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Gtech Creates Internet Lottery Unit

NATION / WORLD: TECHNOLOGY

July 17, 1998| Bloomberg News

Lottery operator Gtech Holdings Corp. said it created a new unit to market Internet lottery games outside the United States, where federal law prohibits using phone lines for betting. Gtech's effort would be the first major attempt to use technology to restrict international access to Internet wagering, said Tim Kelly, acting executive director for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. But an Internet legal expert said he's willing to bet that Americans will find a way to play the online games that Gtech plans to offer in 32 countries. "I think if it is on the Internet, Americans are going to find it and use it," said attorney Mark Grossman, chairman of the computer and Internet law department at law firm Becker & Poliakoff in Miami. Along with lottery games, the UWin unit will offer "chat rooms" and other features that allow players to communicate over the Internet. Players will place bets electronically, drawing from bank accounts or credit cards. West Greenwich, R.I.-based Gtech has invested about $5 million in the new unit. Gtech shares were unchanged at $34.75 on the NYSE.

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