|Ron Maginley, the former Gaming Director for Antigua and Barbuda, has announced that the effects of America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) are already being felt on the small island.|
The legislation stipulated that regulations would be put in place to guide financial institutions on their obligations under UIGEA. While these are overdue by two weeks, the small Caribbean nation is already seeing a widespread withdrawal of public gaming operators from the market.
“I was informed by a couple of gaming companies that some jurisdictions have already started to close gaming accounts,” said Maginley. “Already, some companies here have been given notice. Under the law here, gaming companies are required to put ‘gaming’ in their names and in relation to getting accounts, certainly the local banks here are showing reluctance to offer new accounts, even to companies registered here.
'That is made even worse internationally where a number of banks are simply refusing to either continue providing or to provide new accounts to gaming companies.”
He stated that the Isle Of Man recently gave notice to gaming companies that it intends to close all gaming-related accounts and several months ago local banks were given notice by corresponding overseas banks that there were concerns about domestic gaming accounts.
“Because the US legislation makes US banks criminally liable for facilitating gaming companies, you can have a situation where even domestic banks, because they are concerned about the loss of corresponding accounts, are forced to close local gaming accounts,” said Maginley.
He said that, under a worst-case scenario, gaming companies might find themselves licensed in Antigua and Barbuda but unable to get an account to meet payroll or local operational expenses.