World Class Attractions and Cuisines Not to Miss in Singapore

Singapore lies South-East of Asia, at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. It is a beautiful city that is also known as the Garden City, the Lion City, and the Red Dot. With its Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, and the Merlion, Singapore is known for its world-famous attractions. The towering skyscrapers make the city one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Here are some Singapore travel tips that will make it easy for you to tour around the city.

1. Universal Studios Singapore

Don’t miss visiting Universal Studios, which is a theme park within the Sentosa Island. Some of the activities to enjoy here are 24 rides, attractions, and shows in seven zones. As you Ride the Movies on roller coasters, you will get a feeling of a thrilling world.

The world of entertainment brings the silver screen to life, helping you immerse yourself in seven zones including Hollywood, New York, Madagascar, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away and Sci-Fi City. Universal Studios is popular for the 4D Shrek fairy-tale of the Duloc and its quipster dwellers. In the movie and film studios, you will enjoy blockbuster films like DreamWorks, Giant Journey, Battlestar Galactica, and Tweaker Bell.

Beyond the movies, you will have an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular fireworks displays during the holidays and on weekends, street entertainment as well as shows from award-winning performers.

2. Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is very popular as a tourist destination. It receives over twenty million visitors every year. You will enjoy taking a walk along the 1.5 mile-long sheltered beach, playing some golf at the golf course, visiting the Merlion, the Resorts, and the theme park.

Sentosa is a word that translates as peace and tranquility, just what you are bound to get while visiting here. If you are looking for a thrilling adventure or a relaxed atmosphere, Sentosa is the place to go. While in Sentosa you can visit the following attractions for even more adventure:

  • Skyline Luge Sentosa

It is a fun-filled adventure activity suitable for riders of all ages and experience levels making it ideal for the entire family. (A luge is a light toboggan for one or two people, ridden in a sitting or supine position and it is a unique wheeled-gravity ride that gives riders full control over their descent on purpose-built tracks.) The Skyline Luge provides an outdoor experience on the Dragon and Jungle trails during the day and at night. From various points you will also enjoy the spectacular view of the Singapore coastline and Sentosa Island.

  • Singapore Merlion

Singapore Merlion is the iconic Merlion which is often used as a symbol of Singapore. It is a mythical creature that is half fish, and half lion. It is symbolic in nature to Singaporeans and is used to represent the city and her people in sports teams, branding tourism, and advertising.

  • Sentosa Express

Enjoy a ride on the monorail line that connects Sentosa Island to the Sentosa Mainland. It makes stops at the Sentosa Station, Waterfront Station, Imbia Station, Beach Station, and Imbiah station. The Waterfront station is where Universal Studios and Resorts World Sentosa are located. At the Beach station, you can enjoy the New Year countdown beach party. The Beach Station is home to the Siloso, Palawan, and Tanjong beaches, ideal for family leisure activities.

3. Singapore Flyer

Towering at 165 meters, the flyer is the largest Giant Observation Wheel in the world. It will leave you with memories that you never want to forget. The Singapore Flyer was designed by Singapore DP Architects and Dr Kisho Kurokawa. It was launched in 2008, and it offers a sensational view that captures the Marina Bay skyline. From the flyer, you can catch a glimpse of the neighboring countries of Indonesia and Malaysia.

4. Marina Bay Sands Skypark

You have not had an adventure in Singapore until you have dined, taken photos, and shopped at the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. It is a world-class cityscape, with some architectural wonders. The vibrant, colorful gardens by the bay are sceneries you cannot afford to miss. Look out for the following:

  • Observation deck

From the observation deck, you will enjoy a bird’s eye view of the bustling shipping lanes that tell of the rich multicultural history of Singapore.

  • Swimming Pool

The infinity swimming pool makes you feel as though you are floating on top of the world’s largest rooftop. The pool gazes down on the glittering skyline, and if you miss taking a photo here, you will have missed the most spectacular photo-taking session in the whole of Singapore.

  • Spectra – Light and Water Show

A free-to-public show that displays the effects of water and light crisscrossing each other’s paths. It is presented at the Event Plaza along the promenade, and as this spectacular show begins, some beautiful symphonic music will give you a warm embrace. The 15-minute combination of water, light, fountain jets, visual projectors and music is something you do not want to miss.

  • Casino

If you are a casino lover, while still at the Marina Bay Sands, make sure you visit the most remarkable entertainment joint located at the heart of the CBD of Singapore. As a tourist you can enter for free by showing your passport (Singapore residents need to pay $100 Singapore to enter!). You will be awed by the over 600 gambling tables and treated to free drinks.

5. Merlion Park

The national icon for Singapore is the Merlion, (mythical half-fish, half-lion) situated at the waterfront in Merlion Park. It is a symbol of the humble beginnings when the city was just a fishing village known as Temasek, or sea town. The head represents the city’s original name, Singapura or Lion City. The statue stands at approximately 9 meters and weighs over 70 tons. It is a must-see for visitors, and its current location is in front of the Fullerton Hotel (5 Star Hotel converted from the Singapore General Post Office building) after its relocation during the construction of the Esplanade Bridge that blocked its view in 1997.

6. Esplanade

The Esplanade is a waterfront location north of the source of the Singapore River. The scenic Esplanade has a plethora of activities that will keep you occupied, especially if you are not in a hurry to leave for home. It is infected by palpable creative art displays near the entrance. World-class performances are staged here every day.

The shows bring different cultures together, cutting across various genres. Catch a concert by great westerners like the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra or Kuo Pao Kun of the Singapore Chinese theatre. Once in a while, you will enjoy free programs from dance to theatre, all taking place at the Esplanade.

Visitors to the site are also attracted by the scenic outdoor view. It overlooks the Singapore River and stands between the Merlion Park and the Singapore Flyer. Here stands the Esplanade theatre that is 60,000 square meters big, where performing arts are held. The concert hall seats 1,600 and the theatre has a capacity of 2,000.

The design of the building is made up of two rounded space frames that have triangulated glass elements fitted to balance outwards views. The outward appearance of the building looks like a durian head. Other facilities available are recital studio and the theatre studio.

7. Chinatown

Squeeze some time in to visit Chinatown in Singapore and relish the colorful Peranakan shop-houses and myriad of historical attractions that make for an excellent stroll. Chinatown is divided into four main sections known as districts which are; Tanjong Pagar, Telk Ayer, Kreta, and Bukit Pasoh. The primary centers of activities are Pagoda Street and Smith Street. Paroda Street can be accessed through the China MRT Station.

