Friday, May 8, 2009

CNBC Video: Should Online Gambling be Legal?

Editor's Note:  Click the Title of this post, it will refresh and you may leave and/or read some of the comments re: this post.

On the right is a videotaped debate from CNBC on whether legalizing online gambling is a good idea. Sorry about the commercial!
The reason I'm posting it is because I
found it rather entertaining.  There's a guy named Les Bernal, (the bald dude)from
Stop Predatory Gambling and
when he's done with his rant, the CNBC announcer actuallykind of makes a little
fun of him,asking him if a PR firm came
up with the name "predatory" gambling
("you make it sound like like "child
porn," he says at one point)
Later he starts questioning his statistics
saying it sounds as if he just made
them up off the top of his head. 
When Les (the bald dude) says
he got the statistics from a study done
in Canada, the announcer actually says,
"Avoid Canada Joke Here".  Funny stuff.
He then goes on to tell the bald dude
that he's so extreme and that  his 
"bible toting" is hurting his case. 
The only case I can make is that  "Les is NOT more."  As I said, this is some pretty funny stuff...especially considering it's on CNBC and not 
For those unaware, on Wednesday Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., introduced a bill to legalizeInternet gambling.  I think it's H.R. 2268.  Harrah's today said it supports it.  So did MGM.  Oh, and too.  Surprise!Supporters say it could yield billions in taxrevenue, but others say it could raise gambling addiction.   What are your views?  As always, feel free to comment.   Just click the title of this post and the comment box will be at the bottom of the post.

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Informal Chit Chat Opens Window for Metavante Acquisition

Informal CEO talks led to Metavante deal

The Business Journal of Milwaukee - by Rich Kirchen

While Fidelity National Information Services initiated formal merger talks with Metavante Technologies Inc., Metavante’s chairman and CEO actually started the conversation by informally contacting Fidelity National’s top executive.

That’s a different perspective on the genesis of the deal than the way it was portrayed April 1, the day both companies disclosed the transaction.

At the time, Don Layden, senior executive vice president of Brown Deer-based Metavante (NYSE: MV), said Metavante executives weren’t looking to sell, but were open to discussing the possibility when Fidelity National approached them about nine months earlier. However, in an interview last week with the Jacksonville (Fla.) Business Journal, Metavante chairman and CEO Frank Martire said he began the conversation with Lee Kennedy, president and CEO of Jacksonville-based Fidelity National.

“I gave Lee a call one day and said it would be interesting to see if there is some synergy” between the two companies, Martire said.

Metavante has agreed to a $3 billion acquisition by Fidelity National (NYSE: FIS) in a deal that is expected to result in the loss of hundreds of jobs as the companies look to cut $260 million in annual costs. Job cuts will be announced within the next two months, Metavante executives said. The company has about 2,700 employees in metro Milwaukee.

Martire told the Jacksonville Business Journal he always admired Fidelity National Information Services as one of his closest competitors. By the end of the year, Martire will move to Jacksonville to run the company from its Jacksonville headquarters. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Metavante spokesman Chip Swearngen said Tuesday that the difference between the Martire and Layden statements is that Martire was discussing an informal initial exploratory contact with Fidelity National and Layden referenced the official contact by Fidelity National that led to the deal.

Continue Reading at Milwaukee Biz Journal

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PayPal Blog: New P2P Application for Android


New PayPal Application for Android

ericd2Hi blog readers!  I’m Eric Duprat from PayPal’s mobile team.  For all you Androidlovers out there, we’ve got a special treat for you today.  We’ve nowlaunched a PayPal app just for you.  This application will give youeasy access to your PayPal account right from your Android phone.
With this application, you’ll get:

Direct integration with the contact list.  You won’t need toremember people’s numbers or emails anymore to send them money!  Justselect their name from your list of contacts, and we’ll make sure theyget paid.

Recent history. You can use your phone to look at your transactionsover the last couple of months.  So if you ever need to check whetheror not a payment has come through, it’ll be simple to find out.

Balance checks.  We show you all your balances in any of the currencies you hold.
    And, of course, all your mobile payments are kept safe using thesame start-of-the-art technology we use on  So, if you havean Android phone, visit the Android Market to download the app and try it out.  Let us know what you think!
    Update 5/6/09:  Just to clarify, here is how you can download the PayPal Android Application on your G1 phone:
    1. Click on the Android Market
    2. Search for “PayPal” (or scroll through the finance category)
    3. Click install

    Web Retailers Increase Quarterly Web Sales

    From: IRNewsLink  (click to enlarge pic)

    Web retailers increase their quarterly web sales

    Even in the current recession, people are still shopping online and more so than one year ago. The combined web sales of 13 retailers that broke out quarterly web sales in early April through early May increased year over year by 14.1% to $6.15 billion from $5.39 billion. Six web retailers posted quarterly gains year over year in e-commerce sales while seven others showed a decrease. continued to show its outsized influence on the web retailing market by posting an 18.4% increase in Q1 2009 web sales to $4.89 billion from $4.13 billion in the first quarter of 2008. Without Amazon, the remaining 12 retailers increased their quarterly sales year over year by 0.2% to $1.267 billion from $1.264 billion. Six other web retailers also finished out 2008 with higher e-commerce sales, increasing their combined total by 11.2% to $1.39 billion in 2008 from $1.25 billion in 2007.

