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Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Online Gamblers Learning To Circumvent Law, Paper Says

BY TOM SOMACH

An article in Monday’s San Francisco Chronicle reports that online gamblers in the U.S. are learning how to get around anti-online gambling legislation that was passed last year by the U.S. government.

The number of Americans gambling online has dropped from where it was a year ago, the Chronicle reports.

But, the gamblers are learning how to circumvent laws prohibiting U.S. financial entities from transferring the gamblers’ monies to and from online gambling sites, the newspaper reports.

Thus, the number of Americans gambling online is expected to return to normal levels within a year, the Chronicle reports.

The article’s main focus is on online sports betting, but notes that those playing online poker have encountered the same difficulties as online sports bettors in sending funds to online gambling sites and collecting winnings from the sites.

Russ Hawkins, who runs Major Wager (www.majorwager.com), a website that offers news and information about online sports betting, online poker and other types of online gambling, predicts in the newspaper article that eventually, U.S. residents will only wager online using foreign currencies, which will keep U.S. financial entities out of the process and render them irrelevant.

“Some people have stopped betting on sports online…but savvy bettors know how to get around the law,” Hawkins told the newspaper.

“Eventually, Americans will not use American currency to make wagers online,” Hawkins said. “That’s ultimately how to beat the government crackdown.

“They’ll use pounds or euros or Canadian dollars, and then the U.S. financial system won’t be involved at all. How this will all be done exactly, I’m not sure, but something will be set up.”

The article also points out how some online gambling sites are instructing U.S. online gamblers how to get around UIGEA–the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act–which Congress passed last fall in hopes of crippling Internet gambling in America.

One online gambling site, Dime Line Sports (www.dimelinesportsbook.com) in Curacao, sent an e-mail to its U.S. customers telling them what foreign e-wallets to use to send funds to bet, the Chronicle reports.

Hawkins summed up the situation, telling the newspaper: “Online gambling is not going away.”

The article can be accessed at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/12/BUGGDOHB9F1.DTL

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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