Oursulaert, Essence - Yesterday a spokesman for Vivation Marketing announced that the company will be under new ownership. Started by the energetic and gifted Ulien Sinclaen nearly a decade ago, Vivation has gone from being a small public relations firm to a major marketing powerhouse. Last year, the company won the prestigious Quafe contract for the entire Essence region. The popular "Excited About Refreshment?" campaign was a Vivation brainchild.
When pressed for details, the spokesman would only confirm that Mr. Sinclaen had sold his majority holdings in Vivation to a private investor. Sinclaen himself declined to comment on details of the sale, including the terms or final amount transacted, leading to rampant speculation as to the motives behind his decision to sell his stake in the company he built from the ground up.
Sources close to the wealthy entrepreneur, however, have gone on record about the issue. Melielle Doussette, noted socialite and sometime paramour of Sinclaen was quite frank. "He made a bad bet and needed the money." Doussette went on to explain that the Vivation founder had made a substantial wager on the Alliance Tournament, a wager that turned out to have been a bad one. Several sources variously claim that Sinclaen put between 3 and 5 billion ISK on Mercenary Coalition, who were defeated in three straight matches by Cry Havoc, Ethereal Dawn, and Pandemic Legion. If the rumors of Sinclaen's debt are true, it is questionable whether his entire stake in Vivation will cover the losses.
Randelle Tarly, a friend of Sinclaen said, "It was supposed to be a sure thing. Mercenary Coalition really let him down. If they'd managed to win even one of their matches it might have been a push. But now he's ruined." This mention of "a sure thing" has raised many eyebrows, with rumors of match-fixing, collusion, and even the potential involvement of organized crime circulating recently. Most observers of the Alliance Tournament dismiss these rumors, however. Foren Halold, a producer for Impetus Entertainment who makes highlight holoreels of the Tournament for domestic resale was openly skeptical. "Capsuleer Alliances would never tolerate that kind of outside interference. They bow to no one, not even the established Empires. Why would anyone think that petty crooks could influence the matches?"
The issue that concerns more observers, however, is the fact that such large sums of money are changing hands in 3rd-party betting during the Tournament. While gambling is legal in most of the Gallente Federation, recent studies have shown an increasing trend towards heavier wagers. Soren Volielle a professor of Psychology ath te Eletta campus of the University of Caille said, "The number of people who place wagers on sporting events in general has risen sharply in the last 20 years. And the number of what we would call 'problem gamblers' has tripled. These people are betting their futures on the outcome of a game. Something clearly needs to be done."
But any talk of curbing, controlling, or regulating gambling activities within the Federation draws immediate controversy. Gambling represents a multi-billion ISK industry and employs a large number of citizens. Impetus maintains several commercial gambling ventures, and is perhaps the Federation's largest gambling institution. While the corporation's official spokespeople declined to comment, Marjay Ollan, an odds-maker with Impetus' "Games of Chance" subsidiary was openly critical. "We're all adults here. The Federation is built on the idea of personal freedom, and that includes the freedom to make wagers. No one is forcing people to participate. People pay money for entertainment all the time, and gambling is merely another form of entertainment."
When asked to comment on the Sinclaen affair, Ollan added, "It's his money. He's free to spend it however he likes. But kudos to him for having the sense of personal honor to pay off the debt. Freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand, and Mr. Sinclaen is a fine example of the Gallentean ideal." In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek follow-up, Ollan quipped, "Also, the man is brilliant and hard-working. I'm sure his next venture will be equally successful, at which time he's always welcome to place large bets with us."