Police: Graham, Chaffetz Online Gambling Bill Would Lead to Increase in Crime

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:
Police: Graham, Chaffetz Online Gambling Bill Would Lead to Increase in Crime

Last week, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Utah Republican representative Jason Chaffetz introduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, which seeks to strengthen current federal online gambling prohibition.  The legislation also would prevent individual states from legalizing the activity, including those like Nevada and New Jersey that already offer real money Web gambling.


The Fraternal Order of the Police have come out against the bill.

Chuck Canterbury, President of the National Fraternal Order of Police, wrote an opt-in piece for TheHill.com.

“The first question we ask when evaluating any piece of legislation is: will this make our citizens and officers safer? And the answer to this in regards to a nationwide ban on all online gaming is an unequivocal no.

“Currently, approximately 1 million Americans spend approximately $3 billion a year on illegal, black market online gaming. And we know, based on demand, this number is going to continue to grow significantly in the future.”

Canterbury notes that the black market does not offer age verification (though most sites actually do) and there are no requirements that operators be licensed to screen out criminals.  He also points out that unlicensed sites have no oversight to require that games be fair.

Canterbury suggests that offshore gambling sites are more prone to engage in money laundering and facilitate terrorism.  While that may be a bit of a stretch, most would agree with the Fraternal Order of Police President that “a national ban on all online gaming would just drive online gaming further and further underground and put more and more people at risk”.

Eliminating legalized gambling in states the likes of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware is not the right path to travel, Canterbury asserts.

“Essentially, you are banning a well regulated system, in favor of an unregulated, unprotected, black market.

“The solution is clear: we should maintain states’ rights to regulate online gaming within their borders and reinvest that revenue to make sure the systems are safe for all consumers.  This will also allow law enforcement the tools necessary to monitor and shutdown illegal activity and give consumers who may have been victimize a means of redress.

“A national ban would literally take money away from police departments, schools and other critical services. That means less cops on the beat. Congress would force regulated gaming and lotteries to shut down in many states, creating holes in their budgets that they may have no other way to fill.

“Finally, by having a well-regulated, well-monitored system for online gaming, people will be less drawn to illegal, black market sites which means a decrease in targets for criminals and less profit for their unlawful enterprises.

We want to keep our citizens and our officers safe. And the best way to do this is to drive black market online gaming into the light and scrutiny of a regulated system that is safe, fun and fair.”

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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