Nambling Notes - Dec. 3, 2002

3 December 2002

US Law -- The General Accounting Office has presented its final report on Internet gambling to the U.S. House of Representatives. The report, which was made public yesterday, serves as an overview of the industry, including relevant U.S. laws, a sampling of foreign jurisdictions and a survey of gaming Web sites. The meat of the report, however, is its long look at varying payment processing options and how they intersect with U.S. policy on online gaming. The report was requested by several representatives including Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, the chairman of the Financial Services Committee. It makes no recommendations and states at one point that "Internet gambling is an essentially borderless activity that poses regulatory and enforcement challenges." .... Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday that next year in Congress he will support a ban on Internet gambling. "I don't like it," the paper quotes him as saying. "Having been chief regulator (in Nevada) for your years, I think it cannot be controlled. It's ripe for cheating. And it's open to fraud." Reid will be the Democratic minority whip next year in Congress. Rep. Oxley said he is making such a ban his top priority for next year.

Legal Stuff -- The Interactive Gaming Council said yesterday that it believes recent events in the United States are increasing the chances that online gaming could be regulated there. Citing the U.S. Virgin Islands' passage of online gambling rules and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District upholding the legality of online casino games in a lawsuit filed by MasterCard, IGC Director Rick Smith said the situation is starting to look promising. "The IGC has long argued that rigorous regulation is the sensible solution for understanding the Internet gaming phenomenon and protecting citizens, especially underage and problem gamblers," he said in a press release. "We are encouraged that what's happened recently in both the legislative and judicial arenas will lead U.S. policy makers to a thorough, intelligent examination of this form of gaming."

Conference Notes -- The Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, which is part of Harvard Medical School's Division on Addictions, will hold a conference to highlight new studies on problem gambling and other addictions Dec. 8-10 at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Dr. Howard Schaffer and other leading addiction specialists are scheduled to speak.