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Antigua throws life preserver to DOJ in search for missing money

Fugitive BetonSports director speaks out

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House of Cards The fugitive former COO of BetonSports.com (BOS), Clive Archer, announced last week on the BetonSports website that the company had reached an agreement with the government of Antigua to institute an orderly return of funds to its jilted customers.

No one knows just how much is left to be recovered, but the involvement of the Antiguans is at least a somewhat positive development for players. Antigua filed an injunction against the US in December to prevent the seizure of Antigua based BOS assets by the American Department of Justice, and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) has shown a lot more concern for the financial interests of the players involved than the DOJ.

The Eastern Caribbean High Court of Justice agreed with the Antiguan government that it retains jurisdiction over whatever funds remain in Antiguan accounts. "We expect that our involvement and the cooperation of BOS will encourage the prompt payment of amounts owed to BOS by payment processors and others, so that funds can be promptly returned knowing that they will be distributed properly," noted Kaye McDonald, the Director of Gaming for the FSRC. "we expect BOS debtors to cooperate with the process, and I am sure BOS is prepared to use all legal remedies available, to ensure that they do so."

Prepaid gamblers kick sand on Uncle Sam

According to Digitalmoneyworld.com, the use of prepaid Visa cards is booming, primarily due to the American crackdown on internet gambling transactions.

The cards function like debit cards, and can be purchased online or at local stores, but are not connected to any particular bank account. Since they are not tied to any particular financial institution, the Patriot Act's self reporting requirements for financial transactions are useless, and American financial regulators currently have little control over how they are used.

UIGEA fallout drifts over Vegas

Harrah's will no longer accept advertising from online gaming companies at the World Series of Poker, in response to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, according to a report in Pokerpages.com.

The move adds an ironic twist to the recent maneuverings by the Department of Justice (DOJ), since the extraordinary success of televised poker tournaments in the US ignited the growth of online poker rooms, rather than the other way around.

The loss of advertising revenue and the excitement of amateur players going for broke in money based online qualifiers represents a significant hit for sponsor Harrah's, not to mention cable giant ESPN, which televises the event.

In other UIGEA related news, Doylesroom.com, the poker room that swallowed Pam Anderson's doomed poker palace, has pulled the plug on the US market after weeks of vacillation. Doyle Brunson, an American citizen and Nevada resident, apparently decided that enough was enough - take the money, and, as the song goes, know when to run.

Ladbrokes lives large

Ladbrokes announced its preliminary results for 2006, with operating profit up 7.7 per cent to a record £268.1m. Egaming profits increased to £47m, up 13.5 per cent.

Brown courts online gambling companies with sweetheart tax rate

Gordon Brown, The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, will announce in his March 21 budget a lowered tax rate of two-three per cent for online gaming companies to be licensed in the UK, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Traditional casinos pay up to 40 per cent tax in the UK, but other than companies like Ladbrokes, that have deep roots in the UK, it's hard to see why any company would pull up stakes when they already pay little to no tax in places like Gibraltar or Malta.

Still, you can't fault Brown for asking. ®

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