LARCHMONT, N.Y. — Tyrone Lam, President, Buzztime, will speak on interactive & web tv at The Sixth Annual International Symposium on Internet Wireless Gambling Law and Management.
The conference sponsored by International Internet Wireless Gaming Association (www.MMSIOnline.com) and Internet Wireless Gaming International newsletter (www.liebertpub.com) and presented by Bioconferences International, (www.bioconferences.com) will be held December 8th-10th, 2002 at the Paradise Island Hotel in the Bahamas.
The Summit will cover such topics as the future of the industry, financing, jurisdictions from all over the world, intranets, kiosks and other new media, growth of wireless gaming, regulatory updates, success of online lotteries, rapid growth in sportsbooks, internet casinos and electronic payment systems.
Speakers include Adam Anhang, Drho.com; Damien Aspinall, CEO, Aspinalls Online; Mark Blandford, Sportingbet.com; Adriaan Brink, Zabadoo; Frank Catania, Catania Consulting Group; Mickey Charles, CEO, The Sports Network; John Clitheroe, Alderney Gaming Commissioner; John Coates, Bet365; Tony Coles, Partner, Jeffrey Green Russell; Gary Collins, Antigua; Jose Cuello, Ministry of Finance Casino Commission, Dominica; Rodney Davis, CFO, World Gaming; David Fleming, World Gaming; Tony Fontaine, Station Casinos; Brian Ford, Ernst & Young; Lorraine Grymala, Vice President, North American Trading Institute; Frederic Gushin, Spectrum Gaming; Julian Harris, Pinsent Curtis Biddle; Markus Holm, Boss Media; Joseph Kelly, SUNY College at Buffalo; Gary Locke, Casino Promote; Ted Loh, Orient Gaming; James Maida, Technical Systems Testing; Art Mitchell, US Treasury; Anthony Munnelly, Sports Interaction; Christopher Murphy, Mann & Partners; Jamie Nettleton, Coudert Brothers; Peter Nolte, Latin American Gaming; Simon Noble, Intertops; Eileen Petersen, Virgin Island Casino Control; Tobin Prior, CEO, Kerzner Interactive; James A. Ryan, CFO, Cryptologic; Mark D. Schopper, Esq; Tim Selman, CEO, Bwirelezz; Michael Smeaton, Gamcare; Michael Tew, Bear Stearns and Graham White, Chief Inspector, Gaming Board for Great Britain.
Jay Cohen Comments on Net Gambling Law
- JOHN’S, Antigua — Jay Cohen, one of the founders of the World Sports Exchange (www.wsex.com), is infuriated about the Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, which unanimously passed the House 7-0 last week. “This bill is one more example of certain congressmen trying to advance their right wing social agenda in the name of fighting terrorism,” he says. “It is an insult to all who lost their lives last year and all A IDN Slotmericans to have their tragedy invoked in the name of stopping online gambling. Some of these congressmen don’t care how low they stoop. Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia actually said with a straight face, ‘[This bill] will save a lot of lives and will really put a stake in the heart with regard to terrorism.'”
What Cohen is referring to is the Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act (H.R. 556), a bill aimed at companies that accept payments through credit cards, electronic fund transfers or “any other form of financial transaction” to prohibit the use of unlawful online betting. Cohen added, “This bill is littered with hypocrisy. While gambling is encouraged and condoned by almost every state in the union, this bill seeks to target offshore gambling operations because ‘Gambling is evil.’ If that is the case, shouldn’t congress first stop gambling in the U.S. instead of trying to interfere in free commerce and police the world?” The passing of this bill affects Cohen more than most, because on October 15th, he is scheduled to begin a 21-month incarceration for allegedly violating the Wire Act of 1961. An expert in this field, Cohen is eager to discuss the bill’s ramifications.
