Dec 15

Bank of Canada Governor calls buying Bitcoin gambling, then turns around to admit central bank is exploring developing its own digital currency.

Gov Stephen Poloz says Buying Bitcoin is GamblingDon’t you just love it when political big wigs contradict themselves while paving the way for their own agendas? It makes for great headlines, that’s for sure. But it does nothing to help the progress of the people. Someone should mention that to Bank of Canada‘s governor, Stephen Poloz.

In preparation for today’s live interview with Peter Armstrong on CBC‘s On The Money, Poloz commented on major issues facing the country.

He spoke of the housing market and household debt, and rising costs that will likely become a long term issue. He mentioned the need for more “on-the-job training programs” to help young people fill an expanding gap in employment.

Poloz also commented on cyber security risks for the financial system’s infrastructure. He called internet banking methods “a public good, every bit as a important to the health of Canada’s economy as our roads, bridges and airports.” However, he fears that the billions of dollars transacted by Canadian’s each year online are not free of risk.

He said that our connectivity online results in an undeniable vulnerability. Mostly, his fears stem from the fact that “a problem in one institution may spread to others and be amplified.” Thus it would only take a single “successful cyber attack” to “become a successful attack on many.”

Over the years, government-level cyber security – such as the security measures implemented by all members of the central bank – has been effective. But according to Poloz, everyone who shops or pays bills over the internet, or uses things like online gambling sites, could eventually be at risk.

And speaking of gambling, Poloz also said…

Buying Bitcoin is Gambling

Poloz says Investing in Bitcoin closer to gambling

In his closing comments, the BoC governor spoke of the growing popularity of the crypto-currency known as Bitcoin, and other digital currencies like it. He expressed concern over the rising interest in digital currency investment, and the mystery behind their alleged value.

“What their true value is may be anyone’s guess,” Poloz quipped. “Perhaps the most one can says is that buying these things means buying risk, which makes it closer to gambling than investing.”

Poloz made it clear that he doesn’t approve of investing in Bitcoin or other crypto-currencies. Yet in the same breathe, he acknowledged the central bank’s potential need to develop a digital currency of its own.

He believes the rising propensity for electronic transactions could be the catalyst for a new demand in electronic cash. And if that’s the case, the central bank could see this as a viable argument for producing its own version. It’s not only a possibility, but something the Bank of Canada is already investigating.

“Bank staff are exploring the circumstances under which it might be appropriate for the central bank to issue its own digital currency for retail transactions,” admitted Poloz.

So, what he’s saying is…

Buying Bitcoin and investing in existing digital currencies is nothing more than gambling. We shouldn’t do that, since the risk element is higher than traditional investment opportunities. But we should support the central bank’s potential need to create a digital currency of its own. Okay. Got it, Poloz. Thanks for the heads up!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , ,

Dec 12

PokerStars’ internet sports betting cousin launches BetStars News UK.

BetStars News Internet Sports BettingWhat’s more exciting than watching a good sports match? Putting a little action on the games. When we aren’t watching or betting on sports, there’s always the option of reading about it. Okay, maybe reading doesn’t sound all that exciting, but if you enjoy the first two activities, you really should make more time for the latter.

BetStars, the online sports betting arm of The Stars Group, is on board with that assessment. They’ve just launched a brand new website, BetStars News. It’s currently available in the UK only, but the operator has plans to expand the service to more regions in the coming months.

Online Sportsbook Launches BetStars News

BetStars News is a new website dedicated to athletic media content for sports bettors in the UK. It will feature engaging and informative news relating to all manner of sports and wagering opportunities, including media, videos, photos and acumen from expert analysts.

BetStars Managing Director, Zeno Ossko, was proud to announce the launch of their latest product. “BetStars News is an exciting development for us that will help our customers hone and improve their sports knowledge through the vast content that the news site will feature,” he said.

Ossko went on to confirm the upcoming expansion of BetStars News to more jurisdictions. “Starting with the UK, we plan to roll out BetStars News in many other regions in the coming months, continuing to demonstrate our commitment to enhance BetStars and create a better experience for our customers.”

