Miriam Aziz in better days, when she still shared a throne along with her now-ex husband, the Sultan of Brunei (Image: AFP/Getty)
The 59-year-old ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei has fessed up in court to some major gambling arrears played out in London’s toniest casinos, and the subsequent sale of £1million ($1,652,593) worth of fine jewelry to pay off some of her accrued gambling debts in a tale worthy of any great novelist’s plotlines, Miriam Aziz.
The hijab-covered woman testified in Isleworth Crown Court last week that she had certainly sold some of her gems to pay the IOUs, although she denied having once lost as much as £3 million ($4,957,781) in just one evening of wagering.
In accordance with Aziz, it was just £500,000 ($826,296), which most likely for an ex-Sultaness is merely chump change. But wait, because the plot thickens in this tale of broken hearts, broken allegiances and broken bank accounts.
Former Bonded Birdies Sing
Aziz also gave testimony against her feminine previous badminton-coach-turned-bodyguard Fatimah Lim, who appears accused of herself stealing £12m ($19,831,126) worth of diamonds from Aziz, substituting phony and basically valueless copies within their stead.
The 35-year-old Lim says that during a 20-month spree, Aziz took her sizable retinue of support staff with her to gambling venues around the globe. Lim said she was later instructed by Aziz to sell the jewels on Aziz’ behalf when several gambling enterprises reportedly threatened to sue the ex-queen.
Aziz denied this in court, saying, ‘No, I never ever asked anybody, especially Fatimah Lim, to offer the diamonds, because I would do it myself.’
Lots of Dough to Spread Around
To put this in context, the Sultan is definitely the man that is wealthiest in the world; and so the ex-Missus’ visits to casinos in popular spots like London, Singapore and Macau could hardly have raised an eyebrow. At first, anyway. By having a £2.5m ($4,131,484) credit limit at upscale groups like London’s Clermont in Berkeley Square, Aziz could obviously play high limits and make extravagant wagers without anyone feeling alarmed.
Furthermore, it seems the supposedly devout Muslim Aziz a Royal Brunei Airlines flight attendant before becoming the Sultan’s wife prodded Lim to gamble herself, saying she’d give both Lim and some other feminine bodyguards gambling bankroll to the tune of £1,500 ($2,479) a pop. Their London casino sojourns would sometimes cover as numerous as three casinos nightly.
‘There were people in your wider circle not as enthusiastic about gambling while you there was a notion that it had not been according to those activities of a Muslim,’ stated Lim’s protection attorney Rupert Pardoe. ‘You have hatched a plot to blame Fatimah Lim for the theft of these bands and this diamond bracelet.’
Lim stands accused of three counts of theft in the still-ongoing trial.
Aziz’ ex-husband Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah divorced Aziz after a 21-year wedding and four young ones, in 2003. It’s hard to keep track of their various and sundry matrimonies and his progeny, but it appears like the score is: one royal consort that is long-term the stripped-of-all-titles and now ex, Aziz; and a former Malaysian television hostess who only made it five years with her royal ex, and who was also stripped of all of the titles and her allowance, as apparently was Aziz.
Pennsylvania Lawmaker Proposes Jail Time and Fines for On Line Gambling
One Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to make online gambling an offense punishable with jail some time fines (Image: AmericanMafia.com)
Pennsylvania might be one of the biggest states population-wise that is seriously considering online gambling, but that doesn’t suggest everyone there clearly was on board quite yet. And while the Keystone State studies the issue and watches how things work in neighboring New Jersey, one lawmaker not merely opposes online that is putting gambling practice there, but really wants to jail anybody who attempts to place a bet on the web.
Threatening Society, Scavello Says
That’s the plan from State Representative Mario Scavello, who thinks that online gambling is really a threat to families and young ones. He’s also concerned that problem gamblers could access internet sites and have nobody and no mechanism to stop them from throwing away everything they will have right from the comfort of these own areas.
‘Here again, online gambling is best called the crazy West,’ said Scavello. ‘on the web, there is no one around to keep eye on somebody would youn’t know when to stop.’
But while opposition to on the web gambling isn’t precisely breaking news, the specifics of Scavello’s proposal have definitely drawn attention.
The bill he has put forward would actively punish online gamblers with fines and potentially time that is even jail. That would provide Pennsylvania some of the nation’s harshest punishments for on line gambling, rivaling Washington State for that title.
A first violation would be a summary offense and would carry a fine of up to $300 and up to 90 days in jail under Scavello’s bill. Things get much even worse on a offense that is second at the period, the criminal activity becomes a misdemeanor, the maximum fine rises to $2,500 and offenders could be jailed for up to a year.
