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Where should I locate my Internet gambling site?

 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:23 pm    Post subject: Where should I locate my Internet gambling site? Reply with quote

Where should I locate my Internet gambling site?

Quote:

NEW!
PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Safe Bets Online - 2008
.



Quote:
* View the excellent presentation on the UK's new Gambling Bill Hilary Stewart-Jones, a partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner made at GIGSE June 15/05. (Requires Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer software).
* See also I'm thinking of starting an Internet gaming site .


A very good question indeed and one that was answered quite eloquently at the Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo (GIGSE) in Montreal June 13-15/05, the biggest GIGSE to date with 1,400 participants recorded opening day, according to River City President and CEO Sue Schneider in her opening remarks the first day.

Unfortunately, we missed the presentations on jurisdictions June 14, but representatives of Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, First Cagayan, Philippines, Malta and Isle of Man were on hand to discuss what each has to offer e-gaming businesses. We'll do our best to track down those representatives for some links and contact information. In the meantime, we invite them to send material by e-mail to legal@pokerpulse.com.

Please check back soon for updates.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Antigua & Barubuda:

Quote:

See Antigua, America's OOPS! case.

Bodog leaves Costa Rica for Antigua with plans to expand business.

More on the UK's White List under London Calling. Unbelievably, Antigua didn't make the first cut!

Update 2008: Antigua's been white listed!



We did hear a presentation at GIGSE 05 (see previous post) by Kaye MacDonald of Antigua & Barbuda's Financial Services Regulatory Commission in conjunction with the legal panel June 15, which featured celebrated international trade attorney Mark Mendel, who led Antigua twice to victory at the World Trade Organization (WTO), thereby saving the country's burgeoning Internet gambling industry.

Quote:
More on Round two: Antigua won again!


When we spoke with Mr. Mendel briefly after his presentation, he made a point of telling us that Antigua has been an excellent client, willingly creating infrastructure whenever necessary to meet onerous and costly anti-terrorism and anti-moneylaundering financial regulatory obligations imposed on the international community post-9/11.

Here are two key excerpts from the materials provided by the Antigua delegation at the presentation:

Quote:
The islands' telecommunications system is among the best in the world with broadband Internet access widely available. The country possesses one of the highest literacy rates in the region and provides free education up to tertiary level for all nationals. This has resulted in a highly skilled, proficient workforce that can rival any in the world.

...In 2000, the Financial Action Task Force ("the FATF") found Antigua and Barbuda's legislative regime, and regulatory enforcement machinery to be consistent with the highest international standards. In 2003, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force conducted an evaluation of the jurisdiction's anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing system and found Antigua and Barbuda to be fully compliant with regional and international standards. The IMF carried out an evaluation of the jurisdiction's international banking sector in February-March, 2004. In its report the IMF found the jurisdiction compliant or largely compliant with Basel Core Principles, regarded as the international standard in banking supervision. In order to ensure transparency, the jurisdiction authorized the IMF to publish the

Detailed Assessment Report (DAR) - full text - on the IMF website.



Quote:
Conde Nast Traveler
Magazine Subscription
Small Is Beautiful
When total escape is what you crave,
size matters. Gully Wells alights on three
minuscule Caribbean isles where the capitals
are villages, the boats outnumber taxis, and the
only thing overwhelming is the quiet
.

April, 2006




Quote:
Our arrival at the Beach House had a certain sexy drama that made me forget the bumps and jolts. As we climbed the steps up to the great house, two enormous louvered doors were flung open and we were confronted by what looked like an incredibly chic airplane hangar lit by candles. A long line of lights embedded in the wooden floor marked the way to the enormous pool, which in turn led your eye toward the ocean beyond, where I could hear the relentless, soothing symphony of crashing waves. Not bad as first impressions go.

A much-needed cocktail, a welcoming word or two from our hostess, and it was time to change for dinner. There's a certain assumption at remote, sophisticated, and, yes, expensive hotels like the Beach House that guests are really members of a small club or, better still, friends. The reasoning is that you must surely have something in common with your fellow guests if you are willing to isolate yourself miles from anywhere in a cocoon of insane luxury. And, in a way, it worked -- at least that first night, when we all sat down at one long table on the terrace for a dinner of tagliatelle that rivaled the best of an Apulian kitchen, lobster that put Maine to shame, and cappuccino that out-foamed anything at Harrry's Bar. (- p. 149)



A few good reasons why Internet gambling remains a sound alternative to tourism:

Conde Nast Traveler
Magazine Subscription
The Power of Travel
By Dorinda Elliott

Now that the travel industry is beginning to tackle
social issues from poverty to health care, the hotel
you choose can make the difference between..
. a child going hungry or being fed
. a wildlife habitat being protected or destroyed
. a woman giving birth to a healthy child
or one infected with HIV
.
May, 2007


Quote:
NEW!
More on PokerPulse's Gamble Green campaign to benefit the David Suzuki Foundation, a world leader in solutions to climate change
.





