Testimony Given To House Committee - "Online Gambling Can Be Regulated In The US"

11 June 2007


Representative Barney Frank delivers as promised, taking the subject of online gambling to the House Committee on Financial Services last week. TMJ4, an NBC affiliated television station, carried this report “Regulated Internet Gambling: Better Protect American Consumers“

“Top experts testified Friday before the House Committee on Financial Services and offered further evidence to Members of Congress that a regulatory framework for Internet gambling would protect consumers and ensure the integrity of Internet gambling financial transactions.

Leaders in the fields of internet payment processing, identity identification and online safety described how existing systems and technology have proven successful in combating underage and compulsive gambling and protecting against money laundering, fraud and identity theft.”

“It was made clear at today’s hearing that online gambling can be effectively regulated,” said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. “Instead of prohibiting Internet gambling, which is futile, the government should regulate and tax Internet gambling to ensure proven and effective security controls are implemented to protect consumers and capture billions in revenue that is needed for critical government programs.”

“Friday’s hearing provided additional momentum by clearly demonstrating how regulated Internet gambling could protect against underage and compulsive gambling and ensure the integrity of financial transactions.”

The article covered Combating Underage Gambling with Andrew Poole, head of online services for GamCare providing testimony that a robust regulatory policy can combat underage gambling and manage potential for harm. He is quoted as saying “We are satisfied that if the move towards more responsible operation continues to gather pace, as is increasingly observed across Europe and the rest of the world, that the continued legitimate development of the industry need not be off-set against significant increases in problematic gambling,” said Poole. “Robust, formal regulatory frameworks undoubtedly represent the best opportunity for achieving this.”

From there it moved on to Addressing Compulsive Gambling and Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling discussed the opportunity to use technology and controls now available on the internet to combat compulsive gambling. “Problem gambling is a serious and even life-threatening mental health disorder,” said Whyte. “However, the graphical and interactive structure of the Internet provides a revolutionary opportunity to create informed consumers with access to a variety of information designed to encourage safe choices and discourage unsafe behavior. The technology also exists, unlike for other forms of gambling, to allow players and operators to set limits on limits on time, wagers, deposits, etc … as well as to exclude themselves. Clearly gambling on the internet raises some difficult issues, but it provides theoretical opportunities for operators to deliver responsible gaming programs that meet or exceed current standards in the ‘bricks & mortar’ gaming industry.”

Protecting Against Money Laundering, Fraud and Identity Theft was another topic addressed in the hearing with Jon Prideaux, chief executive of Asterion Payments and a former senior executive at Visa providing testimony that it is feasible to protect consumers in a regulated environment. “On the basis of my experience I can unequivocally state that Internet gambling can be regulated, and that abuses can be effectively regulated and controlled,” said Prideaux. “Regulation ensures that players get a fair deal and are not cheated. … We owe it to people who have experienced problems with Internet gambling in the past to introduce a regulated environment where the proper protection can be provided to the vulnerable.”

There were several industry leaders available that spoke on the concerns of online gambling. Read the article at TodaysTMJ4 for the original copy.

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