Igc Supports Uk Approach To Regulation Of Online Gaming


Forum Cheermeister
Staff member
Jun 30, 1998


Rick Smith, Executive Director, executive.director@igcouncil.org

Keith Furlong, Deputy Director, keith.furlong@igcouncil.org | Phone: 1-604-732-3833 // Mobile: 1-732-687-0880


VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 13, 2004 -- The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC, www.igcouncil.org) applauds the report of a committee of the United Kingdom Parliament regarding the sections of the gambling reform bill that deal with what the British government calls remote gambling. The Joint Committee on the Draft Gambling Bill published its report on April 7.

Given the deliberate pace of the overall gambling reform process, we are especially pleased with the urgency that the Committee attaches to the regulation of remote gambling, said Rick Smith, executive director of the IGC. The Committee says The regulation of remote gambling operators should not be delayed. And throughout its discussion in this section, the Committee uses terms such as at the earliest opportunity and as soon as possible.

The IGC, of course, is concerned with more than just the speed of implementing such regulation. When it comes to the content of the proposed regulations, we also find ourselves in agreement with the findings of the Committee, Smith said.

The Committee salutes the government for deciding to regulate the remote gambling industry in the UK, and for recognizing that it is impossible to prohibit UK citizens from gambling remotely. The Committee wisely encourages the government to equip the new Gambling Commission with the technical resources it will need to meet the challenges of regulating this new form of gambling.

For years, the IGC has argued that online gaming, or to maintain consistency with the terminology in the Draft Gambling Bill, remote gambling, should be subjected to the same type of regulatory principles that apply to land-based gambling regulation in responsible jurisdictions. The Committee says that just because remote gambling operators can threaten to relocate to less stringent jurisdictions, UK regulators should not weaken consumer protections, and it praises a government official who promised that the UK will not get involved in a race to the bottom with any other jurisdictions.

The Committee recommends that the draft bill be amended to clarify that software providers would also have to be licensed. The IGC agrees that this would be wise public policy, as these companies are crucial to the viability of the industry.

We are glad that the Committee devotes considerable attention to social responsibility, recommending that the Gambling Commission should quickly begin consultations with the remote gambling industry and with problem gambling experts in order to draw up stringent codes of social responsibility for this sector. The Committee also urges strong measures to prevent under-age access to remote gambling.

The Committee takes a strong stance on the question of whether UK remote gambling operators should be prohibited from accepting players from certain jurisdictions. This is especially important for players from the United States, which wants to make remote gambling illegal, and players from Scandinavian countries whose governments want to restrict such gambling to their own domestic sites. The Committee agrees with the UK governments much more free market approach.

However, the Committee notes that the draft bill contains a reserve power that would enable the UK Secretary of State to designate territories as prohibited. The Committee says such a power should only belong to the full Parliament. We believe that this change would make the implementation of such power highly unlikely.

And finally, the Committee addresses the question of whether advertising by remote gambling operators from outside the European Economic Area should be prohibited in the UK. The Committee suggests that such a prohibition should be included in the bill, but that the Gambling Commission should have the power to approve advertising from jurisdictions whose regulatory standards it determines are adequate. The Committee specifically mentions Alderney in this context.

The IGC endorses such a policy, said Keith Furlong, deputy director, because we see this as a step in the direction of mutual recognition by first-tier regulatory bodies. This in turn would be a step toward global standards, the holy grail that the remote gambling industry ultimately needs. Consistent and transparent international standards are the key to the way forward in an international regulatory environment.

The IGC is also pleased to note several important milestones for publicly traded companies that are completely or partially involved in remote gambling. Chartwell Technology, a veteran developer of gaming software, upgraded its listing to the Toronto Stock Exchange, effective May 3. Chartwell, which is based in based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, had previously been listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. The Toronto exchange is Canadas largest, and generally includes larger, more mature companies than the Venture Exchange.

Another Canadian company, Neteller, had its shares listed in April on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. Neteller is an online money transfer service used by many remote gambling companies and their players. The AIM listing is the companys first public listing.

Also in April, William Hill one of the UKs largest bookmakers, with hundreds of betting shops and telephone and Internet operations was added to the FTSE 100 Index, a prestigious group of London Stock Exchange companies.

These moves by publicly traded companies active in our industry have significance for all of us, not just company executives and stockholders, Smith said. In Canada and the UK, remote gambling companies are moving into the mainstream of these countries financial systems. These listings and upgrades will give the firms more exposure to, and more respect from, the banking community, government officials and the general public. In short, this bodes well for the growth and legitimacy of our industry.

In the United States, meanwhile, the Department of Justice continues to harass the industry by intimidating third parties such as media outlets that carry advertising for interactive gambling.

The complex issues that surround interactive gambling worldwide will be aired in detail next week at the Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo in Toronto. The conference and trade show, which runs May 17-19, is the largest annual event for this industry. The IGC will be at the show, in booth number 217.

About the IGC

Formed in 1996, the IGC is the leading trade association for the international interactive gambling industry with its membership operating or supplying services to most of the reputable interactive sites on the World Wide Web. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the IGC champions fair and honest interactive gambling environments. To help parents protect their children, IGC members are encouraged to participate in the self-labeling system of the Internet Content Rating Association. The IGC has developed a Code of Conduct for members, and a program called Helping Hand to assist problem gamblers.

For additional information on the Interactive Gaming Council, visit the website at www.igcouncil.org

Ste.175 - 2906 West Broadway Vancouver BC V6K 2G8 Canada Tel 1.604.732.3833 Fax 1.604.732.3866 www.igcouncil.org