|Online bookmaker Sportingbet has publicly backed new American legislation aimed at regulating the Internet gambling industry.|
The proposed bill, introduced in the US Congress, recognises the ineffectiveness of previous attempts at restricting online betting, due to the international nature of betting and the Internet.
The legislation, if it passes through both houses, would provide online gamblers the same security enjoyed by their land-based counterparts. The US Congress has seen previous bills that attempted to ban certain forms of Internet gambling.
Nigel Payne, chief executive of Sportingbet, said the news would have a significantly positive impact on shareholder value, as it removed the uncertainty over US legislative actions, which had so far depressed the company’s share price.
However, it will not have any impact on existing US operations, as Sportingbet has always been free to advertise and operate in what has so far been an unregulated US market.
'Every country in the world has online gamblers and it was beyond comprehension how the Americans thought they could be any different,' added Payne. At the end of September, American gamblers accounted for 552,939 of Sportingbet’s 752,706 customers.
US representative John Conyers Sr., the ranking member of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, injected a note of realism to the online gambling debate in the US: 'Most internet gaming sites exist outside the US and hence outside the reach of US law enforcement,' said Conyers. 'Americans can gamble online today on Internet sites all over the world and will be able to in the future.'