All bets are off for Chartwell-Parlay mergerChartwell Technology Inc. of Calgary and Oakville ON’s Parlay Entertainment have called off a planned merger, citing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act recently passed into law south of the border (CNM, Oct. 18/06). The two firms signed a letter of intent in August to combine their operations, but now say it’s become too complex a plan to execute. "The continuing market uncertainty for the online and remote gaming industry generated by recent legislative actions in the United States has forced Chartwell to conclude that it will be unable to obtain a fairness opinion which supports the business arrangement or the share exchange ratio," an announcement jointly issued by the two firms states. Chartwell creates and distributes online casino applications, while Parlay develops software for Internet bingo gaming. Both firms are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Chartwell was chosen by Malta-based Betfair Casino Ltd. to provide a suite of games for Betfair’s online casino offering. As one of the largest online wagering and betting providers in the world, Betfair boasts nearly a million players in 80 countries. The games are hosted at casino.betfair.com.  LiveHive launches NFL fantasy sports siteWaterloo ON’s LiveHive Systems Inc. broadened its suite of "nanogaming" offerings with the launch of a website for the 2006-2007 National Football League season. On the firm’s new www.speedofsport.com site, armchair coaches can call their favourite NFL teams’ plays before the ball is snapped, as well as the results of said plays."The launch of Speed of Sport is great news for sports enthusiasts who want access to the most interactive fantasy site on the market, a highly entertaining gaming format, a community of raving fans, and a new way to play for fun, prizes and pride," said LiveHive president and co-founder Dave Bullock in a media release. LiveHive plans to roll out similar offerings for other pro sports leagues such as Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and UK Premier League soccer.  D-Box pitches universal platform for home useLast month’s CEDIA 2006 was the perfect venue for Longueuil QC-based D-Box Technologies Inc. to roll out its new "universal platform" for the home entertainment market. D-Box, which makes motion-enabled seating that simulates gravity and kinetic feedback, teamed up with Union City CA projection screen maker Runco International to debut its latest product. The universal platform consists of two robotic pistons that together provide users with up to 2Gs of acceleration as well as vertical movement, all synched to an audio-visual device thanks to D-Box’s proprietary motion codes. In a media release, D-Box president and CEO Claude Mc Master noted that the new universal platform carries a sticker price much lower than that of other D-Box products, which had previously been targeted at the commercial installation market, thus furthering the company’s strategy of breaking into the high-end home consumer market. "This is a plug-and-play, purely electronic product that adapts to almost any type of one-person seating," he said. "Any electronics retailer would be pleased to carry it in stock." CEDIA is the home theatre industry’s annual exposition and conference, and was held in Denver CO from September 5-9 this year.  Le Devoir now part of Branchez-Vous’ networkLeading Montreal French-language daily Le Devoir will now have national representation in the online advertising marketplace through the Branchez-Vous network. The www.ledevoir.com Web destination garners more than 200,000 unique visitors from throughout French Canada each month, and serves up more than five million page views. Branchez-Vous operates one of the largest technology content portals in French-speaking Canada, and also numbers other online destinations such as Le Lien Multimedia, Astral Media Inc.’s www.palmares.ca and www.supernews.ca among the clients of its Web advertising network.  Blogging generates bucks for b5media Inc.Prominent Ontario venture capital firms Brightspark Ventures and J.L. Albright Partners have collaborated to raise $2 million in equity financing for a Toronto-based network of blogs and social media sites. Billing itself as a "new media network targeting the mainstream via vertical-specific content," b5media Inc. brings together more than 150 blogs catering to a variety of "verticals" – from arts and entertainment to sports and news – attracting a total of more than two million unique visitors each month. With the money, b5media plans to add more content to its network by adding more bloggers to each of the existing verticals as well as create new verticals by attracting more bloggers. It also hopes to create new distribution channels for its network.  EMI Music Canada launches online videoA Palo Alto CA firm has been contracted to provide the infrastructure enabling major record label EMI Music Canada to stream music videos over the Internet as part of the label’s email newsletter and website. Itiva Digital Media, whose Quantum Transport media delivery technology employs "multicast effect and bandwidth amplification" to transmit streaming video and downloads in the most efficient manner available, will serve up new music videos weekly. The technology works by "taking large media files and slicing them up into Web objects," according to a media release. "Itiva is streaming 500 – a rate we’ve previously been unable to offer – which makes for a compelling way to introduce new music videos to our audience," Rob Brooks, EMI Music Canada’s VP of marketing said in the release.  Nurun makes over MakeMyTrip.comMontreal interactive advertising agency and Web development firm Nurun Inc. has been given the nod for a campaign to reinvent the online brand and identity of makemytrip.com, an online travel portal specializing in travel to and from India. The site’s new look and feel is intended to convert more casual browsers into serious online customers through the use of Web 2.0 features. The online travel booking market for all things Indian is expected to grow to $2 billion by the end of 2008, according to a press release from Nurun.  ‘Net a life safer for frazzled moms: KabooseToronto-based kids-and-family website operator Kaboose Inc. says four out of every five mothers in its membership base rely on the Internet to help them get the information they need on a wide variety of family and parenting topics. A survey conducted by Syosset NY-based Beta Research Corp. examining the attitudes and opinions of Kaboose users who are also mothers also finds that nearly 80% of moms on the Kaboose network look for educational material and ideas for their kids online. The results of the survey were presented at M2Moms, a "marketing-to-moms" conference held in Chicago from October 23-24. Kaboose plans to use the research to engage corporations and ad agencies interested in marketing to mothers. Kaboose also received some good news this month from leading online audience measurement firm comScore Media Metrix, which ranked the Toronto content network as one of September’s top-10 gaining properties in terms of audience growth. According to comScore’s figures, traffic to Kaboose’s sites gained 61% from August to September. "As we have now entered the fourth quarter, we anticipate seeing further increases in traffic as families spend more time together looking for travel, crafts, food and holiday ideas," Kaboose CEO Jason DeZwirek said in a media release.  Halifax’s SportsDirect delivers for US papersThe online properties of the Columbus OH Dispatch, the Tallahassee FL Democrat and the Eau Claire WI Leader-Telegram are the latest customers to sign up with Halifax-based SportsDirect Inc., which provides sports content to organizations in the online, wireless and interactive media verticals. According to a media release announcing the signing, the three US online properties – thedispatch.com, Tallahassee.com and leader-telegram.com – together serve up nearly 13 million page views to two million unique visitors monthly. Under the terms of the agreement, SportsDirect will furnish the three sites with real-time scores when professional sporting events are in progress, as well as statistics and special features. The three newspaper sites join such existing SportsDirect customers as usatoday.com and msnbc.com.