A Senate subcommittee gathered together Wednesday to hear expert testimony on protecting consumers in the online gambling industry.
Telecast live over the Internet via the government website, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance hearing was an eye-opener for Senators and spectators alike who are concerned about problems facing those accessing online gambling sites.
One of those problems addressed is the ability of minors and problem gamblers to log onto such websites to their own detriment. However, that problem can be combated with voice and facial recognition technology currently available. This was made clear by the testimony of Thomas Grissen, the CEO of a company specializing in Internet security. Grissen demonstrated how the technology works and pointed out that such safeguards would make it virtually impossible for those who should not be gambling to do so.
Also heard from was Chuck Canterbury, whose current role is that of national president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Canterbury’s testimony was equally compelling, as the law enforcement official emphasized the need for online gambling legislation on the federal level to combat money laundering. Online gaming sites are a prime target of organized crime and overseas terrorist groups to wash their dirty money, Canterbury insisted. In the current direction of legislation being enacted on a state-by-state basis, there remains no way for federal authorities to stop such illegal activities.
Speaking of organized crime, Jack Blum also provided his expertise on how such groups have become associated with the gambling industry. A Washington, D.C. lawyer, Blum urged that stringent online gambling license standards be put in place in order to keep organized crime out. The attorney also touched on Bitcoin and how the digital currency is used by criminals in their money laundering endeavors.
The perils of online gambling were also addressed by the bible-thumping crowd when Matt Smith of the Catholic Advocate urged the subcommittee members to stop the proliferation of online gambling before more lives are ruined as a result of gambling addiction. Gambling, whether live or online, will always have its opponents. Its probably best that such groups are allowed to be heard on the matter. However, its apparent that online gambling is gaining more and more acceptance throughout the world as time goes by.
Yesterday’s hearing marked the first time in 2013 that a Senate committee convened to debate Internet gambling. While no follow-up meetings have been scheduled to date, it is highly possible that other committees may look at online gambling from a different perspective or select another topic for debate in the future.