GBGC noticed at the various Internet gambling conferences it attended during ICE week 2012 that the topic of arrests and legal sanctions had replaced talk of “revenue growth” and “profits”. With the action taken by the Department of Justice last year against online poker rooms in the US and claims of renewed crackdowns by European regulators against unlicensed firms this year, GBGC provides a few tips for any e-gaming executives who find themselves “doing bird” in 2012.
1. If you are detained at the airport, try to ensure you are held at the airport’s detention cells. Conditions in the airport’s cells will be preferable to those in the cells downtown (in whatever city you find yourself in).
2. Always travel wearing a pair of comfortable trainers (US: sneakers). Prison cells don’t usually come stocked with pillows and a Nike Air makes a more comfortable pillow than an Oxford Brogue.
3. Memorise a few important telephone numbers. It is no use having them all stored on your Blackberry when your worldly possessions about to a pair of Nikes (see point 2) and some prison issue clothing.
4. Learn some key phrases in the language of the country you are visiting, and even in the languages of neighbouring countries to which your flight could conceivably be diverted:
a. “I need to call my lawyer/embassy” (see point 3)
b. “Does the EU Treaty of Rome count for nothing?”
c. “I have a heart condition*, if you hit me it’s murder” (*alter as applicable)
5. Always keep a supply of cigarettes on you, even if you don’t smoke. A few “smokes” carry a lot of value as currency on the inside. Also consider keeping a few sheets of your favourite toilet tissue about your person.
Certain prisons are definitely preferable to others in which to spend a spell of incarceration. Norway would appear to be top of the list of “desired locations”. Bastoy Prison, on Bastoy Island to the south of Oslo, looks to have a comfortable regime. A minimum security prison without walls or barbed wire, inmates live in shared houses and can partake in a number of recreational activities on the island.
If you find yourself in the US, the Federal Correctional Institution, Butner, North Carolina should be top of your lawyer’s list. Home to financier Bernard Madoff, he has written of the prison: “it’s much safer here than walking the streets of New York.”
At the other end of the scale, you’re probably on your own if you end up in La Sante, Paris (although it is said to have improved in the last decade), Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand, or Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey.
“As a consultancy, GBGC always aims to give its gambling clients practical advice upon which they can act. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day a gambling executive might be very thankful that they read and acted upon our suggestions,” explained GBGC Director Lorien Pilling.