Certain provinces in Canada are looking to legalise online gambling and by the look of a poll recently conducted by survey company Ipsos Reid, which operates in eight cities and employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff , there is more confusion about the legality of online gambling than there was a just few years ago.

The independent survey on gambling with the internet conducted in both Canada and the United States shows that in 2007, 41 percent of Americans and 28 percent of Canadians said they knew online gambling was illegal. In 2010, that figure dropped to 37 percent of Americans and 23 percent of Canadians who thought it was illegal. Respondents from both countries expressed a desire to see online gambling well regulated and licensed. The survey, conducted between January 4th and 7th 2010 polled 1,006 people in the United States and 1,032 people in Canada, the results had an estimated margin of error of 3.05 to 3.09 percentage points.

Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Sixty seven percent of those interviewed in Canada and fifty five percent of Americans were of the opinion that the federal government should be regulating and licensing online gambling operations and making the rules universal throughout the respective countries. Respectively a third of Canada's respondents and an estimated forty five percent of those in America thought the process of regulation should be dealt with by state or provincial governments. Paul Lauzon Senior Vice President & Managing Director of Ipsos Reid’s Lottery & Gaming Group, concluded, "We see that Americans are more concerned with regulation than Canadians," adding, "Comparing a number of legally permitted gambling options, Canadian interest in playing remains almost unchanged based on regulation or no regulation. But Americans feel more comfortable in playing betting games and gambling when there is a system of government regulation in place."

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It was bound to happen sooner or later, someone would offer online gambling odds on the most popular of motor sports in the USA, NASCAR. Agents from the Washington State Gambling Commission, a state which has some of the strictest codes on gambling in the USA, recently raided the home of David B. Watkins in the Spokane Valley just east of Seattle. The fifty four year old man is now under arrest suspected of running an online gambling website based on NASCAR racing which would be a violation of the federal law in the USA prohibiting online gambling. Apparently the FantasyThunder, web site has been in operation for more than ten years, allowing anyone in the States or the world put bets on the races. Things were going well until a few players made complaints that they were not being reimbursed for their winning wagers officials became suspicious and moved in. A search warrant was issued for the Watkin's home operation suspected as the source of the site. Unfortunately the FantasyThunder website fell on hard times and could not fulfill it commitments to pay it's players and Watkins became unavailable to his customers. Punters were told that there is no money left for payouts, that the operation was illegal and they should not expect any compensation. Watkins faces a single felony charge of 2nd Degree Professional Gambling. Authorities are not planning to pursue gambling charges against individuals who placed wagers on the FantasyThunder website. The contentious issue of online gambling in America is being tested and interpreted by various courts in different states with some judges and law enforcement agencies taking a tough stance while others are turning a blind eye. Gary Drumheller, the investigating officer in charge, said that players would not be pursued, “We’d rather have them be witnesses,” adding, “We’re more after the person who was putting this all together, and that would be Mr. Watkins.” 
 

 

 

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In today's ever changing and fun seeking world of online casinos and gaming the introduction of new and novel ways to enjoy the past time are few and far between. Online poker fans are in for a treat when they discover the poker players social network called Portalarium. Popular video game designer, Mr. Richard Garriott, known for his pioneering work on Ultima and Ultima online and well known as one of the gaming industry’s legendary innovators has developed a poker gaming social networking site. Garriott is famous for his contribution to City of Heroes, Lineage, Tabula Rasa, among other notable online games. His recent stint in outer space aboard the Russian Rocket to the International Space Station would have been inspiration enough for anyone but for a fellow like Garriott inspiration is always translated into something fantastic. The costly eight figure trip must have given him a global perspective with Garriott planning to expand the the concept of open learning, open science and environment, open health discussion, and open government. These goals would be included in the virtual world of his social networking site with poker as the focus. His plan includes two poker games Texas hold'em and Playfish to be inserted as a plug in for already existing social networks such as Facebook and MySpace and an application for iPhone users. Portalarium will expand on graphic interfaces that use a platform other than Adobe's Flash programs that are not compatible with iPhone or the new soon to be released iPad. When Garriott has a great idea his unconventional approach to making gaming on the net fun and interesting usually becomes a successful reality in short order. To be able to go into space and see the world from that vantage point would make any designer realize how small the globe is and how much potential the internet has to make it a better place to live and dream.

