From the Editor's Chair - v7

24 November 2003

The story of an online gambling addict convicted of embezzling $65,000 from her company to support her habit looks like a wasted opportunity for Camp Kyl. The piece aired on WNDU TV in South Bend last week, right about the same time Sen. Kyl was conceding defeat for the year in the battle to pass his I-gaming funding prohibition bill. Such stories (not to diminish the seriousness of the situation) usually come gift-wrapped for Kyl and Co. within a week or two of congressional hearings. Just a case of bad timing, but I'm guessing they'll stow this one away for later date.

Speaking of the Kyl bill, how 'bout a pat on the back for those who contributed to successfully defeating prohibition for the eighth consecutive year. This was undoubtedly the most difficult year yet, and I was among those who thought Kyl would finally get it done. (Dare I say he's finally lost some momentum?) We don't always see progress in the public eye, but there are people working very hard behind the scenes against prohibition policies, and their efforts have paid off again.

I don't like what the University of Newcastle and the NSW Financial Counselors' Association have to say in their recently released report, " Misfortune or Mismanagement: A Study of Consumer Debt Issues." Their research found that excessive mobile phone usage is a top contributor to personal debt among young Australians. Naturally, the study found that gambling is a big contributor (across all age groups) as well. To me this shows that gambling and mobile phones could be a lethal combination, and that might not sit so well with the Department for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, the ministry that oversees I-gaming policy. Let's hope those in the mobile betting business Down Under are addressing responsible gambling adequately. This sector has a tremendous growth potential and the businesses involved need to protected by taking a proactive approach.

Something's brewing in Thailand on the soccer betting front, but don't expect anything to happen soon. The country's Government Lottery Office has embarked upon a movement to legalize soccer betting, perhaps with eyes on repeating what Hong Kong has accomplished by doing so. Somchainuk Engtrakul, who chairs the department, said it will be at least a year before such a policy could be implemented. I'm hearing that one year might be awfully optimistic.

I don't know how the TAB mess is going to pan out in Australia, but I'm selfishly hoping it results in only one company in the entire country containing the word "tab" in its name. The situation is confusing enough without all of the companies involved sharing the same name.

Mark Balestra

Mark Balestra is the Managing Director at BolaVerde Media Group. He previously worked at Clarion Gaming and the River City Group where he was the publisher of iGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.