The End of Online Gambling?Published August 6, 2003 by OCR Editor
Legal Internet gambling may be coming to an end in the United States. A Senate committee has approved a measure that bans Internet gambling in the United States.
In just a matter of minutes, the United States Senate Banking Committee passed S.627, after the Chairman of the Committee introduced the bill and asked the Committee to approve the amendments he had already made to it.
The bill attacks the very system that makes Internet gambling possible the world of credit cards. Christopher Armentano, who helps the state of Connecticut treat addicted gamblers, said credit is very dangerous to a gambler.
"Any form of gambling that you can wager and use your credit cards or bet on credit, seems to be more dangerous," Armentano said. "They get into debt over their heads."
Coupled with easy credit and easy access to the Internet, gambling online has turned beginning gamblers into addicts, and has forced addicts into bankruptcies and suicides.
In June, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2143, legislation that would prohibit gambling businesses from accepting credit card payments and other bank instruments from Internet gamblers. Conversely, critical to the House bill's passage was the removal of criminal provisions that are at the center of Kyl's Senate bill.
However, at the last Panel hearing on S. 627, which was in March, 2003, Stewart A. Baker, general counsel for the U.S. Internet Service Providers Association, urged the Committee to avoid 'unintended consequences' that may hurt the economic growth of the Internet, including requiring ISPs to block customer access to gambling sites not residing on their networks and not under their control. 'Service providers are unable to block user access to websites on other service providers' networks with any reliability,' Baker said. 'Blocking efforts can be easily circumvented and will seriously disrupt legitimate e-commerce and speech.' The Bill is to be reported to the full Senate. President Bush will almost certainly add his signature, if it gets through the Senate and the House-Senate conference committee.