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Antigua Appoints Replacement for McAllister

1 July 2000

Herbert "Herbie" John Maginley is the new Director of Offshore Gaming in Antigua. He replaces Gyneth McAllister, who resigned June 16.

In a statement this week, Prime Minister Lester Bird said Maginley "brings both maturity and a wealth of experience of the governmental machinery to his post." He has served as acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and as principal assistant secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

"He also has a sensitivity to the operations of the private sector having worked for 12 years for Jumby Bay Resort," Bird said in his statement.

The Prime Minister also said that McAllister "claimed that she found herself 'out of step with the industry and the government.' This was a regrettable development which could not allow for cooperation at the level of government regulation and the provision of a fair hearing to the operators. It is deeply regrettable that Ms McAllister found herself in this position.

"Both the government and the industry must now look to the future to ensure that the regulation of the industry complies with the highest international standards and that the operators are kept fully informed and involved with the implementation of such standards."

Antigua licenses about 150 online casinos and sports books, more than any other country. Regulation of the sites has been minimal, but McAllister had talked for months about adopting a more rigorous regulatory scheme.

Many operators reacted angrily to a draft of proposed regulations that was released in March. It included plans for government monitoring of casinos and sports books, with detailed rules aimed at thwarting money laundering and ensuring that games were fair to the players. McAllister also proposed a new 2 percent tax on gaming revenue.

Several operators threatened to leave for other jurisdictions, and some of those jurisdictions actively courted the angry operators. McAllister told the malcontents to go ahead and leave, which further inflamed the situation.

Some operators organized a trade group called the Antigua Offshore Gaming Association. One of the group's first moves was to hire Bird's cousin, Clement Bird, as its lawyer.

None of the changes contemplated by McAllister has been implemented, and it's not clear if or when the government plans any new regulations or taxes.

Bird's office also released a letter from Bird to McAllister, dated June 22, in which the Prime Minister accepted the resignation. It also explains why the government didn't react immediately to the resignation: McAllister's letter wasn't received until two days after it was dated.

This is the text of Bird's reply to McAllister:

"I am in receipt of your letter dated 14th June 2000 by which you tendered your resignation as Director of Offshore Gaming effective 16th June 2000.

"Despite its date of 14th June, your letter was faxed to my office at six minutes past seven o'clock on the evening of 16th June; the original was received on 19th June. Prior to all this, the letter was posted on the Internet. To say the least, this was a most inappropriate manner in which to tender a resignation.

"Your resignation letter points to the fact that you are, in your own words, 'out of step with the industry and the government' and suggests that only the way proposed by you for regulating the industry could result in 'a never before experienced form of regulation of the industry that would set the standard eventually for the world.'

"This shows a remarkable confidence in your own views to the exclusion of the opinions of virtually anyone else involved in the industry's regulation. It also suggests that you are not a team-player; a characteristic required for the success of any venture.

"In the circumstances, it is right that you should resign since your belief in the supremacist nature of your own views would be in constant conflict with everyone else who is trying to establish a properly regulated framework for e-commerce in Antigua and Barbuda. In this regard, I accept your resignation and wish you good fortune in your future endeavours."

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