In last week’s holding of the Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Exposition (GiGse) in San Francisco, Willie Brown, a former San Francisco mayor participated in one of the panel discussions in his role as official spokesperson for Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG). However, the ex-mayor subsequently found himself at the center of fierce contentions, after dutifully echoing Adelson’s usual anti-online gambling arguments about Internet-based gambling as one that promotes addictive gambling behavior, susceptible to money laundering and other criminal acts, as well as liable to permit underage gambling.
Mr. Brown went on to claim that land-based casino operators are in a better position to control and mitigate the risks posed by online and mobile gambling, in light of their physical presence in traditional gambling venues. To which the opposing statements voiced by a number of delegates participating in the discussions led to criticisms pointing out the politician’s repeated reversal of position regarding the Internet gambling issue in California.
Accordingly, for the past 15 years, Mr. Brown has flip-flopped on his stand, which the ex-mayor dismissed by stating that his current status as a retired politician no longer prevents him from expressing his current views.
Fortunately, for the ex-mayor, former Nevada governor Robert Miller was around as moderator who eased the ensuing strain caused by Mr. Brown’s anti-online gambling statements. Instead of using the term “flip-flop,” the former Nevada governor called Mr. Brown’s approach as “philosophical flexibility.” Still, ex-governor Miller expressed his argument against the objectives of the CSIG by asserting the importance of respecting the right of each state to launch state-based initiatives, and of a state’s capability to put in place effective safeguards.
The former Nevada governor demonstrated his expertise by citing major scientific studies to refute contentions that an online gambling environment will spur a continuing increase in problem gambling levels. He explained that advancements in technology have produced effective identity and age verification checking systems, as well as furnished useful credit card and cash transaction monitoring methods that make acts of money laundering and fraud a less likely occurrence in an Internet-based gambling facility than in a land-based gambling venue. Instead of prohibiting online gambling, instituting laws and regulatory policies presents a more effective solution in combating and managing the risks, in ensuring player protection and in generating revenues that benefit a state.
The former governor of Pennsylvania, Edward Rendell added that his state has recognized the need to legalize online gambling in order to be competitive with neighboring states that have already laws and policies governing Internet-based gambling. Otherwise, the State of Pennsylvania will likely miss out on valuable government income.
Regarding the issue of minors gaining access to online gambling sites by using their parent’s credit cards, the former Pennsylvania governor also stressed the sophistication of current technologies used in verifying a player’s identity and age. In a more practical point of view, ex-governor Rendell commented that parents are still the best regulators in making sure that their children are prevented from using their credit cards without their prior knowledge and permission.