The IMOCA 60 class has always been a hotbed for development but I have to say these latest shots from Christophe Launay (arguably one of the best sailing photographers around) are just stunning and show what a great boat the “new” Hugo Boss is. It’s not actually new – more like revamped – but what a stunning boat!
How We Got Here & Where We’re Going
The United States is about to join Canada and the rest of the world on the greatest expansion of legal gambling since New Hampshire rediscovered the state lottery. But this time, it is going to be online.
We are in the middle of what I call the Third Wave of legal gambling. This is the third time that legal gaming has swept across both Canada and the U.S.
The First Wave started before either country existed. Lotteries in England helped finance the first settlements. In the colonies, government-approved and private lotteries were actively encouraged. But great scandals–mostly privately run lotteries where the operators absconded with the loot–led to lotteries being banned by most state and provincial constitutions.
The Second Wave began with the opening of the Western frontier, where gambling was tolerated, and often expressly authorized. The Civil War devastated the South, and legal gambling is seen as a painless tax. But by the 1890s scandals and a reawakened morality once again led to a crackdown. The Louisiana Lottery, “The Serpent,” led to the first strong U.S. federal anti-lottery laws. By the turn of the 20th century, all state lotteries had been shut down. Casinos and racetracks soon followed. Even Nevada outlawed casino gambling in 1909.
The Third Wave started with the Depression. In 1931 Nevada re-legalized casinos. Every year since, there has been an expansion of legal gambling. Racetracks reopened in the 1930s; low-stakes charity bingo spread in the ‘40s; social games in the ‘50s. Then, in 1963, New Hampshire Legislature authorized the first state lottery of the century, labeled a “Sweepstakes” and tied to horseraces to avoid 70 year-old federal anti-lottery statutes.
U.S. federal laws are designed to help the states enforce their public policies toward gambling. The federal anti-lottery laws were enacted in the 1890s to help states like New York keep out The Serpent. But the prohibitions were so great, states had to ask for exemptions once they started running their own state lotteries.
In 1961, Congress enacted the Wire Act, designed to cut “The Wire,” the telegraph that illegal bookies used to get the results of horseraces before their patrons. Betting on horseraces is obviously legal in many states, so, like the federal anti-lottery statutes, the Wire Act applied to state-legal gambling that crossed state lines.
As with state lotteries, when states started authorizing remote wagering on horseraces, the federal laws had to be changed. Congress first enacted an Interstate Horseracing Act. In December 2000, it amended that Act to expressly allow states to decide for themselves whether they would let their residents bet on races by phone and computer.
There is only one other federal statute that could apply to state-legal gambling. When the State Lotteries of Delaware and Oregon began taking bets on National Football League games, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), preventing new state-authorized sports betting.
The history of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”) is well known: A failing politician, Bill Frist (R.-TN), used his position as Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate to ram through a bill that he hoped would boost his chances to become President. This was in October 2006.
The largest publicly traded company taking online bets from the U.S., PartyGaming, home of Party Poker, believed the UIGEA made their activities illegal. The announcement that it was cutting off its major customer base resulted in a 60% drop in the price of the company’s stock. Other publicly traded online gaming operators were hit as hard: The UIGEA was like a terrorist attack, instantly wiping out more than $7 billion on the London Stock Exchange.
The UIGEA did not actually change any substantive state or federal anti-gambling laws. It did create a new federal crime, but only for operators who were already violating American anti-gambling laws. And it called for new regulations on payment processors.
Those regulations actually turned out to be quite useful for legal businesses, such as skill games, fantasy sports, free alternative means of entry poker and pure intra-state gaming. The last turned out to be the most important.
The federal Department of Justice (“DoJ”) has been waging a war of intimidation against all Internet gambling, but especially Internet poker. But the DoJ is missing the two essentials for a successful prosecution: a statute that clearly makes the activity illegal and a defendant who can be brought to trial in the U.S.
For a statute, the DoJ has been relying upon the Wire Act. Using a law designed for telegraph wires on horseraces against Internet poker is like using stone tools to perform brain surgery: It might work, but it is awfully messy.