Quote:
STILL MORE good reasons to avoid air travel.



Quote:
More about devastating tourism 'leakage' in Jamaica in the documentary, Life and Debt.



Quote:
Quote:
In his thirteen years as general manager of the Holiday Inn along Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand, Wolfgang Meusburger had never thought much about supporting the community. Just positioning his hotel as a luxury oasis on one of Thailand's most overbuilt honky-tonk beaches was challenge enough. On the ocean side, crowds of beer-swilling tourists, counterfeit handbag hawkers, and prostitutes compete for the walkway along a strip of noisy restaurants, bars, and T-shirt shops. Down the way, Rock Hard A Go-Go offers pole-dancing girls in bikinis, and at the Moulin Rose and other cabaret clubs, transvestites sing pop songs. To Wolfgang, keeping the riffraff out was more important than community outreach.

That all changed in December, 2004, when the tsunami that devastated the region swamped the beachfront, wiping out hawker stalls, trashing dozens of hotels and restaurants, and killing more than seven thousand people up and down the Thai coast. Meusburger was relatively luck: He lost only one guest to the waves, and no employees were killed. But the lobby was waist-deep in mud and cluttered with debris, including a motorcycle that had been swept in by the sea. ...

Apart from charitable giving and job training, some hotels are trying to find ways to channel business to local communities by hiring and buying locally. The catchphrase in the nonprofit world is "linkages and leakages," and more and more hotel managers use the term these days. Linkage is good: It means that a hotel property is connected to a community and contributing to its economy. Leakage is bad: It means that the hotel company is just sending its profits back home to heardquarters. The Caribbean has been the focus of much discussion about linkages and leakages, because it is a region where so much luxury is found in the midst of so much poverty. Jamaica is a case in point: It is still desperately poor (25 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 a day) despite enormous amounts of tourism money flowing into the country - most of it landing in the tills of all-inclusive resorts.

In its pay scale and atmosphere, the Sandals Whitehorse resort along the island (Jamaica)'s south coast is typical of other large beach properties in impoverished regions around the world: Starting wages are around $90 a week, compared to the $500 guests pay per night to stay. Inside the hotel's European Village compound, you would hardly know that Jamaica exists, except for the calypso beat provided by the Mighty Beeston Mento Band, playing by the snack bar. The resort boasts that at its seven restaurants, "you may dine in a different corner of the globe each night without leaving." I ate at Giuseppe's Italian restaurant, where I drank Californinan red wine and ordered fettucine with shrimp (imported) and scallops (imported).

At top Caribbean resorts, it's not at all unusual to sit down to a dinner that is almost entirely imported food - smoked salmon (imported from Nova Scotia), say, followed by filet mignon (imported from Australia) - bringing no benefit whatsoever to the local economy.

By reputation, all-inclusive resorts are the worst "leakers": Generally, they keep guests on their compounds, spending money at the resorts instead of in town, and they often import a large portion of what they consume. ...

While Sandals may be doing more than most hotel companies in Jamaica to help support the local community, the full picture of its impact is not entirely rosy. Built on former wetlands in the middle of what was once a sleepy bay, the Sandals Whitehorse resort project was controversial from the get-go. The hotel went over budget by more than $40 million, and a government investigation had been launched. The developers moved a population of crocodiles that lived on the property to a nearby zoo. "There used to be so many crabs and crocodiles," says a worker at a nearby inn with a sigh. "So many birds, they used to come flying by, but they just don't come anymore." ...

Two years ago, Conrad Hotels, which is owned by Hilton, signed on to manage a huge casino and resort project that environmentalists have been fighting for more than a decade. Those opposed to the 700-acre development worry that it will destroy and important nursery area and affect hundreds of miles of sea habitat. Tearing out the mangroves and dredging the harbor reportedly have already reduced the populations of lemon shark and other species. When the environmentalists protested to Hilton, the company replied with letters reiterating the legality of the project - and did nothing significant to address their concerns. Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch, found of the UK-based Shark Trust, has called the project "one of the most egregiously scandalous environmental crimes in recent years." A Hilton representative declined to comment on the issue, saying only that the company's role will be limited to managing the Conrad Hotel, "if and when it gets built."...

For all of the good that hotels are beginning to do, it's hard not to notice the damage caused by the industry in many developing destinations. "It's clear that attracting the wrong kind of visitors, promoters, and developers can launch a boom-and-bust cycle that has been repeated time and time again," says Sustainable Travel's (president, Brian) Mullis. Beach areas like Pattaya in Thailand are a case in point - so overdeveloped that both the natural beauty and the local culture have been ravaged. "Death by a thousand cuts is what tourism has represented for ecodiversity," says Jamie Sweeting, a senior director at Conservation International's Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. But it's all relative:"I'd give my druthers to get any of those five-star hotel projects to Africa," says Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, who wrote The End of Poverty and is an adviser to the United Nations Millennium Project aimed at eradicating hunger and poverty. "Tourism brings development and jobs, and that's a good thing." The challenge, he points out, is how to develop responsibly. ...

