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A Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing will explore how Indian tribes could be impacted by the recent U.S. Department of Justice opinion that permits states to allow all forms of online betting that do not involve sports.
After numerous hearings over the past months on the opportunity to regulate Internet gambling, Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, issued the following statement that calls on Congress to adopt federal legislation that regulates the industry in order to best protect consumers.
“There is no question that the recent Justice Department opinion has increased pressure on Congress to move on legislation to regulate Internet gambling activity. If the main objective of regulation is to protect consumers, this can be best achieved through federal legislation that sets the strict standard for licensing operators, requires the most innovative safeguards be put in place and stringently monitors all gambling and financial activity.
Alternatively, states being left to develop a patchwork of regulatory structures will not encourage national collaboration to monitor the many operators expected to offer services and ensure the utilization of state-of-the-art technologies to protect consumers and combat fraud and money laundering. Moreover, the time to move is now, as numerous states are starting to move quickly to create Internet gambling programs.
“The federal regulation of Internet gambling should respect the rights of Indian sovereignty, reinforce states’ rights and utilize the enforcement expertise of existing regulatory bodies – all objectives proposed in pending legislation to regulate the industry. Indian tribes should be able to apply for a license and become an Internet gambling operator or set any restrictions they wish on the activity within their respective geographic borders.
“Hearings are valuable for providing information, but the facts haven’t changed since Congress first started to explore the need to regulate Internet gambling – without regulation consumers are left unprotected and all of the economic benefits that could be gained for controlling the activity will continue to be lost to offshore operators.
“Congress should immediately consider pending bills introduced by Reps. Campbell and Barton which provide a path to requiring licensed operators to put in place practical and enforceable standards to control Internet gambling activity, protect consumers and respect Indian sovereignty.
The upside for the Campbell bill is wider protections and opportunities for economic benefits through more jobs and government revenue.”