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Kevin Smith

Sportingbet Stirs the DC Pot

20 May 2002

Portions of this article were contributed by Robert Flahive

An attractive aspect of the interactive gaming industry has been the opportunity to operate a profitable business virtually free of taxes. Jurisdictions try to lure operators to their locales with little or no taxes on their business in exchange for the jobs that are created. One operator, however, has taken a different approach in targeting the American marketplace.

Sportingbet Plc, the global sports betting group, launched a major campaign last week to promote proper government regulation of the online gambling industry and is encouraging the government to tax its business. The company took out full page advertisements in The Washington Post and The Washington Times as well as The Hill and Roll Call, the leading publications for Congressional news and information.

The advertisements, which highlight the millions in potential tax revenue that stands uncollected, carried the headline "Please Sir, Can I pay Tax?" and ran on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

Mark Blandford, the executive vice-chairman of Sportingbet said he and other top officials with the London-based company have been busy dealing with phone calls from industry and political leaders in the States since the publishing of the ads.

In conjunction with the ad, Blandford said Sportingbet has retained the services of leading Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group Greenberg Traurig to help push the possibility of regulation on Capitol Hill. He's also scheduled to meet with key members of Congress in coming weeks.

Greenberg Traurig has successfully campaigned for the continued growth of the industry for the last four years. The firm, which has extensive expertise in Internet gambling, also represents the Interactive Gaming Council, and industry association that strongly supports regulated Internet gambling.

Blandford said last week's advertisement was created in response to the Goodlatte bill, a U.S. House bill that seeks to outlaw most forms of online gambling.

By advocating the taxation of the Internet gaming industry, Sportingbet is proposing an outcome to the Congressional proceedings that would benefit both the flourishing industry and the U.S. government.

In addition to promoting Sportingbet's reputation as a credible, respected sports betting group, the ad seeks to inform Americans of the United Kingdom's policy for regulating online betting and the taxation system established by the U.K. Treasury.

According to the ad, rather than outlawing the industry outright, the U.S. government should employ regulations to promote reliable and honest gaming. The ad also implies that the open, borderless nature of the Internet would make it impossible for the government to enforce a prohibition act.

Click here to view the Sportingbet ad as it appeared in Roll Call.

Sportingbet Stirs the DC Pot is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith