Here’s the summary of part two of the Representative second hearing on the future of online gambling in the US chaired by a lady with what must be the coolest name in law, Mary Bono Mack. For part one, go here.
A subcommittee under the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard from two separate panels on the issue of the expansion of online gambling. After hearing from the first panel: Barney Frank (D-MA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) John Campbell (R-CA); the second panel saw Mark Lipparelli, Chairman of Nevada Gaming Control Board up first.
In his five minutes, he highlighted how Nevada has began the process of legalising internet gambling, but he said “there’s never been an impetus to drive regulatory efforts to bring that about”. He stated he was confident that the work they’ve put in to establishing regulatory reform, internal controls and technical standards as part of the regular businesses in Nevada “will be the basis of sound internet gaming control in the future.”
When posing the question “Can internet gaming effectively be controlled?” He said online gambling now provides detailed info about gambling activity ethic at transaction level and “at that level the ability for gambling regulators to impose standards and requirements on operators is very robust.” He concluded by saying his observations are that it’s with the combinations of regulatory control, compliance programmes and sound regulation that these kinds of things can be done successfully.
Charlie McIntyre, executive director of New Hampshire Lottery was next to speak. He stated that the question whether to expand gambling offerings to the internet or mobile devices should be decided by each individual state.
“The state should maintain its right to determine its level of tolerance with the expansion of gambling within its own boarders by being the moving party in the expansion,” he said. He added that the history of New Hampshire points out it took 10 years to become a lottery – so maybe the answer is “no for a while until its yes”. He concluded by saying it should be posed to those whose lives are most directly affected and “each state should determine what is best for the citizens.”
Next up was Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr, President and CEO or the American Gaming Association (AGA). Franks major postulation was that the US should modernise and strengthen the Wire Act of 1961 “with conforming amendments on the lawful internet gaming enforcement act to unambiguously outlaw and hopefully eliminate illegal online gambling.”
He highlighted that the AGA asks the new legislation to pass three tests. These were:
- It must not create competitive advantages or disadvantages between and among legal commercial casinos.
- Native American casinos and state lotteries no form of gambling which is currently legal should be made illegal.
- The legislation must respect fundamental states rights in an appropriate manner.
He also noted that after the AGA never believed the technology was available to properly regulate online gaming but this has changed in the last few years and there are new process that prove effective for regulating and overseeing internet gambling to world nations.
He added: “These are successful to determine game blackout areas to facilitate secure e-commerce, allowing online poker companies to locate players and determine whether the person playing is who they say they are to prevent underage gambling.”
He concluded with the notion that it’s “settled science” through recent studies that show only 1% of US adults are “pathological gamblers” and that this hasn’t changed since the introduction of online gambling. “It contradicts the belief that internet gambling breeds excessive problematic gaming behaviour,” he said.
Dr. Rachel A. Volberg, Senior Research Scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago was the last to speak on the panel.
After stating she has done research on internet gambling for several years, she said the majority of internet poker players are “young men with high levels of education, but in terms of problem gambling there’s substantial research showing that prevalence rates are 3-4 time higher in internet gamblers compared to none internet gamblers.”
She added that internet gambling doesn’t cause problem gambling but problem gamblers are more attracted to it, which “adds to a repertoire of other gambling activities.” However, she also stated that research shows problem gambling prevalence does eventually level out and decline even if accessibility to it increases.
Overall, like the first panel, the second part of the meeting didn’t reveal much. The panel all emphasised their views.