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    Show Me Your ATM Card

    PNC Bank has signed a banking contract with Marymount University, marking its first university deal in the Washington, D.C. area.
    Under the five-year contract, the university’s 3,600 students and more than 400 employees will get access to PNC’s personal banking products and services.

    Marymount users will have the option of tying their school ID card to PNC accounts to make it an ATM card, as well.

    “The partnership with PNC Bank will...enable parents to transfer funds easily to their student’s account and provide students, faculty, and staff with easy access to financial services,” said a spokeswoman for Marymount.

    The Washington Business Journal is a sister publication to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

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    Prey: It Does Happen (Bait and Switch)

    Students Become Prey for Cards Charging 18% After Free Lunch -

    Irena Cabrilo got a free lunch during her freshman year at the University of North Texas in exchange for signing up for a credit card from Bank of America Corp. Eight months later, she was carrying a $1,500 balance and struggling to pay an 18 percent interest rate.

    “They made it sound so easy,” said Cabrilo, now a senior majoring in marketing and advertising. “Just sign up, you’ll get approved and have access to money. They don’t talk about interest rates and what will happen to your credit history.”

    Average credit-card debt among graduating college seniors increased to more than $4,100 last year from $2,900 in 2004, according to a study by SLM Corp.  

    Editor's Note:  The worst part is that of the $4100, usually more than half ($2000) was put on the card when the interest rate was low (2.9% for example) then suddenly it  becomes 18%.   If that's not a classic case of "bait and switch" I don't know what is. 

    About 85 percent of students have at least one credit card, according to the study, conducted every four years by Reston, Virginia-based SLM, also known as Sallie Mae, the largest lender to U.S. students.

    Continue Reading at

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    Underbanked Financial Services Forum: June 1st-3rd Dallas

    The 4th Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum presented with the Center for Financial Services Innovation will be held this year June 1-3 in Dallas, TX at The Westin Galleria.

    This year's forum will be exploring multiple perspectives on serving the underbanked in today's climate. As awareness of the potential value and demographic diversity of the underbanked market continues to grow, the Underbanked Financial Services Forum remains the best single place to learn from and connect with the people transforming the financial services landscape.

    * Understand the attitudes, needs and behaviors of the underbanked
    * Learn innovative ideas for these challenging times
    * Gain further insight on the global perspective

    Back by popular demand...

    Underbanked Xtreme Networking is back by popular demand! Borrowed from the idea of speed dating, this networking event delivers an accelerated meet and exchange between industry leaders and innovators. Pre-register before the event to receive an optimized schedule tailored to fit your specific networking needs.

    Who are the underbanked?

    Since 2006, this annual gathering has become the premier event for players across the financial services spectrum:

    * Financial institutions and credit unions
    * Technology and service companies
    * Retailers and other providers
    * Nonprofit organizations
    * Government agencies

    Get the latest information from industry experts and case studies from on the ground and across the globe on the best strategies and offerings to achieve profitable growth and long-term success.


    *offer valid for new registrations only and cannot be combined with any other offers

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    Data Sniffing Costs Heartland Bigtime

    Source: The Register
    Complete item:

    Electronic payments processor Heartland Payment Systems said Thursday it has allocated $12.6m to cover a security breach that exposed sensitive card holder data crossing its network.

    More than half that amount involves a fine MasterCard has assessed banks that did business with Heartland, said company CEO Robert Carr, according to this conference-call transcript. The remainder covers legal costs and other expenses related to the breach, which was discovered in January.

    Carr said the company plans to roll out a new security system designed to encrypt payment card transactions from their point of origin with merchants to their final destination with the card issuers. The mechanism would go well beyond so-called PCI DSS, or payment card industry data security standards, which are mandated on merchants, processors, and banks that work with credit and debit cards. Heartland is still working with card companies such as Visa and MasterCard to see if they will be able to accept the encrypted data.

    Currently, the vast majority of transactions transmit data that is sent in the clear, except for personal identification numbers.

    "We are in a cyber crimes arms race, and we need to stay ahead of the bad guys who never rest and do not call committee meetings to update their malicious tools and attack vectors," Carr said.

    Heartland hopes to put the system in place by the third quarter, a time line that may be overly optimistic. That's because there are a lot of players in the payment card industry, and for the system to work, each will have to upgrade their equipment to deploy the new mechanism.

    "For this to really be effective, the banks need to participate and so do Visa and MasterCard and American Express," said Avivah Litan, a security analyst with Gartner. Right now, a small number of processors offer end-to-end encryption, but none of them are among the top 10 players, she said. Editor's Note: Buy we try harder!

    The breach occurred when criminal hackers managed to sneak malware onto Heartland's network that sniffed card data that was stored there. The company has yet to provide basic details about the intrusion including how long it lasted, how the software was able to penetrate the company's defenses or how many cards were intercepted. At least 160 banks in the US, Canada, Guam, and elsewhere have been affected, the news portal said in February.

