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House Combats U.S. Internet Gambling

For Immediate Release. October 3, 2002The House of Representatives should be praised for its effort in passing the Leach-LaFlace Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (H.R. 556) by a voice vote on October 1, 2002.  The measure would allow for a prison sentence of up to five years for Internet casino operators that accept bets from Americans.   Also, the bill would require banks and other financial institutions to prohibit Internet gambling companies from using their products like credit cards or wire transfers.  They could be subject to civil penalties from regulators if failing to comply.

Gambling over the Internet has become a new phenomenon.  According to Bears, Stearns, the investment bank, about 60 percent of the $3.5 billion in revenue generated this year at Internet casinos came from bettors living in the United States (U.S.).  However, in most places in the U.S., this type of gambling is illegal, and this measure gives law enforcement the particular mechanisms needed for enforcement.

Also, this measure reduces the potential for abuse of the Internet by problem gamblers and those involved with criminal activity.  Furthermore, active-users of the Internet for entertainment and personal finance.  To prevent under-age youths from using their parents’ credit cards to establish gambling accounts this bill put a mechanism in place.

Gambling is a problem that has led to the financial and family ruin of an increasing number of Americans.  Furthermore, there are costs to society in addition to the costs of problem and pathological gambling both by the individual and his/her family.  About $1,200 per pathological gambler annually and about $715 per problem gambler annually is the estimated annual average costs of job loss, unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, poor physical and mental health, and problem or pathological gambling treatment estimates the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC).  Furthermore, it is estimated that the lifetime costs of gambling (bankruptcy, arrests, imprisonment, legal fees for divorce, and so forth) are $10,550 per pathological gambler, and $5,130 per problem gambler by the NORC.  Using these figures, the aggregate annual costs of problem and pathological gambling caused by the factors cited earlier were about $5 billion annually, in addition to the $40 billion in estimated lifetime costs, according to the NORC.  “The Leach-LaFlace Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (H.R. 556) provides the required mechanism for enforcement of illegal Internet gambling that provides one less source of access to problem gamblers and under-age youth,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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