The DoJ took the position that the Wire Act covered all forms of gambling, even state-legal gaming, so long as a wire crosses even temporarily into another state. But courts, including a federal Court of Appeal hearing consolidated class actions brought by losing players against MasterCard, ruled that the Wire Act applies only to sports events. And now a new federal statute, the UIGEA, expressly stated that intra-state online gambling is legal under that statute, even if wires cross temporarily into other states.
After the MasterCard decision, Nevada and the American Virgin Islands passed legislation to allow Internet casinos. Nevada regulators went so far as to begin holding hearings. But the DoJ wrote them letters, threatening to arrest any licensee who took a bet online.
At least six states began taking orders for subscription tickets for their state lotteries online. Illinois and New York asked the DoJ whether they could use out of state payment processors. The UIGEA would allow that, since the customer and operator were in the same state. But the DoJ’s interpretation of the Wire Act would not.
In early 2011, state-legal Internet gambling looked like it was going to explode, despite the DoJ and the Wire Act. Caesars Entertainment received permission from Nevada gaming regulators to team up with 888, which had taken poker bets from the U.S. The District of Columbia legalized Internet poker and other games. So, Harry Reid (D.-NV), the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, and Jon Kyl (R.-AZ) the minority whip, wrote the DoJ, asking it to reaffirm its position that the Wire Act made everything illegal.
Two days before Christmas, the DoJ issued a formal announcement that it was reversing its position on the Wire Act. To reconcile the apparent conflict with the UIGEA, prosecutors would from now on limit the Wire Act to sports bets. It therefore would not be a problem for state lotteries to use out-of-state payment processors.
The DoJ had to also know that this reversal meant Reid and Kyl got their answer: There is no federal law preventing any state from authorizing almost any form of intra-state gambling. PASPA still prevents new sports betting, but that is being challenged in the courts by New Jersey.
The gambling must be legal under state law. On April 15, 2011, the DoJ announced the indictment of the principals of the five largest poker sites then taking real money bets from America. But the Wire Act was never mentioned. Instead, the UIGEA and federal organized crime charges were based on violations of New York state anti-gambling laws.
Once a state decides to legalize Internet gambling, there is almost no limit to what it can do. Small states should be able to compact together to create player pools in the millions. Even without a compact, a state could authorize its licensees to accept bets from foreign nations where the betting is legal, such as England.
In March, the Illinois Lottery starting selling individual tickets online: more than $1.14 million the first week. Every lottery is now looking to see whether it can join the three Canadian Lotteries that are already operating Internet poker games. More than half the states allow at-home betting on races. Nevada has two online sports operators, one accepting credit cards, and will start issuing its first Internet poker licenses this summer. Landbased operators are paying outrageous amounts for Internet expertise, while social game companies, like Zynga, are openly saying they want to join.
The question is no longer whether Internet gambling will be made legal, or even when. The question is who is going to ride the Third Wave.
© 2012, I. Nelson Rose. Prof. Rose is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on gambling law, and is a consultant and expert witness for governments and industry. His latest books, Internet Gaming Law (1st and 2nd editions), Blackjack and the Law and Gaming Law: Cases and Materials, are available through his website, www.GamblingAndTheLaw.com.
“IT CAN ONLY BE A QUESTION OF LEADERSHIP”
The media is in its usual frenzy as Roman Abramovich seeks his eighth manager in his eight year reign as the owner of Chelsea Football Club.
“It was a player’s cabal”
“The ugly excess of player power”
“He was only given eight months, surely that’s not long enough?”
We see this situation far too often in the world of business. The new incumbent leader has brilliant credentials, has a strong intellect and it looks like the dream ticket, but something’s clearly wrong.
The top team they have inherited is clearly unsettled and we start to see some resignations, some firings, and a wholesale drop in morale.
The new leader is adamant that they have the correct blueprint, and more importantly the backing of the Board of Directors. They will not be denied.
We would say that perhaps the most underestimated competency that a new leader needs to bring to the party is perhaps the aura of being ‘easy to do business with’, not intellect or strategy!
Think culture not strategy.