Singapore-based Raffles spent $30 million restoring the Grand Hotel d'Angor to its colonial splendor, and a room there now costs $360 a night. A short walk away, in the Angkor Hospital for Children, some patients are wasting away from malnutrition, others from tuberculosis. Just outside the town, beggar children chase tourists coming out of the temples. ...

Raffles got caught up in an ugly, complicated fight with its workers in 2003 when they went on strike, protesting the fact that the hotel - outrageously - wasn't distributing the entire service charge added to guests' bills. The hotel's hard-line position was colored by teh complexities of operating in such an impoverished country: Its employees, who earned an average of $210 a month, would have made more than the chief of police if the entire service charge had been disbursed. In a ddition, the strikers demanded two-month annual leaves and six-month paid maternity leaves. The court declared the strike illegal, and Raffles fired 300 workers. Hotels across town (Angkor Wat, Cambodia) dropped service charges entirely. ...

"We (InterContinental Hotels Group Asia)'re growing so fast out here (Asia). We're adding sixty new hotels in China, and we're trying to get it right environmentally," he (CEO Patrick Imbardelli) says. "It's not easy: The Chinese all want three-storey atriums, which from an environmental point of view are terribly inefficient." (-- pgs. 256-268)




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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isle of Man

Although we were unable to attend the panel on jurisdictions at GIGSE 05, one of the team flew home to the Left Coast next to Bill Mummery, head of e-gaming development for the Department of Trade and Industry and who provided a spectacular bird's-eye tour of the magnificent island via laptop computer.

Bill very graciously submitted his presentation from the conference. Click on it here. (Requires Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer software).

Quote:
Here's what the Isle of Man website had to say about governance when we searched post-Neteller U.S. prosecution Jan. 17/07:

Quote:
The Isle of Man, situated in the centre of the British Isles, is an internally self-governing dependent territory of the Crown that is not part of the United Kingdom. Tynwald, the island’s 1,000-year-old Parliament, makes its own laws and oversees all internal administration, fiscal and social policies. The UK Government administers external issues, such as foreign representation and defence, on the island’s behalf and the island makes an annual payment for these services. As a British Crown dependency, the ultimate responsibility for the island’s good government is vested in the Crown however by long standing convention; the UK Government does not legislate for the island except with the specific consent of the island’s Government.


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.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about Dominican Republic and five Central American countries making up CAFTA?

Quote:


See our links to key reports under CAFTA opens U.S. market to Internet gambling.



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alderney

Quote:
View the excellent presentation on Alderney we were very pleased to receive from from Robin Le Prevost of www.LePrevostConsultancy.com this week. Requires Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer software


Quote:
More on the White List under London Calling.


We also include a few bullets listed at the Alderney website under the heading, Why Alderney is a safe bet for e-gaming and e-gambling operators:

Quote:
. Commissioners and staff with appropriate licensing and regulatory knowledge and expertise;
. A cautious start, limiting the initial number of licensees, learning from the experience of regulating the electronic betting industry, before regulating interactive gaming;
. A regulatory framework, consisting of technical and operational control standards, was put in place before the industry was invited to apply for licences;
. Probity investigations with a wide scope, which include system providers;
. Testing of the Internet gaming systems by independent testing houses, accredited by the Commission, in order to ensure high technical standards;
. Well developed guidelines on internal controls and operating procedures, to assist licensees in minimizing risks;
. Cooperation with other gambling regulators in the fields of sharing probity information, protection of minors and providing border control;
. Dialogue with the industry to develop and improve its regulatory framework to be effective and practical; and
. Cooperation with the financial regulatory authorities in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, specifically, in the field of anti-money laundering measures.


For more information, visitors may contact:

Robin Le Prevost
robin.leprevost@gmail.com,
LePrevostConsultancy
Te
l: +44 207 993 8564
Mb: +44 7781 109 809

Alderney makes the cut under new UK I-gaming advertising rules:

Quote:
From: Parmentier, Joanna
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 7:21 AM
Subject: ALDERNEY'S HIGH STANDARD OF eGAMBLING REGULATION RECOGNISED BY THE UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT


ALDERNEY’S (CHANNEL ISLANDS) HIGH STANDARD OF eGAMBLING REGULATION RECOGNISED BY THE UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced this morning that Alderney is one of only two jurisdictions outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) able to demonstrate that it has in place a rigorous licensing regime meeting the United Kingdom’s strict regulatory standards. The United Kingdom Government will crackdown on gambling advertisements from places that do not meet these standards. Details may be found at http://www.cap.org.uk/cap/gambling

Regulations banning gambling advertisements from companies operating outside the European Economic Area with effect from 1 September 2007 were laid before Parliament today. Non-EEA jurisdictions are only exempted from this ban if, following stringent assessment of their regulatory standards, they are placed by the Secretary of State on a “white list”. Today’s announcement states that Alderney has been placed on the “white list”. Accordingly, its licensees will be able to advertise in the United Kingdom.

