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Canadian iGaming Conference Review

May 17, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – Late last week, Montreal was host to the Global iGaming Summit and Expo (GigSE), where international online gaming interests came together to discuss (and plan for) the future of the industry.

Held from May 11 to May 13, the conference was a who’s who of the international online gambling business and political world, counting reps from iMEGA, the PPA, Harrah’s, Ladbrokes, Betfair, and many other prominent groups among its guests and speakers.

Prior to this year, “GiGSE was an annual event for nine years till 2007,” states The event served as a “window to the North America gambling market,” and then, interestingly, was not held in 2008 and 2009 due to perceived “less interest in the North American market on account of the UIGEA”.

Now, things have changed in a big way, and the online gambling business has roared back to life throughout North America. In fact, much of the talk at the conference revolved around the potential revision of online gambling’s strict regulations in North American (and abroad).

“I think it’s very important that we have an open licensing system, because if we do not encourage innovation and competition, I believe the players who are playing today will continue to play at offshore unlicensed sites, and that will mitigate the amount of tax revenue that federal and state governments can bring in,” commented Laurie Itkin, Vice President, Government and Pubic Affairs for TVG/Betfair US, according to CasinoCityTimes.

“We don’t know what Harry Reid is going to do, and Harry Reid doesn’t know what Harry Reid is going to do. He’s kind of evaluating options. He’s a historic opponent of Internet gambling, but I think he recognizes that it’s going to happen and he wants to play a role,” added Dan Walsh, Senior Director of Governmental Affairs, Greenburg, Traurig & Lead U.S. Lobbyist, IGC, according to the same article.

“Yes, absolutely, we are very supportive of a federal solution. It would be very helpful if we had a federal solution, but while it is a one-fell stroke solution for the industry, it is also a choke point for opponents of the industry,” iMEGA’s Joe Brennan was quoted, underlining the case for a federal online gambling regulatory system, believed to be a more favorable solution for the online gambling affiliate marketing community.

On a side note, it’s interesting to see the Canadian and American online gambling laws debated so passionately just as a Canadian citizen pleads guilty to online gambling charges in the U.S., facing a possible two years in jail and losing $17 million in winnings. Read about that story at the Globe and Mail.