    Besides expenses in excess of $12m, the breach has been costly to Heartland in other ways. Among other things, it has distracted company employees and been used as a scare tactic by competitors, who tell Heartland customers they could be held liable if they continue to use the processor, Carr said. (The claims are false, he added).

    It also likely played a role in Heartland being removed from Visa's list of processors that are in good standing with industry-mandated standards for data security. Heartland late last week was reinstated.

    Given all the pain, it's understandable Heartland wants to put the breach behind. And that means moving to beyond PCI DSS, which many security experts say is insufficient to protect card data.

    Heartland executives "don't want to wait until the industry figures this out," said Gartner's Litan. "They're pushing the industry into this encryption."


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    MoneyGram Announces Reload Agreement with netSpend

    Press Release

    Minneapolis and Austin, Tex., May. 8, 2009 -- MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI), a leading global payment services company, and NetSpend Corporation, a leading provider of financial services and products for the underbanked, today announced an agreement that will increase transaction volume in MoneyGram’s U.S. locations. The agreement highlights MoneyGram’s continued success in the important prepaid segment.

    Through the relationship, NetSpend prepaid debit card holders will be able to conveniently load value to their cards in a real-time, single-step transaction at any of the 40,000 MoneyGram ExpressPayment® agent locations nationwide. The agreement with MoneyGram brings the number of locations that NetSpend customers can reload their prepaid debit cards to approximately 90,000—making it one of the largest networks of its kind in the country.

    “Convenience is very important to our customers. Their time is valuable and the ability to choose how they reload their NetSpend card—whether online or through the thousands of reload centers—gives them unprecedented control and freedom,” said Dan Henry, chief executive officer of NetSpend. “MoneyGram brings the convenience of the NetSpend card to a completely new level and is a welcome partner for our millions of cardholders.”

    Anthony Ryan, president and chief executive officer of MoneyGram International, said: “This strategic partnership with NetSpend broadens our presence in the key prepaid market by opening the MoneyGram reload network to one of the largest prepaid card providers in the industry. We continue to provide control and choice to consumers with our urgent bill payment product and real-time prepaid card load capabilities.”

    About NetSpend Corporation

    NetSpend Corporation is one of the premier providers of innovative, accessible prepaid debit cards which empower consumers with the convenience, security and freedom to be self-banked. NetSpend achieves its mission by serving its customers anytime and anywhere, being trustworthy, reliable, and delivering innovative high value products and features. NetSpend's proprietary processing platform allows it to support prepaid card programs end-to-end from customer acquisition and card fulfillment to customer service and risk management. The NetSpend® Prepaid Card Network includes leading consumer brands and companies serving the un-banked and under-banked markets, and its strategic relationships include card issuers, EFT networks and payment card associations. For more information, visit .

    About MoneyGram International

    MoneyGram International offers more choices and more control for people separated from friends and family by distance or those with limited bank relationships to meet their financial needs. A leading global payment services company, MoneyGram International helps consumers to pay bills quickly and safely send money around the world in as little as 10 minutes. Its global network is comprised of 180,000 agent locations in 190 countries and territories. MoneyGram’s convenient and reliable network includes retailers, international post offices and financial institutions. To learn more about money transfer or bill payment at an agent location or online, please visit .

    Source: Company press release.

    Source: Sophos
    Complete item:

    Cybercriminals are up to their old tricks again, disguising their Trojan horses by spamming them out attached to emails claiming to come from legitimate organizations.

    Today one of the malware campaigns we are seeing pose as communications from WorldPay, claiming that your credit card has been charged on behalf of Amazon.  The emails have the subject line "WorldPay CARD transaction Confirmation", and part of the email message reads:

    "Your transaction has been processed by WorldPay, on behalf of Amazon Inc. The invoice file is attached to this message. This is not a tax receipt. We processed your payment. Amazon Inc has received your order, and will inform you about delivery."

    Of course, if you haven't bought anything on Amazon lately you might be all too tempted to click on the attached file (named  Which would be a mistake, of course, because it contains a copy of the Troj/Agent-JUC Trojan horse.

    This is far from the first time that hackers have used a scam like this, and it won't be the last.  The message, as always, is to be on your guard and think twice before opening an unsolicited email attachment.

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    Irish Bank Outage ID's POS Vulnerabilities

    Source: storefrontbacktalk
    Complete item:

    On Tuesday (May 5) , the National Irish Bank (NIB) reported that "technology problems were behind the failure of its debit and credit cards at point-of-sale machines in shops and other businesses across the country" earlier that day. But while the unspecified glitch was resolved within a few hours, retail POS issues continued, prompting the bank to "apologize unreservedly," according to The Irish Times.

    Here's where it gets interesting. The bank issued a statement that "as soon as the problem was identified, the network was switched to a back-up system and National Irish Bank customers are able to access their funds at the bank's ATMs as normal now." But what about Ireland's retailers, whose transactions were halted? No emergent backup system for them? Another reminder that banks know ATMs and vaults, but POS is a new and lower priority concept.


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