The ten things that AVB perhaps got wrong:
1. Far too many of his press conferences were all about him and HIS project – it would have served him better if he talked about the great players, the great fans and the great club. It doesn’t help to alienate your stakeholders at every opportunity you get.
You need them more than they need you.
2. He should know better than anyone that age doesn’t matter, its talent that counts. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are 5/6 years older than any of Chelsea’s stalwarts but are still contributing magnificently. And Abramovich was prepared to give AVB a chance despite being only 33 years old.
In the final analysis the elder statesmen he severely alienated were the same people he became dependent on to save his career.
3. Every player who made a genuine mistake on the pitch was summarily dropped. From Lampard, Anelka, Alex, Romeu, Torres, Essien, Malouda, Kalou and even his own recent signing, Cahill. Some never came back; others sat festering, not even making the bench. This is no way to build team spirit and it was obvious they felt isolated and humiliated.
4. Standing on the side-lines at every game, whistling and shouting at all the players with sharp instructions and feedback, which clearly should have been communicated long before the game started.
It is clear he was a micro-manager who wanted to make every decision, and call every tactic and this was never going to work given his lack of people skills and a lack of exposure/experience at the senior levels of the game.
5. He was certainly a radical moderniser but as we all know the four most powerful words in any organisation are ‘what do you think?’
Just by being human and humble enough to elicit the opinions of those around him would have gone a long way into keeping many on board. Instead, he lost all ‘corporate memory’ and any goodwill, whilst attempting to stamp his authority.
6. The moment he declared publicly that he didn’t need ‘the backing or favour of his players’, he was clearly sunk. He certainly didn’t need their approval, but he needed to get them ‘on the bus’ but he either didn’t care or didn’t know how.
7. Some recent outbursts against the media highlighted his inexperience, his naivety and his hubris. By starting to blame the media, they helped create a feeling of ‘death row’ and he became ‘dead man walking’. It became only a matter of time.
8. The petulant and harsh dropping of three of his star players, in probably the most important and public match of his reign against Napoli in the Champions League backfired spectacularly.
It felt like he was ‘stamping his feet’, and staring down the very people who could deliver his salvation.
He would later call them back into the team – and win, and drop them again!
9. He ‘rode into town’ declaring for all to hear that everything his mentor and previous boss, José Mourinho had achieved at Chelsea was now outdated and wrong. In one fell swoop he was making a huge statement, and ensured there would be many eyes watching and waiting to see what he could deliver or not.
10. Finally, ‘never bite the hand that feeds you’. It was obvious that Roman Abramovich was trying to give him as much support as he possibly could. It would never be vocal, and it would never be public, but it was certainly there. Once AVB started to pine for public backing it was clear that even he had lost belief in himself.
Never follow a tough act into a leadership role, unless you are prepared for the toughest of rides. Charm, listening skills and honouring the past are key ingredients of success.
His predecessor Carlo Ancellotti was revered and loved by all, but AVB never mentioned his name or paid homage to the great legacy he inherited. It was far too much about his inherent ability. He ‘made his bed’.
Having recently had lunch with Dr Adrian Atkinson, Chairman of Human Factors International and my favourite business psychologist one of his many telling insights was “emotional intelligence is really not much more than great interpersonal skills.”
Now many may argue at the margins but he makes a terrific point.
“Good leaders create followers, great leaders create leaders”.
Time to ask ourselves the straight and unavoidable question -
“Why should anyone be led by you?”
Maxi trimaran Banque populaire has smashed the round-the-world record, completing a circumnavigation from France to France in 45 days, 13 hours and 42 minutes.
The 40m trimaran screamed around the world with average 620 mile days – truly exhilirating! Having had the good fortune to cross the Atlantic on a smaller trimaran I speak from experience when I guess that all the crew are at the same time excited, exhilirated and more than a bit happy to have made it back in one piece!
The Jules Verne record was named after the book “Around the world in 80 days” at a time when it seemed unlikely to be possible to achieve a circumnavigation that fast. Here we are nearly twice as fast not more than 30 years since the original 80 day record tumbled.