Taking Internet Sports Betting to a New Level

BetStars is confident that this news site will take sports betting to a whole new level for their members. The site will feature daily publications in a wide range of betting markets. While sports will make up the brunt of analysis by nature, BetStars News will also cover additional markets, including things like entertainment and politics – virtually anything the sportsbook offers bets on.

Handicappers will be privy to match-up previews with in-depth statistical data analysis. By taking advantage of this information, BetStars hopes its casual punters will no longer rely on favorites or better records to make their picks. Being well informed is what promotes skill in wagering, separating an online sportsbook from an online casino. The more one knows, the more likely they are to make wise decisions.

BetStars – New Brand From a Trusted Name

BetStars is a relatively new online sportsbook that went live in December of 2015. Celebrating its second anniversary this month, the sportsbook may still be new, but its parent company has attained universal recognition as a top performer in the internet gambling realm.

BetStars is the product of The Stars Group (formerly Amaya Inc); the same company that acquired PokerStars parent, Rational Group, a few years back. In those days, PokerStars was a single entity, run by executives who had no desire to expand into other avenues of iGaming. That all changed when Amaya took over in mid-2014.

Since then, PokerStars has become the proud cousin of two new offerings, StarsCasino and BetStars. While the online poker giant continues to be the biggest money maker for Stars Group, its online sportsbook and casino are both experiencing exponential growth in revenue.

BetStars offers its members a wide ranging of betting products, including a vast selection of athletic contests from all over the world, plus specialist betting markets. Member accounts are linked seamlessly across all Stars Group products, allowing players to fund one account for all their wagering needs; sports, poker and/or casino.

The service can be accessed on desktop or mobile, with a highly functional and intuitive mobile internet sports betting apps optimized for Android and iOS devices.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , ,

Dec 08

Five reasons why it’s better to play real money casino games on a tablet.

Play Real Money Casino Games on a TabletIn this technology-driven age, there’s no longer any need to visit a land-based casino. You can go with a group of friends for kicks, but if you’re just looking for the entertainment of a thrilling slot machine or table games experience, why travel? These games can be played on a desktop or laptop computer, or any internet-capable mobile device.

In the last few months, I’ve really come to appreciate the option of playing tablet casino games. I’ve done it all. Desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablet devices. Today, I’ll give you five good reasons why I think it’s better to…

Play Real Money Casino Games on a Tablet

If I took enough time, I could probably come up with a lot more reasons. But based on my own experience, these five came to mind immediately. In short, they include convenient portability, better visibility, heightened security, exclusive promotional offers, and access to everything else you’ve come to expect from your favorite internet gaming site.

#1 Portability at Home

Playing casino games on a laptop does give you a higher rate of portability, but it’s not nearly so convenient as a tablet. You can’t really curl up on the couch with a laptop. Tablet’s on the other hand, can go anywhere you go. Even those elongated trips to the little boy’s/girl’s room. You could do the same with a smartphone, but…

#2 Larger Screen Size / Visibility

Tablet casino games are a lot easier to see and play than the smartphone variety. Most mobile phones have a screen size of between 4 and 5.5 inches. The resolution is great, but clumsy fingers can easily tap the wrong button. And if you happen to have poor eyesight like myself, they just aren’t as easy to see. Tablets, boasting screen sizes of 7-10 inches, definitely win in this category.

#3 Home WiFi is More Secure

Unlike smartphones, most people don’t have a dedicated network for their tablet devices. You could take your tablet on the road and use it at a free WiFi hot-spot, but they aren’t very secure. I would never recommend doing anything that involves monetary transactions over an insecure WiFi connection. Your home WiFi, on the other hand, should be secured. So long as you use a strong password, and don’t give it out to all of your neighbors, tablet gaming from home is much safer.

#4 Exclusive Mobile Offers

When mobile gambling was just catching on, a lot of online casinos began promoting exclusive offers for smartphone and tablet users. These offers aren’t as prevalent today, but they do still exist. You can snag some nice extra bonuses and/or free spins if you keep your eyes out for them.

