AGA and FBI Set Out for Illegal Online Gambling BattlePublished November 12, 2015 by Lee R
The war on illegal gambling is ramping up, in the PR sector as well as the criminal and regulatory ones.
The American Gaming Association and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have hung their PR hats on the potential for illegal (unlicensed) online gambling and sports betting directly funding organized crime.
The FBI originally launched its Internet Sports Books Initiative in August with the stated intent to “disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises through prosecution and forfeiture.” The AGA officially joined the fight on Tuesday with the promotion of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
The IC3 Tool
The IC3 is an online channel by which members of the public can submit tips, complaints and suspicions regarding online crime whether they have been victimized or just have heard something as an unaffected third party observer.
FBI Criminal Investigative Division deputy asst. director J. Chris Warrener welcomes the partnership with the AGA as a means to combat “transnational organized crime groups that use illegal gambling, most notably internet sports gambling, as a means to finance other forms of violent and illicit activities.”
AGA CEO Geoff Freeman further explained that the partnership with the FBI could achieve “significant headway in the fight against illegal gambling.”
Benefits of Shutting It Down
The AGA wants to stop illegal gambling because it is unlicensed and not only casts a stigma on the movement towards online gambling regulation, but also cuts into collective revenues from the overall market share of online gambling activity.
The AGA expressed concern over the fact that online gambling fueled “a host of violent criminal enterprises, ” and joined what it called the war on online gambling when Freeman invited Attorney General Loretta Lynch to join the AGA’s Stop Illegal Gambling – Play It Safe initiative, which focuses on four key areas: illegal sports betting, unauthorized online gambling, black market gaming machines and internet sweepstakes cafes.
The so-called war on illegal gambling waged by the AGA remains seen as a public relations promoting AGA members and the products they offer, so any negative associations that the FBI can infuse into perceptions of illegal gambling would understandably constitute welcome weapons in this so-called war.
The main objective of the PR fight in the court of public opinion is to distinguish the highly regulated, $240 billion legal gaming industry providing an estimated 1.7 million jobs and generating $38 billion in taxes across 40 states from the criminal networks that use illegal gambling to fund violent crimes, drugs and human trafficking.