Friday, December 03, 2010

WiredSafety and Parry Aftab support the legalization and tough regulation of online gambling


WiredSafety.org and, Internet privacy and security expert,
Parry Aftab Support
Licensing and Regulation of Online Poker

Washington, DC (December 3, 2010) –Parry Aftab, Executive Director of WiredSafety.org, the world’s largest online safety and education group, today released the following statement in response to news reports regarding a new bill that would license and regulate online poker. Existence of the bill was first reported in today’s Wall Street Journal.

“As I informed Congress during my testimony last year, licensing and regulating online poker is the most effective and responsible way to ensure the online safety of America’s children and consumers. Given today’s news reports regarding a potential bill Congress is circulating which would implement this important step, I encourage lawmakers to consider the importance of this action in protecting America’s children and consumers.

In a study Wired Safety commissioned last year (available on the WiredSafety.org website), Harvard Professor, Dr. Malcolm Sparrow, evaluated the 10 biggest risks associated with online gambling and determined overwhelmingly that the most effective way to protect consumers – including our children, is to regulate and license rather than pretend to be able to ban online gambling. Nothing illustrates the failure of existing regulations better than the millions of Americans who play poker on the internet despite the passage of 2006’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

“At the time of my testimony, I recognized the irony of our study’s conclusion that the best way to protect consumers from the risks of online gambling is to legalize it, rather than attempt to ban it. But over the last fifteen years I have spent in child and consumer online protection, I have learned the hard way that some solutions are ironic. Attempts to try and outright ban online gambling have been ineffective and the problems continue to grow without recourse. It has become the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” problem. It’s time to speak out and do something to stop the online gambling abuses, crimes and fraud we have been witnessing,” explains Aftab.

It is hoped that this bill will give government the teeth it needs to address criminal gambling sites and unethical providers targeting our nation’s youth. It will enable governmental agencies to ensure legal players are protected and young people are excluded from licensed online gambling sites. According to Aftab, “Given the growing popularity of online poker, especially on college campuses, we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to protect America’s children and consumers. We must take action now.”

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