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There are many levels of internet censorship in different countries on the planet China and Iran being the most extreme when it comes to filtering what the public gets to access on the net. Google has been very public about it's dispute in China over filtering content and now it's voice has been added to the growing number of businesses who claim that the proposed internet censorship system in Australia is unfair and repressive. Industry giants Google and Yahoo have criticized Australia's proposal for censoring the internet calling it a heavy-handed measure that could restrict access to legal information. The Department of Communications in Australia has invited the public and interested businesses to comment on the filtering proposal put forth by the current government there. Google and Yahoo were part of the 174 comments received to date. Lucinda Barlow of Google Australia recently called the Internet blocking measures of Australia and China "apples and oranges" but the mandatory and sweeping nature of Australia's system was of most concern to the Google executives. Google already has filtering measures in place and active to take care of offensive and illegal content. Google wrote in its submission, "Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide," The company suggested the filter was unacceptable and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. Slower download speeds were also a real concern for the communications companies. Yahoo's officials commented, "There is enormous value in this content being available to encourage debate and inform opinion," Yahoo and Google have relied heavily on the freedom of speech amendment in the American constitution to maintain an open transparent flow of information. There are fears the proposed filtering in Australia could undermine the political transparency enjoyed in that country, where freedom of speech is not enshrined in any legal way in Australia. 

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Rank Group owner of Mecca Bingo is still fighting the inequality on taxation in the U.K and the slow and confusing methods the government is taking to remedy the situation. Rank's specific concern is the introduction of the U.K. government’s increased taxation levels. Revenues are up but the consumer base has diminished concluding people are placing bigger wagers but there are less of them. Ian Burke, Rank Group's Chief Executive Officer said, “At the moment the gaming and betting activities of U.K. consumers are subject to a patchwork quilt of taxation, without any apparent logic or relationship to social policy,” He went on to say, “It is particularly concerning that the current system of taxation seems to be undermining the aims of the Gambling Act by imposing the highest rates of duty on those venues which provide the greatest degree of supervision and have the lowest rates of underage gambling.” The United Kingdom's Gambling Act controls all gambling activity and has seven different tax regimes. The rub for domestic operators is that licensed internet betting based offshore escapes taxation. The same licensed online business if based in the U.K. face a flat rate of 15% for all gaming activities with the land based operations such as casinos, bookmakers and bingo halls being saddled with a variety of tax rates. Finding a solution to the variable taxation schedules in the U.K would have kept companies such as William Hill and Ladbrokes in the U.K. instead of forcing them to relocate head offices to offshore residences on order to be competitive in the extremely challenging online gambling industry. Rank Group as maintained for a long time now playing field must be levelled in the U.K. for the gambling industry to thrive there. The government has driven profitable companies in the gambling sector to near bankruptcy and continues to make life difficult for firms wanting to be loyal to their country of origin. Rank Group is an industry champion and it's proposal to for a fair 15% tax across the board makes sense and should be adopted as soon as possible.

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Estonia is the country in Europe that is making all the wrong moves in the implementation of it's new "liberalized" online gambling regulations. The European Union is trying hard to give all of it's members a fair and equitable set of e commerce rules to go by and then there is the administration in Estonia which has decided it's legalization of internet gambling activities will include a black list of gambling operators that need not apply for a licence. Estonian players are able to gamble using locally licensed online gambling sites until 2011, when Estonia’s internet gambling market will then be opened up to foreign operators. The Estonian Tax and Customs Board has moved to block access to foreign gambling sites that do not hold Estonian licensing but are still attempting to enable the counties online gamblers. Not really a smart plan with the idea of legalisation being to get companies and the public to invest in internet commerce and create a tax base for a very shaky economy. Estonia was one of the worst hit by the economic meltdown with it's net worth being reduced by 36 percent. A list of approximately 200 domain names whose locations are from outside the borders of Estonia that internet providers are now being told to block, or face a fine of 40,000 Lithuanian Litas ($15,600). Included on the list are major online gambling operators, such as PokerStars, PartyPoker, Full Tilt Poker, Unibet, and Bwin. Estonia is sure to get some flak from the E.C. but is trying to avoid that by stating it's current protectionist policies are temporary. The Olympic Group, which has a successful online casino has been granted a local license. Estonian gamblers will have to make do with smaller offerings for now until the world comes to their doorstep in 2011.

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According to an interview published by The Card Player online the American Gaming Association has decided it is “open to the concept of legalized internet gambling,” The AGA opened its office in Washington, D.C., in 1995 with the fundamental goal of creating a better understanding of the gaming entertainment industry by bringing facts about the industry to the general public, elected officials, other decision makers and the media through education and advocacy, The AGA represents the commercial casino entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting its members and their employees and customers, such as federal taxation, regulatory issues, and travel and tourism matters. In addition, the AGA has an aggressive public education program designed to bring the industry's message to target audiences both in the nation's capital and across the country. The AGA provides leadership in addressing newly emerging national issues and in developing industry wide programs on critical issues such as disordered and underage gambling. The association serves as the industry's national information clearinghouse, providing the media, elected officials, other decision makers and the public with timely, accurate gaming industry data. The association has done some serious research on the availability of technology to regulate and maintain safe standards for operating legal online gambling. It's research ability of the AGA was used to form three working groups that AGA members participated on to research three critical issues, one, technology, two, would online regulation mean an end to land based casinos and three, should it be regulated on a federal or state level? The decision to be open to the idea of legal online gambling in the USA by the American Gaming Association took serious thought and research using proven systems in other jurisdictions carried on by American based companies. The reasons for abolishing online gambling in America have been resolved now it's time to lift the ban and make it legal.