#5 Same Great Benefits

When you play real money casino games on a tablet, you still get all the same great benefits of playing on a desktop or mobile device. You can use the same login, take advantage of the same promotions, and generate the same comp points that convert to real cash. You won’t have to download any software or apps, either, although it is usually an option.

 

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , ,

Dec 01

Uh-oh… I forgot my online casino password!

Forgot Online Casino PasswordWe do a lot of things on the internet these days. Many of those things require us to create a login ID and password. Email addresses, merchant sites, Microsoft accounts, Google accounts, internet banking accounts, online gambling accounts – so many passwords! Who can remember them all?

Chances are, you thought you were going to stay well organized in the beginning. You probably started writing them down on a sticky-note pad. You may have even written them in marker on the side of your home filing cabinet (Yes, I know someone who does that! She lost a password last week, too. Ha!)

Over time, as the accounts accumulate and the passwords pile up, you will probably forget or lose track of a password. We’ve all done it. I’m a lot more organized now than I used to be, but I learned the hard way. My nephew, at 3 years old, tore my password notes to shreds.

So, if you happen to forget or lose your password at online casinos, it’s not the end of the world. You’re probably freaking out, because you have money in that account. No one wants to be separated from access to their money. But it’s going to be okay.

How to Recover an Online Casino Password

If you have the password written down somewhere, and it went missing, take a look around. Where else might it be? Perhaps it was just moved, or fell on the floor and wafted under a table or desk. Don’t spend too much time looking, though. If you don’t find it within a minute or two, you’re better off just getting a new password. It will actually be faster than ripping the house or office apart looking for it.

Take a Deep Breath…

Now visit the casino’s website and click the login button. Login to your account…. gotcha! Just kidding. You can’t login. You forgot your password ; )

Look beneath or to the side of the login button. You should see a link that says “Forgot Password”. Click on it.

You’ll be asked to provide your email address. Be sure to provide the one you signed up with when registering your online casino account.

Err, Which Email Did I Use?

If you have more than one email address, and you’re not sure which you signed up with, log into them one at a time. Search them for any emails from the casino. Chances are you get promotional emails from them regularly.

Once you’ve found it, type that email address into the box and press the button next to it. It should say something like “Reset Password”.

Now hop back over to your email and wait a few moments. You’ll get an email from the casino with a link in it. Click that link. This will redirect you to a webpage, within the casino’s domain (i.e. www.royalvegas.com/passcode-reset) (← not an actual URL, stop trying to click it!)

Choose A New Password

On this page, you’ll be asked to enter your new password, and then enter it a second time to confirm it’s typed correctly. After all, you don’t want to have to do this twice due to a silly typo.

Last but not least, head back to the homepage of the online casino and try to login again. It should work now with the new password. Viola!

If there’s still a problem, contact support. Live chat is usually the quickest way to resolve the problem. In fact, the most common query live chat reps handle have to do with lost passwords. And chances are, they’re going to walk you through the exact same steps I just did.

Good luck, and happy (responsible) gambling!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , ,

Nov 23

Everything you need to know before you play keno online.

Should you Play Keno OnlineCasinos are filled with all sorts of ways to place a wager. Slot machines and video poker take up the majority of all gaming floors, with table games taking up the rest – almost. There’s also that game called Keno. Everyone has heard of it, and most people understand the basic rules, but there’s more to keno than meets the eye.

Keno has a little of everything. As the old western film says – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll talk all about keno, what you really need to know before playing.

Play Keno Online – The Good

The best part about keno is its simplicity. It’s just like playing a ticket in a lottery drawing, except that the results occur instantly. Some land-based casinos have timed drawings, but online, the drawing always takes place the moment you confirm your wager.

The game board consists of 80 numbers (1-80). The drawing will randomly select 20 of those numbers. You can pick anywhere from 1 to 10, 15 or 20 numbers (depending on the specific game you play).The more you pick, the more you need to match to win, but the more you can win for matching them.

