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Simulcast Conference Update No. 2

Greg Avioli, Executive VP, Legislation and Corporate Planning, NTRA this morning provided interesting comments on the likely response of the U.S. to the WTO decision which found the U.S. in violation of it’s international commitments to free trade in gaming services. He is one of the folks who thinks the U.S. “lost” the WTO case, though many have argued that the U.S. won. The losing postion of the U.S. is made clear by the fact that the U.S. is under mandate by the WTO to correct it’s discrimination in gaming services by April 2006, or face sanctions. Mr. Avioli was quite direct in saying that he didn’t think any of the three alterantives he saw as a possible resolution would occur.

The first, quickly dismissed, was that the U.S. Congress would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act to preclude U.S. operators from offering online horse betting. We agree this option is very unlikely. The second, that the U.S. legislature would open online gaming to all markets, was similarly quickly dismissed. We agree even more emphatically, as it has been 7+ years of failure at the U.S. level to pass legislation which would seek to prohibit online gaming, they are hardly going to turn around and specifically allow it. The third option presented by Mr.Avioli was that the U.S. would withdraw gaming services from their international commitments, and then be required to replace the online gaming industry current commitments with a service of equal value. Seems unlikely to us as well.

So, he concludes by figuring that the U.S. will do nothing by April, 2006 and then Antigua will be able to push for sanctions, which he figures no one is going to worry about anyways. That is, until more significant trading partners, like the UK or the EU, take the same position as Antigua. That will present a very different problem!

Add comment October 4th, 2005

Simulcast Conference Update No. 1

J. Curtis Linnel of the Throughbred Racing Protective Bureau presented an interesting assessment of the challenges facing the U.S. racing industry. Especially when compared to the ability of foreign racing operators to compete. He opined that the consumer market available to U.S. tracks is “passing them by”. The reason he explained was the “regulatory, legal environment” which severely restricts how the U.S. racing industry can compete. We couldn’t agree more. When you have to go through months of work with your lawyers and regulators to simply be able to make a change in a bet that’s offered to the public, you are in a difficult situation when trying to compete.

But the answer, we think, is for the industry to be more creative in order to survive and grow. For example, if some tracks can offer card playing at their tracks, how about having the ability to offer it online, the fastest growing online gaming market. Or for that matter, how about crafting a way for tracks to offer online poker in a format which no one would complain would violate existing law. Some think it can be done, but more on that later. Just goes to show how iGamingLaw is intertwined with online gaming, in a big way.

Add comment October 4th, 2005

Off to the 2005 Simulcast Conference

The Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Annual Simulcast Conference has moved from New Orleans to La Jolla, California and is scheduled for October 3-5, 2005 — and we’ll be there! We’re expecting some interesting legal discussions about horse racing and their online efforts and battles, including what racing industry insiders think about the impact of online poker. Among the topics are online wagering, international wagering, on-line poker and bookmaking, exchange betting, as well as the impact of computer and wireless technology. We keep you up to date with postings throughout the conference. You can find out about the conference at TRA-Online.com

Add comment October 2nd, 2005