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Online Casino News - March, 2009

Antigua on the edge of UK Online Casino Whitelist


  Seed Newsvine

by Edward Rogers, News Staff Writer

March 22, 2009

The Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda was the preeminent place to go for obtaining an online casino operator's license in the early days of the online gambling industry. And not because it was an easy thing to do, per say, but Antigua was one of the only government's even offering a legit license to offshore operators - most of which were doing the bulk of their business in the U.S.

Well, times have certainly changed. Not only are there more government-run licensing jurisdictions in operation today, Antigua and Barbuda is falling on the wayside. The big "shocker" for Antigua was the decision by the U.S. government to pass the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and consequently, rewrite their obligations to the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade and Services.

These days, Antigua is simply trying to keep its head above water. Originally left off the UK Gambling Commission's whitelist (the UK now has the honor of leading the way in terms of online gambling regulation and licensing), Antigua just barely squeaked by in getting a green light to allow its online casino, poker room and sportsbook licensees to advertise in the UK.

And now that the U.S. Department of Justice has uncovered an alleged multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme at the hands of billionaire Allen Stanford, whose Stanford International Bank has been a major "player" in Antigua's economy for many years, the UK white-listing is in jeopardy of being retracted. In fact, some British lawmakers are calling for a review of Antigua's white-listing and are questioning the Antiguan government's ability to properly regulate its online casino licensees. They are also allegations that the same people who regulate Antigua's finances are the same people regulating the online casinos.

Antigua was quick to defend these claims, bringing attention to the fact that Barclay's Bank was scandalized by the hands of a single, corrupt trader. The bottom line is that Antigua would be wise to make their own regulatory procedures more transparent in the eyes of the online gambling industry at large if they want to compete with the likes of other jurisdictions, including the UK, Malta, Alderney, Isle of Man, Curacao and Kahnawake.



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