Here they come again

New Attack on Internet Gaming by clueless politicians

You know that sign that is posted when some politician’s pork barrel project is getting funded, the sign that says, “Your Tax Dollars at Work”?  It’s just a glaring example of how politicians believe the dumb electorate can be flimflammed.

Now, the boys in Washington, D.C., have come up with something new.  They want to pass a law that would criminalize the use of credit cards, electronic funds transfers, checks, or virtually any form of financial transaction that facilitates gambling on the Internet.

The Super Moralist party, under the auspices of Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and Rep. Jim LaFalce (D-New York), has introduced legislation called the Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act.

Are these boys really looking out for the welfare of Americans?  Hmmm … reportedly the wording of the bill does not have any restrictions on how gamblers fund their gaming habits at traditional casinos.

Pretty cute move by the politicos, to protect an industry that spends lots of lobbying dollars in Washington, and attack one that has a global rather than a U.S. basis.

Our politicians think they are so clever.  When they try to snooker us with smoke and mirrors, they always have a reasonable-sounding rationale to justify their treachery.  In this case, it’s the old money-laundering bugaboo.

According to our Beltway heroes, the proposed legislation is necessary because debt collection problems are a major source of concern for the consumer credit industry.  Additionally, Internet casinos are considered to have, “a significant money laundering vulnerability”.

The politicians might be surprised to learn that some taxpayers believe the biggest money-laundering problem we face in this country is all the under-the-table cash that’s passed to our elected representatives.

Off Shore Moments.  In our last column, we reflected upon some vignettes that occurred during production of the TV special on the off shore industry we are making, Inside Sports Gaming 2000.  We drew upon occurrences in Costa Rica.  Now, we’ll look back on Curacao.

Awaiting a helicopter fly-by over the ocean and beach at the Holiday Beach Hotel, as part of a commercial being shot.  It will be the opening and closing sequence of a two-minute spot for A Bookie Joint (www.abookiejoint.com).

The chopper, with a big blue Polis logo painted on the side, flew out over the Caribbean, dropped down to wave-skimming level and zoomed in sideways.

On the beach below, joined by the producer and gaffer, we all cheered and waved as the copter completed its pass.

Later, the director, who was on board with the cameraman and the owner of A Bookie Joint, recounted events.  It seems the pilot was lightly inebriated, the doors of the copter had to be removed in order to permit filming, and the bookmaker got queasy during the flight.

Over pina coladas and Amstels, it was a happy group of filmmakers who relived the experience.

One night, when the crew went out for a night on the island, we stuck around the hotel to meet some folks we had spoken with for years but had never met.  Zizi and Brian from Royal Sports, whom we knew when they were running Galaxy, also on Curacao.

It is always a delight to see people for the first time when you already know them.  This meeting lived up to its billing.  Zizi, the driving force at Royal, has a metaphysical outlook that is that is grounded in strong philosophical beliefs.  It is easy to see why he is so respected, and not just for his bookmaking skills, by his associates.

Brian, who handles marketing and a lot of other responsibilities, is a life force that must be seen to be believed.  A bon vivant par excellence, he must know everyone on Curacao.

He took us to dinner at an extraordinary place called The Ranch.  It’s a working ranch where show horses are trained.  One night a week, the owners open up as a restaurant and serve the most delicious barbecued chicken and steak.

The private club-like ambiance is magical.  Only the cognoscenti know about it.  Seated with Brian and Curt, from Oasis, we were asked which we preferred, steak or chicken.

After a proper sampling of both, we said the meat was excellent, but the chicken had exquisite flavor, so that’s what we gave the nod to.

“You’re not a rookie anymore,” we were told, having given the correct answer.

We visited two top caliber bookmakers, with whom we had many productive conversations over the phone but had never met.

Rick, who runs Gold Medal Sports (www.goldmedalsports.com), sent a driver for us and we visited the book, which is also affiliated with Seven Palms, at the Bon Bini Business Center.

It was a quiet morning, but they were taking action on a few early games, and Rick would interrupt our conversation to yell out Okays on bets for various phone accounts.

Rick would have joined us at The Ranch, but said the steak was “too garlicky”.  But we did catch up with him later that evening and can report that bookmakers are first-class party animals.

We left Gold Medal and went to Aces Gold (www.acesgoldcasino.com), where head man Charlie proudly pointed out the biggest satellite dish we had ever seen.  “We can get it all with that baby,” he told us.

Aces Gold, which is owned and operated by Sports-Market, runs out of a freestanding building with impressive facilities.  If there is any aspect of race and sports that Charlie is not thoroughly conversant with, we’d be hard pressed to name it.

The book is emphasizing its horse racing capabilities, and the effort is paying off.  Charlie said that action on the Kentucky Derby skyrocketed 600 percent over last year’s handle.

This was only the second year of booking the Derby for Aces Gold, and Charlie reported that enormous action was taken just minutes before the race went off.

“Our state-of-the-art program worked flawlessly.  Everyone’s bet got in, and we paid out quite a bit in winning tickets,” he said.

Aces Gold considers itself the leading Internet horse-racing website.  Betting horses online is a cinch, Charlie noted.  “We offer full track odds, unlimited wager amounts and all the exotics that any rail bird could desire.

“Oh, yeah,” he added, “our players know that Aces Gold pays.”

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fine meals we shared with Thomas, who runs A Bookie Joint, at Georgio’s at the Holiday Beach Hotel.  Chef-owner Agusto prepares what is probably the finest Italian food on the island.  Breaking bread and holding production meetings was a nice way to do business.

 
thedailyspread.com | May 19th, 2000

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly

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