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Strong, Single Voice Created by Merger of ARGO and IGGBA

6 July 2005

UK -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Association of Remote Gambling Operators (ARGO) and the interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association (IGGBA) agreed today to merge to create the Remote Gambling Association (RGA).

Representing the world's largest and most well-known remote gambling companies, the RGA will combine the strengths of the two trade associations to provide the industry with a single voice on all issues of importance to regulators, legislators, and other key decision makers around then world.

The need to have a clear focus has never been greater as this newer form of gambling establishes itself as a legitimate mainstream leisure activity.

Membership will be open to all operators and software suppliers who are licensed and operational in the EEA countries, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Commenting on the merger, Richard Flint, Chairman of iGGBA and Managing Director of Skybet, stated, "iGGBA and ARGO have served the industry well during this period of rapid development, but this consolidation will bring real benefits for the members of both. Our aim is to provide a single voice for the industry that is well respected and credible in putting forward industry positions on all issues. Collectively we have a strong pedigree of experience and knowledge which will ensure that we achieve this goal."

Ian Spearing, Chairman of ARGO and Group Director of William Hill, commented "the Remote Gambling Association is a result of the goodwill of two organizations who felt that the industry would be better served with a single voice. As the remote gambling industry continues it amazing growth, it needs a trade association with the capacity and focus to deal properly with the challenges that lay ahead. The RGA is that body and I feel confident that it will have a great impact in the years to come."

The RGA will be led by Chief Executive, Clive Hawkswood, who is currently General Secretary of ARGO. Looking at future plans, he said, "the RGA will have a robust programme of activity as we campaign to get the right results on issues such as taxation rates, various aspects of regulation, and the freedom to provide cross border gambling services. It will also be fully committed to the implementation of effective and proportionate social responsibility policies as these are, and will remain, essential to the long term success of our industry. In the UK we already have good working relationships with bodies such as Gamcare and the embryonic Gambling Commission, and I am sure the RGA will build on those foundations."

The RGA will also have an affiliate programme which allows non-operators and suppliers to take part in the activity of the RGA. It will provide a key networking and information services function and give those companies and firms on the outside of the operating and software community a chance to participate in a scheme which is specially designed to cater to their needs.

Outgoing iGGBA Director and newly appointed adviser to the RGA, Wes Himes said, "It has been a tremendous experience and pleasure working with the members of iGGBA and advancing the cause of the remote gambling industry. I look forward to the new challenges of working with the RGA and individual companies on their developments and plans to harness the growth and strength of the remote gambling market. "  

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