|by: Sus Schneider (IGC) |
“The membership of the Interactive Gaming Council is naturally disappointed that the House of Representatives has chosen to pass H.R. 556. As has been the case with previous legislation in this area, a substantial misunderstanding of Internet gaming and of the Internet itself drives the bill.
“We take particular exception to the assertion that there is a link between Internet gaming and terrorism. Notwithstanding the reckless statements some have made, there has never even been a credible allegation that terrorists have used Internet gaming for money laundering. Internet gaming involves credit card transactions with a clear record of every wager. Money laundering is extremely difficult in a situation where every electronic transaction is recorded. Internet gaming is no different from any other form of e-commerce with respect to money laundering; perhaps the only difference is that our industry is subject to greater law enforcement scrutiny.
“It bears mentioning that if the Leach bill were to become law, it would most likely result in the development of settlement solutions that banks cannot recognize and block – truly blind e-cash. This does not exist today because there is no market for it. However, it is safe to say that, if the Leach bill becomes law, some portion of the 4.7 million Americans who like to wager on-line would seek alternative ways to bet, and some of these new settlement mechanisms would undoubtedly have unintended consequences.
“We take seriously the concerns expressed by members of Congress about the problem of minors gambling, and our members undertake steps to prevent this. However, protection of children would be better accomplished through a robust program of licensing and regulation. The IGC will continue to accomplish as much as industry self-regulation can to prevent money-laundering, underage gambling, and other social goals; but we again call on legislators to recognize that governmental regulation, and not prohibition, is the means to accomplish that.
“Time Magazine recently published its list of the 100 Worst Ideas of the 20th Century – unsurprisingly, alcohol prohibition was selected as the single dumbest idea. George Santayana warned us that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We can only hope that the prohibitionists in Congress find themselves reading about the 1920’s sometime soon.”