by Casino Intensity Senior Editor Hillary LaClair
It seems that the online casino industry is gaining support daily. In a recent briefing to state legislators, Frank Cantania spoke on behalf of the gaming community, arguing that internet gambling is an inevitability that we should embrace before all of its revenue is sent overseas. If you can't beat them, join them is the mentality of former Assistant Attorney General and Director of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
"The United States is going one way, and the rest of the world the other," said Catania, "The online gaming market will continue to expand regardless of any decision to regulate. Consumer demand and industry will force governments to act." Catania currently works for eCOGRA and is an independent gaming consultant. He was joined this Friday by a handful of other gaming expets including Ken Kirchner, a former senior Vice President of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance. The team was able to establish thought provoking arguments in an assesement made that showed the possible consequence of the UIGEA. The evaluation looked into the 5 year dispute between the US and Antigua, in which the American government has lost a significant amount of money in recompense. The thought is that the UIGEA is an impossible bill to enforce, as the gambling community has only increased since its passing, although its business sent to countries where it is legal. Aside from this, the government has put financial institutions in charge of enforcing this act. Banks are required to screen every transaction completed by its clientle for suspicious activity like internet wagering, which is an unreasonable task on their end.These establishments are handling millions of transactions daily, and are unable to keep up with its federal obligations.
The team has predicted that the 2008 election would lean in favor of the gaming community. Pappas noted that since the federal prohibtion of internet gaming PPA's membership has increased from 75,000 to over one million members. The team favors gaming regulations rather than restrictions which would include an age requirement. Those in favor of online gaming wish to make the conditions of online casinos the same as legalized land casinos. Catania argues that this responsiblity be put in the hands of State government as it has had more success in regulating gamnling than the federal government. "Keep out those that do not have good character and provide fair and honest games as a means of protecting the public from unscrupulous operators," Catania said.
Reverend Jim Butler of the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion presented the opposing arguement that internet gambling would exacerbate the gambling problems in this country. To that State Denator Geller responds, "We may end up with internet gaming whether we like it or not. It's an incredibly complex area that seems to change each week.
Having state officials on our side is a step in the right direction. With any luck we will see the opposing side of the online casinos dwindle as legislators are starting to understand the financial benefits that will come from gaming, and the cost of prohibiting gaming. Statistics show that the general public in favor of internet gaming is increasing significantly. Perhaps our upcoming elected officials will act on behalf of its people.