ancouver, British Columbia, April 10, 2003 -- In an effort to mobilize the thousands of U.S. citizens who enjoy online gambling, the Interactive Gaming Council today launched a Web site through which citizens can ask their Congressional representatives to oppose federal legislation that would block this form of entertainment.
Visitors to the site, www.profreedom.com, can fill out a simple form to voice their opposition to the House bill, H.R. 21, and the Senate bill, S. 627. When the visitor submits the form, the message is automatically routed by email to his or her Representative and Senators. The routing is based on the visitor’s zip code, so the site can only be used by U.S. residents.
“Experts tell us that 50-60 percent of Internet gambling is done by U.S. players,” said Rick Smith, executive director of the IGC, the main trade organization for the online gambling industry. “That means that thousands of Americans enjoy this as a form of entertainment. If they speak up, members of Congress will realize that many of their own constituents are upset about efforts at prohibition, preferring instead, player protections that would be made available through regulation.”
H.R. 21, called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, was introduced by Representative James Leach of Iowa and is intended to stop online gambling by U.S. players by making it illegal to use a credit card, check or any other instrument of a U.S. bank for such activity. S. 627, introduced by Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, contains language similar to the Leach bill.
“Not only are there enough online gamblers to have political clout,” said Sue Schneider, chairman of the IGC, “but we also expect to hear from people concerned about these deliberate efforts to diminish basic freedoms on the Internet. You don’t have to be a gambler to be wary of the ‘Big Brother’ implications of these bills. Americans treasure freedom of personal choice and the right to privacy, and do not want the government to force banks to monitor every transaction that is done online.
“Our country tried Prohibition once before, and we know it doesn’t work. Regulation is the only answer to the challenges confronting Internet gambling.”
“The IGC believes that most Americans will not appreciate their financial institutions dictating how they can spend their money,” said Keith Furlong, the IGC’s deputy director. “That intrusive prospect has to worry anyone involved in e-commerce generally, let alone those concerned about a deprivation of personal freedom.”
The IGC is providing banners to gambling sites and any other sites that want to encourage their U.S. visitors to take action. The banners are to be linked to www.profreedom.com.
The Leach and Kyl bills, and an alternative bill from Representative John Conyers of Michigan, which would study the licensing and regulation of Internet gambling, will be major topics of discussion next month at the fifth annual Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo in Toronto. This is the industry’s largest conference, with more than 1,000 people expected to attend. For details, visit www.gigse.com
ABOUT THE IGC
Formed in 1996, the IGC is the leading trade association for the international interactive gambling industry with its membership operating or supplying services to most of the reputable interactive sites on the World Wide Web. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the IGC champions fair and honest interactive gambling environments. To help parents protect their children, IGC members are encouraged to participate in the self-labeling system of the Internet Content Rating Association. The IGC has developed a Code of Conduct for members, and a program called Helping Hand to assist problem gamblers.
For additional information on the Interactive Gaming Council, visit the website at www.igcouncil.org
Ste.175 - 2906 West Broadway Vancouver BC V6K 2G8 Canada Tel 1.604.732.3833 Fax 1.604.732.3866 www.igcouncil.org