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Money | Anorak - Part 97

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Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

Property – Picking Your Spot

BETWEEN 1991 and 2001, homes in Weybridge, Surrey, rose in value by, on average, 175% from £120,000 to £329,000.

The housing boom was in full flow and any property owners in London and the surrounding environs were making money on paper.

That’s the thing with property: just like shares, the value of your investment can go up and down. It’s a warm tingly feeling to know that while breathing you have made money. Only, you haven’t – at least not until you sell up and take the profit.

Then you might well have another problem to deal with. Unlike shares, your main source of income might be tied to where you live. Unless you plan to live al fresco, are moving into a retirement village or prison, you will need a new home.

The sensible move is to look to move somewhere on the up – a property hotspot where more money can be made.

It was once easy to find them: you looked for towns on the London commuter belt. But they are all now expensive. Indeed, if you want to buy in the Home Counties, chances are you will have to pay a great deal of money. You make your money on one property only to spend it all on another.

Places yet untouched by the hike in property prices do exist. In 2004, house pieces in Todmorden, West Yorkshire rose by a not inconsiderable 50.7%.

Identifying the hotspots

Although the boom has slowed, there is still profit to be made. Here are some ways to spot the next place to be gentrified and attract new money.
1. Look for areas close to places where the boom has already taken hold. The locals will have sold up, taken profits and be on the hunt for somewhere new and more affordable to live.

2. Look out for affluent brands moving into the area. The once sparse high street now has a Pizza Express restaurant, coffee shops, a Waitrose – all middle-class brands that pull in the money and gentrify the town.

You can conduct research into the commercial landscape by calling the local council’s planning office. Ask them what has been applied for. Contact local estate agents dealing in commercial property and ask them about the market: are any new shops moving into vacant lots? Are rental prices rising?

3. Find out what the Government is planning for the area. Is there to be a new road? A new train station? A new superstore? A new industrial waste processing plant? Go to www.planningportal.gov.uk and click on “How do I contact my local planning authority?” to find out more.

4. Look at the Land Registry. For £3 each you can find the price paid on most properties sold since April 2000. You can search by borough, region or postcode sector. If you are buying a home, take a look and see how your property stacks up alongside others in the street.

And lastly, if you are a risk taker, consider being a pioneer. Move into an area before the rush and take a chance. But remember, there is the chance the area won’t take off…

© Produced by anorak.co.uk for Virgin.net – Copyright Virgin.net

Posted: 4th, December 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Poker’s Full (Public) House

A Full (Public) House

THE new Gambling Act, which comes into force next year, will allow pubs to host poker games. Before this, landlords have had to ask a local magistrate for special permission to allow games of chance to be played on their premises – bingo, bridge and poker.

The new rules state that the games must be for low stakes – a cap of around £10 is mooted – and landlords will not be allowed to profit from the game. Casino games which require a banker – roulette, blackjack etc. – remain banned.

While some see the mix of gambling and alcohol as a recipe for disaster, a spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport says: “To ban poker from pubs would risk encouraging unlawful games which would be difficult to control.”

But surely unlawful games have always existed and always will. And don’t the punters booze at casinos?

Posted: 30th, November 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Bonded Labour

James Bond; Lottery

004

Staying with James Bond, we learn that William Hills have opened a book on how many films Daniel Craig will play the secret agent in.

Four films is the 7-4 favourite, with 12-1 on Craig playing the character six times.

And who will be the next Bond? Get 10-1 on Hugh Jackman (favourite) and 25-1 on Russell Crowe.

Lucky For Some

The National Lottery is celebrating its 12th birthday.

Since the balls were first drawn November 19, 1994, the big bet has created more than 1,900 millionaires and multi-millionaires.

You might not have won the top prize but, according to Camelot, the event’s organisers, one in 15,917 of the country’s adult players has taken home a share of a jackpot (smallest prize: £10). And your chances of winning the jackpot?

One in 13,983,816. Odds of winning any prize? 1 in 54. And one in four jackpots is won by a syndicate. But what about the winning numbers?

It is no myth – the unluckiest number is…13. According to Camelot, 13 has been drawn 132 times, 15 times as a bonus ball and 117 times as a main ball.

The luckiest balls have been 38 (199 times), 25 (186) and 31 (184).