Chairman of the Policy & Finance Committee for the States of Alderney, Richard Willmott said "To be one of the very first jurisdictions to achieve White Listing is a huge achievement and credit must go to the excellent AGCC team, and in particular Andre Wilsenach, the CEO. The listing is also the best endorsement possible of Alderney's credentials as a highly reputable jurisdiction. It is also a good moment to praise the far- sightedness of previous States who initiated the e-gambling business seven years ago, and who have been involved in steering Alderney's participation in the industry in a sure footed manner since then."

States Chief Executive, David Jeremiah, stated that this was good news for Alderney which had always been confident that it met the required standards. “This announcement and a letter also received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirming the white listing are recognition of the high standards set here.” He joined Richard Willmott in recognising the hard work and dedication of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission in achieving this.

Head of E-Commerce Development for Alderney, Robin Le Prevost, welcomed the news and stated that he expected an increased demand for Alderney licences.

Notes to Editor: David Jeremiah, Chief Executive Officer for the States of Alderney, email: states@alderney.net or telephone: 01481 822811


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Press release
Quote:
Apollo network to boost e-commerce in the Channel Islands

Cable and Wireless announced today a significant upgrade to the Fibre Optic network providing service to the bailiwick of Guernsey (includes Guernsey, Alderney and a number of smaller Islands).

Lord Robertson, Executive Deputy Chairman of Cable and Wireless on a flying visit to Guernsey announced that a decision had been made to create a new route for the Apollo trans-Atlantic cable via Guernsey; the effect of this would be to enhance the resilience of the Apollo cable by creating a direct bridge between the two cables which make up the Apollo network.

Apollo, which was completed in 2003, comprises two fibre optic cables, one of which runs between Bude in the UK to Long Island, New York and a completely separate cable from Lannion in Brittany France to Manasquan, New Jersey. Both legs of the network are capable of carrying up to 3.2 Terabits of traffic each but are in practise used together to provide SDH (Sonnet in the US) services.

The new network will require cable to be laid between the UK and the French termination points via Guernsey.

Local e-commerce and e-gambling consultant Robin Le Prevost said: "‘This represents a fantastic opportunity for Guernsey and Alderney to develop their e-commerce businesses and the ramifications for the Islands are only now becoming clear. On a simplistic level it increases our telecoms capacity significantly. The Apollo cables are capable of carrying traffic measured in Terabits and add to our already huge capacity, and they also increase our resilience by adding two further fibre optic routes off island from the current five. But that’s not all - they will offer direct connectivity to the US, which will be of enormous interest to companies whose customer base is stateside but who also require fast connectivity to Europe."

Robin added, "I am particularly struck by the possibilities this offers to E-gambling companies such as the poker operators for whom 60 to 70% of their players remain in the US, and fast Internet connectivity is a pre-requisite. This gives us capabilities way above our fellow European jurisdictions and when added to our fiscal advantages and the quality and respect the Alderney regulatory body has - this is stunningly good news.

There are other possible benefits too," continued Le Prevost. "Depending on how this is structured at the product level, this has the potential to give us new services and greater flexibility through the numerous Data Centres in the Islands. Additionally, all offshore jurisdictions suffer from high connectivity costs, and this could just provide a breakthrough for the Channel Islands. The ramifications for the Islands to act as a bridgehead facing both Europe and the US for e-commerce are only now being considered by our tax experts but it does look very encouraging."

For further information contact info@LePrevostConsultancy.comor call +44 2079 938 564.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This just in from Malta:

Quote:
From: maltaNET co-location
To: legal@pokerpulse.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 12:46 AM
Subject: Malta - a leading remote gaming jurisdiction


Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta is today recognised as a leading jurisdiction for the issuing of gaming and online betting licences within the EU.

maltaNET is the leading provider of co-location and IP connectivity services in Malta. Forming part of the Maltacom Group, the leading provider of ICT services in Malta, we bring to our customers a one-stop-shop solution backed by the largest telecommunications provider on the island. Our team of engineers manage Malta’s largest IP connection to mainland Europe, with practically unlimited capacity for growth via a submarine fibre link.

Apart from hosting a number of e-gaming customers within its co-location facilities, maltaNET hosts a number of other critical platforms including the e-payment gateway for all e-Government transactions.

More information about our facilities is available at http://www.colocationmalta.com.

Furthermore, we shall also be attending the forthcoming European i-gaming congress in Nice between the 7th – 9th November 2005, and would be happy to set up an appointment with your representatives at the congress.

Gordon Dimech

Manager, Commercial Services
maltaNET Ltd
Tel +356 21 489 604
info@colocationmalta.com


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Costa Rica still a safe haven for Internet gambling operations?

Quote:
MiamiHerald.com
Costa Rica's lax laws shield online gambling industry
Costa Rica finds itself in the middle of the fight between U.S.
authorities and the online gambling industry

By Steven Dudley
Sept. 25/06


Quote:
The Costa Rican government treats gambling like any other business. The companies operate with little oversight and pay less in taxes than they might in other countries that do regulate to avoid money laundering and other criminal activities often associated with the industry. Costa Rica also offers companies a secure legal framework and an educated population, many of whom speak English with a flat Costa Rican accent.

...There's an extradition agreement between Costa Rica and the United States, but Costa Rica's Vice President and Justice Minister, Laura Chinchilla, said someone would have to be breaking Costa Rica's own laws in order to be extradited.

''If they're only accused of illegal gambling in the United States, then we can't proceed [with the extradition],'' she told The Miami Herald.

...Costa Rican officials are feeling the pressure from the U.S. government as well. They have promised to better regulate the industry, and in March, the government raided (Calvin) Ayre's multimillion-dollar home after neighbors said he was holding an illegal gambling event. Authorities said they found nothing.

''We're interested in incorporating them into the financial system,'' Chinchilla said about the industry. ``We need to set up clear rules. We don't want companies that are fugitives.''


Travel & Leisure
Magazine Subscription
The new Costa Rica
In the country that more or less invented eco-
travel, you'll find lush jungles, enormous turtles,
untouched beaches - and rapidly expanding luxury
resort developments. Julian Rubinstein investigates
.
November, 2007


Quote:
NEW!
JOIN today PokerPulse's Gamble Green campaign to benefit the David Suzuki Foundation, a world leader in solutions to climate change
.





Quote:
... in 1987, ... "When (President) Oscar (arias Sanchez now in his second term) won the Peace Prize (for brokering an agreement among troubled Central American countries to promote democracy and end civil strife), we knew everything was going to change," Alvaro Ugalde, cofounder of the national park system, told me. ...

Visitors began pouring into the country, and soon, tourism leapfrogged bananas and coffee to become the country's top revenue-producing industry - it now brings in $1.6 billion a year. But the boom also created a classic tug-of-war between developers and environmentalists. In 1993, while Costa Rica was promoting itself as an eco-friendly destination, a well-regarded German environmental organization awarded the country's tourism minister its infamous Green Devil for gross mistreatment of the environment related to the construction of a multimillion-dollar seaside resort called Playa Tambor. And althouth an impressive 25 percent of the country's land was protected, ineffective waste management left the rivers so polluted that some raft guides now warn clients not to swallow the water. "People think Costa Rica is some paradise - they think we're angels," said Ugalde, who today spends his time lobbying the government to make the environment a priority. "But no, we're a devil like everyone else. ...

"We are facing the impact of having attracted so many people and investors to develop their ideas in a safe, quiet, beautiful country, but are they respecting the way we decided to develop?" asks Ana Baez, president of Tourism & Conservation Consultants. "It's hard to tell where it's going
. ... (-- pgs. 228-231)


Quote:
Over the past two years, Costa Rica's biggest industry has entered yet anbother phase: luxury development. Spearheaded by the commercial opening of the controversial Peninsula Papagayo - a sloping seven-mile finger of land that droops into the Pacific Ocean from Guanacaste, the country's northwesternmost province - billions of investment dollars have flooded in from hotel companies, including Four Seasons, as well as the likes of Steve Case and Ross Perot Jr. The airline industry is also betting big on the country's northern Pacific Coast: already 45 nonstop flights from North America per week land at the one-strip Liberia international airport in high season, and more are scheduled for 2008. As one might imagine, not everyone is in agreement about what this means for the future of the nation's ecotourism. (-- p. 231)


Quote:
(Michael) Kaye (owner of CR's first and biggest rafting outfitter, Costa Rica Expeditions) had just flown to Tortugeuero from his base in San Jose in order to help launch a program to protect the local beach, which is the most important nesting ground in the Western Hemisphere for the endangered Atlantic green sea turtle. He was also here to meet an expert about new ideas for minimizing the environmental impact of the lodge's waste management system. I was even more impressed by this when Kaye admitted to me, as the night wore on, "Most of my clients don't really care about environmentalism." To please them, he had added a beautiful swimming pool to the lodge. But he had also opposed a recent proposal to build a road connecting Tortuguero to the rest of the country, despite the fact that such access would have drawn more visitors. (-- 274)


Quote:
Arguably one of the best-connected men in North and Central America, Alan Kelso has networked his way into meetings with CEOs and money men around the world; his brainchild, Peninsula Papagayo, is a multibillion-dollar work-in-progress worthy of an anthropological dissertation: a planned community for the international eco-jet set. I met Kelso in his ground-floor office, which abuts the octagonal stone-and-glass clubhouse of the development's Arnold Palmer-designed golf course (the next one is being designed by Jack Nicklaus). ... Kelso, the nerdy child of a middle-class San Jose family, turned out to be completely unpretentious. Unlike most developers in Costa Rica, he is a native, one reason why public criticism of the project died down. Kelso's enthusiasm was infectious. Soon, he was driving me in his SUV to one of the 17 beaches on the peninsula's 15 miles of coastline. ...

