Consumer activist Michelle Minton responded to US politician Wellington Webb's anti-online gambling editorial supporting Sheldon Adelson's war against online gambling.
Wellington wrote “The hidden dangers of Internet gambling” mentioning the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling’s (CSIG) line that online gamblers are "chumps" also claiming that it’s more addictive than other types of gambling.
"An [federal] online gambling ban will do nothing to protect consumers - but it will protect the profits of brick-and-mortar casino owners like Webb’s boss, Sheldon Adelson," Minton wrote.
She examined the facts behind the 1961 Wire Act which Adelson wants to reinstate.
"Webb erroneously claims that the U.S. enacted a federal online gambling ban in 1961 with the passage of the Wire Act, which was intended to target mobsters engaged in sports wagering. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the Wire Act’s architect and principal supporter, had no intention of imposing a federal ban on gambling," she said.
"His targets were organized crime syndicates whose activities crossed state lines. Specifically, he was interested in targeting the “kingpins of the rackets” rather than their underlings.
"In testimony on the Wire Act, Kennedy only talked about the mob's activity involving horse racing and “such amateur and professional sports events as baseball, basketball, football and boxing. He also made it clear that the Wire Act was intended to assist states in enforcing their laws on gambling, not to create a federal ban on the activity.
“Kennedy testified that ‘the federal government is not undertaking the almost impossible task of dealing with all the many forms of casual or social wagering.’”
In closing, Minton said, "Webb may think online gamblers are “chumps,” but criminalizing the activity hasn’t and won’t make them stop. State authorities already have the ability to decide what consumer protection tools their licensed online casinos should adopt. The only way to protect consumers from any threat posed by online gambling is to bring the activity out of the dark."
Here’s the editorial in its entirety: The Hidden Dangers of Internet Gambling