Lasseters Casino threatens to up stakes
By dave
Regulated online casino operator Lasseters', currently based in Australia, may move 'to another jurisdiction' if a current federal government review imposes new restrictions on online gambling, the company's managing director warned today, citing Vanuatu or the Isle of Man as possible alternatives.

Peter Bridge told Lasseters' annual general meeting today that 'in light of the government interest across the world and particularly in Australia, your directors have considered it prudent to investigate alternative jurisdictions in which to base Lasseters' operations.” Bridge made his remarks as the federal Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) works on its review of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 ahead of an expected completion date of Christmas this year.

The managing director said DCITA had not released any information on the recommendations of the review -- which assesses the growth of interactive gambling services, operation of the Act and technical developments since the Act was passed -- ahead of its delivery to the relevant Minister, Senator Richard Alston.

However, the online gambling industry is particularly nervous about the fact the review encompasses the restriction of financial transactions associated with online gambling, a measure which would reflect provisions in two Bills presently under consideration in the U.S.

Lasseters Corporation -- formed in April 2001 from the merger of listed company Gocorp, which was forced to close down an Internet casino operation after the Australian government imposed a moratorium on Internet gambing, and Lasseters Casino -- operates under license from the Northern Territory Racing and Gaming Authority.

Lasseters' today announced the launch of a new regulated online casino which would allow players to trial new, high-tech games. The move follows the signing of a new deal with software supplier Online Gaming Systems in July this year. The move was clouded in controversy as Lasseters' former software supplier, Access Gaming Systems threatened legal action over licencing issues associated with Lasseters' use of its product.

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