Posted: 23rd, November 2006 | In: Money | Comment


James Bond Strips

Shaken Not Stirred

“There is no higher stakes in poker than the shirt of a man’s back,” says Englishman Jon Young, the World Strip Poker Champion.

He wants to take on Bond in a strip poker contest. “Bond rates himself as a bit of a shark at the poker table but I want to prove it’s all posturing and that underneath that glacially cool exterior lies a big scared-y cat who’ll c**p himself at the first sight of a real poker player.

It’s just a shame 007 isn’t a woman.” Daniel Craig has yet to respond to the challenge.

Posted: 17th, November 2006 | In: Money | Comment


About The Houses

YOU have to hand it to Rupert and Mandy. Getting into the property market when the boom was just about to start was a masterstroke.

Rupert and Mandy are so successful at the property game that their dinner parties have turned into property master classes. The only problem is to decide in which of their many splendid homes they should hold court in.

Unhappily, you missed out. Unluckily for you, you had no spare cash in the mid 1990s to buy up undervalued property stock and cheap land.

But now you have some money, you can get a foot on the ladder.

Problem is the bottom rung keeps getting higher. The average cost of property in the UK is £199,184. The average cost of a terraced home – the cheapest type – is £158,493.

According to official government statistics, the average wage in 2005 for men and women, full-time and part-time work was £23,900. The average wage for 22-29 year olds – the period when people are typically looking to buy a home – is £19,030, for women it’s £15,614. Think you can afford a mortgage on that property? You can. But it is not going to be easy.

And then there is the housing stock that is open to you. The golden rule is that location is all. So key is location that you must repeat the word thrice. Location. Location. Location.

And it is valid. Buying property in the Knightsbridge area of London will see you less exposed to fluctuations in the housing market than, say, buying a compact and bijou ex local authority (council) place in Ferndale in the Rhondda Valleys (believed to be the cheapest place to live in the UK). But your £100,000 will only buy you a broom cupboard in London premier district. This might be enough space for Boris Becker to sire a child, but you need more. And in South Wales you can buy a large house.

The key is to buy only what you can afford. But this is not to say you should be humble and go for small and decrepit places.

You should buy the most expensive place you can afford. There’s another rule, and this one says “What is dear today is cheap tomorrow”. Good advice.

Of course it might be cheap tomorrow because the bank has repossessed it and is selling it off at auction. Probably to the likes of Rupert and Mandy.

But don’t worry. Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking you through the buying process. From deciding what you can afford to dealing with agents and solicitors, we’ll provide you with an accessible guide.

But before we do, you must make sure you understand one thing – buying property is about making an investment as much as it is about making a home.

It carries a certain amount of risk. The value of your assets can go up as well as down. You need to make sure you can weather the changes.

If you can’t you could be out of pocket, and out on the street…

Produced by anorak.co.uk for Virgin.net – Copyright Virgin.net

Posted: 16th, November 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Pamela Anderson’s Busted Flush

Pammy’s Busted Flush

Pamela Anderson is no longer as big in poker as she is in bikinis. Pamelapoker.com, Pammy’s eponymous online poker room, has closed.

The operation has been taken over by Doylesroom.

The news comes just four months after its launch was announced during a staged wedding between herself and Doyle Brunson during the 2006 WSOP.

Tropical Heat

Gamblers at Tropical Poker will surely be glad of the presence of actress, supermodel and blonde leggy poker celebrity Cindy Margolis. Fans of Cindy – billed as the most downloaded woman on the Internet – will be able to play poker and chat with their idol online.

“I am positive that the Tropical Poker brand will suit me very well, and I look forward to being a representative for them. I couldn’t be happier to join the Tropical Poker team,” says the Queen of Hearts.

Posted: 15th, November 2006 | In: Money | Comment (1)


Rooney’s Dream Team

Everytime’s A Winner

Psssst! Wanna win the lottery? It’s easier than you think.

A group of university types have come up with a winning formula. The syndicate from Bradford University ensure that every one of the 49 Lotto numbers is chosen on their lines.

Barry Waterhouse, who heads the syndicate, tells us how the plan led to his team winning £5,299,849. All 49 numbers were written on pieces of paper and placed in a box. Each syndicate member then chose six numbers until eight lines were filled.

That’s 48 numbers. The remaining number was then used to begin a new line, the rest of it made up from numbers already selected.