‘I believe that we can start to crack down on the lawbreakers,’ Scavello said if you hit people in their wallets.
Adelson Backs Bill
Not surprisingly, Scavello’s bill was straight away supported by Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Web Gambling (CSIG). That group pointed to a recent quinnipiac poll that discovered that 62 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania opposed the regulation and legalization of online gambling in their state.
‘We call in the Pennsylvania Legislature to vote in favor of this bill and send a powerful message that online gaming has no place in American culture,’ CSIG stated in a declaration.
Along with concerns throughout the ease of access to on the web gambling internet sites, Scavello also argued that Internet gaming could siphon cash far from Pennsylvania’s effective land-based casinos, potentially costing the state revenue and jobs. He also claimed that online gambling could be used for criminal purposes, particularly money laundering.
The proposal comes at the same time when Pennsylvania is ways that are actively seeking expand the state’s gaming industry to compete with neighboring states. They’ve already authorized bars that are allowing other venues to host gambling machines, and Governor Tom Corbett has said that the state lottery should also offer keno games to Pennsylvania residents. Online gambling has not yet been put to the state spending plan, but lawmakers were learning it for future consideration.
Scavello’s bill has found some supporters within the state legislature, particularly among fellow Republicans.
‘We realize that online gambling causes a lot of exploitation by various dubious characters that are out there,’ said State Representative David Millard. ‘Being addicted to gaming is like a cancer in our community.’
British Mobile App Gambling Growth Going Strong
Mobile gambling particularly sports wagering has been growing exponentially in the UK, while traditional Internet play has dropped (Image: Courier-Mail)
What goes up, must come down. But in the case of the UK gambling market, two recent studies have made it seem that the industry is both up and down at the same time. The truth is, it’s simply a matter of what you need to have a look at it, as the globe of gambling is changing, and gaming that is mobile becoming exponentially larger 12 months after year.
Slight Drop in Gambling Numbers Overall
First, there’s a report that is new from the British Gambling Commission that displays fewer residents gambled in 2013 than in 2012. It’s only a small drop, however: 55 percent of UK residents said before they were surveyed in 2013, compared to 57 percent the year before that they gambled over the four weeks.
That report also gave a consider whom is gambling and how frequently they’re doing it. A total of 60 per cent of male respondents reported gambling at least once a month, while that number was just 50 percent for women. Many gamblers said they only played when a week, or less.
The commission additionally looked at online gambling, and saw that participation in Internet betting was up even as general participation had fallen. Some 15 percent said they had participated in online gambling over the very last one month, up from 14 per cent a before year.
A percentage that is large of online gambling is done through great britain’s National Lottery, which is also the most popular form of gambling in the country overall. In-person gambling was still the many form that is popular of though, with almost three-quarters of these who stated they gambled stating that had only done so offline.
Mobile Gaming Continues to Grow
What do those true numbers really mean? They show that online gambling continues to grow, but still includes a lot more room for expansion. And another thing that wasn’t covered in the Gambling Commission report was mobile video gaming, which has grown extremely in just the year that is last.
That growth that is expansive illustrated in a report by OddsWinner.com, which studied the online and mobile revenues associated with top British bookmakers. Searching at just the largest companies, it becomes clear that mobile gaming is the long term for online operators and that the long run may, in fact, be here currently.
For instance, William Hill has seen fast growth in how much of the activities book revenue is now originating from mobile players. In 2012, just 26 percent of their sports book return came from mobile betting. But by the quarter that is second of, that number had already raised to 33 percent, and the organization expects that to go above 40 % by the conclusion of 2014. Incredibly, William Hill reported that year-over-year revenues for mobile gaming had increased 298 % from 2012 to 2013.
Other companies saw lower but still dramatic rates of mobile development. Paddy Power saw a 112 percent increase in mobile revenue in 2013, while Betfair said mobile activity was up 64 percent year-over-year. And sports book Bet365 says that 50 % of their customers now come from cellular devices.
In line with the OddsWinner report, the growth in mobile betting is due to numerous facets, like the usage that is increased of in the UK. More organizations may also be apps that are releasing rather than forcing clients to link through their mobile browsers per se.
‘Smartphones can now deliver the solutions needed to allow customers to bet in the move,’ said Push Technology CEO Sean Bowen. ‘We carry them every-where and therefore can bet at anytime, anywhere. There are more people with mobiles than PCs.’
Other factors range from the increase in interest for in-play wagering on recreations, and mobile-specific marketing campaigns by the major UK bookmakers.