If you are interested in learning about Buddhism, visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is the biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore, located in the Chinatown district. It was built in 2007, and the interiors richly exhibit the history of Buddhism and its culture over the past 100 years. The temple got its name from the canine tooth of the Maitreya Buddha, which was recovered during his funeral in Kushinagar in India.

8. Little India

Little India is in the heart of Singapore, near Chinatown. It is immersed in a buzzing neighborhood that is bent on awakening all your senses. The multicolored shop-houses, the pungent food aromas that rent the air when demand for food is at its peak, the spiritual chants from the mosques and temples, and the smiles are what make the town lively and warm. It is a must-visit kind of city.

Serangoon road is where the summary of all adventure is, just on the northeast side of the Financial District. Little India has the best hotels at the lowest rates, the best places to eat, and the cheapest shops from which to buy souvenirs. Other must-visit locations are:

  • Tekka Centre

A landmark in Chinatown known for serving large portions of fresh Indian food. It is located on Serangoon road, a major road stretching from Little India to Kallang.

  • Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

It is one of the oldest temples, and is the focus of early Indian Social Cultural activities. It is also located along Serangoon Road. It is dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess.

  • Campbell Lane

It is at the end of Serangoon Road and is mostly used by pedestrians. The spillover of sounds and sights make it a challenge to remain focused on the road. Enjoy the souvenir shops, worship buildings like the Sri Krishna temples, and interesting eateries at this lane that knows no vehicle disturbance.

9. Clarke Quay

The handful of excellent restaurants in Clarke Quay and the surrounding Riverside area are an excellent choice for dining by the edge of the waters any time of the day. Once done with your delicious meal, you can cruise the Singapore River, especially at night, for more splendor.

Old colonial shop-houses and moored junks of Clarke Quay have been beautifully converted into restaurants, chic pubs, and nightclubs. Slightly west of Clarke Quay is Robertson Quay, which has more of the same features as Clarke Quay, but is more tranquil and relaxed. If you can find your way to the mouth of the river, you will find delight in the monuments and architecture of colonial Singapore. Be sure to visit the Singapore River, Trace Club, Zouk, and the beautiful luxury Singapore hotels.

The street performance up the Singapore River has made Clarke Quay a dining and party destination that is home to many of the nightlife institutions that are very much loved by the locals. The G-Max Reverse Bungee is a jump in the reverse direction soaring into the city’s skyline that will leave you with a thrilling urge for more adventure.

10. LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND is located in Malaysia, which is not very far away from Singapore. It is about 50 minutes’ drive from Singapore, through the Second Lin Expressway. However, on a normal working day it will take about one and a half hours by road. Your adventure starts right at the entrance where there is a big shop that offers a great selection of Logo toy products. It is known as the land of adventure and miniland.

You will be surprised to know that LEGOLAND was constructed using only 30 million Lego bricks, as big as it is. The park has five theme parks that will be of interest to you namely Puteri Harbor, The Beginning, Lego technic, Land of Adventure, and Lego Nonjago World. Be sure to visit the Lego Water Park where you can ride the surf, climb and slide down the body slides, and have some flapping wet fun with your family.

If you would like to extend your stay, remember that you can get accommodation at the LEGOLAND Malaysian hotel, located near the park. Remember to carry your passport and Immigration officials will place an entry stamp, known as a social visit pass (visa), in your passport authorizing a stay of up to 90 days. (No visa is required for most nationalities including American citizens visiting Malaysia for social, business or academic purposes.) Lego land is the equivalent of Disneyland in the United States. It is the first LEGOLAND in Asia and the 6th in the world.

11. Night Safari – Wildlife Reserves Singapore

For lovers of wildlife, Nigh Safari Wildlife Reserves is a must-visit while on a trip to Singapore. The site strives to inspire people to conserve biodiversity and wildlife. A journey through the Night Safari will take about 40 minutes, with visitors being taken through seven geographical regions that spread through the Himalayan foothills to the South East jungles of Asia. It is home to nocturnal animals, enabling you to get a deeper understanding of the habitats of these nocturnal animals, as well as an appreciation for wildlife conservation.

Another special attraction is the tribal fire show that is all about an amazing dance by acrobatics. What makes it more interesting is how they play around with fire in their performances.

12. Singapore Cuisine

Food in Singapore is marked with a lot of controversies and contradictions. Food comes from everywhere, but also in another sense, from nowhere. The local cuisine is defined by how it is assembled into something unique.

  • Bak Kuh Teh

Its origin comes from Southern China, and the fish head curry from India, but it is an ordinary food in Singapore. It is a simple dish that contains a variety of mild herbs.

  • Wanton Mee

A noodle dish influenced by Hong Kong cuisine, but which has become entrenched in the Singaporean culture over time. It is eaten dry in Singapore, with slices of pork char siew and wanton dumplings and some soup as an accompaniment. You can have it spicy or otherwise. The spicy type has chili mixed in, while the non-spicy version is mixed with tomato sauce.

  • Fried Carrot Cake

Does not imply a western dessert, but far from it. The Singaporean version is made with eggs, white radish flour cake, and preserved radish (Chai poh) that gives it its dish name. The dish is a favorite in Malaysia as well, but variations include the black version which has sweet sauce (molasses) added. The chopped up version has individual radish cake cubes. The crispy version has a cake fried on top of a beaten egg to create chunks of pie and a crust.

  • Laksa is a Dish

Made from the merging of Malay and Chinese cuisine, also known as Peranakan culture. It comes in two forms – Curry and Asam Laksa. The curry type is more dominant in Singapore, while Asam (sour) is popular in Malaysia. The curry laksa is made from coconut milk, vermicelli, tau pok, shrimp, fish slices, and cockles.

  • Hainenese Chicken Rice

It is known as the national dish in Singapore, but has its origin in Hainan, China. The meal is best made from kampong (village) chicken, which basically refers to chicken reared the traditional way without hormones, etc. as opposed to larger western chicken.

  • Kaya Toast

It is a snack prepared from coconut jam (Kaya), coconut milk, sugar topping, eggs, butter, and pandan. Kaya is served on toast for breakfast but is also very popular as a tea or coffee accompaniment in many homes and coffee houses.

  • Red Bean Ice

Refers to a drink taken as dessert during summer. The ingredients include light rock sugar syrup, adzuki beans, evaporated milk, which is then topped with ice cream to make the red bean ice cream dessert.

  • Fried Durian

Durian is a strongly flavored fruit that is best fried to remove the strong odor. It is rolled in rice paper then dipped into batter and deep fried at very high temperatures to give it a very sweet taste.

