International Online Gambling Update
February 10, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – Has online gambling ever attracted this much attention? Given the non-stop political battles in the U.S. that have increasingly spread from the federal to the state-by-state levels, and considering how nations all around the world have found themselves forced into political situations where online gambling has to be either regulated or outlawed, it seems like a new online gambling legal battles is in the news every day.
The biggest such story currently, besides the unending American debate, is China. Online gambling, and even non-gambling related Internet gaming itself for the most part, is strictly off-limits in the country, but it’s thought that many Chinese citizens gamble online, anyway. That’s why the government is reportedly planning a big crack down.
This new crack down will “concentrate on investigating major and important cases of online gambling, knock out domestic and foreign groups that organize online gambling, and severely punish the criminal elements”, according to an article in Reuters; read it here.
In a statement from the Chinese government quoted in the Reuters article, China stated that it will severely punish those it feels is guilty of running “underground banks and third-party payment platforms that provide banking services needed for gambling … as in pornography crackdowns, website operators will also be targeted.”
No huge surprise there, given that China is notorious for its attitudes towards restricting its citizens’ online activities. In fact, Google is even considering not doing business in the country, which is significant. With its aspirations to be a globally dominant brand, saying no to the country that could soon become the world’s biggest Internet market is a bold financial decision for the company. Read about that here.
In France, the new, somewhat tentative plan to regulate online gambling seems almost to be creating more difficulties for online gambling operators — particularly those that aren’t French. A group of more than a hundred French casinos have filed a legal complaint against six online foreign casinos including big names like Bwin, Unibet, and Sportingbet, apparently for offering online gambling to French citizens. This comes as France prepares to implement its new gambling laws, and seems designed to ensure that only French operators are allowed in on the action. Read more here.
India is also undergoing controversy related to online gambling, based on a new proposal to legalize online lotteries across the nation. Of course, the anti-gambling elements that seem to exist in every country have launched campaigns opposing the idea; Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac is resisting the plan based on his idea that there exists a “nexus between online lottery mafia and Congress”. Read more here.
More positive news is happening in Finland, where The Finnish Slot Machine Association (RAY) has been granted permission from the government to start offering poker and other casino games on the Internet. “RAY plans to introduce a variety of internet poker and casino games, which it believes will create an income of around 25 million euros annually,” writes Finnish news site yle.fi.
The rules will be fairly strict: “Internet games will be strictly supervised in accordance with government regulations. Both RAY and the Finnish National Lottery must verify both the address and identity of the player and ensure that no minors participate.” Read the story here.
Finally, in Canada, the Quebec Government is starting a new push to legalize and regulate online gambling. “Months ago, Loto-Quebec announced its intentions to start offering online gambling services. All that was needed was the approval of the government, and this week, Finance Minister Raymond Bachand confirmed that legalization was in the works,” writes Terry Goodwin at CasinoGamblingWeb.com. Read the original story here.