Pick numbers – watch the drawing – win or lose. It’s that easy. That’s the good part.

The Bad Part About Keno

For a lot of people, the worst part about this game is that it can be very boring. Waiting for all those numbers to pop up isn’t all that exciting, unless you happen to hit your numbers early on. Then you’re too be busy being excited about your impending win to care about the wait. But that’s not usually the case.

This is exactly why slot machines are so much more popular. There is always something going on in slots. They do have lower payback percentages than most games, but in terms of entertainment value, the slots have the market cornered. Blackjack is similarly interesting, not because it’s so entertaining, but because your brain has something to do, calculating hand values and working out odds to implement a good strategy.

Keno has none of that. Pick your numbers, then wait for the results. Maybe if they incorporate animated dancing pandas into the side of the screen…?

The Ugly Side of Keno

If you enjoy the simplicity of keno, and don’t mind the wait, then there’s one more thing you need to know before you play keno online. It’s the ugly side of the game – the house edge.

Keno does not offer favorable odds, no matter how you play it.

The very best odds you can get are 1 in 4, by placing a bet on a single number. That’s a 75% house edge! You’ll get paid 2-to-1 for hitting it, but that doesn’t make up for it much. Pick 2 numbers and your odds drop to 1 in 17 in games where both numbers must match to get a payout. If the pay table offers a payout for matching 1 of 2, the odds are still 1 in 2.63, which equates to a 62% house edge, but you’ll only get your wager back – no winnings.

Simply put, keno is one of the absolute worst games you can play. The payouts may look tempting, but the odds are dreadful.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , ,

Nov 13

The Online Advantage: Look up mobile casino strategies as you play.

Online Casino GamesPicture this… You’re seated at a blackjack table in a big, land-based casino. There are players on either side of you. The game is moving along smoothly. Then suddenly, the player to your left can’t seem to make a decision. He says, “Hold on a minute,” then whips out his iPhone and asks Siri for a blackjack strategy chart.

Wait, what? Is this guy serious? He’s obviously smart enough to know that optimal strategy is the best way to win. He’s also dumb enough to play in a live casino without memorizing that strategy first. The groans he would surely receive from everyone at the table might actually be loud enough to drown out the cacophony of chiming slot machines across the way.

Sorry, but no, you cannot hold up an entire table of players to look up casino strategies on your mobile device. It’s not illegal or anything, but it breaches every form of gambling etiquette in the book.

If you play online casino games, however, you can spend all the time in the world searching for the best move in any situation.

Mobile Casino Strategies – Timeless!

Mobile Casino StrategiesThe vast majority of online casino games are played one-on-one, player versus house. Whether it’s blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette, casino holdem, red dog, slot machines, video poker, you name it… These games are computer engineered to play with the same odds and probabilities as a live game, but you – the player – are the only real live thing about it. Thus there’s no time limit to abide by.

You can take all the time you want to decide the best move. Split those 9s, or stand with 18 against the dealer’s 6? The shooter hasn’t crapped out in 10 rolls, is Any Sevens a good bet? Look it up! There’s no rush to make a decision.

You’re already on your computer or mobile device anyway. Why not pop over to google and search for a blackjack chart or optimal strategy for craps? Heck, grab a fresh drink and a bowl of chips or popcorn while you’re at it. You’ve got all the time in the world!

The same cannot be said of live dealer casino games. Streamed live over the internet with a real dealer and real players, these are akin to land-based casino games. They will enforce a time limit, so don’t confuse them with traditional online and mobile casino games.

Other Advantages of Online Casino Games

There are many other reasons why online and mobile casinos are so often preferred over the land-based variety. First and foremost, you can play from pretty much anywhere, any time you feel like it, saving on travel expenses, food, etc.

There are a lot more games to choose from, too, and you can play them all for free, for as long as you want. This is a great way to really learn the rules and proper strategies for games you aren’t too familiar with. And for slots fans, the payback percentages are much more generous. Instead of the typical 85-90% RTP (return to player) at land-based casinos, you’ll find 94-98% RTPs online.

