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Former MP claims report on online gaming ruined his reputation

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by Ian_go, Apr 17, 2007.

    Apr 17, 2007
  1. Ian_go

    Ian_go Dormant account

    Occupation:
    keeping the peace
    Location:
    Canada
    Former Simcoe North MPP Doug Lewis is expected to testify today in a civil trial after he launched a libel suit against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    Lewis, a former Canadian justice minister, has claimed that CBC staff, including news anchor Peter Mansbridge and reporter Sasa Petricic, ruined his reputation in a broadcast that explored the evils of internet gambling in Canada.

    The report, aired on Canada Now and The National on June 27, 2001, claimed that while internet gambling is illegal in Canada, at least one website, Tropical Casino, an off-shore gambling site licensed by Lewis, allowed Canadians to log on and make bets with a credit card.
    "This broadcast was about that paradox," CBC laywer Jonathan Lisus said in his opening arguments Friday. "It's a big problem in society, and Canadians had a right to know."

    Lewis served as Minister of Justice in 1988, Minister of Transport in 1990, and Solicitor General of Canada in 1991.

    In 2001, Lewis was the chairman and shareholder of Oxford Software Developers Inc., which licensed off-shore Internet gambling sites such as Tropical Casino. The broadcast, which will be played in court, also shows Lewis insisting that his gambling website will block Canadians and kick them off the site.

    But in the report, Petricic claims he was able to log on to Lewis' website, place a bet on the Toronto Blue Jays with his credit card, and received his winnings of $20 which was sent to the CBC Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa a week later.

    Lewis' lawyer, Peter Waldman, insists that the $20 was not winnings, but rather a "refund" that was sent back to Petricic when it was noticed he was a Canadian.

    "Petricic was caught," Waldman said. "That's why his money was refunded. The defendant has made my client out to be a liar and the public needs to know that this defamation was false and wrong."

    Lisus scoffed at the suggestion, and stated Lewis became upset after the broadcast because he had thought it would be a "puff piece" about his business.

    "He expected the story to be a puff piece about internet gaming and how it should be permitted," Lisus said. "But it wasn't a puff piece, it was about an important issue and Canadians have a right to know."

    The non-jury trial continues today.

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