|The fight to ban online gambling in the US has been a stop-start affair, despite the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) explicit opinion that the business is illegal. Now, the anti-gambling lobby has criticized the DOJ for delaying legislation that would render online gambling illegal. |
Although the Bush administration is generally supportive of anti-online gambling legislation, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Malcolm said the Justice Department is concerned about criminal provisions in online gambling bans proposed by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa.
Malcolm told the Senate Banking Committee the department’s concern is that the bills include loopholes that would exclude telephone betting. He also said both bills would create exemptions for Internet service providers (ISPs) and require law enforcement authorities to prove the illegality of Internet wagers.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., complained the Justice Department is not cooperating with Congress on Internet gambling.
Malcolm apologized and acknowledged the Justice Department has not been responsive enough to Congress on Internet gambling. “Of the eight witnesses who testified at Tuesday's hearing, only Frank Catania, a former director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, urged the committee to oppose the prohibition of Internet gambling.
Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, said that the casino industry has consistently opposed Internet gambling because, he said, the technology necessary to provide appropriate regulatory and law enforcement oversight doesn’t yet exist.