Attorneys General Speak Out on Cybergambling

23 March 1997

According to the Reuters news Service, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal were on hand on the Hill in DC on 3/19 to urge passage of a federal law to clearly ban gambling on the Internet.

He and other Attorneys General were on hand to submit the bill introduced by Senator Kyl of Arizona which prohibits internet gambling. (As of 3/23, the text of this bill was not yet available on the net via the Thomas website.)

"Gambling and the Internet is a mix that is a recipe for deceit and financial disaster," Blumenthal said. "This legislation would clarify existing law and explicitly ban any gambling communication -- including Internet communications -- not authorized and regulated by the states."

This bill puts into place the recommendations of the National Assn. of Attorneys General which tightens up the Interstate Wire Act as a tool to prohibit internet gambling in the US. It gives state attorneys general the power to go to court to block Internet gambling and provide fines of up to $10,000 and two years in prison for those who operate Internet gambling enterprises.

It would also provide fines of up to $5,000 and one year in prison for those who use the gambling service.

"Given the tremendous potential for abuse, addiction and access by minors, online gambling should be prohibited," Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, said. He was joined by two other Republicans and three Democrats in offering the bill.

Currently, only computer gambling on sports events is prohibited under the Interstate Wire Act, a piece of legislation designed in the 30's to curtail bookie operations. The legislation would extend criminal penalties to companies who offer all types of computer gambling.

In other provisions regarding Senate bill 1495, communications companies regulated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would be required to discontinue services to any companies they carry that offer gambling. See what Wired thought of that provision.