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`Relaxed' Canada a Haven for Unregulated On-Line Casino Operators

11 June 2001

CANADA – June 11, 2001 – As reported by Straight ``Canada's relaxed rules make it so attractive to operators of on-line casinos, that the Interactive Gaming Council - an industry group that promotes on-line gambling - moved its headquarters here from the US in 1999.

``On-line casinos represent a rapidly-growing and virtually unregulated way for people - especially youth - to lose money.

``Vancouver also happens to be the home of James Chu, who has built up an on-line gambling empire since opening his first site Cyberbetz in 1997. Chu's company GIC Global Intertainment Corporation reported wagering revenues of $3.9 million dollars for May, of 2000. The site is licensed in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

``There are close to 1,400 on-line Internet gambling sites up and ready to take your money. Christiansen Capital Advisors estimates Internet gambling expenditures for 2001 will top $3 billion dollars; by 2003, they will double to $6.3 billion.

```It is a criminal offence to run an Internet gambling site in Canada,' notes David Hennig, communications director at the Alberta Ministry of Gaming. The law only effects the physical location of the website, though.

``A lot of Canadian firms sidestep the law by running on-line gambling sites through gambling servers outside Canada, and many others supply on-line casino equipment, especially software.

``…A recent report by The River City Group, an Internet research group that publishes the Interactive Gaming News, notes that 55 jurisdictions either regulate or tolerate Internet gambling.

``…Many Canadian firms run on-line gambling sites through gambling servers outside the country and many supply on-line casino equipment, notably software.

``This laissez faire attitude could lead to problems. Many experts warn that the convenience, easy access and social acceptability of on-line gambling make it more dangerous than traditional gambling, especially for teens and young adults.

``…Experts expect the number of on-line gamblers to grow from 4 million in 1999, to 15 million by 2004. With the advance of the wireless web, some believe that figure could double.

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