Thanks to its physical splendor, Peninsula Papagayo has for years been at the heart of the struggle between Costa Rica's environmentalists and entrepreneurs. Finally, in 1993, the government made a controversial decision to lease the property to a Mexican company with ties to Mexico's disgraced former president Carlos Salinas. Before the Mexicans could get anywhere, they were sued for multiple environmental violations. In 1997, the project's minority partner, Costa Rica's national beer company, privately met with Kelso to ask if he would consider buying the Mexicans out. Kelso had made his name putting together the Los Suenos Marriott, a highly successful property 140 miles south. In the past years, he'd turned down all such offers, but this time, "I didn't even have to think about it," he says.

For a sum he would describe only as the value of "maybe one or two villas today," Kelso bought out the Mexxicans and went to work developing a master plkan for the peninsula. He envisioned an exclusive, independent city. There was literally nothing on the land, so Kelso began planning and building roads and creating and hiring his own fire department, security, and emergency response network. He established a NASA-like telecom center that digitally controls everything from the water supply to electricity. "We have traffic mapped out for the next fifteen years," he says. Then he set about selling off pieces of the property to carefully selected "bell cow" investors such as Steve Case and Ross Perot Jr. - both of whom are building exclusive time-share villas - and bringing in a Four Seasons Hotel, which he knew "had a following of its own."

By the end of next year, Kelso will open a 382-slip marina, more than twice the size of any other in Central America. And he has hired the architect of Beaver Creek, Colorado, to help design a surrounding village, set to open in 2009. There are also independent homes for sale, some of which come with the option of service from the staff and restaurants of the Four Seasons. People like Madonna are rumored to have bought in. "I don't know if we are an eco-tourism destination, but we are environmentally responsible," Kelso says. He keeps his golf courses green in part using desalinated seawater, and rather than trying to skirt Costa Rica's law that all beaches remain public property, he runs a bus service carrying locals to the peninsula's shores. "We had 75,000 visitors last year," he says proudly. And whereas the Mexican group had planned to build 16,000 residential units on the peninsula, Kelso's plan is capped at 2,500. ... (-- pgs. 274-275)


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Globe and Mail
Report on Business
Casino risqué
Online gambling, extreme fighting, heat from U.S. authorities— the fabulous (and somewhat murky) world of Calvin Ayre, farm boy-turned-tycoon.
By Timothy Taylor
May 2007


Quote:
See also, Bodog moves headquarters to Antigua with plans to expand business.

More on the hurdles Bodog faces in the Asian Internet gambling market - that is, if it's even open for business.



Quote:
...The hurdles the industry is now facing can be blamed squarely on the U.S. Department of Justice. Its shooting war with the online gambling sector began in July, 2006, when government officials arrested David Carruthers, CEO of BetonSports.com, and charged him with racketeering and fraud. The crackdown continued that October, after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), banning banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online casinos. (Proponents of the act tend to cite gambling addiction rates and the risk of criminal or terrorist money laundering through unregulated online gambling sites.) By January, 2007, the sector was in full retreat, with virtually all publicly traded gambling companies withdrawn from the U.S. market. Still, the FBI swooped in and arrested Canadians John Lefebvre and Stephen Lawrence, founders of Neteller Inc., a payment processor that had continued to handle billions on behalf of the industry.

...The more fatal problem, however, has been software-related. Online casinos very commonly use gaming and support software licensed from third parties. In the wake of the UIGEA, many of these third-party suppliers adjusted their systems to block U.S.-based Internet addresses, vaporizing the American customer base for many online casinos. That's what happened to the online poker site Doyles Room when its network, provided by Tribeca Tables, decided it could no longer risk operating in the U.S.

...Yet, superficially at least, little seems to have changed for Bodog. Defying the wisdom of virtually every public company in the business, it continues to service the American market. It's able to do so because of a policy of in-house software control that stretches back to the genesis of the company. Nobody can turn off the taps on them by blocking U.S. IP addresses, because the only significant part of Bodog's operation that has ever been handled externally was the online casino (unlike its sports book and poker room), and that vulnerability appears to have been eliminated. "The online casino was with Realtime Gaming," (Ayre's friend, Christopher) Costigan (of Gambling 911) says. "But my understanding from Calvin is that they've now bought the source code."

