Business as usual for PokerStars

The $300 million "settlement" and Wire Act guilty plea by Party Gaming founder Anurag Dikshit last week prompted the regional newspaper Isle of Man Today to ask locally-based online poker operator PokerStars.com for comment, postulating that the mood of the US authorities is growing increasingly hostile.

The newspaper made the point that the action against Dikshit is a move that doesn't directly affect e-gaming businesses that have set up on the island, many of which are targeting the European and Asian rather than US markets.

Paul Telford, head of legal services at Poker Stars, told the newspaper: "As far as we are concerned it's business as usual. It doesn't affect the company. This doesn't change the law; no precedents have been set.

"But it will give us food for thought as to the bigger impact. The situation is very fluid so there is little point in commenting further."

Asked for his reaction, Garth Kimber, head of e-gaming development at the IOM Department of Trade and Industry, said: "We are monitoring the situation closely to look at any potential impact."

Meanwhile, delegates to a seminar held in Douglas heard that e-gaming is well-placed to ride out global recession, the Isle of Man Today reported. Delegates at the seminar, organised by Global Betting and Gaming Consultants Ltd, included representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Chief executive Warwick Bartlett told delegates that his company is constantly being asked how the global recession was likely to affect e-gaming. He said this was a question difficult to answer as there is no comparable data.

"Gambling benefits from not being a big ticket item," he said. "Whereas people will stop spending on cars and moving house they will continue to have a pint and have a bet.

"The global roll out of broadband is also assisting the growth of Internet gambling. So it is far more resilient than the traditional land-based betting shop or casino."

He emphasised that while the Isle of Man had done well from hosting financial services companies, it was not beneficial to be too reliant on one business sector and it was in everyone's interest to promote the Island as an e-gaming centre.

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