Then there’s the added benefit of promotions. New players get generous bonus offers on their first deposit – sometimes without even requiring a deposit. The promotional offerings and loyalty programs are far superior to brick-and-mortar casinos. And who can blame them really? If I had to pay the utility bill of a Las Vegas casino, I’d be pretty stingy too!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , ,

Oct 17

Live dealer casinos in Latvia could face hefty fees in 2018.

There are only a select few cities where the world’s live casino studios have historically chosen to set up shop. They are generally regions known for minimal taxation and other benefits to business owners. One of the most famous among them is Riga, the capital of Latvia and largest city of all the Baltic states in Northern Europe.

Riga hosts live dealer studios for two of the largest live casino operators in the world, Evolution Gaming and Playtech. Evolution opened its first live dealer casino in Riga in 2006. Playtech launched its first Latvian studio in 2009. That studio was replaced earlier this year by a new studio in Riga Old Town (pictured below), the largest in the world at a rival-dwarfing 8,500 square feet.

Playtech's new Riga Studio for Live Dealer CasinosThese two operators are now raising concern over potential Latvian taxation of the live gaming market. Parliament issued their approval of incorporating a new licensing fee aimed at live casinos. The specific details of the proposed fees are not yet known, but it could go into effect as early as January 1, 2018.

Latvian Tax on Live Dealer Casinos

According to a report that surfaced on iGamingIntelligence on Friday, “The government of Latvia plans to impose new fees on live dealer casino games broadcast from the country”.

If that’s the case, it could have a significant impact on the profit margins of Evolution Gaming and Playtech. The studios run by these two companies make up a substantial margin of the live dealer gaming market throughout much of Europe.

The report indicates Latvia’s intent to implement the new live casino fee in 2018. However, as Evolution Gaming pointed out in a company notice, the tax reform measure is not set in stone just yet.

Parliament May Reconsider

For the moment, the imposed fee may still be up for debate. Evolution Gaming is of the belief that it could be thrown out before the year is over. Whether that’s wishful thinking or not, they do have a solid reason for their stance.

The tax hike was proposed to the Parliament without the consent of Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers. In fact, the Cabinet, as well as industry stakeholders, all advised against the concept of laying new fees upon their live studio operators.

An Information Publication provided by Evolution to their stakeholders reads:

The Latvian parliament has decided to implement a fee, starting next year, for Live Casino tables that are being provided from the country. As Evolution runs a studio in Riga, the company may be comprised by this fee. The decision has been made by the Latvian parliament against the recommendation of the government and several other stakeholders, and there is still a possibility that it will be changed.”

The notice went on to explain that licensing fees are nothing new to Evolution Gaming. The company “regularly manages new regulatory propositions and changes”, with existing licensing fees being paid in various markets already.

Evolution assured its investors that, in the greater scheme of things, “the planned fee is not assessed to substantially impact the company’s position”, should Latvia go ahead with the imposition come 2018

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , ,

Oct 09

UK hosting national campaign to teach people how to play casino games responsibly, and how staff members can recognize at-risk behavior.

Hot to Play Casino Games ResponsiblyThe gambling industry is immense, spanning both live and online markets all over the world. Casino games, poker, bingo, sports betting – all of these businesses are thriving. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s good for operators and beloved by players.

As more governments recognize the benefits of gambling – predominately the advantages to their own coffers – they’re also aware that that, alongside the rise of gambling activities, is a rise in gambling addiction. And in order for governments to responsibly generate much-needed tax revenue from the industry, they must, in turn, enforce stronger promotion of social responsibility among operators and gamblers.

Problem gambling is an issue that afflicts a small percentage of players from every city, in every country, on every continent around the planet. The United Kingdom has one of the most stringent gaming regulatory regimes in the world. As such, it’s not surprising that it’s become one of the first to host a nationwide campaign to deal with this growing problem.

