|“The membership of the Interactive Gaming Council is naturally disappointed, but not surprised that the House of Representatives has chosen to pass H.R. 2143. As has been the case with previous legislation in this area dating back over seven years, a substantial misunderstanding of Internet gaming and of the Internet itself drives the bill.|
“A more sensible solution to prohibition is the investigation, licensure, and oversight of Internet gaming operators. And, contrary to some comments from legislators, Internet gambling can be regulated, as proved by MGM Mirage with its casino web site playmgmmirage.com. MGM Mirage, through its online gaming web site operated from the Isle of Man since fall 2002, proved that a regulatory model for online gaming is workable. According to the company, the closure of its operations resulted from an unclear political climate in the U.S. and other countries. How long can you run a business with opposition from U.S. policy-makers when so much of the demand for Internet gaming is concentrated in North America? Why do policy makers continue toward a policy of prohibition with regard to online gaming when such a policy only prevents the most responsible and experienced companies from entering the market?
“There is no lack of willing consumers. Each day, under direct or implied pressure from regulators of their land-based casinos, MGM Mirage rejected huge numbers of players with a nexus to the U.S. How many businesses can survive when they have to turn away 60-70 percent of the customers who show up at their door?
“Rep. John Conyers recently reintroduced a bill to establish a study commission to look at the possibility of legalizing and regulating online gambling. Unfortunately, Rep. Conyers legislation has been given little or no consideration by the House leadership.
“The IGC has been a consistent voice for the responsible interactive gaming industry, making the case for regulation and player protection to governments throughout the world. The IGC continues to emphasize that perceived problems with gambling addiction, underage betting and the so-called potential for money laundering can best be resolved through a combination of up-to-date technology, proper internal controls and regulatory oversight.”
“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.
About the IGC
With more than 70 members, the IGC is the leading trade association for the international interactive gambling industry. Its members operate or supply services to most of the reputable interactive gambling sites on the World Wide Web. 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 its members, and a program called Helping Hand to assist problem gamblers.
Rick Smith, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith Furlong, Deputy Director, email@example.com | Phone: 732-687-0880