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Confusion in the UK and US over Online Gambling Law

It has been a troubled week for online gambling operators on both sides of Atlantic. In the UK the hearings led by the United Kingdom Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport heard a variety of opinions from regulators who operate in Alderney and Gibraltar. While in the US a number of industry analysts have expressed concern that the new statement from the Department of Justice over intrastate gambling is too simplistic and that there are many more hurdles to be overcome.

As regulators on both sides of the pond seek to move online gambling regulation forward, the situation is rapidly becoming more complex

In the UK Andre Wilsenach from the Alderney Gaming Control Authority said that he believes there is a need to tighten online gambling regulations. He believes that a careful assessment of the licensee operators needs to take place and for operators to be assigned a risk rating based upon factors such as where they do business, under which jurisdiction and their financial processing arrangements.
However, Philip Brear from the Gibraltar Gambling Commission had a very different view. He believes that the current 2005 Gambling Act contains sufficient provisions to protect the interests of British online gamblers and should remain mainly unchanged.

In the US, the DoJ’s statement that intrastate online gambling could be legal was initially greeted with enthusiasm, however, now many experts are pointing out flaws. Andrew Zarnett, the gaming analyst at Deutsche Bank, believes that all the DoJ has done is moved the debate on online gambling from “whether” to “when”. It is not clear what forms of gambling will be legalised or when this will take place.
In Las Vegas, the gaming attorney Jennifer Carleton said that whilst the DoJ announcement is a huge step forward there is still a need to be alert, attentive and proactive. She is worried that future rulings from the DoJ could reverse the latest announcement.

Only time will tell, but at present California, Nevada, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey and Washington D.C. are all hoping to have some form of online gambling operating in the near future.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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