Where now for Online Gaming?
By James Mc
The move by US Congress to approve an Internet Gambling bill, outlawing online gaming card transactions, is likely to be the main topic for discussion at next week’s eGaming Review annual awards dinner at the Natural History Museum in London, where 650 people from the industry are expected to gather.

The mood of the industry was anything but upbeat yesterday as operators, software providers and payment processors lined up to release negative statements on the Stock Exchange.

What the future holds for the companies involved remains unclear, but it does appear that for those with vested interests in the US market the situation looks bleak. Companies such as Empire Online and World Gaming face precarious times ahead, especially for the latter whose expected takeover from Sportingbet recently fell through.

Companies are not spoiled for choice in emerging markets either, as although the UK and Scandinavia can provide solace for those fleeing from the US, the recent arrests in France and announcements emanating from Germany serve to underline that Europe is far from being the antidote to the industry’s problems.

PartyGaming and 888 Holdings both announced yesterday that they will be closing their US business as soon as President Bush signs off the legislation, prompting experts to suggest a domino effect throughout the industry.

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