U.S. Senate Committee Mulls on Internet Gambling

The Senate’s subcommittee for Consumer Protection, Product Safety & Insurance, held a hearing last Wednesday, to hear testimonies that could give light on how online wagering is linked to money laundering, acts of fraud, terrorism and drug trafficking.

The general consensus among lawmakers, is that the need to come up with clear federal regulations to control online wagering as a pastime is necessary, inasmuch as interacting, communicating and transacting in the Internet has become a way of life. Having uniform laws in place, instead of a patchwork of regulatory provisions coming from 50 different U.S. states, would properly mitigate all potential problems related to online gambling.

Based on the subcommittee chairperson Sen. Claire McCaskill’s opening remarks, the need to consider federal governance of Internet gambling is a result of the legal clarification made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2011. This pertains to the exclusion of online gambling from the coverage of the Federal Wire Act of 1961.

Jack Blum, a lawyer and investigator who handles mostly money laundering cases, gave a broad-spectrum of examples to describe in general, the link between organized crime and Internet gambling activities.

Another hearing witness, Chuck Cantebury of the Fraternal Order of Police, attested that there are technological controls to prevent minors and problem gamblers from gambling via the Internet. Daon Inc CEO Tom Grissen, who was there to explain how technology measures for age and ID verification works, supported Cantebury’s testimony.

The holding of the hearing denoted a positive move toward addressing the shortcomings of the Federal Wire Act of 1961; but this seemed hardly enough to change the views of those who do not support online gambling.