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Australian gaming behemoth Tabcorp achieved a milestone of sorts last week with its announcement that it had for the first time surpassed Aus $1bn in annual internet revenues, Casinocitytimes.com has reported. The figure constituted a 23 per cent increase over the previous fiscal year.

Nonetheless, the company still lags behind its rivals such as Sportingbet and Centrebet in overall internet revenues, and phone revenues, though in relative decline, still outpace internet revenues. To put this in perspective, Sportingbet.com puts up over twice in a year what Tabcorp does online. The most popular way for punters to wager with Tabcorp is still through its local TAB outlets.

The inevitable flow of technology continues to remake the gambling industry, and Tabcorp has adjusted somewhat better than other "bricks and mortar" jobs. For a variety of reasons, in point of contrast, the American "bricks and mortar" casinos like Harrah's have failed to establish any meaningful presence at all online, though certainly contingency plans are in the works should the American legal landscape change at all. Of course, there's nothing to prevent them from operating in Australia or Europe, provided they don't market their services to American customers.

How ironic it is that the US, which included gambling in its WTO services schedule back in 1994 on the assumption that it's casinos would dominate the world, should now find itself as one of the most backward gambling markets in the world.®

Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office

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