 

 

 

 

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MegaCasino.com is the latest online casino offering in the European jurisdiction. Powered by a small but powerful games provider company called SkillONet Casino Software this new operation is already rolling out adverts for it's products in major European centres. CasinoRedKings.com.and EU casinos are already up and running with the SkillONet software solution. Prime Gaming is responsible for marketing the Mega Casino Brand with already successful brands such as Prime ScratchCards, Prime Casino and Prime Backgammon. With the software and casino is available in many European languages and the MegaCasino manager was please to comment on the casino's choice of the SkillONet's platform, "With an established and well respected P2P Backgammon platform....it wasn't difficult to choose the SkillONnet software package for MegaCasino.com. Many of the games are new, well designed and easy to navigate and play. The graphic interface is superb and every two weeks there is a new slot game introduced which is definitely going to keep our customers coming back for more." SkillONnet, founded in 2005 focuses on speed and ease of use while keeping the front end looking fresh and modern. The software also provides a fully managed turnkey service with multi-lingual support, processing, payments and an affiliate backend for marketing companies. The SkillONet Software only comes in a downloadable format but the download is fast and easy. All deposits and withdraws are secured with 128 bit data-encryption technology with the SkillONnet Software tested and certified by Australia's iTech Labs. iTech Labs consultants have tested and certified all types of games on a wide range of online gaming platforms for over 12 years. Vice President of Marketing at SkillONnet, Simone Levy, commented, "We are delighted to be involved with Prime Gaming in bringing our third online casino to market. Their expertise in marketing is already proven and we look forward to adding them to our growing list of online marketing partners"



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The price of Alabama's efforts to find and prosecute illegal gambling operations has left the state holding the bag for $538,115. The argument is instead of taxing the activities

the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling has run up legal bills for this large sum of tax payer's dollars. The Montgomery Alabama Advertiser has reported that administration contracted with the law firm Matt Lembke and Michael Pennington, attorneys based in Birmingham, Alabama. According to the current administration, the money was well spent as $1.3 million dollars was taken after raids on bingo halls. Unfortunately the accounting doesn't make a lot of sense when the costs of the police task force also include salaries of the police involved as well as administration and benefits. The head of the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling John Tyson, has stated under oath in court that he does not benefit financial at all from his duties as the head of this force. Online gambling continues to attract many players in Alabama as well as other states in the USA without compensation to local tax authorities. It is costing money for the Department of Justice to enforce an unenforceable activity. Even with the seized assets and funds from illegal bingo halls and cyber cafes the numbers don't add up. Millions of dollars leave for offshore companies without a trace left behind for the local communities where the money was originally generated. The online gambling industry in the USA must be regulated in order to control that flow of funds to out of country operations. Instead of creating criminals out of people that just want to play bingo online or otherwise seems unjust and in need of some review. The America where the citizen has the right to sit down to a friendly legal game of poker for money online looks to be a long way off on the political horizon.

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The Italian online gambling market has become the most lucrative in Europe recently. Bwin entered this new market by acquiring Italian poker operator Gioco Digitale, the Italian poker network boasting over five million players. Bwin Italia has made a deal with Dragonfish, 888’s Business 2 Business wing. The agreement will see Dragonfish provide Bwin with in-house and third party games expanding Bwin's Italian casino product range. A complete casino site including games of chance such as slots, video poker, video slots and table games will all be packaged with Dragonfish’s flexible gaming platform. Bwin's General Director in Italy, Paolo Di Feo, commented, “We have chosen Dragonfish as our online casino technology provider so that we can ensure a premium gaming experience for our customers. We believe 888 is a top brand and Dragonfish will be able to capitalise on the experience they have and help us in offering our clients a very strong and secure entertainment line-up.” Bwin’s Ongame Network launched an Italian Poker Network recently with five million players hosted by recently acquired Gioco Digitale. This deal is Dragonfish's first venture into the newly regulated, since 2007, Italian online gambling market. Gabi Campos, Managing Director of Dragonfish, said: “The synergy of bwin’s brand presence and our premium casino offering provides a potent combination, and is an ideal way to enter the growing Italian market. ” “Signing an agreement with such internationally renowned operators shows the quality of the Dragonfish offering and our capability to provide the ideal platform from which to launch a casino offering in newly regulated markets.” The Italian market is a competitive and fast moving one, with many other large and powerful networks also trying their luck in Italy. Microgaming, for one has announced it will be launching an Italian poker network. Microgame a leading service provider for the remote gaming market in Italy also signed a deal recently to incorporate virtual sports games into it's People’s Network, the biggest online player community in Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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