Of course, even if you use this method you might not win. Luck can also play a part. Really, it can…

Eleven To One

Bookmakers William Hill are offering odds on Wayne Rooney’s lover Coleen McLoughlin giving birth to eleven sons and all of them going on to appear for the England team that wins the World Cup in 2030.

The odds are 76million-to-one. It’s a bit of a long shot. And if you think it is not worth the effort, consider that the odds on you winning last Friday’s EuroMillions draw were about the same.

Fancy a ticket? Feeling lucky?

Posted: 3rd, November 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Fruity Bets

King’s Ransom

Alex King bet his pal Lord Edward Davenport £100,000 that he could gatecrash the premier of The History Boys movie and shake hands with Prince Charles and the very fragrant Camilla. King achieved his objective, vaulting the VIP rope and standing in line with the great and good due to meet the heir to the throne and his wife. The papers had a field day – until it was revealed that Alex has actually bought a ticket. But he did still win the £100,000. Right?

Juicier Fruit

From October 27, fruit machines will be paying out a bigger top prize. The maximum win will go up from £25 to £35. In return, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which negotiated the move, asks that all machines display the GameCare charity helpline number and signs telling under 18s that they are banned from playing. Machines in betting shops will retain their £500 top prize.

Posted: 18th, October 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Party’s Over

The Poker Party is over. The US Congress passed legislation on Sept. 30 making it unlawful for credit-card companies to collect payments for transactions with online-gaming sites.

PartyGaming, the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming company, and 888 say they will suspend business with U.S. residents when the law takes effect. PartyGaming generates 75 percent of revenue from the U.S, according to analysts UBS AG. And there is more.

The BBC reports that Congress has permitted online gaming by companies providing horserace betting, so-called fantasy games and lotteries. “And guess what?” asks the Beeb. “Most of them are US-owned… Which suggests that in the casino of globalisation, Congress may be engaged in old-fashioned protectionism – or rigging the game in favour of US companies.”

More to follow.

Posted: 10th, October 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Keeping A Clean Council

THE chat forum on Yatton Parish Council’s website has been closed for mentioning gambling.

Parish council chair, Faith Moulin, says: “People have been clicking on the links and have found something really awful. There is a facility for forum members to put links to their own websites on there and someone is putting links to porn and gambling sites. People logging on can’t tell it’s not a bona fide link.”

Not that they are looking for porn or gambling sites of course.

Definitely not. No chance. No way!

Posted: 6th, October 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Poor Players

Best Buy

A shirt worn by Manchester United player George Best has sold at auction for £24,000. The shirt, won by Best in United’s 8-2 thumping of mighty Northampton Town in 1970, was bought by an anonymous buyer.

Poor Players

Poor old Michael Ballack, German football captain and Chelsea’s new play thing. Such is the high cost of living in London, that Michael – wages £130,000 a week – says: “London is expensive. It’s better to rent.” Indeed. So if you know anyone with spare room in a flat share call 0800 CHELSEA. They need your help.

Posted: 28th, September 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Hello, Stud

Adios

The interesting football transfer of Argentine superstars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano to West Ham United has caused William Hill to open a book on when the pair will leave the club. Punters can get 8-11 on the players leaving the Hammers by next season. Seems like a good bet to us. Pretty much a sure thing.

Luck Be A Lady

Valerie Ilson, 53, is lucky. The woman who works in a Long Island delicatessen, beat odds of one in 3.6 trillion – 3,669,120,000,000-1 – to win the New York State Lottery twice. Valerie, who has no intention of giving up her job, says, “I couldn’t believe it. This time I said, ‘God’s on my side’.” Valerie is now £536,000 richer. And that’s on top of her previous $1million win four 3 years ago.

Naked Ambitions

Coming to an email inbox near you, adverts for Las Vegas casinos with nude dealers. “Casinos on the Las Vegas strip provide cheap or free alcoholic beverages to lessen the mental processes of gamblers. Online casinos don’t have that luxury, so it appears they are trying to distract gamblers in more titillating ways,” says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Whatever you think of these tactics, the gambling websites are in danger of breaking the law by sending unsolicited spam like this. Companies and home users need to protect themselves from the nuisance of junk mail, and boycott those businesses who are supporting it.” Here, here.

Posted: 22nd, September 2006 | In: Money | Comment


There Are Limits

The eight possible locations for the sighting of Britain’s only super casino are writing their bids.

