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Introduction of New Internet Gambling Legislation Builds Momentum for Industry's Regulation
Jul 11, 2013 (02:07 PM EDT)
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The push to create uniform federal standards to control Internet gambling activity got a boost today with the introduction of legislation by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to regulate the provision of online poker and guarantee consumers are protected from fraud, identity theft and money laundering. However, Rep. Barton's legislation misses the mark with the inclusion of provisions prohibiting the use of credit cards, limiting permissible gambling activity to poker and creating a monopoly for land-based casinos.
As individual states move to allow intrastate Internet gambling activity, federal regulation, as proposed by Rep. Barton and in a separate bill earlier this month by Rep. Pete King (R-NY), provides the only way to ensure there are consistent laws that govern the industry and protect all Americans.
"The prospect for congressional action has significantly improved now that we're down to the decision over whether Internet gambling activity is going to be regulated on a state-by-state basis or by the federal government," said Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. "Given federal regulation provides the only way to create uniform standards to control Internet gambling activity and protect every American, Congress should be encouraged to seize, not cede regulation of the industry. Moreover, the Internet, online commerce, and online gambling are by nature interstate activities, demanding the attention of federal, not state, regulators."
While Rep. Barton's bill provides a needed path to protect consumers, create new jobs and grow our economy, there is no logic behind the rationale for why it prohibits credit card use.
"Credit card use is encouraged by regulators in other countries because they offer far greater consumer protections than other payment vehicles. It is completely foolish and a mistake to prohibit their use," added Waxman. "There's no way rules can be developed to stop people from finding a way to use funds from their credit cards to gamble online. It'll just make the transaction and transfer of money a lot less transparent."
Some supporters of federal regulation argue only legislation that allows online poker, rather than all forms of gambling activity beyond sports, has a chance to be passed into law. However, there is no rationale for this argument.
"The top motivation for legislators to focus on this issue is to protect consumers, which is why the House Financial Services Committee overwhelmingly approved legislation years ago that allowed all forms of Internet gambling activity. There's no logic behind the argument that it should be permissible for Americans to play poker and bet on horses online, but can't play bingo online as well," stated Waxman.
Another concern with Rep. Barton's bill is that it reduces competition by freezing out the ability to secure an operator's license if you don't already have a U.S. land-based casino. This would exclude entry into the market for many tribes and companies like Yahoo, Zynga and Facebook.
About Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative
The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. For more information on the Initiative, please visit www.safeandsecureig.org.
SOURCE Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative