trading conditions “remained
tough”, but said that while currency movement
had affected revenues, they had had a corresponding
benefit on costs and as a result it expected clean
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation to be slightly ahead of market expectations.
Interactive Entertainment, the Austrian Internet
bookmaker has reiterated forecasts for this and
last year’s core earnings despite a slight
slowdown in growth in the final quarter.
have predicted strong growth for leisure companies
operating in the online space, even in the face
of increased competition as broadband becomes
more widely available across Europe and around
which is in talks with the US Department of Justice
with the aim of settling its US liabilities in
the wake of the crackdown on internet gambling
in 2006, said discussions with the DOJ “continue
to progress in line with our expectations.”
December Anurag Dikshit, co-founder of PartyGaming
pleaded guilty to a single charge of online gambling
and forfeited $300m, an outcome that in effects
ended the liability hanging over him.
slipped 3 per cent in early trade to 163¾p
by mid morning in London.
plans to build casino city, Danny Wood - 27th
parliament in the Spanish region of Aragon is
due to approve a law that would allow the biggest
entertainment and leisure complex in Europe to
Gran Scala project proposes building casino-hotels,
theme parks and a racecourse in countryside near
the village of Ontinena.
The thirteenth century Church of Saint Mary sits
on a hill in the centre of Ontinena, like a beacon
for moral guidance.
Many Roman Catholics would associate casinos with
deadly sins, so the response of Father Lorenzo,
the 80-year-old, bespectacled priest, to plans
to build a city of casinos and theme parks next
to his village, is surprising.
"In general I think it's a good idea,"
"I suppose it could bring economic development.
But moral development, that depends on the individual."
The plans by a company called International Leisure
Development (ILD) to build Spain's answer to Las
Vegas in countryside near Ontinena are strongly
supported by the locals.
One survey found that
more than 80% of the people who live in the region
favour the scheme that would see more than 30
casino hotels, a convention centre, theme parks,
golf courses, a racecourse and a dog track, constructed
on an area of countryside the size of 1,500 football
in the Spanish region of Aragon, is about two
hours drive from Barcelona and has a population
It is bordered by the Monegros Desert and farmland
dedicated to cereal crops.
As he gestures across the countryside where he
hopes this leisure city will rise, Jaime Riera,
an ILD spokesperson, says the owners of the land
are willing to sell and that finding the estimated
$20bn (£14bn) to fund the scheme, even in
the economic crisis, is no problem.
"We have never had problems regarding financing,"
"I am so confident because you can have the
land, you can have the institutional support and
you can have the money, but in this case I think
we have everything to make the cocktail wonderful."
He also has the confidence of the Mayor of Ontinena,
Angel Torres, who does not see the irony when
commenting on the beauty of the countryside, much
of which will be covered in cement if the leisure
city plans go ahead.
mayor has dozens of CVs sent in by people who
hope to be employed if this casino city starts
construction later this year.
"It's a great project and it represents the
future of Ontinena, the region and all Spain,
so the town council is strongly behind it to make
sure it happens as quickly as possible,"
says Mr Torres.
ILD estimates that 200,000 people will be employed
directly or indirectly by its leisure city.
The socialist regional government of Aragon also
supports the project and is backing a law to approve
the project, which is expected to be passed by
the end of June with the support of the opposition
The government says the law would enforce all
the necessary legal guarantees and environmental
controls on the scheme.
There is some opposition to the Gran Scala scheme.
News reports suggest Spain's ombudsman is looking
into the scheme after complaints from Stop Gran
Scala, a collection of community organisations
who say environmental impact studies have been
If the Leisure City goes ahead it will be sitting
alongside the Monegros Desert, a region that suffers
But ILD says its casino city will be a model for
sustainable development and claims there is plenty
An hour away from Ontinena, in the middle of another
parched Spanish plain, lies the city of Zaragoza.
year, the city hosted the World Water Expo that
was all about conserving water resources and promoting
sustainable development. It is unlikely a casino
city like Gran Scala is what they had in mind
as a model.
But if you walk around Ontinena, you will find
many houses in ruins. The population of the village
was 2,000 a century ago; now it is only 600.
Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in Europe
and this isolated region in particular is badly
in need of investment and jobs. Many people see
the proposed leisure city as their best hope for
a brighter future.
In Ontinena's local bar, the elderly men of the
village often pass the time playing cards.
In these humble, smoky surroundings, it is difficult,
but not impossible, to imagine them playing their
game in the halls of one of Gran Scala's hotel-casinos.
or the Kingdom of Spain is a country located in
southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.
The Spanish mainland is bordered to the south
and east almost entirely by the Mediterranean
Sea (except for a tiny land boundary with Gibraltar);
to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of
Biscay; and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean
and Portugal. Spanish territory also includes
the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the
Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African
coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa,
Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco. With an
area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second
largest country in Western Europe (behind France)
and with an average altitude of 650 m, the second
highest country in Europe (behind Switzerland).
is a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary
democracy, and has been a member of the European
Union since 1986. It is a developed country with
the eighth largest economy in the world and fifth
largest in the EU, based on nominal GDP. (Credit:
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