Gambling tournaments could be held in the island if proposed gaming legislation makes it on to the statute books.
The Department of Economic Development hopes the island could be a popular venue for poker and rummy tournaments, attracting national and international players, boosting the economy and supporting the hotel trade.
Economic Development Minister John Shimmin MHK said: ‘The department has identified an opportunity to be able to attract live gaming tournaments to the island with all of the associated economic benefits they will bring in terms of increased bed nights, spending in the local economy and increased passenger numbers on aircraft serving the island.
‘At present the law restricts which venues can be used for such events. The proposed Casino (Amendment) Bill would give the Gambling Supervision Commission the power to grant temporary licences for these events at a wider range of venues.’
The proposed law would allow any current casino licence holder (at present, only the Palace Hotel in Douglas) to apply to run an event at a different venue. This would give flexibility to stage an event elsewhere involving more players than can be accommodated in the casino.
The annual World Series of Poker held in Las Vegas, for example, attracts professional poker celebrities and wide media coverage.
Mr Shimmin said such events can typically attract 800 or more players.
‘The department has been in consultation with the Palace Hotel which is content to facilitate the holding of live gaming tournaments at other venues as licensed on a temporary basis by the Gambling Supervision Commission,’ he said.
‘The hotel would itself benefit indirectly by offering accommodation, cash games and so on. This new line of business would of course be regulated to a high standard to protect both the reputation of the Isle of Man and the players.’
The consultation document which is available on the website at www.gov.im/lib/docs/ded/consultations20111221livegamingconsultation.pdf makes specific reference to possible use of the Villa Marina for such events. Other suitable venues for larger scale events could include the Mount Murray, Mr Shimmin suggested. Any venue to be used could also apply for a temporary liquor licence, if it did not already have one, which would last for the duration of its gaming certificate.
Submissions regarding the proposals should be sent by post to Tim Craine, director of the Business Development Agency at the Department of Economic Development, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday February 3.
Legislation banning online gaming in America could be relaxed.
Laws which have so far prevented online gambling in America may now be swept aside after a new interpretation of the law suggests states may lawfully be able to authorise online gambling.
America’s 1961 Wire Act was originally enacted to prevent use of telephone communication for betting between states and this has so far been the basis of a ban involving online gaming. But a recent reinterpretation of the act could leave the way open for individual states to authorise it.
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