European Online Gambling Industry Takes Dim View of Sands Launch Into Online Gaming

08 December 2006

Telegraph.co.uk
By Harry Wallop
Last Updated: 12:02am GMT 06/12/2006

The European gambling industry has attacked the launch of an online gaming website by Las Vegas Sands, the US giant.

Torbjorn Ihre, the head of public affairs at the European Betting Association, said: “It’s hypocrisy and discrimination. These two words fit. This proves that the US being open to competition is a false claim.”

The move, which Las Vegas is launching next year in partnership with Cantor Gaming, comes just a few months after the US launched a major crackdown on internet gambling. British executives were arrested and the US Senate outlawed banks from accepting online wagers. Las Vegas Sands is specifically targeting the UK market. One of its would-be rivals, Sportingbet, said it doubted the seriousness of Las Vegas Sands’ UK plans.

Andrew McIver, the chief executive, said: “They’ve put a stick in the wasp nest to see what comes out. They want to see what happens – who comes to them and whether others will follow.”

He said he was not worried by such a big name entering the market. “Not at all. I wish them all the best. They are a very good company, but their strength is offline gambling not the internet. It will take them a few years to get going.”

Las Vegas Sands said that the website, which would not accept US customers, would feature the companies’ brands, including The Venetian, Sands and Paiza.

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