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Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative asks DC for credit card rethink

TAGs: DC Lottery, District of Columbia, Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative

Safe-Secure-Internet-Gambling-Initiative-DCThe District of Columbia may have pushed back the rollout of its first-in-the-nation online gambling operation from September to (in the words of Council member Jack Evans) October, November or “next year,” but supporters aren’t giving up hope that DC Lottery’s igamingdc.com will eventually take flight. One of these hopefuls, Michael Waxman of the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (SSIGI), is also hoping that the Council uses the extra time to rethink a crucial component of their plan. Specifically, the part that prohibits the use of credit cards to gamble online.

Waxman’s plea, which appeared in the Washington Times, states that DC’s prohibition “is unnecessary and may even have a negative impact on consumer safety.” Waxman maintains that credit card companies are uniquely positioned to prevent underage gambling and protect consumers through the use of “strict monitoring to prevent identity theft and fraud while limiting consumer liability when fraudulent activity occurs.” Rejecting critics’ concerns that credit cards allow consumers to make unsecured loans, Waxman points out that banks allow overdrafts on checking accounts and debit cards, so why should credit cards be singled out for the scarlet letter treatment? And with DC’s plan capping loss limits at $250/week, there’s already significant consumer protection in place.

Of course, with SSIGI being backed by payment processing outfit the UC Group (which has spent big bucks lobbying Congress on federal gambling legislation) Waxman’s opinion shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. What’s more surprising is that the Times printed Waxman’s opinion. We haven’t seen the print edition, but we wouldn’t be surprised to find the op-ed accompanied by a picture of Waxman wearing a red devil’s costume and jabbing crying children with a pitchfork. The Times has not been kind in its coverage of DC’s online gambling plans, a stance loudly echoed by other Washington papers like the Post and the Examiner. The Examiner fairly rejoiced at the news that the September rollout had been pushed back, going as far as to say the “culture of the nation’s capital is being threatened” by the prospect of legal online gambling. Oh, please…

We wonder if there’s similar rejoicing at another recent setback suffered by DC Lottery. The Lucky Lottery mobile unit, a 26-foot long, lime-green food truck fitted out with lottery terminals and a healthy supply of scratch cards where they used to keep the condiments, was supposed to make its rolling debut on Tuesday in the city’s Farragut Square. But the green monster never showed. Was it brought down by anti-gambling prudes’ culture concerns? Uh, no. Turns out the damn thing was too big to fit in Farragut Square (way to plan ahead, guys) so the debut has been rescheduled for Friday at the Bullpen by Nationals Park. Unless the Examiner takes exception, that is…

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