Americans want to gamble online

» There were many factors behind the passage of this legislation — real concern about children gambling on the Internet, reaction to the scandals surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff, moral opposition to any gambling — but, the legislation passed raises more issues than it resolves. For example, it does not resolve the Wire Act dispute and define what is illegal online gambling; it does not address the horse racing industry’s claim that it is exempt; nor, does it answer the question of how Native American online gaming would be addressed. Congress has no idea if the legislation will address the issues that spawned it. The fact is that millions of Americans want to gamble online with real money»

Internet gambling can be effectively legalised and regulated in the United States rather than leaving bettors tc fend for themselves cn illegal. unregu ated offshore sites. The study also shoud ncludc consideration of recent WTO rulings indicating the Un ted States position on Internet ganing nay be in vo ation of international trade ob igations.

Legislation to create a comprehensive study commission has already been proposed by 44 members of the U.5. House of Representatives The Bill won’t pass this year, but its introduction lays the groundwork for it to oe reintroduced in future Congresses.

The fact is. a prohibition such as Congress is seeking to impose is short-sightec. and with a number of foreign nations, including Great Britain, in the process of legalising, licensing, regulating and taxing Internet gaming operators, it’s tine for the U.S. to take a serious look at ways to regulate it.

The growth of Internet gambling, coupled with the high- rate of international expansion of the industry, nas also sparked a renewal of concern over problem gambling. The more ganing expands the more important it s that the entire ganing industry addresses this critical issue. The АСА and the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) are committed to collaborating with Internationa! organisations on the problem.

The first step is acknowledging the issue. We have said since the AGA was created that the’e is no coubt that there are individuals who cannot gamble responsibly. And. as ganing becomes more ubiquitous, we can expect the issue to continue to grow with us The AGA and our member companies have contributed more than S15 million through the NCRG to fund research on the issue and spent hundreds of millions of do lars on programmes to encourage respons b e gaming and fund pmolem ganolmg awareness p’ogrammes.

For its first decade, the NCRG’s almost exclusive mission has been funding research and facilitating the exchange of research information among sc entists. academ cs and clinicians. I he NCRG expanded that mission two years ago when it devc oped a second track at its annual Conference on Gamb ing and Addiction. This second track was developed to encourage greater attendance among lawmakers, regulators and othe’ policy-makers, and it has been successful in doing so.

New the NCRG is prepared to make the next step and is working closely with the AGA to begin an aggressive outreach and pub ic education effort This effort will take the research that has oeen developed with NCRG research dollars and begin to offer the industry and the public practical, sc encebased information and programmes to help promote responsibe gaming.

The first of t^ese programmes is called EMERGE (Executive. Management & Employee Rcsponsib c Gaming Education). EMERGE isagrounc-breaking. Weo-basec training programme deve oped by scientists at Harvard Medical School. It is the only online training programme that translates the most up-to-date scientific research on gambling disorders and infcrmation about responsible gaming for gaming employees at al education levels.

This programme will be tested by several NCRG contributing gaming compan es during the coming months anc is expected to be availab e for t-e entire gaming community sometime next year.

Once the testing phase is comp ete. the NCRG intends to work with the Institute for Research on Pathological Gamb mg and Related Disorders to begin modifying the programme for use in international venues.

The NCRG also has included resources tc modify for international aud ences many of the materials that have been created by the AGA to help address problem gambling

We look forward to working closely with the international gaming community in the coming years to ensure that responsible gaming -ema ns a business imperative no matter where in the world we do business. We also ook forward to working wtth the leacers in Asia to help lead that region forward through G2E Asa. With so much growth on the horizon, the future is bright for gaming in the U.S. and around the world. We p an tc oe at the forefront of the next generation of global gammg. and anxiously await new challenges.

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