On Tuesday, October 1, 2002, when congress voted on H.R. 556, the co-sponsors knew they had a fragile bill, which may easily have been struck down with a full House, so they opted to have a limited afternoon debate instead of waiting for the evening call. It was put on the calendar between a bill honoring a collegiate wrestler and another one congratulating the Oakland A’s. With less than 10 members in the chamber, they called for a voice vote–an easier way to get legislation passed–and knowing that the members who remained in the chamber would pass the bill, it was passed with unanimous consent. The bill still faces a tough fight in the Senate.
While the congressmen who co-sponsored this faulty bill actually had the audacity to argue that legitimate offshore gambling organizations are “a danger to the family”, “a danger to society at large” and “a high probability” of involvement for being used “as part of money laundering and other criminal operations,” they offer no such evidence. This bill contradicts its stated purpose because credit card and electronic fund transfers actually leave a clean trail of where the money comes from and where it goes. It is in land-based casinos where chips can be slowly bought at the tables with cash and then paid out as legitimate gambling winnings at the cashier window. Land-based casinos are at a far greater risk of being used for money laundering.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Congresswoman Sue Kelly (R-NY) cried out for the Americans who suffer from gambling addictions, have lost their jobs, had their marriages wrecked and have been financially ruined because of their addiction. She failed to point out that this small minority is just as susceptible to losing their money at brick and mortar casinos, state sponsored lotteries, and racetracks.
Unlike Internet casinos, all of these facilities encourage the consumption of large quantities of alcohol. They also have a multitude of ATM machines located on the premises. It is a national tragedy to watch many of the poor and elderly people spending their life-savings at some of these casinos while drinking copious amounts of alcohol on the house. But, there is no legislation on these organizations, because the U.S. government makes money from them. For the most part, H.R. 556 is simply about the U.S. not being able to collect money on this form of gambling–so they deem it illegal.
Two congressmen, however, shrewdly saw through this hypocritical bill and made valiant efforts to have it vetoed. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Joe Baca (D-CA) were not present at Tuesday’s vote, but had these comments inserted on the record of the Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act:
Congressman Baca: “I oppose H.R. 556, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act. Although this bill is entitled a “prohibition” act, it is really an authorization act. Section 3 of the bill provides a carve-out for transactions with businesses licensed or authorized by States. It provides exemptions that, in essence, would allow States to license new Internet gaming operations for lotteries, horse tracks, and corporate gambling operations.”
Congressman Paul: “H.R. 556 limits the ability of individual citizens to use bank instruments, including credit cards or checks, to finance Internet gambling. This legislation should be rejected by congress since the federal government has no constitutional authority to ban or even discourage any form of gambling.
In addition to being unconstitutional, H.R. 556 is likely to prove ineffective at ending Internet gambling. Instead, this bill will ensure that gambling is controlled by organized crime. History, from the failed experiment of prohibition to today’s futile “war on drugs,” shows that the government cannot eliminate demand for something like Internet gambling simply by passing a law.
Instead, H.R. 556 will force those who wish to gamble over the Internet to patronize suppliers willing to flaunt the ban. In many cases, providers of services banned by the government will be members of criminal organizations. Even if organized crime does not operate Internet gambling enterprises their competitors are likely to be controlled by organized crime. After all, since the owners and patrons of Internet gambling cannot rely on the police and courts to enforce contracts and resolve other disputes, they will be forced to rely on members of organized crime to perform those functions. Thus, the profits of Internet gambling will flow into organized crime. Furthermore, outlawing an activity will raise the price vendors are able to charge consumers, thus increasing the profits flowing to organized crime from Internet gambling. It is bitterly ironic that a bill masquerading as an attack on crime will actually increase organized crime’s ability to control and profit from Internet gambling.”
Variations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act have been brought before the House of Representatives on a few occasions. Each time, the sponsoring members of congress attempt to masquerade the bill so it appears that they have made modifications to previous members’ concerns and with that come the special interest groups that thoroughly lobby for their specific points. These include the state lotteries, horse racing, dog racing, Jai-alai, Indian gaming and Las Vegas gaming to name a few. By the time these groups have finished carving out issues that are important to them, the bill looks like Swiss cheese. It is at this point that the conservative supporters generally pull their support because they feel the bill–with all of its exemptions–actually expands gambling.