Another Call for U.S. Regulation
December 4, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — The popular publication Techdirt weighed in on the regulation of online gambling in the U.S.A. this week, calling the American Gaming Association's support for a study of online gambling "about as wishy-washy as could be" in an editorial.
Headed "Gaming Giants Can't Make Up their Minds", the piece recaps the divergent views on Internet gambling between the various members of the U.S. gambling trade association, noting that some want to get into online gambling, others don't, and others want to ensure that any legislation is at the discretion of individual states.
The AGA's latest stand on the issue is to support legislation to study whether to legalize online betting, Techdirt reports, commenting that this " … sounds about as wishy-washy as could be."
The article points out that the facts surrounding online gambling in the U.S. are already pretty clear: previous legislative efforts may have reduced online gambling, but they've also driven American bettors to largely unregulated services and forced them to use some other often-shady services to fund their activities — since U.S. banks are given the responsibility to stop gambling sites' funding.
"The result is that gamblers keep up the same activity they were doing before, but are now exposed to more danger and risk, while U.S. authorities are missing out on the chance to collect some taxes. This still seems pretty irresponsible, since gaming regulators in mature markets would argue that driving consumers into unregulated territory where they're not protected by laws and rules governing casinos isn't a great idea.
"Meanwhile, the AGA's waffling isn't a surprise, since many of its members hate to see new competition in any form. But existing casino operators are, arguably, better placed than anyone to compete in new, highly regulated markets that don't require huge capital outlays on the scale of expensive new properties. Also, it's hard to understand how more competition for gambling dollars could hurt consumers, when competition might actually deliver them a number of significant benefits, particularly over gray-market services of questionable legality."