Now we just wait for a foiler such as Hydroptere to take it to a new level …
Renewing domain names is a commercial transaction heavily weighted in the seller’s favour. When your domain name expires you cannot reactivate it except through your exitsing registry for up to 4 months, and of course you stand the risk of losing the domain name.
I recently had some domain names come up for renewal at Eurodns. The domain names actually expire on 6 January (tomorrow), but I got a number of emails from Eurodns warning about expiry and soliciting my renewal fees stating that the renewal was due 31 December. As I was away I checked the actual expiry date (using whois at network solutions), saw that it expired 6 January and chose to renew on the 2 January when I was back in the office.
Eurodns then chose to charge me Euro 25 per domain name (there were a number of them) for “reactivation”. Their rationale is that they have a cost to reactivate a domain name. Given that the domain names had not yet expired I queried this from their support. Their response was “The expiration date at eurodns is not the same as the expiration date at the registry. The expiration date at eurondns is the one indicated in your domain list “renew before”. As already explained to you there is always a difference between the expiration date at eurodns and at the registry, which varies depending on the tld extension. This is necessary in order to make sure that we can renew the domain.”
I find this “explanation” to be simply bullshit. What they are doing is extorting “reactivation” fees from customers when they are left with no alternative. At this stage you have no alternative – its lose the domain name or be ripped off.
I have not had this treatment at any other registry. Shame on you Eurodns!
Had to share this video – all the crashes from the final day in Plymouth of the prelim america’s cup series. There are a number if tit-bits one can take away from this:
- The wings will break if you fall through them
- These boats are GREAT FUN!!!
- I can’t imagine how a similar scenario in the eventual 90 foot versions will pan out – consider falling throught he wing from 50 ft in the air rather than 20 foot on these things
- The wing provides a handy bit of floatation which stops them going completely upside down
- You need lots of money for repairs when you sail in these conditions on these fragile boats
The last point got me thinking. It would be awesome to have a large multi with wingmast for long trips – in theory would be way quicker than the current record holders. Problem is – are they manageable in extreme conditions? On the balance at the moment the answer would seem to be no, but no doubt over time more technology and ideas will surface and perhaps that will change.
I am finding the current slant on the AC to provide entertaining watching (particularly in these conditions) and it would seem a more open playing field (think “overtaking” in Formula 1). We dont have domination by any one team which bodes well for an interesting AC – unless one team gets a far superior big boat to the others.
Not really a topic that I would normally post about, but I like creatures of the sea and this is a cool video. Seems this whale got tangled in a fishing net and these guys managed to free it – with the whale providing a nice “Sea World” type experience at the end.
I ran over a whale once on a transatlantic trip on a small sailing trimaran. Thankfully neither the whale nor I was injured, but I think we were both equally shocked by the encounter! They are rather large and solid – I wouldn’t have liked to have hit the whale with a keelboat. Luckily I was running downwind and had my centerboard up so the tri just bounced off the whake who then serviced at the stern and gave me a beady eye look!
Team Alinghi showed just how much damage can be done with a small miscalculation in the ferocious Extreme 40 Catamarans when they misjudged a duck around the stern of starboard tack Team Extreme in the recent Istanbul round of the series.
With damage so severe that the Team Extreme boat is a near right-off – the Extreme team can be forgiven for being more than a bit pissed off with the seemingly light sentence handed down in the post race protest meeting. Having said that, it is this author’s opinion that the accident could have been hard to avoid given that Alinghi’s rudders were practically out of the water at the time so steerage would have been tricky!
The really interesting thing will be to see if this classic catamaran nosediving tendency carries forward to the Americas cup boats. So far they have seemed to be more buoyant in the bow but I am not sure they are really pushing them yet. For sure what will make for exciting sailing is the speed of these machines – the 45s will be way faster than the extreme 40s and the AC90 will be beyond extreme!
Bring it on!!
With close on 500 boats the Tour de Belle-Ile is the second largest sailing event in France by number of boats. Here are a few selections of the great photos of this event from Christophe Launay – one of the world’s premier sailing photographers. To get prints of these or many other fine pictures from this event visit his site at www.sealaunay.com.