Try these cuisines out and see how the people of Singapore can convert simple ingredients into delicious meals. With this Singapore travel guide, there is no reason why you should not visit this remarkable city/country and enjoy many of its highlighted features.

Howard Hughes and the Silver Slipper

Another of Las Vegas’ most iconic signs belonged to the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall. Originally opened in 1950 on the Last Frontier property, it was named the Golden Slipper because the Silver Slipper name was already taken, but shortly after they opened, the Silver Slipper folded and the name moved to its new home on the Las Vegas Strip. The Silver Slipper was never a big casino, but due to its central Strip location and proximity to the Last Frontier, it was very popular with families and offered the best 49-cent breakfast buffet in town.

I find it interesting from a marketing perspective that most of the Strip hotels used desert or pioneer themes for their casinos: Hacienda, Sands, Aladdin, Dunes, Frontier, Sahara, Desert Inn, Stardust, El Rancho Vegas, and the Bonanza. A few hotels even referenced their Cuban and South Florida roots: Flamingo, Tropicana, and the Riviera.

Considering that hotels and casinos on the Strip didn’t begin sprouting up until the late 1940’s with the El Rancho Vegas and Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo, it’s interesting that they all chose to stay within a particular set of themes, but then again the mafia has never been known for their creativity or risk taking, unless said risk-taking involves a new and improved style of murder or extortion. I guess they were less concerned about design awards and more interested in the skim.

Riding the wake of the sale of his Trans World Airways for $546,549,171, Howard Hughes came to Las Vegas with an eye on the future and a boatload of cash, but Hughes wasn’t convinced Las Vegas was where he wanted to set up shop. After two years of bouncing back and forth between the East Coast and Las Vegas, and some careful study of Las Vegas’ financial potential, Hughes decided to stay and moved into the two top floors of the Desert Inn with the resolve to reshape the Las Vegas landscape. Why? Who knows, but Howard Hughes found sufficient intrigue to keep him an active participant in Sin City’s growth and with a billion dollar bankroll, he was an instant force. In fact, his name was so big, the Nevada Gaming Commission all but rolled over when it came time to review his application to own a casino. Something that took most potential owners months and years to complete, with Howard Hughes, the ink was dry before his aides left the hearing.

So what’s the Silver Slipper got to do with Howard Hughes? It seems fair to say that when Hughes’ moved to Las Vegas, his apparent bi-polar behavior and companion paranoia was well established. Hughes moved into the Desert Inn with the express agreement he would stay no longer than 2 months. This arrangement was fine with the ownership, but the penthouse suites on the top two floors were earmarked for the hotel’s stable of high-rollers that came to play over the Christmas holidays, and Hughes’ staff who were all Mormons, non-gamblers, non-drinkers, and they just weren’t spending money at the casino or bar. Hughes was asked to leave and when push came to shove, Hughes wrote a check for $13.2 million, assumed ownership of the Desert Inn, and launched a spending spree unlike anything Las Vegas had ever seen.

But Hughes wasn’t satisfied and as his neurosis and paranoia grew. Memories of the McCarthy anti-communist hearing also began to weigh on his psyche. This was amplified by the fact that his suite faced the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall across the street and the rotating slipper rotating on the Strip marquee would reflect light into his room. It not only get him up at night, he got the notion that hidden in the toe of the shoe were cameras with the sole intent of photographing the Desert Inn, his suite, and the hotel entrance all in an effort to chronicle his comings and goings. So incensed by the sign, Howard Hughes sent a telegram to his chief aide, “I want you to buy that place, that damn sign is driving me crazy, it goes round and round and round.” On April 30, 1968, Howard Hughes bought the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall for $5,360,000 million, and rumor has it that his first edict was to stop the rotating Silver Slipper and fill it with concrete. Surveillance cameras or not, Howard Hughes would finally get a good night’s sleep. Maybe.

The Hughes Corporation owned the Silver Slipper until June of 1988 when it was purchased by Margaret Elardi who owned the Frontier Hotel and Casino next door. The Silver Slipper was demolished shortly thereafter with plans to expand the Frontier, but a union strike and tough economic times put an end to that.

Today, the iconic Silver Slipper sits perched above Las Vegas Boulevard at the Neon Museum just north of downtown Las Vegas. The slipper is available to see 24/7, but the museum is only open by appointment only. Go to their website for more information about their tours and costs. For anyone who revels in the nostalgia of “Old Vegas,” a trip to the museum is well worth the trip.

Howard Hughes moved to Las Vegas on November 24, 1966 and died on April 5, 1976 at the age of 70. His impact on Las Vegas in the 60’s and 70’s is monumental and came at a time when mafia interests were waning and corporate Wall Street interest was on the rise. We’ll look into this fascinating time in Las Vegas’ history in future posts.

The Best Roulette Game in Las Vegas – Why and Where to Play Single Zero Roulette

We have all seen a roulette wheel. Some of us have even played it in a casino. While all roulette games look the same at first glance, small variations in the winning payouts and even the wheel itself can lead to sizable differences in the expected outcome for both the player and the casino. In this article, we will show you the three main roulette games available in American casinos. We will take a deeper look at the underlying mathematics of each game to determine which variant of roulette is best, and why. Finally, we will help you track down the best roulette game in Las Vegas!

If a roulette wheel had only 36 pockets (the little slots on the side of the wheel into which the ball eventually drops) the game would be truly fair. The 1-in-36 (2.78%) chance a player would have to win 35-to-1 would exactly offset the 35-in-36 (97.22%) chance he or she would have to lose.

Casinos, of course, are in the business to make a profit. The money to buy the liquor they serve for free, to build and maintain the dancing fountains, and to pay the wages of everyone from the bellhop to the pit boss to the celebrity headliner has to come from somewhere. A lot of it comes from the house edge, which is the mathematical advantage over the player that is built into every game the casino offers.

In most roulette games offered in American casinos, that advantage is provided by the green 0 and 00 pockets both on the wheel and at the top of the layout. Instead of 36 pockets, a typical American roulette wheel actually has 38: the numbers 1 through 36, 0, and 00. The presence of the 00 pocket leads to American roulette sometimes being called “double-zero roulette.” In double-zero roulette, the player now has only 1 chance in 38 (2.63%) of winning 35-to-1; the probability of losing has increased to 37 out of 38 (97.37%) Even the most math-averse reader can see that this setup is disadvantageous to the gambler. More specifically, the 2 extra pockets give the casino a house edge of 5.26%. Over the very long run, for every $10,000 the casino collects in losing wagers, it pays back only $9474 in winnings. It should be pointed out that all bets available on double-zero roulette–except one–have the same house edge. The comparative payouts and probabilities for straights, streets, corners, and splits, as well as the lower-paying bets on the outside of the layout, are all structured to have this same house edge of 5.26%. The one exception is the “basket,” which is a wager on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. This wager pays 6-to-1 and has a house edge of 7.89%.

