Off Shore Books Thrive As Business Grows

Sports Book Scene takes a look at John Kyl, the growth of offshore sports betting and more

“The times, they are a-changing” referred to upheavals of the 1960s, but Bob Dylan’s imagery is just as relevant for today’s dynamic sports betting world, which encompasses off shore and Las Vegas.

Trying to put into perspective our recent visits to Antigua and Dominica, and an earlier trip to Costa Rica and Curacao, the one common denominator that got our attention is the speed at which this industry continues to evolve.

Technology is driving the way off shore gaming accommodates its players. By next football season, many innovations, which would make betting and collecting easier, should be implemented and available at many shops.

The Antiguan government needs to take a hard look at how it deals with established companies it now licenses. Greed and arrogance are being cited by many operators as a reason to investigate opportunities elsewhere.

Dominica, which has a new government, is making overtures to off shore gaming companies as a friendly domicile in which to locate. Despite a lack of such amenities as beaches, nightlife and large resorts, Dominica offers advanced telecommunications capabilities and cost-effective facilities.

Curacao, which several years ago endured a debacle involving licensing problems among the books, in which at least one shop went belly up, is reestablishing itself very nicely. It now hosts some of the top gaming organizations in the industry, and appears they get along together in much the same way as the top books on Antigua do, which enhances everyone’s credibility.

Costa Rica continues to be a hot bed of activity. Big books are acquiring smaller shops, and new operators keep moving in. The country’s hospitality to off shore gaming is creating a new industry that someday might rival tourism in its economic impact.

While many casual bettors have cashed out and await the start of football, baseball and NBA action is still intense, as betting groups are starting to make their presence known.

Take That, Sen. Kyl. With anti-gaming legislation wending its way through congress, many players have a feeling of impotence vis-à-vis stopping the crusade by do-gooders and uninformed politicos.

But a new website that thoroughly trashes this antediluvian mindset is now up. is the name, and exposing hypocrisy is its game.

The imaginative site contains an exceptional potpourri of informative, humorous and downright exposes of the good Senator and his followers. The home page has a diversity of articles that support the site’s theme.

Yes, it includes one of our pieces, but there are many contributors by others such as Lefty Rosenthal, Mother Jones, Silly Sports, The Daily Spread, Stardust Sonny, and ABC News, all of which generally debunk the anti-gaming posture espoused in Washington and elsewhere.

Some might feel the site’s name trivializes its agenda. However, we feel it’s excellent; a purely informational name might be bland and boring. On the Internet, outrageous works.

More Anti- Gaming Stuff. In a shocker similar to the Yankees sweeping the Royals at Yankee Stadium this past weekend, the Nevada Gaming Commission listened to testimony from the usual suspects advising and endorsing a ban on Internet gaming.

In the state’s ongoing effort to push sand up a hill, last week it heard from the NFL’s legal counsel that the League favors federal legislation that would ban online gambling.

However, Las Vegas gaming attorney and Internet gaming authority Anthony Cabot voiced skepticism about the bill’s effectiveness in curtailing bettors from using the Internet to scratch their itch.

Despite all the rhetoric about stopping Internet gaming, he said, “At the end of the day, most Internet gaming operators will be safe in their Caribbean paradise.”

The standing room only crowd at the hearing gave stark evidence that there is tremendous interest in the Internet as a venue for gaming.

Interactive Gaming Council’s Sue Schneider noted the hypocrisy of Nevada’s current crop of regulators who are trying to kill online competition. She pointed to the struggles Nevada itself faced as it tried to regulate an industry that was closely scrutinized by the feds, and regularly criticized.

Perhaps the most ludicrous position was advanced by the NFL’s representative, who conjured up this damning vision: Every personal computer would be transformed into a sports book, and every kid sitting in a dorm would be betting off shore instead of being forced to fly to Las Vegas to do so.

The struggle continues. | April 17th, 2000

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

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