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Tony Batt

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Exec Pushing Internet Gaming

17 Sep 2004

By Tony Batt

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WASHINGTON, DC -- An Internet gambling executive on Thursday said he hopes Congress can be persuaded to allow U.S. regulation of online betting within the next three to five years.

David Carruthers, chief executive officer of BetonSports.com, did not underestimate the difficulty of his campaign, which he launched Sept. 8 in New York City. "It's like pushing an elephant upstairs," Carruthers said. But unless Congress abandons efforts to prohibit Internet gambling. Carruthers said, the United States stands to lose billions of dollars in potential tax revenue to the United Kingdom and other countries that allow online wagering but regulate it.

BetonSports.com is headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica. Carruthers came to the company after working 24 years for Ladbrokes Racing in the United Kingdom.

"We want to be the standard-bearer of Internet gambling regulation in the United States because a majority of our customers come from the U.S.," Carruthers said.

Internet gambling is projected to reach $7 billion in revenue this year after producing $5.7 billion last year on more than 1,800 offshore wagering Web sites. By 2010, the Internet gambling market is expected to produce $18.4 billion. As part of his company's campaign for regulation, Carruthers is conducting summit meetings in New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The summits include discussions among Internet gambling officials, attorneys and educators about how to develop federal regulations for online wagering. Findings will be published in a white paper that will be released shortly after the Nov. 2 election.

During Thursday's summit, advertising and media attorney Bill Heberer complained that the Department of Justice is using the 1961 U.S. Wire Act to discourage companies from accepting commercials from Internet gambling Web sites.

Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said BetonSports.com and other online wagering companies have been "delinquent, if not negligent" in encouraging responsible gambling.

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