It’s not just that some gamblers are unable to control their behavior. The UK requires all employees of gambling properties to be trained to recognized at-risk behavior. They are further trained in how to properly deal with a situation once recognized. But according to recent reports from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), existing training methods are insufficient.

To help deal with the problem, the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) is hosting a program called Responsible Gambling Week. The campaign will span 29 cities, covering all major sectors of gambling throughout Great Britain.

Responsible Gambling Week, Sheffield Oct. 13-15

The next event will take place in Fargate, Sheffield from October 13-15. A total of 87 gambling venues in Sheffield, including arcades, bingo clubs, bookmakers, casinos, and even online gambling websites, will take part in the event. Properties like Mecca Bingo and Napoleon’s Casino Club, will participate in the dissemination of highly visible banners, leaflets, posters and other information about responsible gambling.

Employees of each gambling facility will receive extended training in awareness and tactful diffusing of at-risk situations. Gamblers will able to get information on how to play casino games and other betting activities responsibly. All will be encouraged to participate in conversations about the issue, on a 100% free, educational basis.

Nationwide And Beyond

Absolutely anyone is welcome to take advantage of the information points in Sheffield and other areas across the UK as the campaign spreads. Other countries are encouraged to take notice, and hopefully promote similar responsible gambling awareness programs throughout their live and online gambling markets.

The IGRG is working in tandem with other highly respected organizations that specialize in the recognition, treatment and prevention of problem gambling. Such partners include GamCare and GambleAware, two charitable societies that have spent years promoting responsibility among players and operators. These institutions will be hosting live interactive Q&A sessions and online chatrooms throughout social media venues (Twitter and Facebook) throughout the campaign.

“Public engagement is one of the twelve priority actions identified in the National Responsible Gambling Strategy,” said NRGS Chairman Sir Christopher Kelly. “We need to learn from the experience of consumers and their families, and to use this to make gambling safer.”

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , ,

Sep 28

Surfaced report indicates BC online casinos are better regulated than the land-based variety.

BC Online Casinos More EfficientLast week, it was discovered that a report dating back to 2016 had been intentionally buried. That report indicated millions of dollars in possible money laundering had taken place through the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia.

The document, produced by a third party accounting firm, never made its way into the hands of Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC). BC gambling regulations require all casino transactions of $10,000 or more, and/or those deemed suspicious, to be reported to the province’s financial watchdog.

In this case, River Rock Casino accepted $13.5 million—all $20 bills—during the month of July 2015. When BC’s new Attorney General, David Eby, got hold of it, he immediately exposed the report.

Eby revealed that the document, scribed by accounting firm MNP, indicated “a series of serious recommendations for reform, which should have been made public at the time the report was complete”.

BCs former Liberal government chose not to do that, instead burying the report. Following Eby’s probe into the matter, he said it caused him “to believe our province could do more to combat money laundering at B.C. Casinos”.

FINTRAC Now Investigating the Matter

FINTRAC said this week that it “is reviewing the report, on which it was not consulted, to determine whether any action on its part is appropriate.” The financial watchdog is capable of imposing up to $2 million in fines, and up to 5 years in prison, against any entity that fails to report potential incidents of money laundering.

Clearly, the regulations on the books are not being followed. As for who’s to blame, that’s up to FINTRAC to decide. River Rock Casino did report the $13.5 million that came in. It was reviewed by the accounting firm, and retrieved by the BC government in 2016. FINTRAC was, incidentally, left out of the loop.

BC Online Casinos Much More Efficient

BC’s very own, provincially regulated internet gambling website, PlayNow.ca, limits the amount a player can deposit within a given week. Players are also limited in the amount they can have in their account at any given time. If an account exceeds this limit for more than 72 hours, the operator can instantly issue a withdrawal.

The actual amounts upheld by these limitations are not static, and can be altered on a situational basis. However, players are never permitted to deposit $10,000+; an amount that would trigger an instant investigation and subsequent report to FINTRAC.

Online casinos regulated by offshore jurisdictions maintain similar standards with the sole purpose of thwarting money laundering. In fact, players of reputable online casinos are restricted to withdrawal limitations that could scale anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000 per week.

