Washington, D.C. – „The recent cheating scandals underscore the need for U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker to help protect consumers. While even the most highly regulated industries are susceptible to fraud and abuse, regulation does provide assurances that when consumers are harmed they have recourse, and that the offenders will be sanctioned. The continued pursuit of poker prohibition, on the other hand, will only drive this industry underground. As the Washington Post pointed out, prohibition represents a widening disconnect between 21st-century technology and 20th-century laws.
Regulation of Internet poker does not equal an expansion of gambling in this country. Like it or not, the phenomenon of internet poker cannot be wished away. The American market has spoken. There is strong demand for Internet poker and no reasonable government can or should stand in the way of adults competing in games of skill on the Internet. To the contrary, the government should step up and exercise regulatory oversight on this multi-billion dollar interstate commerce, and collect the revenue-especially during this country’s economic crisis.
The federal government cannot continue to abdicate this basic responsibility to the millions of its citizens who choose to play poker on the Internet. The attempt to enforce an outright prohibition of online poker is deeply flawed and unworkable, and it invades upon the personal freedoms of law-abiding adults who wish to engage in a game of skill. And as 60 Minutes and the Washington Post stories reported it also exposes American consumers to the rare, unscrupulous bad apple operator who will take advantage of the lack of a U.S. regulated marketplace.
Now more than ever the U.S. Congress needs to step up and enact real public policy as it relates to Internet gaming. We look forward to working with the new Administration and the new Congress to advance sensible regulatory solutions such as those introduced in the 110th Congress by Representatives Barney Frank (H.R. 2046) and Robert Wexler (H.R. 2610) and Senator Robert Menendez (S.3616).“