View from the online gaming summit

I was part of the Los Angeles summit on online gaming regulation. It was great to meet David Carruthers and learn first-hand about what’s happening in this arena. When it came my turn to speak, I began a long and probably boring oration on the history of federal legislation on gaming, the Wire Act, gaming and technology, and the seemingly inevitableness (not a word, I know) of the regulation (and taxation) of Internet gaming.

This shows how getting your Ph.D. in history is not such a bad thing. Because I am a professional historian who studies gambling, I am able to marshal a dizzying array of facts and anecdotes to prove my point about the need to seriously examine the regulation of online gaming.

Speaking of which, I am chairing a session at G2E on the status of the Wire Act. Jay Cohen, the only American to serve jail time for violating the Wire Act for online gaming, will make his first public appearance since his release from prison. To arrange media coverage, email me.

Back to the LA summit. I’m going to post thoughts on my travels around LA after this post. I felt the summit was a great thing, with some very interesting people involved. I hope to do more of this stuff. The summit was one of four–I’ve already talked about the New York and DC events. The third was in Chicago.

Here’s the story about the Chicago summit:

Yesterday in Chicago, a panel of experts
met to discuss Internet gambling and outline ways to regulate this
increasingly popular form of entertainment. Hosted by BETonSPORTS plc,
operator of the world’s largest online wagering service, the summit was part
of a national public policy initiative called “Proposition 1: To Regulate or
Prohibit Online Gambling.” Intended to initiate local dialogue on the issue of
online gambling and create a structure for lawmakers to regulate the industry,
yesterday’s summit was the third in a series of meetings to be held across the
U.S. this month.
Yesterday’s discussion brought together experts in law, industry and media
to discuss the issue’s local, national and global significance. The state of
Illinois is unique in its gambling policy — it is one of only five states to
specifically prohibit Internet gambling, yet Illinois does permit a limited
number of riverboat casinos. In the face of two bills in Congress, one of
which calls for the prohibition of online gambling, and an investigation into
the industry by the Department of Justice, the panel examined the issues
surrounding regulation versus prohibition of the online gaming industry.
The panel’s consensus was that regulation would boost the economy by
providing tax revenues and adding jobs. It would also force transparency that
would legitimize the industry and enable consumer protections, such as
enforcing age requirements and providing assistance to problem gamblers. The
U.K. has successfully used this model since 1963.
Panel member Lawrence G. Walters, first amendment attorney and partner
with the national law firm of Weston, Garrou & DeWitt
( ), has represented clients involved with all
aspects of the online gambling industry and has developed an international
reputation on Internet law issues.
“Prohibiting online gambling is not a reasonable solution for the mere
reason that the technology isn’t going anywhere,” said Walters. “With the
rapid rise of Internet activity nationwide, the government will eventually
have to face the fact that prohibiting this form of entertainment will only
have negative effects and will encourage the behavior they are trying to
David Carruthers, CEO of BETonSPORTS plc, stated, “Millions of consumers
in the U.S. gamble online, and we want to set the stage for hosting a safe
Internet site with sensible regulation benefiting not only the consumer but
the government. Online gambling allows the government the opportunity to
capitalize on revenues upwards of $100 billion, which is the amount Americans
bet on sports every year on the street and on college campuses.”
Kevin Smith, staff writer for Interactive Gaming News, added, “There is a
need to introduce new legislation to ensure responsible practices on the part
of the industry and online gamblers. It’s doubtful that current bills to
regulate online gambling will pass.”

Online Gambling Regulation to Boost Economy

I will post the release on Friday’s LA summit when I get it emailed to me or find it online.

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