Leading Internet Safety Group Study: Legalized, Regulated Online Gaming Offers 'Far Better Protection' Than Current Prohibition

Leading Internet Safety Group Study: Legalized, Regulated Online Gaming Offers 'Far Better Protection' Than Current Prohibition

Senator Menendez, author of online poker bill, says report shows benefits to families, gives momentum to legislation

LINK TO STUDY: http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/sparrow.pdf

Washington - A study commissioned by leading internet safety non-profit WiredSafety was released today (available here: http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/sparrow.pdf), finding that legalized, regulated online gaming "would offer far better protection against online gambling's potential social harms than outright prohibition." The report, authored Harvard Kennedy School of Government Professor Michael K. Sparrow, examined ten separate social risks posed by online gaming - from participation by minors to organized crime to identity theft. The report recommends that the United States implement a regulation and enforcement plan that utilizes different strategies for the different classes of risk, in combination with public education and support from outside groups.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is the author of the Internet Poker and Game of Skill Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (S. 1597), which would legalize and regulate online games of skill. He released the following statement on the report released today:

"Many of us have long asserted that the internet is made safer with oversight and regulation of online gaming rather than the Wild West scenario that exists currently. This report is strong proof of that.

"Anyone who wants to play poker online can already do so, regardless of whether there is prohibition in the United States or not. With no oversight or regulation, it's far too easy for our children to get into online poker, just as it's too easy for players to be defrauded of their money or identities by rouge sites. What this report clearly shows us is the best way to protect our families and promote safe use of the internet is to put a cop on the beat and bring online gaming into the sunlight, where proper protections can be firmly established. Unfortunately, right now the federal government is sticking its head in the sand, as if ignoring it would make the problems go away.

"Beyond the subject matter of this study, many of us have also made the case that regulation of online gaming could be an economic boon at a time when we badly need one. The legalization and regulation of online games of skill is about more than benefitting those who wish to participate - it is about family safety and generating economic benefits during a deep economic downturn."

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