The only exception to the rule applies to a player who triggers, perhaps, the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot for over $1 million. They would be permitted to claim the full amount without delay.

As such, today’s criminal money launderers do not target internet gambling websites. At least, not the reputable ones who are regulated in upright jurisdictions such as the UK, Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Malta. Many of these operators are included in the category of BC online casinos, so long as Canadian residents are accepted.

We are all well aware that land-based casinos love their VIPs, and are all to happy to welcome players with million dollar bankrolls. Some of them are affluent tycoons with too much time and money on their hands looking for a good time. Unfortunately some are criminals looking to launder dirty money.

If the BC government truly wants to prevent money laundering, perhaps they should take a page from their internet-based counterparts. Or, at the very least, restrict players from depositing $10,000+ in cash.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , ,

Sep 22

Antigua PM implores United Nations to uphold a $270+ million WTO ruling against US following Hurricane Irma’s decimation of Barbuda.

Barbuda Decimated by Hurricane Irma

Three weeks ago the small, 62 square-mile island of Barbuda was the beautiful, well established home of more than 1,800 residents. One week later, its population was reduced to 0. With Hurricane Irma looming, Antigua enforced a mandatory evacuation of the smaller island. It was clearly the right move as Barbuda was utterly decimated; 95% of its infrastructure destroyed or severely damaged.

On Thursday, September 21, the Honourable Gaston A. Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, gave a national statement at the 72nd United Nations Generally Assembly. He spoke passionately of the infernal destruction that’s befallen his homeland, and the ultimate crisis left behind.

The Reality of a Devastating Situation


“On September 6th, my small, two-island State, Antigua and Barbuda, was the victim of the ferocity of Hurricane Irma, the largest storm ever endured in the Atlantic in human history,” Browne’s voice rang haltingly, forcing the reality of the devastation to set in. “The island of Barbuda was decimated; its entire population left homeless; and its buildings reduced to empty shells.”

In a deliberate beseeching of the UN, he spent the next 20 minutes detailing the catastrophic annihilation of Barbuda, and the resulting deprivation of Antigua.

Following the evacuation of all Barbudans to the larger island state, “the social services on Antigua are now under great strain,” said Browne. Not only is Antigua providing shelter and basic necessities to those displaced, they must “provide school places for an additional 600 children; medical services for the elderly; and a means of income for the able-bodied.”

$270M Owed to Former Online Gambling Hub

Browne implored the UN to provide assistance in the rebuilding of Barbuda, not just through monetary grants and financial assistance with reasonable interest rates, but by encouraging the United States to uphold a ruling 13 year old ruling from World Trade Organization.

In 2004, Antigua and Barbuda was awarded a judgment of more than $270 million from the US. The island nations were once a hub for online gambling services. It was a multi-million dollar industry, until the US declared American players could not access those websites.

Antigua and Barbuda filed a complaint with the WTO in 2003, claiming the decision violated their trade agreement. The WTO ruled in favor of Antigua and Barbuda.

“The US trade violation, led to significant loss of revenues to my country and unemployment of my people,” Browne explained.

“It has been 13 years since that judgment, and seven years since the final appeal by the US, resulted in a final ruling in my country’s favour. Yet, the United States Government has failed to settle,” he continued. “The loss of trade revenues to my small country has risen to in excess of US$200 million.”

Upholding WTO Ruling Would Benefit US

Browne pointed out that, just two days prior, US President Donald Trump said, “we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return”.

He welcomed that observation, calling it “equally true for the relationship with Antigua and Barbuda.

“Honoring their obligation to Antigua & Barbuda is not a one-sided deal, of which the United States gets nothing in return, because ultimately, 90 percent of the settlement proceeds will be spent in the US economy, as our primary source market.”

Whether the US will finally settle its debt to the island nation – a debt that would cover the estimated $250 million cost of rebuilding Barbuda and returning its residents to their homeland – is yet to be seen.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: ,