|Senator Jon Kyl’s anti-online gambling bill goes before the US Senate Banking Committee this week, another step in the process that could see the bill become law this fall. Kyl has prominent in the anti-Internet gambling lobby, having introduced legislation in each of the past four sessions of Congress to bolster federal laws that currently (in the opinion of the Justice Department) prohibit Internet gambling. The 1961 Wire Act is the prime legal instrument to date, but this has been rendered virtually obsolete by Internet technology.|
Kyl acknowledges his legislation would be ineffective against ‘traditional’ illegal gambling – underground poker rooms and illicit bookmakers. 'Our bill would not stop the kind of local payoffs you're talking about, and it does not, per se, go after the virtual casinos,' Kyl said. 'But we're advancing the ball to some extent.'
Kyl's bill and a version already passed by Congress aim to make strangle online gambling in the US by imposing criminal penalties for US citizens operating Internet betting sites and requiring financial institutions to deny Internet -based wagers.
Steve Schillinger, co-founder of World Sports Exchange (WSEX), of largest gambling sites on the Web, said he doubts Kyl’s proposed legislation will stop US citizens gambling on the Internet.
'None of the sports books are so concerned about the legislation,' he said last week in a phone call from Antigua, where his company, World Sports Exchange, is based. 'We already know it's illegal.
'(But) what's to stop you sending $100,000 down to me? There is no way the government can stop people from sending money down here. (Federal agents) can make it more inconvenient, but they can't stop it. People will always find a way to do it.'
What is happening is that US-based Internet gamblers are switching to other methods of payment. Mitch Garber, president of SureFire Commerce, said 55% of the credit card transactions he tried to process for casinos this year were rejected by U.S. banks. SureFire Commerce is a Montreal-based company that processes credit card transactions for hundreds of Internet casinos.
'We have seen an increase in the use of Western Union and electronic checks as gaming payments,' Garber said.