This year the 77-foot maxi tri Gitana 11 broke the record for the 41 nautical miles round trip journey in 2 hours and 42 minutes with Seb Josse at the helm, although they were nearly overtaken at the end by Lionel Lemonchois on the Irens Multi 50 trimaran Prince De Bretagne.
First monohull was the VOR 70 Groupama with a journey time of 3 hours and 23 minutes.
The following article appeared in the daily Scuttlebutt email this morning. Very relevant for my pet topic – sailing multihulls – so I have reproduced it here. I think its probably unlikely but it would be really great to have an 18 foot version of the AC boats (see the pictures in the previous article) for the olympics. It puts this radical new technology into the reach of the average you and me – Yee HA!!!!
With the selection of events to be decided in the next few days in St Petersburg, the multihullers look set to get back in for 2016, with every submission put forward having either one or two multihulls on the slate. Given that the most likely outcome is a mixed multihull, the main topic of discussion in St Petersburg is what to do between now and November 2012 when the decision on the boat to be sailed and which class should be chosen for 2016. Given that there is only one multihull, it is extremely difficult to cover the whole spectrum of multihull sailing, so ISAF needs to decide if they want a simple “Laser equivalent” boat, or a high tech “49er equivalent”. Going the simple route would guarantee a large number of new nations would have a shot at Olympic selection, while the high tech route could catapault sailing into the 21st century.
After each Olympics, the IOC presents their Gold Rings Award to the sport that provided the best TV coverage of the Games, and in 2008, in a huge surprise to everyone, this went to sailing. Given all the negative comments about suitability of sailing for TV, this was a great achievement and a huge coup for ISAF. The way the award is decided is that the IOC Broadcast division put together a highlights package for each sport and these are then judged by an independant panel. The highlights package for sailing was put together exclusively on the Tornado medal race, with a mix of onboard, helicopter, boat level and tracking graphics. So the class that provided ISAF with it’s greatest media coup was immediately dumped from the event lineup. However this then provides the opportunity to upgrade the boat, much the same as the Flying Dutchman being dropped for 1996, and replaced by the much more modern 49er in 2000.
As for classes, the following are the likely candidates and a few fors and againsts for each one. With the multihull likely to be a mixed disciplines, one of the key aspects of choosing the boat will be whether the design dictates that the skipper could be either the male or the female member of the crew.
Everyone in the multihull fraternity agrees the Olympic Mulithull should be a twin trapeze boat, true one design (so no development costs) with spinnaker. The only real discussions have been about whether it should be a 16, 18 or 20 foot boat, with most likely boats being an F16 such as the Viper, an F18 one design such as the Hobie Tiger, or the 20 foot Tornado or Nacra. However, a very recent addition into the mix is a proposal from the design team behind the America’s Cup multihulls to design an AC18 with either a soft sail, or preferably a wing mast. So as of today, the most likely candidates for selection in November 2012 are:
* An F16 design – such as the Viper. Most inexpensive, loads would allow a female to be either skipper or crew. Other manufacturers such as Nacra likely to have an F16 soon.
* An F18 design – such as Hobie Tiger. Well established class and dealer networks for all major F18s, heavy boat, would probably mean skipper has to be female. Would mean instant Olympic fleet by many countries and probably the largest number of boats attempting to qualify.
* Tornado – Well established Olympic boat. Needs to work on one design issues. Longevity of platform keeps costs down, but development costs of rigs made it unpopular with not enough countries willing to campaign. Skipper would almost certainly have to be female.
* Nacra 20 – New kid on the block. Manufacturer class, so race it straight out of the box. Skipper almost certainly female.
* AC18 – New design, with a wing mast. One of the advantages of a wing mast are that the loads are significantly less, so skipper could be male or female.
There will no doubt be more information about the AC18 in the forthcoming months, but this look a very exciting project – on that will provide a very clear career path for sailors from the Olympic Games to America’s Cup and bring the sports two premier events closer together. What does remain to be seen is how many countries are prepared to take the step on campaigning such a high-tech boat.