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FBI Letter Wrongfully Cites Online Poker Myths

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Dec/03/2009

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today challenged statements made during the House Financial Services Committee hearing on  H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act.  During the hearing, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) claimed there is potential for criminal activity through online poker by citing a letter written by Shawn Henry, Assistant Director of the Cyber Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

 

"Every concern the letter raises is better addressed by licensing and regulation than by prohibition," said John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance.  "The letter misconstrues much about the current state of online poker, but it does so in a way that clearly makes the case for why federal oversight is necessary."

 

U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the current ranking member and former chairman of the Committee on  Homeland Security, also attended today's hearing and said publicly that he is not aware of money laundering or terrorism financing through Internet gaming.  He went on to say that if financial crimes were a legitimate concern, then regulation and oversight as proposed in H.R. 2267 is the best way to mitigate that risk.

 

Additionally, a study commissioned by Wired Safety, the leading Internet safety non-profit, and conducted by Harvard Professor Malcolm Sparrow, was released during the hearing that shows the best way to address the risks of Internet gambling is through regulation.  In his testimony, Dr. Sparrow, who is a former Detective Chief Inspector of the British Police Service with extensive experience in criminal investigation, states that "At a minimum, even an imperfect legalization and regulatory regime for online gambling would give Americans much more protection than they have now."  The report includes important findings on issues of gambling by minors and the potential for criminal and fraudulent behavior, in which the study concludes that improved technology and enforcement mechanisms that are currently available are more effective than an outright ban.

 

"Licensing and regulation is the most protective measure we can take to ensure the online community can be properly monitored while maintaining our internet freedom," Pappas concluded. 

 

A detailed response to the letter can be found on the PPA's website.  

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