From the Editor's Chair | v. 24

29 July 2008

Another big week for the Internet gambling industry, where success is measured in nanometers rather than millimeters.

Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, finally put pen to paper on the National Gambling Amendment Bill. While implementation of the bill has been delayed, the bright and shiny way to look at this one -- if you want -- is that another jurisdiction has, at the very least, acknowledged that Internet gambling, technology and policy can be uneasy bedfellows.

Interactive Systems Worldwide Inc. has been a company I've watched closely in recent months. I didn't have much luck with their chief executive last week, who politely deferred questions on the company's financial health. It's no secret that ISWI is struggling, and it will be interesting to watch how SportXction, the company's in-running betting platform, will factor in future performance. The product is trusted by Ladbrokes and Sportingbet -- good company for a business on the cusp.

On the side of pathos, it was eye-opening to discover that since the 2000 fiscal year, Antigua's online gambling employment levels have dropped 82 percent. As I understand, the negative impact on revenue, licensee concentration and employment has come primarily by way of its World Trade Organization dispute with the United States.

L. Errol Cort, the island-nation's finance minister, said the government is looking toward Asia for new licensees. With the United Kingdom's Gambling Act 2005, jurisdictions that are, one, not part of the European Economic Area, and two, not part of the country's advertising white list, have been forced to reinvent themselves in this London-centric epoch.

Antigua has shown resolve akin to "Rocky IV" in the W.T.O. dispute and it's my feeling the country will show the same moxie in reestablishing itself as a premier licensing jurisdiction when North America coughs up the keys to the kingdom.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.