Serious roulette players who want to minimize the house edge should track down and play single-zero roulette. In single-zero roulette, the green 00 pocket is missing; the wheel has only 37 pockets. This is as close to fair as the wheel can get. The player has a 1-in-37 chance (2.70%) of winning 35-to-1, and a 36-in-37 chance (97.30%) of losing. This is only a 7 one-hundredths of a percent increased probability of winning on any particular number, but it has a significant effect on the house edge. Single-zero roulette has a house edge of only 2.70%, compared to 5.26% for double-zero roulette. That works out to an extra $256 in winnings per $10,000 collected.

Some single-zero roulette games offer another variation on their payouts. If a player wagers on one of the even-money outside bets on the layout (even, odd, red, black, 1-to-18, or 19-to-36), and the ball lands in the 0 pocket, the casino collects only half of your losing wager. For example, if you wager $10 on black, and the ball lands on 0, the house only takes $5 of your wager.

In an even rarer variation, the dealer may give you the choice of either losing only half your bet, or putting your bet “in prison.” Here’s what happens when you go to roulette jail:

1) The dealer puts a marker over your bet (the full $10 bet from before) that says en prison. You can neither add nor take away from your wager for the next spin.

2) The dealer spins the roulette wheel again for the next round.

When the ball finally comes to rest, one of two things will happen. Again, let us assume we have a $10 en prison bet on black.

1) The ball lands on black. You do not win anything, but it is like a jailbreak for your wager. The en prison marker is removed and you are free to do what you wish with your $10. Effectively, you get your money back.

2) The ball lands anywhere else (red or 0). You lose.

The en prison or “half back on even money” option cuts the house edge on these bets to a meager 1.35%. All of the other bets on the layout remain at the usual single-zero house edge of 2.70%. As far as I know, no casino offers this option on double-zero roulette. If one did, the house edge on these even-money wagers would be 2.63%.

By this point, we have shown that single-zero roulette is the more advantageous variation to play. It is the standard roulette game across Europe and Australia; a double-zero roulette game in Monte Carlo would be practically unheard of. You will also find single-zero roulette in many casinos throughout the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim.

Single-zero roulette is significantly harder to find in the United States, but it is out there. Many of the larger, higher-end casinos on the Las Vegas Strip offer it in their high-limit gaming sections only. A few of the more “European-themed” hotels are rumored to even offer the en-prison option.

If you lack either the bankroll or the stomach to wager $25, $50, or even $100 per spin, head to Las Vegas and visit Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Bay (on weekends only), The Mirage, Monte Carlo (Friday and Saturday nights only), Nevada Palace, Stratosphere, and The Venetian.

Note that at Caesar’s, The Venetian, and Mandalay Bay, while their regular roulette tables may not technically be “high-limit” tables by their standards, they may still have a $15 minimum bet.

Several Las Vegas casinos reportedly offer single-zero roulette in their high-limit areas only. Other casinos not listed here just might offer it if a known high-roller requests it. Las Vegas casinos that limit their single-zero roulette to their high-limit tables include Bellagio, Golden Nugget (at high roller request only), Las Vegas Hilton, Luxor (weekends only), MGM Grand, Paris (at high roller request only), Rio, and Wynn Las Vegas.

A few of these high-limit tables even offer the favorable en prison option. Gamblers have reported playing en prison at the high-limit tables of Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Rio, and Wynn Las Vegas.

Several casinos in Atlantic City offer single-zero roulette in their high-limit areas only. I have heard of none that offer en prison. You can play high-stakes single-zero roulette at Tropicana, Showboat, Harrah’s, Caesar’s, Trump Marina, and Trump Taj Mahal.

These lists of casinos will no doubt change as time goes on. Some games increase in popularity while other tables have no one but a lonely dealer at them at 10 o’clock on a Friday night. In the time between this article was written and is now being read, some casinos may have expanded their single-zero roulette games or gotten rid of them entirely. An attempt is being made to keep track of all active single-zero roulette games in the United States at the Single Zero Roulette Squidoo Lens at [http://www.squidoo.com/singlezeroroulette/].

We have shown that single-zero roulette offers substantially better odds for the gambler than does the more common double-zero American game. The gambler will ultimately lose money over the very long run at any roulette game. Because of the lower house edge, however, the gambler has a better chance of winning money in the short run at the single-zero tables, particularly if the game offers the en prison option. Any roulette enthusiasts who want to maximize their wins–or even just minimize their losses–would do well to find and play the more advantageous, single-zero roulette game.

History of Skincare Part 16: The Industrial Revolution, 1800-1849

The Face of the Industrial Revolution

When imagining the people who lived during the Industrial Revolution, it is easy to picture the characters from a Charles Dickens novel. It is easy to imagine cities filled with soot-faced Oliver Twists and David Copperfields. In some respects, this picture is accurate. The first half of the nineteenth century saw many major technological advances. The invention of the steam engine made manufacturing and transportation much easier and dozens of large factories sprung up within the span of a few years. New mining techniques were developed in order to produce the coal needed to power the new factories. Rural citizens, looking for work, began to migrate to major cities such as London and New York. The air was indeed filled with a Dickensian smog, but the Industrial Revolution also had a profound effect on skin care products and cosmetic use. As the average pay rose, an increasing number of ordinary citizens were finding themselves able to afford soaps and make-ups that had previously been far out of reach.

