A Look Back at 2002 (July - December)

31 December 2002
I-Gaming Loses a 'Pal'

July 1 - British leisure and entertainment giant Rank Group Plc launches Hardrockcasino.com.

July 2 - A member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board considers asking the state's attorney general to look into the legality of radio advertisements for online casinos.

July 3 - Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives ask Reps. Goodlatte and Leach to come to an agreement on Internet gambling before either congressman's anti-online gambling bill is brought before the full House for a vote.

July 8 - eBay Inc., the person-to-person auction site, is buying PayPal Inc., the recently floated third-party online payment service. As a result of the sale, PayPal will no longer facilitate I-gaming transactions.

July 10 - A high-ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives voices concerns over the Goodlatte bill's addressing of states' rights.

July 12 - The attorney general of New York subpoenaed PayPal Inc. for information about online gambling payments that have been made using its system.

July 13 - Yahoo! says it will no longer accept advertising from online gambling merchants.

July 19 - Visa issues a policy statement allowing issuing banks to charge back all online gaming transactions that aren't properly coded as such.

July 23 - Siemens Information and Communication Mobile (IC Mobile) expands its M.traction Gambling service to enable mobile carriers to offer platforms for mobile betting all over the world.

Paying Attention to P2P

August 6 - U.K.-based bookmaker William Hill files a legal challenge with the U.K. government because it feels users of the Betfair P2P betting platform need a permit to offer bets to other gamblers.

August 10 - The Curacao Gaming Control Board has asks the central government of the Netherlands Antilles to decentralize the regulation of the island's Internet gambling industry.

August 15 - The Assembly in Panama puts online gambling on its agenda for the start of the legislative session in September. The country could be on its way to implementing Internet gambling regulations.

August 21 - PayPal reaches a settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer regarding his subpoena of the company. The third-party transaction processor agrees to block all illegal Internet gambling transactions from New Yorkers as of Sept. 1 as well as pay $200,000 to the state for disgorged profits, investigation costs and penalties.

August 30 - In response to a request by the Nevada Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board, the U.S. Department of Justice submits a letter outlining its opinion on the legality of Assembly Bill 446, a law passed in Nevada in June 2001 that makes Internet gambling legal in the state. According to the DOJ, all forms of online gambling are illegal under federal law.

The Quiet Arrival of MGM Mirage

September 2 - Much to the chagrin of TV operators, and despite the urging of government agencies to relax restrictions on advertising for gambling entities, the group that licenses and regulates commercial television services throughout the United Kingdom introduces new advertising standards for TV advertising, and gambling still finds itself on the outside looking in.

September 4 - Shortly after the U.S. Department of Justice tells Nevada regulators that Internet gambling is illegal under federal law, the state's gaming commission turns its attention to intrastate interactive gaming.

September 10 - The Internet Cafe Owners Union declares victory in its first test case against a Greek law banning all Internet games, including gambling. The case, brought against two Internet cafe owners and one of their employees, is thrown out of court.

September 23 - The U.S. General Accounting Office releases an interim report on Internet gambling Internet gambling and how it relates to payment systems. In it the GAO says that ambiguities contained in the Wire Act may hamper the act's applicability to Internet gambling.

September 24 - Legalized Internet sports betting debuts in the Netherlands.

September 26 - Vegas-based casino giant MGM Mirage quietly launches its highly anticipated online casino from an offshore location.

Leach's Hour

October 1 - The U.S. House of Representatives passes the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act by a voice vote. The bill, authored by Rep. James Leach, would make it illegal to facilitate payments for Internet gambling activity.

October 14 - The Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority announces it is formulating a new licensing regime for online gambling in Malta.

October 22 - Despite arrests in Florida, Costa Rica-based online sports book BetOnSports continues its tour of NFL cities in which the company promotes its services from a luxury bus and Chrysler PT Cruiser during tailgates.

October 22 - Casinocity.nl, the site advising the Dutch public on legal issues relating to casinos and sports books, suspects that the Dutch Gaming Board has manipulated the data of a study on the Internet gambling market.

October 24 - Virtgame Corp. is granted a "restricted" license allowing it to sell and distribute a closed-loop sports betting system accessible via electronic terminals and PCs.

October 28 - The White House officially backs the Leach anti-Internet gambling bill in a letter Monday to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., the Senate majority leader.

October 29 - Legislators in Panama pass a bill enabling the regulation of interactive gambling services in that country.

October 29 - The lower house Antigua and Barbuda's parliament debates an amendment to the country's International Business Corporation Act that would abolish the 3 percent tax on Internet gaming companies.

October 31 - The U.K. Levy Board and Bookmakers' Committee approves a new levy scheme that includes a taxation policy for P2P betting services.

Pick Six, Get Six to Twelve

November 1 - A highly successful Breeders Cup for bookmakers is jaded by one of the biggest betting scandals in history. Within days of the event, authorities in New York launch an investigation into the legitimacy of a winning Pick 6 ticket that yielded a $3 million prize.

November 9 - The official opening of the first state-licensed online casino in the state of Hamburg, Germany brings about an eruption of criticism. Two political fractions, SPD and GAL, lodge a complaint against the Hamburg Senate.

November 15 - Online gaming operators brace themselves for Nov. 24, the day when third-party transaction processor PayPal stops processing Internet gambling transactions.

November 19 - U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduces a bill that would create a five-member commission to study the feasibility of making Internet gambling legal in the United States.

November 20 - The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upholds the dismissal of two Internet gaming-related cases involving MasterCard International Inc. and the Visa International Service Association as defendants. The ruling solidifies the precedent that Internet casino gambling does not violate federal law.

November 25 - The U.S. Virgin Islands passes Internet gambling regulations.

'Intra' in Nevada?

December 2 - The Nevada Gaming Commission wraps up a public-comment period on interactive gambling and prepares to decide whether it should adopt an intrastate model.

December 6 - The General Accounting Office's releases its final report on I-gaming as it relates to payment systems. Despite the GAO's insistence that it makes no recommendations, supporters of prohibition use its findings to support their cause.

December 9 - New Jersey legislators propose a bill that would create a commission to study the regulation of Internet gambling in that state.

December 10 - Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino launches a play-for-fun online casino accessible at its Web site.

December 10 - Nevada regulators shelve a plan to introduce a regulatory system for intrastate interactive gambling. Gaming Control Board Chairman Denis Neilander says they probably won't move forward with such a system until they get adequate input from the state's legislature.

December 17 - A federal case focusing on the Seminole tribe's quest for an Internet gambling operation is dismissed from court in Florida.

December 19 - Akamai Technologies Inc. pulls the plug on server computers it installed at a handful of U.S. universities, a move made in the wake of news reports that the servers were delivering content for teenage porn and Internet gambling sites.