The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) today announced a strategic alliance with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda through the Free Trade & Processing Zone to enhance consumer confidence in Internet gaming. The parties have agreed to convene an international work group of countries interested in Internet gaming to develop a model code and to foster creation of an international infrastructure to handle dispute resolution and to monitor the interactive gaming industry.
Like Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein and other nations, Antigua is moving ahead to legalize and establish consumer protection measures. The joint initiative follows on the announcement that the government of Dominica will, as a sovereign nation, set up and operate the first government-run Internet casino. Antigua and the IGC are the first to call for the formation of such a multilateral effort to address jurisdiction, sovereignty, consumer protection concerns, and to propose the implementation of measures to help insure the integrity of Internet gaming on a worldwide basis. The IGC announced that it will sponsor a meeting to organize the international effort at an upcoming meeting of the International Association of Gaming Regulators in Prague this October.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda is a leading Internet licensing authority in the growing trend of countries seeking to license Internet gambling. Antigua through its "Free Trade Zone" has already licensed over two dozen interactive gaming operators. The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) is the international trade association that represents responsible interactive companies committed to licensed and regulated operation. The IGC is at the vanguard in developing formulas for growth of the industry and protection of consumers.
Vere Murphy, Commissioner of the Free Trade Zone, explained that as the Internet continues to grow, regulation of cyber-gaming is necessary to protect consumers, to encourage responsible trade practices by operators, and to address issues such as compulsive gambling, restricted access by minors and money laundering.
Murphy explained: "Like prohibition in the United States, unilateral action by a single country to address interactive wagering is only a partial solution to the broader global and regulatory concerns. Only through joint international cooperation can an adequate regulatory framework succeed in an international arena."
IGC chair Sue Schneider echoed Murphy's statement. "We agree with nearly every witness who has testified before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in the U.S. on this issue. Prohibition of Internet gambling will not work to protect consumers. The Internet is a global medium, and thus, requires a global regulatory solution."
To further energize this public/private partnership, Antigua and Barbuda's Free Trade Zone announced that it is joining the IGC as a participating associate member.
For further information, inquiries may be directed to:
Mr. Maurice Vere Murphy, Commissioner
Free Trade & Processing Zone
Ms. Sue Schneider, Chair
Interactive Gaming Council (IGC)