to Hon Minister of IT & Telecoms 26th February 2003 (ICT)
of Information Technology and Telecommunications
26th February 2003
to the meeting held in the Conference Room of your Ministry on 25th
February 2003 at 1400 hours the following were noted
25 % of the Office Space is reserved in the Cyber Tower, which is due to be
completed in December 2003.
expressed my views on promoting Mauritius as a hosting destination for
online gambling and Casinos, which is the biggest revenue generating
industry on the Internet.
following document will justify the above-mentioned views and it will be my
contribution to the Working Committee on the preparation for SECA 2003.
Minister, I am just doing my duty of a Mauritian as I am totally for the
concept of the Cyber Island and fully confidant that the ICT sector will
boost the economy of Mauritius.
hope that you will consider the points mentioned in the document as I think,
it will be a way to fill the remaining 75 % of the Cyber Tower.
you in anticipation,
Information Technology and Telecommunications Director
International Sports Ltd
to make Mauritius a hosting destination for offshore Online Gambling and
gambling operations have sprouted in cyberspace. “Virtual” or
“cyber” casinos have boomed over the last several years into a very
lucrative enterprise. Online
gambling revenues are expected to exceed $15 billion by the year 2005. This
dramatic increase may be attributed to several factors, including increased
Internet access, improvements in technology which facilitate online betting,
increased public confidence with online financial transactions, and national
licensing of Internet gambling operations by several countries.
Online gambling ranges from real-time casino-style gambling, to
pari-mutuel betting, to sports wagering, to lotteries.
Placing a bet in cyberspace eliminates travel costs to casinos or
other wagering establishments, protects a bettor’s privacy and anonymity,
and currently provides those who wish to skirt state restrictions on
gambling a means by which to do so. On-line wagering promises to
revolutionize the way people gamble because it opens up the possibility of
immediate, individual, 24-hour access to the full range of gambling in every
Governments including those of Costa Rica and the Caribbean Islands do
provide the incentives for online gambling business to operate. In Costa
Rica itself there are about 150 betting centres or "sportsbooks"
at which an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 young people are employed, many of
them university students who make 4-8 dollars per hour.
has been a drastic change that the Costa Rican Government is bringing which
Mauritius can take advantage of. The following articles speak by themselves:
Taxes For Costa Rican On-Line Gaming Operators
by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, New York
Rica's government has continued its efforts to extract some
revenue from its booming gambling industry, with the news that
the economy ministry will establish a registry of online
gambling companies, and will charge each one between 10m and
24m Colons (US$26,000 to $63,000) according to the number of
initiative follows congressional legislation that established
taxes targeted at gaming companies. Last December, provisions
to tax casinos and online betting operators were approved in
the National Assembly by a margin of 45 to 5.
machine operators had protested that plans to tax them between
US$250 and $300 per slot machine, per month would drive
smaller operators out of business, and in the event the rate
per machine was reduced to US$20. Computer terminals used to
place bets were to have been charged US$1,000 per month, but
this was revised down to $500.
remains to be seen whether the on-line gambling operators will
accept what seems to be a fairly heavy impost, or whether they
will defect en masse for friendlier shores, or just take
avoiding action by outsourcing labour-intensive work to other
America and Caribbean
Taxes Could Threaten Costa Rica's Online Gambling Operations
- (Mon 20 Jan 2003)
gambling sites began establishing themselves in Costa Rica in 1996 in
order to take advantage of vague legislation on gaming, cheap labour
and English-speaking workers. However, with the government threatening
to impose new fees or taxes on the industry, the boom days for
internet gambling websites could be over. Many gambling operators have
already said that they will simply move on to the next
gambling-friendly haven, singling out Panama and Belize, which are
offering buildings, lax tax requirements and maybe even a break on
telephone fees, as possibilities as sites for their operations. Both
countries need to create jobs. Gambling operators have in the past
bailed out quickly from countries when it seems that they are no
longer welcome. For example, the imposition of new taxes in Antigua on
the industry in the mid-1990s caused the operators to quickly leave
the island. Costa Rica is clearly unhappy that the internet sports
betting operations, which are disguised as data processing centres,
pay no licensing fees and few taxes. It is also concerned by the
industry's reputation for money laundering. However, the industry
provides 10,000 to 15,000 well-paid jobs, so a final decision on the
direction of government policy will be difficult to make. In the
meantime, internet gambling operators may see increased regulation as
inevitable. If so, they will already be planning their next move.
MAURITIUS CAN PROVIDE THE RIGHT ALTERNATIVE TO THEM, I AM SURE THE
BOOKMAKERS WILL HAVE NO HESITATION COMING TO MAURITIUS.
all the promises and ambitions this industry seems to offer, there are
numerous con artists, scam operators and disreputable people in this
industry (some with criminal records). It would be short sighted to
think that everyone in this business is honest. Some firms claiming to
be the most reputable and honourable in terms of casinos and business
are in fact out to rip everyone off. Despite their glowing and
trusting appearance, they are the opposite in every way. Some online
betting companies do not abide by agreements in the form of contracts
the appropriate control has to be put in place by the Government
before issuing any licenses. Remember, there is close relationship
with the financial offshore business and the offshore online gaming
business. Since the appropriate agency on the offshore financial side
is doing pretty well, I am confident that this Government, which is
really determined to combat fraud and corruption, will have the
necessary control in place for the offshore online gaming industry.
industry provides its own means of accessing the players itself.
is a site which gamblers voice their satisfaction and dissatisfaction
with various casinos. It is an extremely popular site, which gamblers
read regularly. The Casino Affiliate Programs' Scam
) watches the various webmaster affiliate programs offered by casinos.
For a casino to be listed in a negative light on either of these two
webpages is not a good thing and can hurt the financial profitability
of such an operation long term.
have a critical view of the participation in SECA for the past years.
What have we achieved through the participation in SECA year after
year? Not much.
personally think that we should change the strategy and present
Mauritius as an Online Gaming hosting destination.
businesses have an online business, it is evident that they need to
have a call centre to be able to operate. Online gaming businesses and
call centres do work together.
there are online bookies established, Gaming Software development
companies do get established as well to provide technical support and
service. In Costa Rica, big software development companies like IQ
Ludorum, Extension Software Inc etc have their offices there to be
able to provide support to the online businesses.
we adopt this strategy, I am sure that we would get so much of
business that there would not be enough free space to fill in the
personal view is that in SECA 2003, together with the strategy of
promoting the concept of Call Centres, much emphasis should be laid on
making Mauritius the destination for Online Gaming hosting business.