Ayre also plays a very deliberate game when it comes to corporate structure and jurisdiction. Bodog has online gaming licences in Antigua and the Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve in Quebec (the legality of the latter's gaming commission is an open question, but seemingly not one that federal or provincial government officials have much interest in pursuing). The company has a bookmaking licence in the United Kingdom, which enables it to take sports bets from anywhere in the world, and servers in Antigua, Kahnawake and the Channel Islands. A call centre and a promotions company, Riptown Media, operate out of Vancouver. Online gambling is illegal in Canada, and Ayre avoids any potential conflict with authorities here by refusing to take bets from Canadians and blocking Canadian IP addresses. (I tried to open an account by phone from Vancouver and was told there were "legal and jurisdictional" issues, but that Bodog was "working on it.")

Having spread his operations strategically around the world, Ayre insists that he is legal in every jurisdiction in which he operates. And a recent World Trade Organization ruling against the United States and in favour of Antigua's right to continue offering online gambling to American residents emboldens Ayre to claim that his operations are sanctioned in the context of international law. That ruling has also motivated him to leave Costa Rica, his home of 10 years, where online gambling has merely been ignored, and to set up shop in Antigua, where it is nurtured as a matter of government policy. "I'm gone already," Ayre tells me, dismissively. "I don't live here any more."
(emphasis added)

...Yet even if he is able to duplicate this luxury in Antigua, his sanctuary there won't eliminate the risk of his arrest by American authorities should he ever visit the U.S. Ayre insists that the American crackdown has nothing to do with his decision not to travel there. "I stopped going there months before all that happened," he says, his tone defensive. "I made the conscious decision to stop going to the U.S. because it's not an environment that's very supportive of our industry."

Perhaps. But Ayre also stopped going there right after David Carruthers was arrested in Texas. In fact, Bodog immediately postponed—and later cancelled—a high-profile marketing conference in Las Vegas that Ayre had been scheduled to host the same month.

As for Canada, Ayre rather tersely denies he's avoiding the country of his birth, saying he was back as recently as November. Industry observer Costigan suggests Ayre might be more cautious in future:

"Bodog has to be very high on the list of targeted companies [by the Department of Justice]. So you have to figure Calvin is not going to be stepping foot in the United States. And he's not going to be stepping foot in Canada." (emphasis added)

In either case, Bodog's corporate structure may not ultimately be as important in insulating Ayre from the troubles that have befallen other industry players as is his favourite bit of Bodoggery, the branding strategy. Because however simple the energy of his brand may ultimately be, Ayre's overall approach to selling those brand values is sophisticated.

The strategy arises directly from two challenges. The first is the low public profile the company is being forced to adopt in the United States. Advertising Bodog.com may not be illegal, but it would appear to be ill-advised, if only in the minds of the company's media partners. A plan to wrap Allegiant Air flights into Las Vegas with Bodog colours, for example, was cancelled by the airline in April of last year. By December, Bodog had pulled all of its U.S.-facing advertising. (-- pgs. 37-41)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forbes
Magazine Subscription
Feds Hound Bodog
By Janet Novack and William P. Barrett
July 30/08


Quote:
View the IRS affidavit from the forfeiture lawsuit in Baltimore - and more of the same still to come.

EXCLUSIVE:
The question now is whether Kahnawake Mohawks to whom Ayre transferred certain Bodog business interests will be similarly targeted. In Canada, anyway, that's up to Quebec's public safety leader, federal justice minister tells PokerPulse
.

More on MIT efforts to manage STILL ANOTHER cheating scandal.





Quote:
The U.S. government recently seized $24 million from bank accounts linked to Bodog, the giant, illegal-under-U.S.-law Internet gaming operation founded by Canadian tycoon Calvin Ayre.

Federal filings make very clear that a serious criminal investigation of the Bodog enterprise is ongoing. At a minimum, word of the seizures is likely to rattle the confidence of U.S.-based online gamblers that they will receive their winnings, not only from Bodog but from the industry's other remaining participants.

Detailed in court filings in a Baltimore federal court, the Bodog-related seizures from such well-known institutions as Wachovia (nyse: WB - news - people ), Bank of America (nyse: BAC - news - people ), SunTrust Banks (nyse: STI - news - people ) and Regions Bank, a unit of Regions Financial (nyse: RF - news - people ), increase the possibility of criminal action against Ayre himself. There already has been published speculation in his native Canada that he is under secret indictment somewhere in the U.S. The U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore, which launched the two lawsuits to take the $24 million, did not respond to a request for comment.

The flamboyant Ayre--media reports often call him a "playboy"--is now believed to be in Antigua and Barbuda, a country in the eastern Caribbean. He has denied being on the lam. A request on Wednesday for comment from Ayre, sent through the Web site of his Antigua-based Calvin Ayre Foundation, was not immediately returned. Nor were call and e-mail messages sent to public relations contacts listed on Bodog's Web site.

In early 2006 Ayre rocketed to international prominence--and the cover of Forbes magazine' annual issue on the world's billionaires--for his stewardship from Costa Rica of Bodog Entertainment Group and his open flouting of authorities in the U.S., his major market. The story headline: Catch Me If You Can. The operation was said at the time to be handling $7.3 billion yearly in poker, casino and sports event wagers.

