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Net Gambling Prohibition Bill Fails to Advance

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US legislation aimed at prohibiting Internet gambling failed to be enacted into law in the current Congressional term, which adjourned on Friday. The US legislation failed to advance beyond the House of Representatives, resulting in the Bill’s ultimate demise.


The Kyl/Goodlatte Bill, aimed at banning Internet casinos offered within the United States, has encountered considerable controversy throughout the legislative process. Groups ranging from members of Congress, privacy advocates, banks, ISPs to the Justice Department and the White House have characterized the Bill as unenforceable and a hindrance to Internet growth. The Bill has now failed in two congressional sessions and continues to face formidable opposition.


“This is an important day for everyone who believes in a regulated environment for Internet gaming,” said Andrew Rivkin, president and CEO of CryptoLogic, a leading provider of software to the online gambling industry.


Some industry insiders believe that Internet gambling, which is a billion dollar industry, may have become too big to successfully prohibit. Internet gaming is estimated to grow to more than US$6 billion by 2003. Currently, there are 50 government jurisdictions that permit some form of Internet game online and that number continues to rise.


This year, Las Vegas operators such as MGM and Harrah’s have started offering play-for-fun/play-for-prizes casino sites and are positioning themselves for the regulation of Internet gaming. New Jersey and Nevada State legislators have begun to draft bills aimed at legalizing and regulating online casinos. As well, the UK Gaming Board has recommended the introduction of a regulatory framework.


CasinoeBet Sold to VIP Casino

eBet Limited has sold its internet casino subsidiary, www.casinoebet.com, to Cyprus Management Company N.V., operators of VIP Casino. eBet is a publicly traded company listed on the Australian and New Zealand Stock Exchanges (ASX/NZSE:EBT).


Australia’s online gambling moratorium prompted the sale. “Under the Federal Government’s recent internet gambling moratorium which comes into effect today, we determined the most practical course of action was to sell the casino,” said Keith Cullen, eBet’s Managing Director. “The terms of this sale ensure that we are well within the moratorium requirements and provide us some real flexibility should the legislative environment improve in Australia when the moratorium is over in May next year.”


VIP paid US$250,000 for the casino. The sale was completed today and VIP has assumed full management and control of www.casinoebet.com.


VIP will continue to use the eBet name under a trademark licensing agreement and will retain CasinoeBet’s existing customer base and its associated databases. CasinoeBet is powered by CryptoLogic casino software.


eBet holds an option to acquire back the issued capital of eBet Casino that may be exercised between 18 May 2001 and 7 September 2001 or earlier if permitted by Australian law.


“We are pleased to have disposed of this asset in an orderly fashion with limited interruption to the service and to existing or potential customers,” said Cullen. “The sale price represents full recovery of all establishment and operational costs associated with the casino and, if legislation permits, we have the right to exercise our buy back option and pick up where we left off. In the mean time, VIP is an experienced and competent operator who we are confident will do well with this valuable asset.”