A Moral Dilemma

By the end of the eighteenth century, make-up had been deemed inappropriate for all but prostitutes and actors. While this attitude persisted throughout much of the nineteenth century, women were allowed a few cosmetic exceptions. Pale skin was still considered a mark of high birth and while the heavy lead powders of a century earlier were no longer used, they were replaced by a thin coating of zinc oxide. The zinc oxide offered the benefit of a lightened skin tone, but was more subtle and more natural looking than the caked on powder that had been so popular before. Subtle eyeshadow made from lampblack was also popular, although lip and cheek rouge remained taboo. While many women still mixed their own cosmetics, modern manufacturing techniques had made it much easier to mass produce these products. Although the use of manufactured cosmetics was extremely popular, however, it was not considered proper to buy or sell beauty products. Because of this, most stores sold them under the counter. **

In spite of the stigma that still surrounded skincare and cosmetic products, some women did speak out to promote their use. In 1833, Jacobine Weiler published a book titled, “Cosmetics of the Female Sex, or The Secret Art of Perfecting Beauty and Health and Retaining It into Old Age” that promoted cosmetic use as a beauty aid. While respectable women could not be seen buying lip or cheek rouge, numerous recipes were published describing methods for making lip pomade in the home. Recipes included common ingredients such as butter, wax and natural dies made from currants and the plant alkanna tictoria.***

For all the women who defended cosmetic use, however, there were many others who believed that wearing make-up was the first step toward a life of sin. Many books dedicated to the defamation of cosmetics were also published. “Godey’s Lady’s Book,” for example, was published around the middle of the century. It suggested that instead of trying to cover blemishes with make-up, women should rely solely on “moral cosmetics,” which included sleeping and avoiding sinful pastimes such as gambling and drinking.

Cleansing the Natural Way

As mass production methods were refined, the price of numerous hygiene products became less expensive and more readily available. While perfumed soaps had been considered a luxury item half a century earlier, soap was now commonplace in all but the poorest homes. Because women could no longer hide behind a thick layer of powder, there was a much stronger emphasis on naturally beautiful skin. Harsh cleansers were more easily produced as well, but they were often ignored in exchange for more natural skincare ingredients. Egg yolks, honey and oatmeal were all commonly used to soften the skin and help diminish blemishes. Lemon juice was sometimes used to naturally bleach the skin a few shades lighter. While naturally glowing health may have been the look of choice at the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, it would soon make way for the frail, sickly look of the Victorian Era.

References:

** Read more about nineteenth century make-up here: http://www.localhistories.org/cosmetics.html

*** Read more about the Industrial defenders of cosmetics here: http://www.cosmetic-business.com/en/showartikel.php?art_id=1409

Various Poker Tournaments

Charles Lamb once defined poker as cards are war, in disguise of a sport. Poker is possibly the most competitive and sparking card game of our times. It has a history, a present and a future. Be it in a casino or in a house, you will come across players playing poker along with the buzz that comes with the game. It can be played in a live casino, at home or even at internet as well.

Basics of poker include betting on a particular card combination the game has many variants. It start from the player on the right side and proceed to the left most player. Now the rest of the players must match the maximum bet or fold as simple as that. The player who matches the bet may raise the bet it depends on him whether he want to or not.

The striking feature associated with poker is that it has become a casino game where people seek a future. Yes, in the present times we use the term “professional poker player” and they are making big bucks out of the game. Players like Joe Cada, Phill Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Daniel Nagerau, Tom Durrr, Doyle Brunsun, Chris Furgursun can be seen while participating on various poker tournaments on ESPN and other sports channel. These tournaments feature big prize money and are held by the world’s best casino. These poker tournaments are some very serious events with some real serious money.

The poker tournament venues are different, be a land based casino.

The top poker tournaments:

World Series Of Poker: This poker tournament was first played in Las Vegas ( Nevada) in 1970’s. WSOP was the brainchild of Jack Binion and Jeffrey Pollack. Mainly three games are played in WSOP which are Texas Hold’em(limit/no limit), Omaha and Razz. Being a very prestigious poker tournament, it has witnessed some glorious moments in the history of poker. Last year saw, Joe Cada, age 21 winning a whopping $ 8.5 M. It can be open or invitational and mostly holdin’ Las Vegas.

Although some online poker companies allow its players the chance to qualify for it. A World Series of Poker bracelet is given to the winner of an event. The total prize money of this tournament is a huge one which will grow as the number of players entering the tournament is increasing. This years WSOP will start from 27 may to July 17 (2010).

The winners of WSOP for last five years are:

Joe Cada in 2009

Peter Eastgate in 2008

Jerry Yang in 2007

Jamie Gold in 2006

Joe Hachem in 2005

World Poker Tour: World poker tour involve world’s best professional poker players competing with each other to reach the ultimate spot. Games which are played in WPT are Texas Hold’em but Omaha(hi/lo) and 7 card stud has witnessed huge player turnouts from the past many years. The way it is different from other tournaments is that its a series of poker tournaments rather than a single tournament. WPT was started in USA in 2002 and is based on WPT points systems offered to the players with winner getting the highest 1000 pts and 700 pts to runner up. Faraz Jaka is the player of the year for season 2009-2010.

Steven Lipscomb is the present working commissioner of WPO. The winners of the last five seasons involve:

Howard Lederer

Erick Lindgren

Daniel Negreanu

Gavin Smith

J. C. Tran

European Poker Tour: It is the main reason behind the popularity of Texas Hold’em poker. EPT is owned by pokerstars.com and is broadcasted on television by Sunset + vine.. It is very similar to WPT because it also has championship matches just like WPT. Players from USA has won maximum times in this event followed by UK and Germany. In European poker tour 8 players constitutes the final table while in WPT the number of players that constitutes the table is 6. Top 5 prizes of EPT are won by the players that follows:

Glen Chorny

Pieter de Korver

Poorya Nazari

Gavin Griffin

Nicolas Chouity

How to Keep From Treating People With Disabilities Differently

Workshop Goals

To understand the history of American attitudes and legislation regarding people with disabilities;

To learn how to properly assist individuals with disabilities in a courteous and respectful manner;

To practice providing assistance to people with disabilities, both fellow employees and museum guests.

In order to gain the most out of the presentation, please:

  • Listen with an open mind;
  • Be respectful of each other;
  • Challenge your thinking;
  • Be willing to learn something new that you can use on the job!

Challenge Activity

Bean Bags

  • Place a bean bag on your head
  • Move to the music!
  • If your bean bag falls off your head, freeze until another player, without losing his / her beanbag, retrieves the fallen one and replaces it on the frozen person's head.
  • If the rescuer loses his / her beanbag, then he / she is also frozen until another person appears to rescue them both.

What is the object of the game?

How do you "win"?

What is the advantage of picking up a classmate's beanbag?

What is the Definition of a Disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in several key areas including: state and local government services, places of public accommodation, employment, telecommunications and transportation.

The individual with a disability is a person who (3 part definition):

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • Has a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have the impairment; or
  • Being regarded as having such an impairment.

What is considered a disability?

The ADA does not list conditions that are considered disabilities; However it does list those which are not included.

Not covered by the ADA are homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, transsexualism, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, other sexual behavior disorders.

The ADA does not cover individuals who are currently engaging in illegal drug use.

