Illinois Governor’s Former Finance Chairman Ordered Gambling Counseling

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A former close friend of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich plead not guilty to charges revolving around his alleged gambling problem. The man, Christopher Kelly, is a former employee of Blagojevich’s.

Kelly was indicted on December 13th on charges of concealing over $1 million in income. Police say he used that money to pay off gambling debts that were owed to bookies. He allegedly bet on football, basketball, baseball, and horse racing.

He is also being charged with illegally structuring monetary transactions, filing false income and corporate tax returns, and obstructing the IRS.

“Chris Kelly is my friend. I am saddened to hear these allegations about Chris’s personal life…In fairness to Chris, I believe it is important to let the legal process play out and not rush to judgement,” Gov. Blagojevich said in a statement.

Between 2000 and 2005, the U.S, Attorney’s office claims that Kelly understated his income by $1.3 million. At the time, Kelly was president of two companies based in Markham, CGK Consulting, and BCI Commercial Roofing.

Kelly has been ordered to undergo counseling for his gambling addiction.

US Piracy Laws Need Not Be Followed in Antigua, Says WTO Panel

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In a conference call held midday on Friday the successful Antigua lawyer, Mark Mendel, pointed out that Antigua cannot be vilified by the United States government as criminals as they will not actually be breaking copyright and piracy laws.

The WTO ruled that Antigua may meet the sanctions, worth $21 million per year, by selling American company copyrighted materials, such as music, video, and software, legally. Mendel said that Antigua should not be looked upon as a criminal and as a violator of these laws because Antigua was legally granted access to sell the material by the WTO.

Mendel insisted that Antigua was not aiming for this judgement, rather, they simply would like for the US to follow the rules of the WTO by allowing Antiguan gaming operators to offer horse race betting to Americans, just as American gaming operators are currently allowed to do. Until they do meet the legalities of the WTO rulings it will be legal to sell copyrighted materials, Mendel said.

The likelihood of the US ever meeting all its obligations it must meet after removing its commitments to the GATS are minimal because Antigua will most likely never settle.

Although the online gambling industry has seen the $21 million ruling as a setback, Mendel pointed out that this includes 2006, combined with 2007, and will continue every year. After a few years the sanctions will add up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

US Online Gambling Conspiracy Theory Continues

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An intriguing email from an anonymous visitor was received by Casino Gambling Web. The email expressed how the entire online gambling situation over the past few years was all just a conspiracy played out brilliantly by the United States government. The goal, according to this email, is for the US to eventually take total control of an industry worth multi-billions of dollars per year. Following is the email…

So here’s the scenario:

For years, foreign operators have offered gambling services to Americans via the Internet. The industry explodes.

Domestic gambling companies complain to congress that they are not allowed to do this.

Years go by before the UIGEA, giving foreign operators the foothold with the American market that may be impossible for domestic companies to overcome.

Law gets passed to prevent foreign operators of such sites from being able to collect or pay money to customers.

U.S. makes minor concessions to countries that have complained, opening other markets to satisfy them and giving greater access to other areas of trade that will benefit more of the people.

Congress makes some minor changes to those agreements to ensure that safety and control is still run by the U.S.

Domestic gambling companies lobby congress to enact laws to allow certain types of Internet gambling at first, then over time phase in other areas.

Foreign companies would be prohibited from engaging in this trade due to agreements made as a result of prior negotiations and concessions by the U.S.

American companies become the world leader in online gambling.

SLAM DUNK!

US Makes Unsatisfactory Offer to EU Over Internet Gambling Issue

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The United States has made an offer to settle the dispute regarding services in the online gambling issue with the European Union.

The U.S. offer to the EU involves opening areas that include storage, warehouse services and technical testing to compensate for the gaming restrictions implemented with the passing of last year’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

This offer is thought to be inadequate and will not equate to the estimated $4 billion dollar annual loss to EU companies, as these same concessions are being offered as part of trade discussions in the Doha round of WTO talks.

The EU has asked for and has been granted an extension until October 22 to review this offer as the U.S. filed it only days before the deadline. A European Commission official confirmed the extension of talks saying, “We are examining the value of the offer. It will be discussed at EU talks next week.”

The U.S. clearly is not taking this issue seriously as they also have made an inadequate offer to the original complainant, Antigua & Barbuda. The US. claims that the $3.4 Billion annual compensation to that twin island nation should be more in the area of $500,000.

Antigua’s lawyer, Mark Mendel, who is making quite a name for himself with this case, has said Antigua will seek first to open the market to its operators and failing that, it would seek to revoke trademark, copyright, and IP agreements between the two countries, which will give serious financial harm to the business sector of the U.S. and the American people.

“This issue could be resolved very simply by regulation in the U.S.,” said Gordon Price, CEO of CasinoGamblingWeb.com, “if the U.S. government would consider the merits of Congressman Barney Frank’s bill H.R. 2046, which includes regulation, licensing, and enforcement, with adequate safeguards to protect minors and problem gamblers.”

“There are privacy issues in the United States that have been compromised due to legislation passed last year without debate or understanding by congress. Personal freedoms to engage in an activity that is legal in 48 of the 50 states has been revoked when it comes to foreign companies providing a service that is readily available by domestic companies” said Price, “This is hypocrisy and protectionism at its finest.”

Conservative groups and Sports Leagues have come out against this bill as one thinks it immoral and the latter does not support gambling on their respective sports.

Barney Frank’s bill addresses the sports league issues and has opt-out provisions for their participation, and the safeguards that would be implemented to protect minors, abusers, problem gambling, money laundering and protect states rights, address the conservative arguments intelligently and completely, according to Price.

Proponents of instituting Internet gambling regulations believe that the UIGEA currently offers no protections, and in fact has created an unsecured, easily available, easily abused industry that once was self-regulated and largely respected. While all proponents of regulation are not necessarily for gambling, they are for regulation in order to protect the vulnerable.

“The UK has this year allowed Internet Gambling by law, with regulation and safeguards, a model the U.S. should be looking to mirror. Studies have shown that Internet Gambling has not increased problem gamblers, and while conservative groups say that minors are more likely to develop an addiction to gambling, with regulation minors will not have access to this type of gambling. Without regulation, it is a free-for-all which will compound over time,” Gordon Price said.