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For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Waxman
(202) 872-0010 or (310) 963-4847
(Washington, D.C. – June 24, 2011) Today, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), an influential member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011, which would regulate online poker and strengthen attempts to block unlawful Internet gambling activity. Original co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), John Campbell (R-CA), and Steve Cohen (D-TN).
The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Internet applauds Rep. Barton for his leadership and efforts to guarantee that consumers are protected from fraud, identity theft and money laundering. Beyond providing critical protections for consumers, Rep. Barton’s bill would lay the groundwork for creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars to stimulate U.S. economic expansion.
“This bill provides a needed path toward the regulation of Internet gambling activity in a way that is guaranteed to protect consumers, create new jobs and grow our economy,” said Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. “As our nation’s leaders debate how best to spur our economic recovery, they should strongly consider moving on Rep. Barton’s bill and taking control of an already-thriving underground industry.”
The bill includes a set of important requirements for licensed operators to protect against compulsive gambling such as self-exclusion technology; however, it goes too far by unnecessarily prohibiting credit card use for Internet gambling activity.
“It simply doesn’t make sense to limit the use of credit cards for those seeking to gamble online,” stated Waxman. “Consumer protections for users of credit cards are much greater than those involving most other forms of payment. If someone is interested in using funds from their credit card to gamble online, they are not going to be stopped from doing so. They’ll find less transparent mechanisms to move funds from cards to other payment mechanisms. The solution is to have broad consumer protections in place overall, and the law needs to require that in any case.”
While the bill assigns the U.S. Department of Commerce with the responsibility of monitoring the new industry, qualified state programs – either state or tribal gaming commissions – would be responsible for issuing the licenses to applicants that meet the set criteria.
In introducing the legislation, Rep. Barton indicated that strong grassroots support from constituents was a leading influence in his decision to take on this issue. Public pressure for regulated online gambling has increased significantly over the past few months in light of the Department of Justice’s indictment and removal of a number of major online poker operators.
In addition to Rep. Barton’s bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (H.R. 1174), which would regulate all forms of Internet gambling activity except sports wagering, was introduced in March by Rep. John Campbell (R-CA). Also pending is a bill introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) earlier this month, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2230), which would ensure that taxes and fees are collected from wagers placed over the Internet.
H2 Gambling Capital, the leading supplier of data and market intelligence regarding the global gambling industry, projected in a report released last year that regulating all forms of Internet gambling except sports wagering in the U.S. would generate a gross expenditure of $67 billion over five years and 25,470 new jobs.
About Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative
The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. For more information on the Initiative, please visit www.safeandsecureig.org. The Web site provides a means by which individuals can register support for regulated Internet gambling with their elected representatives.
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