British offshore tax havens Alderney and The Isle of Man will allow online casinos to operate on the islands, officials say, raising the stakes for bringing a multi-billion dollar industry to Europe.
English Channel island with a population of 2,400 and an economy dependent on tourism, is the first out of the gates. It will begin taking applications on Wednesday for six new e-gaming licences, said Moran Chapman, chief executive for the Alderney Gambling Togel Hongkong Control Commission.
The Isle of Man will announce in the coming weeks that it has created three new e-gaming licenses, a gaming official there said. Both jurisdictions, which are independent from British rule, passed the legislation last month.
“It’s not a race,” said Chapman. “It’s a global industry. All sorts of people will become involved in [online gaming industry] in one shape or another.”
The lure is that online gambling – from betting on horses and American football to virtual blackjack and roulette – has become a large and growing activity. A commonly cited report by U.S. gambling consultancy The River City Group says the e-gaming industry will grow to a $5 billion market by 2003.
At the moment though few jurisdictions permit online gambling and some lawmakers, particularly in the United States, are seeking complete bans on the nascent industry.
EARLY SIGNS OF E-GAMING ACCEPTANCE
In the U.S., the Nevada legislature has gone against the strong federal sentiment in Washington, by passing a state law earlier this year allowing for online casinos. Similar local laws are pending in Australia and parts of Canada.
But otherwise, the online casinos, which, according to a Bear Stearns study, comprises roughly 1,400 sites, have been forced to set up shop in areas such as Costa Rica and the Caribbean island …