A short-term condition is generally is not a disability. The test is whether the impairment markedly limits major life activities when assessing the duration, scope, and impact of the impairment.

Small Group Activity

Divide into small to discuss your experiences and examples of instances you have assisted co-workers or museum guests with the following disabilities:

  • Physical
  • Sensory
  • Intellectual or Developmental
  • Emotional
  • Invisible

Remember that each person's situation is unique!

Physical disabilities: a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina; a short list of examples:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Amputation
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spina bifida
  • Musculoskeletal injuries (eg back injury)
  • Arthritis
  • Muscular dystrophy

Sensory impairment: a limitation of one or more of a person's senses; including:

  • Hearing Loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Limited vision / Blindness
  • Loss of Smell
  • Spatial awareness

A person could be born with the impairment or could it could develop throughout the lifetime.

Intellectual disabilities – significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers social and practical skills. Originates before age 18 years. Affects approximately 3% of the population.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Down's Syndrome
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Emotional

  • Mental illness has nothing to do with intelligence.
  • Mental illness is a condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, and ability to relate to others.
  • Results in a diminished capacity for dealing with everyday life
  • Can include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and personality disorder.

The Invisibility of Disabilities

Be sensitive that disabilities come in a variety of types, and each person is an individual

The impact of a person's disability may not be easily seen.

Person may be perceived as lazy, when in fact, the disability impacts his / her ability to learn, work, and function.

Teachers and peers may see only behavior problems or uncooperative behaviors, rather than accommodating the disability.

A Brief History of Legislation

1964 – Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act

1973 – Rehabilitation Act, Section 504

1990 – Americans with Disabilities Act – First comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities.

History, continued

2008 – ADA Amendments Act

Expanded definition of the term disability to include individuals with amputations, intellectual disabilities, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, HIV / AIDS, Diabetes, Muscular Dystrophy, and cancer;

Strikes a balance between employee and employer interests;

Overturned two key Supreme Court decisions (Sutton vs. United Airlines, Inc. and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. vs. Williams), where lower courts had found individual's situation did not constitute a disability, therefore the question of discrimination had never been addressed.

American Attitudes – FDR

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

32nd President of the United States from 1933 to 1945.

Had suffered paralysis as a result of Polio.

Although the his use of a wheelchair was common knowledge, the wheelchair was not shown by the media.

Gather Your Thoughts

How do you feel about the cloaked FDR statue?

What do you think is more important: to respect President Roosevelt's wishes OR to reflect modern views of people with disabilities?

How could this spectrum of opinion be reflected in the workplace?

As a manager, how do you work to bring understanding and acceptance among your staff, while following current ADAAA guidelines?

Let's examine recent examples of people with disabilities who have achieved celebrity status!

Stevie Wonder

Born prematurely in 1950 in Michigan. Suffered retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), due to too much oxygen in the hospital's incubator.

Began playing instruments at an early age and signed with Motown Records at age 11. Has had an amazing writing and recording career.

Celebrity spotlights can aid in bringing important issues into the spotlight.

Jim Abbott

Born in 1967, in Flint, Michigan, without a right hand

Baseball star for University of Michigan

Played in the 1988 Summer Olympics

Played Major League Baseball, and pitched a no-hitter in 1993 as a NY Yankee.

Amy Purdee

Born in 1979 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Contracted meningitis at age 19, resulting in double amputation below the knees and kidney transplant

Paralympic Athlete in Snowboarding – Bronze Medalist

Terminology Over Time

Crippled – an invalid and derogatory term that is no longer acceptable to describe people with disabilities;

Retarded – a medical term that can be used as a slur; no longer acceptable in everyday language:

Handicapped – something that hampers or hinders, such as in a race; no longer used in referring to people;

Normal people – avoid using this term when making a comparison, as this implies a person with a disability is not normal. Everyone is unique and has their own identity and abilities;

Person with a Disability – "people-first" language that focuses on the individual, not their condition.

Using People-First Language

American Psychological Association Style guide

  • Person's name or pronoun first
  • Description of impairment or disability second
  • Descriptors should not modify or limit the person

Examples:

  • A boy with Down's Syndrome, not "the Down's Syndrome boy";
  • Sydney has a hearing impairment, not "the deaf girl."

Discussion: What Do You Do?

On the Job Situations You May Encounter

A guest arrives at an event with a cat in a stroller. She claims the cat is a service animal. Do you allow her entrance?

A group of 60 children is moving from the 1st floor exhibit to the 2nd floor through the only staircase in the wing. One child is on crutches. As the group's tour guide, how do you handle the transition between floors?

What Do You Do?

Guidelines to Follow

  • If the guest claims the cat is with her as a service animal, the cat can be permitted to accompany her into the event. She does not need to produce any paperwork to justify the service animal.
  • Review the options with the student's teacher / chaperone. If the child wishes to take the elevator, suggest a small group of students and an adult accompany her, so she does not feel alone or singled out.
  • Ask the guest if he would like to sit or hold onto in a chair inside the ride.

Employees with Disabilities: What is Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is assistance or changes to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

  1. Providing a chair for a cashier who uses crutches so he or she can sit when not assisting customers.
  2. Reserving a parking space close to the entrance for an employee who has difficulty walking because of loss of a limb.
  3. Providing instructions and information in writing for an employee with hearing loss.
  4. Permitting a staff member to bring a service animal to work.
  5. Allowing an employee with tinnitus to play background music to help block out the ringing in his ears.
  6. Allowing more frequent work breaks or providing back-up coverage when an employee with a disability needs to take a break.
  1. Providing specialized equipment for an employee who has lost a hand or finger, such as a large-key keyboard, a one-handed keyboard, a trackball, a touchpad, or speech recognition software.
  2. Flexibility in scheduling to allow an employee with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to attend counseling sessions or offering a later start time to a staff member with a spinal cord injury who has a lengthy personal care routine.
  3. Decreasing distractions, providing information in writing, breaking down complex assignments into small steps for a person with a traumatic brain injury.
  4. Making sure equipment is within reach for an employee who uses a wheelchair.
  5. Adjusting the height of an office desk for a staff member who uses a wheelchair, and ensuring the space is not obstructed by wastebaskets or other items.

Unacceptable Practices

Examples of A Record or History of Disability

Examples:

  • An employer refuses to hire a qualified candidate due to a history of mental illness, even though the person has recovered sufficiently to perform all essential functions of the job.
  • A dentist refuses to treat a patient because he was diagnosed as having HIV, even though the diagnosis was proven to be incorrect.
  • A retail outlet fires a woman who is pregnant, because they assume she will not be able to work during the busy holiday season.

