(Jan. 14, 2010) Belize's Ministry of Economic Development, Commerce, Industry, and Consumer Protection recently issued an advisory to warn that it has discovered that a number of online gaming companies are claiming that they hold online gaming licenses, but that the only two companies that are actually officially licensed to operate from the country are Fulton Data Processing Limited and Sports Off Shore Limited. (Ministry of Economic Development, Commerce, Industry and Consumer Protection, Public Advisory (2009), The Belize Government Official Portal, http://www.belize.gov.bz/ct.asp?xItem=1953&ctNode=346&mp=27 (last visited Jan. 6, 2010)). Gambling in Belize is governed by the provisions of the Gaming Control Act. (Bel. Rev. Laws, ch. 152 (1990), as amended, Belize Legal Information Network website, http://www.belizelaw.org/lawadmin/index2.html (last visited Jan. 6, 2010).) The issuance of online gaming licenses is authorized by the Gaming Control (Online Gaming) Regulations, 2004 (2004 S.I. No. 162, as amended by 2006 S.I. No. 19 & 2007 S.I. No. 136.)
While the advisory from Belize indicates that Sports Off Shore Limited is licensed in that country, another advisory issued by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission in Antigua on October 23, 2009, states that a “Sports Offshore Limited” lost its license to conduct interactive gaming in that country on July 23, 2009. (Regulatory Notice—Sports Offshore Limited (Oct. 23, 2009), Directorate of Offshore Gaming website, available at http://www.antiguagaming.gov.ag/press/press_release_40.asp.) In Antigua, gambling is governed by the provisions of the Betting and Gaming Act. (Ant. Rev. Laws, ch. 47 (1992), Ministry of Legal Affairs website, http://www.laws.gov.ag/acts/acts-abc.htm#B (last visited Jan. 7, 2010)).
The United States has sought to severely restrict online betting. For example, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) (31 U.S.C.§§ 5361- 5367) makes it illegal for banks and other financial institutions such as credit card companies to process bets and winnings. U.S. attempts to prosecute offshore online betting companies have led to a trade dispute with Antigua that was litigated in the World Trade Organization. (United States – Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services, World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement: Dispute DS285, (Jan. 21, 2009), available at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds285_e.htm.)