The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has reiterated calls for online gaming to be banned in the US after it began circling a letter from the FBI that warned that terrorist and criminal organisations could use internet gambling for money laundering purposes.
Funded by Sheldon Adelson, chairman of casino and resort company Las Vegas Sands Corporation chairman, the campaign group is pushing for online gaming to be outlawed in the country and has published the letter on its website to highlight the FBI’s own concerns on the matter.
In September 2013, the agency’s letter warned: “Transnational organised crime groups might exploit legal online gambling to generate revenue, steal personally identifiable information, and engage in public corruption.”
The group also cited part of the letter that states if online gaming spreads to more states, then such groups would “draw upon their experience” of the sector in order to “legitimise at least a portion of their enterprise”.
George Pataki, National Co-Chair of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, said that the FBI’s warning serves as evidence as to why online gaming should be banned in the US.
“The FBI has said definitively that sophisticated technologies can be employed by terrorist groups and criminal organizations to move money undetected, conceal their physical locations, and entangle unwitting online players,” he said.
“The FBI’s warning is part of a growing body of evidence that demonstrates how dangerous the expansion of Internet gambling will be.
“Congress needs to do the responsible thing to protect American families and the innocent bystanders caught up in criminal schemes online. It must restore the long-standing federal ban on all forms of Internet gambling.”
Despite the group’s efforts, Geoff Freeman, president of US trade organisation and gaming industry lobbying group the American Gaming Association (AGA), said that he does not support Adelson’s efforts to “fix” a ban on online gaming.
According to the Online Poker Report website, Freeman said that the AGA “strongly opposes” Adelson’s position.
“We appreciate Las Vegas Sands’ support of our organisation and their membership, but we strongly oppose their approach [to internet gaming],” he said.
“We cannot force the internet back into the bottle. We no longer have to debate about ‘do we want online gaming or do we not want online gaming?’
“Online gaming is here. The question is, are we going to regulate online gaming, in a way to protect minors, prevent criminal activity, reap tax revenue and other benefits, or are we going to allow the black market to continue to thrive?”