Unacceptable Practices

Regarded as Having an Impairment

Examples:

  • An employee has controlled high blood pressure, which is not substantially limiting. However, his employer fears that the employee will suffer a heart attack and reassigns the employee to a less strenuous job.
  • A person with a severe burn or scar does not actually have a disability. He may be regarded as having a disability when he faces discrimination based on people attitudes toward him.
  • An overweight candidate for a bus driver position is not hired because the employer assumes (without conducting tests) that she will not be able to move fast enough in case of an emergency.

Courtesy

Gum chewing – Do not chew gum when speaking to people with hearing loss. It makes you more difficult to understand

Stand in front – When speaking to people with hearing loss, stand directly in front, so they can see your lips

Paper and pencil – Have a paper and pencil ready, in case communicating through written word may be more effective than spoken word

Sit down – when speaking to a person in a wheelchair, take a seat! Looking upward may hurt their neck, and it is common courtesy to be at eye level.

Ask if the person wants help before acting – Do not assume that someone needs help. Have the respect and courtesy to ask how you may help, and then follow directions

Be patient – Do not roll your eyes, cross your arms, or rush a person who needs extra time.

Use people-first language – always refer to the person first and do not use their situation as a descriptor.

End of Session Quiz

You are at the Information Desk and a guest in a wheelchair has a question. What is the most courteous way to approach the interaction?

An employee you are managing has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She begins to walk with a cane, and is able to perform her job functions as school group facilitator in the laboratory. Discuss what types of accommodations can be made for her.

A child who uses crutches wants to watch the Dive Show at the Kelp Tank. All the seats are filled and many patrons have filled the open viewing area. How do you accommodate the child, so he can see the show?

List 3 new pieces of information that you learned, which you can use on the job.

1- Information Desk

Invite the guest to the side of the counter that is wheelchair accessible.

Sit at the chair, so you are eye-level.

Answer his questions respectfully.

Ask if the guest needs any assistance.

Ask if he is familiar with the location of the elevator.

2- Employee Accommodations

Review the employee's job duties and discuss if any accommodations need to be made at this time, such as reassignment, additional time for tasks, use of a chair while working.

Make a plan to review her situation as needed, to see if any accommodations or a reassignment needs to be made.

For example, an employee who lead the student experiments in the laboratory could be reassigned to the Information Desk to answer the telephone with a headset.

3- Viewing the Show

  • Given that the situation involves a child, consult with the student's parents or chaperone.
  • Ask if the child would like to sit by the tank or in the bleachers.
  • Show the family where the seating area for people with disabilities is located.
  • If someone is sitting in that area, respectfully work with the guest to find a spot for the child. Posted signs indicate that the are is reserved for people with special needs.
  • If there is no wiggle room, ask if the child would like a chair to sit, or ask a guest if they would mind moving over to accommodate the child.
  • Remember that you are responsible for the guests during the dive show. Feel empowered to make the situation pleasant for the guests, in a courteous manner. Call your supervisor if you need additional assistance.

The Advantages of Online Sports Betting

Just one short decade ago, it was virtually impossible to engage in legal sports betting if you live in the United States or in Canada. Both countries prohibit betting on almost all organized sports, in any form at all. The exceptions have always been parimutuel betting, which is only applied to two or three different sports (among them dog and horse racing).

Outside of those sports, the only legal bets one could place on sports in North America had to be made in the state of Nevada. For whatever reason, sports betting seemed like a reasonable thing to do deep in the desert, but nowhere else.

The coming of age of the Internet has changed the face of sports betting forever. First of all, it has opened up whole new opportunities for those interested in making legal wagers on their favourite teams or events. No longer does a person have to wait to make a trip to Las Vegas in order to place a bet on the Final Four during March Madness. Instead, those bets can be placed with a Vegas bookmaker online, from the comfort of one’s own home.

And Vegas is not the only town in on the online sports betting action. All over the world, major bookmakers have opened online sites for those wishing to place a wager. This means that you can place a bet on virtually any sport in the world, from American football to lacrosse, in any league you want be it amateur or professional.

Of course, the governments of some nations (America in particular) are concerned with the prevalence of online sports gambling, so there are some sites which will not take bets from American customers. However, there are plenty that will, at least until the legality of the practice is determined by the governing bodies of the nation.

In the meantime, though, sports betting online means that there is more money floating around than ever before, all thanks to ease of access.

Aside from the many options offered by the number of bookies online alone, those wishing to engage in football betting, basketball betting, or placing bets on any other type of sport can also take advantage of alternate betting opportunities. Traditionally, sports bets have had to be made through a bookmaker. This business sets the odds and takes a cut of the action as well. The rise of the online betting exchange, however, has meant that bettors can make or take their own odds, often increasing the value of their bets. There are also opportunities to bet against a team or individual in a sports betting exchange, rather than just on a team to win.

Finally, online access means that people betting on sports have more information at their fingertips which can help them decide which bets to make. Sports information lines have up to the minute records of teams, statistics, rosters, and odds which can all factor into the responsible gambler’s bet day decisions.

The growth of the Internet has revolutionized many different industries, and sports betting is certainly among them. More information and a lot more options are two of the main strengths of online sports betting.

Top 5 Reasons – Should You be Gambling Online?