Blackpool, Wembley Stadium, Cardiff, Glasgow, the Millennium Dome, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield are competing to host the country’s biggest slot (up to 1,250 unlimited jackpot machines) and leisure emporium.

The winner will be announced in December by the Casino Advisory Panel, an independent body set up by Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary. Virgin.net will bring you all the news and views from the debate. Stay tuned…

And today we hear from poker playing Mick Atherton, the former England cricket captain. Says he: “Super-casinos do not make for good neighbours. They have everything a visitor needs there on the premises, so there’s no excuse for them to leave. There’s little reason for people to stay overnight – Sheffield would not so much attract tourists as gambling commuters.”

This is not to say sun-kissed Sheffield is not a great place to holiday. Just that there are limits to what gambling can do for an area.

Posted: 21st, September 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Agassi Wins

Old Red Eyes

By now Andre Agassi should just about have stopped crying. The tennis ace has retired from the game, and his eyes are red with tears. But there is hope for more success in the Agassi household. Punters are betting that the man’s son Jaden will win Wimbledon. David Coe, of Southport, Merseyside, has bet £100 at 500-1 that Jaden will ape his dad’s achievement.

Winners Beware

Lottery winner Sue Jeffrey, 46, thought she was doing the right thing when she bought her son 20-year-old Kyle a £33,000 six cylinder, fuel-injected Nissan – 0-to-100mph in seven seconds. Sue, who won £1.6million, even paid his £7,000 annual insurance. But Jerry was not able to handle the car and following an accident has been sent to a young offenders’ institute for four months after admitting dangerous driving. Judge Robert Moore said Kyle had been badly served by someone who “should have known better”.

Posted: 20th, September 2006 | In: Money | Comment


Strip Poker

Naked Ambition

Slough has a new hero. John Young, a 32-year-old freelance writer, won the £10,000 first prize in the World Strip Poker Championship (no-limit hold ‘em), held at the Cafe Royal in London. Having seen off the challenge of 200 male and female players to win the Golden Fig Leaf Trophy, Young won yet more money. Organiser Paddy Power, bookmakers, said they would give 10,000 pounds to Cancer Research if John dropped his trousers at the end of the match. He did just that. What a guy. What a winner.

Striker It Rich

Gary Nicholls saw something in his son Ricky. So more than ten years ago, he staked £150 on his boy making it as a professional footballer. And Ricky, now aged 16, has been offered a full-time scholarship by Championship side West Bromwich Albion. Ricky earns £90 a week. But if he plays for the first team by the time he is 18, dad Gary will win £50,000. Gary will earn another £100,000 if West Brom make it to the Premiership next season and Ricky plays. And he will earn £250,000 if Ricky makes it all the way to play for England by his 24th birthday. Gary says he will give his son all the winnings. Although if Ricky becomes a top footballer, the last thing he’ll need is more money…

Nun On The Run

Have you seen Sister Barbara Markey? A professional nun, Sister Markey ran the Omaha, USA, archdiocese’s Family Life Office and was co-author of a Catholic Marriage Preparation program called FOCCUS. An arrest warrant alleges that Markey spent more than $307,000 in archdiocese’s funds on gifts for family and friends ($33,488), personal trips ($24,775), and casinos ($67,656). On June 28, 2006, Sister Markey turned herself in to police. She posted bail sometime that day, but she is still waiting her hearing for a potential 20-year jail sentence and/or a $25,000 fine.

A Royale Flush

When he’s not living every teenage boy’s fantasy – pulling great looking women, driving fast cars and drinking cocktails – James Bond is gambling. And new Bond actor Daniel Craig has become a card-sharp. For his forthcoming movie Casino Royale, Craig needed to learn how to play poker. He was taught the game by John Duthie, a British card player who has made over £1.5 million from the game. Craig now plays for fun.

Caller Beware

Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, and Icstis, the premium–rate telephone regulator, say they are to investigate interactive TV quiz channels, as the Times reports. There are 11 quiz channels on UK television, watched by up to a million people a night. Viewers have complained that they call the advertised number – for which they are typically charged 65p-75p flat rate per call – and are told that they have not been selected to enter the competition proper. Sorry. Thanks for your money. Goodbye.

Posted: 8th, September 2006 | In: Money | Comment