Issue N5, 2007

February 8, 2007

Canadian Province Considering Online Gambling

The Alberta (Canada) Liquor and Gambling Commission announced this week that it was seriously considering regulating online gambling in the region. The province already allows regular gambling and in fact took in a whopping $1.4-billion in gambling revenue in the past year. A poll has been commissioned that will ask Albertans what their stand is on internet gambling and whether they have any objections to internet shops being set up in the province.

Initially, research questions will relate to common gambling games such as blackjack, poker and bingo and a phone survey has already begun. The next step will be to ask a random group of 800 inhabitants about their opinion on internet gambling. The survey will be completed by the middle of this month and the results will be made known by March. Even if Albertans showed no objection to online gambling in their province, a spokeswoman for the Commission stated that it would take a long time for things to get off the ground and for internet gambling shops to start appearing in Alberta.

Accounts of United States Neteller Customers Frozen

After Neteller founders, Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre, were arrested in the United States, the online funds transfer company immediately stopped transferring money to internet gambling sites, effectively cutting its $7-billion a year in transactions by two thirds. For United States customers who are trying to cash out their accounts, the process is proving to be incredibly frustrating. Neteller refuses to comment on the difficulties faced by US account holders, over and beyond the standard posting on its website that reads: "We are working to resolve all withdrawal issues, but in the meantime we continue to maintain these funds in trust on your behalf." This week a market analyst explained that, effectively, the money is in limbo and the matter could take years to resolve as it awaits prosecution or settlement.

Canadian Entertainment Company Announces Major Job Cuts due to UIGEA

A Vancouver-based company, ESI Entertainment Systems Inc. has announced that it has no choice but to streamline its business, following the severe effects felt on its company by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. When the UIGEA was signed into law last year, ESI announced that it would stop providing its services to the United States market. ESI sells payment processing, transaction monitoring and related services to global internet gambling markets.

Immediately after the law was passed, ESI was forced to lay off 22 employees. This translated into 15% of its entire workforce in one swoop. The effects of the UIGEA were felt on the company’s shares, which were trading at a healthy $2.95 this time last year. In January, ESI’s shares reached a record low of only 35c. They have since increased slightly and traded at 56c this week.

With these sad figures, ESI has had to make another restructuring effort and this week announced that it would be laying off more people. Although it has not given official numbers regarding the number of people that would find themselves without work from its 124-man workforce, industry experts believe that at least 40 people will be involved. The company has announced that it would be focusing its attention on the European market that seems to hold the key to the future of companies such as ESI.

Blog Aids U.S. Customers with Latest Gambling Options

Since the UIGEA was signed into law last year, United States gamblers have been confused about their options, to say the least. It seems that every day major online casino companies are pulling out of the market and players find messages on these sites’ websites telling them that they cannot accept bets from US players. A new blog site has been launched to assist US gamblers make head or tail out of the present situation. The blog ( came into being around the same time that the UIGEA was signed, but this week it was announced that it had done a new sweep of the present gambling market and the information to be found is probably the most updated to be found on the net. The blog lists all the new changes that have taken place in the previous weeks, including companies that have closed their doors to US players, as well as the latest news on alternative payment methods. The site is updated daily and poker players can also find assistance in locating good quality poker rooms that are still inviting US gamblers through their doors.