For the moment, betting sites are focusing on building a more international client base to reduce dependence upon American bettors. Several international gambling web sites have informed U.S. players that they will no longer accept their bets in the wake of the U.S. crackdown on online gambling company BetOnSports. UK betting site Coral Eurobet has begun closing accounts of U.S. resident, while PokerChamps.com, a site owned by Danish poker champion Gus Hansen, said it will begun using using geo-location software to deny U.S. residents the ability to place bets on its site.
Executives of UK gambling companies are also avoiding any travel to the U.S. – a development which led to the cancellation of a major industry conference scheduled for this weekend in Las Vegas. Carruthers’ arrest, combined with the recent extradition of three UK-based executives of NatWest bank to face charges in America, had raised anxiety that the UK might become an untenable location for online betting firms.
The UK government has indicated that extradition would only be considered if conduct is illegal in both the UK and America. But some industry watchers noted that the the indictment against BetOnSports includes allegations of tax evasion, which leaves open the prospect of an extradition of a UK gambling executive based on tax-related charges.
Many UK betting sites continue to host in London-area data centers. With many theories and rumors fueled by FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), offshore destinations are aggressively seeking to attract online betting sites.
Chief among these is the Isle of Man, an island off the British coast which actively encourages the development of gambling and e-gaming business. Last week Netcetera became the latest company to announce a new hosting facility on the Isle of Man, announcing plans for a $15 million data center that will open in September 2006. Netcetera says the new center near Ronaldsway Airport will be the isle’s largest, with enough space to accomodate 700 server racks.
Among the companies already based in the Isle of Man are gaming web site PaddyPower and the Neteller payment processing service. Other hosting locations commonly used by gambling sites include the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Malta, and Antigua.