Why is online gambling the latest craze to hit the Internet? Let’s face it the casino business is big bucks. Games played for money have found their way into any permitting city across the world. The epicenter has always tended to be Vegas but now a new variety is on the increase and it is called online gambling. So why will online gambling eventually overtake the glitzy world of concrete Vegas?Gamble… When and where?The beauty of online gambling is accessibility. You can gamble wherever you can get the Internet. With the future advent of wireless technology through cell phones, PDA’s and wireless Internet the future is near boundless for gambling. No longer do you have to walk, catch a train, valet park, take a taxi, or fly to a casino to gamble. You can also use different instant payment options which make it that much easier. Time is not an issue when you’re gambling online, and you don’t have to be home at 2am to see the spouse. You should set limits, but you can set them, not others… if you’re lucky. But how secure are you gambling online, is it safe?Fort Knox?Have you ever seen Ocean’s Eleven with Brad Pitt? If you have, you’ll know all about the security features of modern casinos. If you’re gambling online, how safe is it for you? First off, if you make a purchase with your credit card, your 0% liable with most credit cards for fraudulent charges. There are other online options like Neteller (a bank account deposit and withdrawal system), online checks, and wire transferring. Usually, when you go to an online casino, you are asked to download their software. This software is what makes the casino secure. When you connect through their software you are using SSL technology, which is what most Internet commerce sites like Amazon.com use. If you’re ever in a bind with not being credited with your money either depositing or withdrawing you can contact the casino, which usually have a customer service center. Do you have a powerful ally if you gamble online?It’s not revealed to most…Your online winning at a poker table, but you couldn’t at your buddies house… Why? Secret identity. Your fellow poker players online don’t know your history, and they don’t see you. You could be jumping up and down for minutes with a pocket pair of aces and they wouldn’t know it. This is one of the major benefits of being online, and it will take you some time to master. Remember people can use this against you. So be aware, and be on top of it, and get a head start first.Do you have what it takes?How experienced are you at Texas holdem? Blackjack? 7-card stud? Don’t have many friends that are good players? Do you want to improve your game? You can online. With tens of thousands online at one particular time, you can improve your game… quickly. You even have the option to gamble with play money until your ready to move on to the real thing. You may ask, that’s all great, but I still love just going to the casino and throwing down some bucks. Do you deserve something extra?Nobody gives it away for free, or do they?A brilliant marketing campaign has incentives, and online casinos attended marketing school. This marketing method actually helps you! Online casinos give away up to 100% matching deposit bonuses. For example if you deposit $25, you are credited with an extra $25 all on the casinos tab. Why is this great? You get free gambling money, and you can use leverage. Instead of betting $10, you can bet $20, and win $40! One online casino that I have frequented gave me a 200% bonus! This is the best way you’ll get ahead in the gambling world. Signup bonuses are exceptional, so quickly take advantage of them so you can get that easy money!

Things Which Are Believed to Bring Bad Luck in Gambling

The known fact is that the majority of games which are played in casinos are games of luck and chance: roulette, baccarat, slots, craps, keno and others. That is why casino players strongly believe that everything around them can work on bringing good or bad luck in gambling. Casino players are probably the most superstitions people in the world who try to attract luck to them with the help of various items.But gamblers also believe that some things or deeds can attract bad luck too, and that is why they try to avoid all these items. Some of such superstitions are well-known for all people because they are connected not only with casinos; but some of them are really crazy and sometimes even funny.A broken mirrorIf a mirror breaks in your house when you plan to visit a casino, it is a sign that it would be better to postpone this idea and not to go there today.A black catIf you go to a casino and you see a black cat which crosses your road, it is a sign that you should go back home and not to gamble today. Black cats are believed to bring bad luck in general, so, this superstition is not related to casinos only.Black colorGamblers believe that it is better not to wear black clothes when you decided to visit a casino. Even if you play some casino games online, it would be better to avoid black clothes because black color is considered to bring bad luck.A dogA gambler will never play casino games if his dog is near because this animal is believed to bring bad luck in gambling.Counting moneyA superstitious player will never count money while sitting at a casino table. This superstition is present in many countries all over the world today.Touching shouldersThis superstition has come from China: if somebody touches your shoulders during gambling, you will not be lucky today and lose all your money.One more popular superstition concerns the main entrance of a casino. It is believed that if a gambler comes into a casino through its main entrance, it will bring a bad luck to this person.

Opening Up the Online Gambling Industry in France

The online gambling scene in France is on the verge of changing irrevocably with the imminent enactment of a new legislation inspired in part from the successful example of the UK and other European countries. It remains a vastly untapped potential for online gambling operators. The liberalisation of the market, which up until now has been controlled by the monopoly of the state-owned Française des Jeux, is under intense scrutiny from the European Commission while at the same time preparing itself for the fast-paced environment of the online gambling world in which operators are already active offering an ever-growing choice of games of chance to the willing French consumer.In this article I will attempt to cover the key points of the emerging French Gaming Law (which remains to be finalised) by looking at its viability with regards to tax and licensing regimes and how it will affect foreign entrants to the market.In the interest of the consumers, an essential element of this legislation aims to prevent addiction by fixing limits on wagers and winnings that may be placed or received by punters. With this in mind, operators will be obliged to include warnings about underage playing and the potential risks of excessive gambling.The opening of the market will encompass horse race and sports betting and shared games of skill, involving the ability of the player to improve his or her chances by adopting a certain strategy in relation to their opponents – such as online poker. Hence, lotteries, online slot machines, betting exchanges and casino games involving playing the bank (blackjack and roulette for example) will be excluded from the opening as they are considered too addictive.A new independent public authority, ARJEL (Games Regulations Authority) will be set up specifically to regulate the remote gambling market, responsible for:· Ensuring compliance with policy objectives regarding internet accessible games.· Suggesting to government specific requirements for different types of licences available.· Preparing and attributing online gambling operator licence requests.· Monitoring online operations and clamping down on illegal gambling sites and fraud.ARJEL will be empowered to block access to such websites through a direct injunction to Internet Service Providers and block such financial transactions.· Enacting auditing rules concerning technical and financial data for each transaction.· Making suggestions to Government on legislative and regulatory issues.· All operators shall be required to provide information and guarantees as to their identification, gambling experience, shareholding, measures taken to prevent fraud and money laundering, secure online payment and protection of data and minors.· Licences will be granted to operators within Member States of the EU or ECC. Any of these whose headquarters or shareholders are based in so called non co-operative tax havens shall be refused licences to offer their services in France.· Online gambling internet websites must be accessible through a first level domain name ending in “.fr”.· A mirror server, based in France, shall contain all data relative to gambling activities and exchanges between players and operators.· Licences shall be granted for five-year renewable periods and shall be non-transferable.· The tax rate will be based on amounts wagered by players, according to the following:8.5% – Sports betting15.5% – Horse race betting2% – Online pokerSuch taxation based purely on wagers rather than gaming gross revenue is less well suited in the case of poker operators for example, for whom 2% tax on wagers would equate to taxing approximately 60% of gross revenue. This could put operators off entering the market, as well as go against EU regulations of freedom to provide services. However on the whole, France should remain attractive despite the proposed tax regime that might be an obstacle to foreign online gambling operators seeking to enter the French market.With the implementation of the Draft French Gaming Law, the ARJEL will need a further few months to be efficient and begin granting licenses. According to Senior Government Officials, France will not start granting online betting licenses at the beginning of 2010 as initially thought. Partly as a result of the detailed opinion of the Commission rendered on June 8th, 2009, the Draft French Gaming Law will most likely not be implemented as from January 1st, 2010. In any event, it should be in place for the kick-off of the World Football Cup in South Africa at the latest.Allez les Bleus!