Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) December 31, 2007 -- In 2007 gambling industry news, announcements, and publicity was at an all-time high. What started with tumultuous news in January with the arrest of Neteller executives, ended in December on that same note with US trade concessions with Antigua and the EU. Meanwhile, throughout the year brick and mortar casinos expanded across the United States. Internationally, Macau took over Las Vegas as the gambling capital of the world and their revenue stream exploded. The UK implemented laws that allowed online gambling sites to proliferate. Overall, 2007 proved to be one of the most exciting news years ever in the gambling industry.
Follow along now as Casino Gambling Web writers and editors countdown the top ten gambling-related stories of year.
#10 Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Pay $31.5 Million in DoJ Settlement
The three major Internet companies agreed to pay more than $30 million in a settlement with the US Department of Justice, who claimed the three online companies accepted illegal gambling ads from offshore operators. None of the companies admitted guilt in the case and the total amount of the settlement was hardly the equivalent of one day of income, but the DoJ claimed victory because they say it set an example to the rest of the world about the seriousness of the DoJ's claims that Internet gambling is illegal.
#9 NBA Gambling Scandal : Referee Tim Donaghy Arrested
NBA referee Tim Donaghy plead guilty in Federal court to two charges of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce. The case was a nightmare for the NBA as rumors floated around about which games were fixed by Donaghy. For years, conspiracy theorists had suggested the league was fixing playoff games. In the meantime, the NBA and commission David Stern are working diligently to repair the league's reputation.
#8 World Series of Poker Numbers Drop For First Time in 15 Years
The number of entrants to the 2007 World Series of Poker declined for the first time in 15 years, although the decrease was not a result of declining popularity. WSOP executives announced early in the year that they would not be accepting registrations from online satellite tournaments because of the newly passed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This was the main cause in the drop in numbers and only one of many very significant negative ramifications of the new US law.
#7 iMEGA vs. United States Department of Treasury Court Battle
The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) filed a lawsuit against the US Treasury Department in 2007 over the UIGEA proposed regulations. The papers filed in New Jersey federal court were not taken seriously by the media at first, but now the case is seen as the last hope for the Internet gambling industry. The judge was scheduled to rule in November, but still no judgement has been rendered. If the judge rules in favor of iMEGA the UIGEA will be temporarily restrained.
#6 US Rep. Barney Frank Introduces Internet Gambling Regulation Bill
Congressman Barney Frank, Head of the Financial Services Committee, introduced a new bill in 2007 that would legalize and regulate online gambling in the United States. The bill is called the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (IGREA), HR-2046. Frank, who openly speaks out against the UIGEA as a blatant infringement on the rights of hard working Americans, has consistently urged US citizens to call their congressmen in support of his bill. In September of 2007 Casino Gambling Web sent representatives to Washington DC to hand deliver a petition that urged congress to repeal the UIGEA. The petition was signed by thousands of Americans. The IGREA is still alive and currently has 45 co-sponsors.
#5 West Virginia Voters Approve Table Games
In January the debate heated up between all citizens and religious activists over the expasnion of table games in West Virginia. The citizens of the state won when they voted to approve the bill and in December the first tables games were installed in local West Virginia casinos. The debate in West Virginia was a microcosm for the entire country and citizens who support freedom over restrictions apparently have won out. Slot machines were approved in Pennsylvania and the competition on the east cost US heated up. Mid-year casino expansion headed to the mid-west as Illinois approved casino gaming. On the west coast Indian casinos also gained mainstream approval.
#4 Florida Governor Negotiates Seminole Indian Gambling Compact
Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced a 25-year compact with the Seminole Indian Tribe to make blackjack, baccarat, and Vegas style slots legal in their seven Florida casinos. Previously, the tribe could only feature bingo-style slot machines and poker. Florida House speaker Marco Rubio, furious over the deal, argued the compact to be invalid without legislative ramifications, and ultimately sued the Governor. The compact followed other very big news from the Seminoles when they finalized the purchase of the Hard Rock chain of hotels and casinos across the world. The deal made the Seminoles the most prosperous business entrepreneurs of all Native American tribes.
#3 Venetian Opens Largest Casino Ever in Macau, China
The new Venetian Macau, which opened in September by US firm Las Vegas Sands Corporation, was built on expectations of becoming the largest casino in the world. The casino has not let down investors and the bullish predictions have become reality. In the first weekend, the casino saw crowds of over 100,000 people per day.The new mega-casino-resort resides on the tiny island of Macau in China, a place which surpassed Las Vegas as gambling capital of the world in 2007. Other companies have promised to follow the Venetian example and Macau is expected to soon be the ultimate adult playground.
#2 United Kingdom Implements Gambling Act of 2005
While the US cracked down on Internet gambling in 2007 the United Kingdom proved to be a leader in the industry as they opened up their online market to the world. The expansion did not go as planned, however, because new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, created a tax level so high that no companies chose to relocate their operation to the UK. Meanwhile, the first gambling ads appeared on TV and radio.
#1 United States Settles World Trade Organization (WTO) Disputes
Antigua & Barbuda became the smallest nation to ever successfully win a case in the WTO. The UIGEA was deemed illegal by a WTO panel and the US was forced to give concessions to the tiny island nation. Instead, the US withdrew its GATS commitments, which allowed countries belonging to the WTO to claim sanctions from the US. The US negotiated their way out of $100 billion concessions with the European Commission and a WTO panel gave Antigua a mere $21 million, both figures substantially lower than were expected. The US proved its international power in the WTO case and made some analysts believe the US can do whatever it wants by creating very fine print.
While all stories could not make the top ten most popular and influential list of 2007, many stories may have deserved to be there. The arrests and settlements of Neteller executives in the US was huge news. The proliferation of pop culture betting was telling of today's society. Bodog, one of the biggest online gambling sites in the world, lost its domain name, but survived and thrived anyway. Party Gaming and 888.com, two large companies destroyed by new US laws, strived hard to survive in 2007. Casinos along the Gulf Coast of the United States served to revitalize the area. And the regulations for the UIGEA were proposed and commented on.
One thing is for sure following the year in gambling news in 2007: gambling, once seen as taboo, is becoming mainstream across the world and promises to be debated and expanded in the years to come. We look forward to continued reporting in one of the most exciting industries in the world in 2008.
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Source: PRWeb: Legal / Law