EiG Brief: Day Two in the Books

24 September 2008

As weather conditions brightened today in Barcelona, the outlook of United States Update panelists was a bit cloudier on federal I-gaming legalization.

Described by panel moderator Anthony R. Coles, a partner at Jeffery Green Russell, as "very alien to many of us on this side of the Atlantic," the American legal system continues to trouble many industry members.

During the hour-long discussion, Mark N.G. Hichar, a partner at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, pointed out a silver lining in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act -- the law leaves intrastate regulation wide open.

"There is confusion among operators to what is permitted at the federal and state level regarding intrastate (gaming)," Mr. Hichar noted. "This is why there has been slow law introduction on this subject."

He also pointed out three states -- New York, New Hampshire and North Dakota -- already practicing one form of intrastate online gambling. People who want to play the lottery online can go to each state lottery's Web site and purchase 13-week subscriptions via credit card, and the UIGEA hasn't stopped those operators, he said.

Mark L. Mendel, a legal advisor to Antigua and Barbuda at Mendel Blumenfeld, pegged American actions as "immature" but believes a change will come soon.

"The whole thing seems irrational," he said, "but it's all about money."

Later in the afternoon, it was all about the money, as panelists grilled startup founders on how much money each needed to get their Web sites off the ground. New to the conference this year, the 90-minute EiG LaunchPad provided a platform for entrepreneurs to pitch ideas to four esteemed judges.

Whose idea wowed the experts? Dave McDowell, founder of GameAccount Global Ltd., was awarded the top prize for his fantasy sports betting product, FSB Tech, soon to be launched at www.fsbtech.com.

Jeanette Kozlowski is a staff writer for IGamingNews and manager of Clarion Gaming's Gaming Industry Media portal. She lives in Kirkwood, Mo.