But since then, Ayre has been the subject of law-enforcement raids abroad and growing regulatory scrutiny, especially in the U.S. In late 2006 President Bush signed a law strengthening the prohibition on online gambling. Ayre fell off the Forbes worldwide billionaires list after just one year, amid a decline in his industry's fortunes. ...

Ayre has been trying to put legal distance between himself and the operation he founded in the 1990s. For years its business was run through Internet servers belonging to Mohawk Internet Technologies, located on the Kahnawake Reserve Indian reservation in Quebec, Canada.

In September 2007 Bodog said its North American operations would be licensed to Morris Mohawk Group, also located on the reservation and run by tribal chief Alwyn Morris. Three months ago, Ayre, now 47, said he had transferred ownership of Bodog itself to Morris Mohawk Group. "It's true; I'm packing it in," Ayre wrote on a Web site. ... (emphasis added)

According to Carrow's detailed sworn statements, the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division started looking at Bodog in 2003 and opened a formal probe in 2006. ...

Even before the advent of Bodog, Ayre carried considerable baggage. Close family members were convicted of drug trafficking. (Ayer himself was never charged.) In 1996 Ayre was banned for 20 years from the British Columbia securities industry for stock market offenses. By that time, he was already moving into online gaming. "One of the things that drives me is the excitement that I could fail," he told Forbes in 2006. "What better buzz can you get?"


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Vancouver Sun
Real Estate Flier in Decline
Former Bodog top dog hounded by U.S. tax collector
By David Baines
an. 7/09


Quote:
See also, Malta-based companies abetting illegal Internet gambling operations, by David Lindsay in the Malta Independent Online Jan. 28/09.


Quote:
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is putting more heat on Calvin Ayre, the brash former Vancouver resident who developed his Internet gambling firm, Bodog, into the world's largest online sports betting company. Bodog, operating initially from Costa Rica in Central America and then from the Caribbean island of Antigua, never paid taxes on its earnings, a sore point with the IRS. Compounding their angst, Ayre flaunted his outlaw status and played a catch-me-if-you-can game with U.S. government authorities.

According to the Malta Independent newspaper, IRS investigators have filed court documents describing how Bodog used a string of companies in Malta to circumvent U.S. regulations so it could make payouts to American players, who make up the bulk of its customer base. Those companies included Stratham Finance, of which Ayre is a director and sole shareholder, and a string of other Malta-based companies of which either Ayre, or his right-hand man, James Philip, a former partner at Morgan & Co. chartered accountants in Vancouver, are directors and shareholders. The newspaper said that, according to the IRS documents, an unnamed "cooperating individual" -- a highly placed person at MPS Processing Ltd. located in the U.K. -- told IRS investigators that his firm received funds from Stratham Finance, then transferred them to an American money processing company. That company would then distribute the money by cheque or electronic payment to winners, with no indication the money was the proceeds of Internet gambling.

The IRS has already seized $24 million of Bodog's funds from U.S. payment processors and is pressing for more. Ayre, once so conspicuous, has virtually disappeared. The Independent said he is reported to be residing in various countries in Africa and Asia that do not have extradition treaties with the U.S.


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The St. Kitts and Nevis Democrat
Shades of Grey
Week of April 12/09


Quote:
During the days of the British Empire, large parts of the Caribbean found themselves defined as ... "red parts" of the ... then extensive British Empire’s reach ... . Despite independence for some and, for others, more freedom as dependent territories with their own local administrators, some Caribbean territories find themselves once again on a new coloured global map. They''ve become the "grey bits" of the global map as defined by the Organization for Economic Development (OECD).

The OECD had been asked by the world''s richest nations, the G20, who met in London on April 2, to come up with lists of countries assessed by their Global Forum against the international standard for tax information exchange. ... Of the countries ''listed'' by the OECD, 38 are in the grey area, including 16 from the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, the Netherlands Antilles, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Not in that group are Barbados and the United States Virgin Islands, which received special mention for their efforts to date in complying with the OECD standards.

As economic doors close across the Caribbean in terms of preferences for their agricultural products in Europe and dwindling tourism figures, offshore business had been seen as one of the potential powerhouses for small, struggling economies. As the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda sought to find a new niche in the early 1990s in online gambling, it found the potential job provider batted down by a US ban on the sector. The potential US gambling market offered Antigua and Barbuda security for over 3,000 jobs - enough to force the island to challenge the US through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the international courts. (emphasis added) ...

The grey list has countries that have agreed to improve standards but not yet done so. For the blacklisted nations, the G20 leaders agreed to take sanctions against tax havens using this OECD list as its basis. ... Meanwhile, those speaking up on behalf of Caribbean countries have argued for more help as they diversify into the service sector. The Commonwealth is arguing that more small states should be allowed to be at the OECD decision-making and regulatory table.


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