Editorial By Stanley R. Sludikoff, Publisher
In this segment it is my intention to take up the issue of the alleged illegal activities of poker celebrities Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, et. al. I say “alleged” because no indictments have been handed down, and everyone should be granted the supposition of innocence until proven guilty.
On the other hand , Howard, Chris, and their cohorts have been publicly silent, apparently hiding from their usual public exposure. This activity tends to support the proposition that they are guilty. So in the interest of justice, I will delay subsequent editorials for two more weeks and invite the named parties to communicate with me, lay out their position, and tell our readers what happened. And I will print their statements exactly as rendered.
Recent news from Alderney has taken a turn for the worse. A few days ago the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) callously told people who played on Full Tilt Poker that they should file their complaints with the police. This is one of the most arrogant, irresponsible, and selfish statements I have ever seen from a public authority.
Indeed, just what police department has authority regarding the alleged criminal activity that took place on the internet? Is it the Alderney police? Clearly the AGCC is trying to absolve itself of any criminal and regulatory blame by referring the damaged parties elsewhere. As I mentioned in my prior discussion of Alderney, this territory was never equipped to create and handle such a business, had no proper guidelines to protect persons from other nations, was inadequately insured or financially incompetent, and failed in their obligations to regulate Full Tilt Poker. This agency should be disbanded and Alderney should be forced out of the online gaming regulatory business. Other small nations currently in this business need to have rules and supervision imposed by an international authority, or they too should be put out of the online gaming regulatory business.
Alderney knows it has done wrong and recently commissioned the distinguished British gaming regulator, Peter Dean—former head of the British Gaming Commission—to study their role in this scandal. Not to question Mr. Dean’s integrity, but since Alderney is paying the fees, this doesn’t appear to be an arm’s length transaction. Let us hope that Mr. Dean lives up to his reputation and not his client’s quest for absolution. The last thing the online world needs is a whitewash. A report is expected in March.
On another side of this issue, it appears that some people in Britain are beginning to question the use of offshore web sites to conduct gaming with British citizens. In this case it is not a moral issue, but a financial one. Some leaders in the UK are becoming aware that they are losing substantial taxes that would otherwise be paid if the sites that service British gamblers were located in the UK. Perhaps this quest for more tax money and regulatory fees will end up with greater protection for British internet punters.