Thursday October 29,2015 : C.S.I.G. PRESS CONFERENCE MAKES LITTLE IMPACT (Update)
Chaffetz dodges DFS questions.
The current furore around daily fantasy sports put Utah Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz on the spot Wednesday at a sparsely attended Washington DC press conference called by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
Chaffetz was trying to breathe some life into the languishing Restoration of America's Wire Act he is sponsoring in Congress, and was asked whether the daily fantasy sports vertical, which operators claim is exempted from the provisions of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, would be on his online gambling banning list.
In the end Chaffetz fudged it by conceding that the recent Nevada ban on DFS as an unlicensed gambling activity was a "cause for concern" for some interests, but qualified that by saying that he was just trying to stay on-track in his quest to restore the pre-Internet 1961 Wire Act "exactly as it was previously" and "without exceptions or adjustments."
That could be a problem, because RAWA as drafted at present upholds the carve-outs for online horserace wagering and fantasy sports, with growing calls in several states that the latter be regulated as gambling.
There was little that was new in the conference as the CSIG again trotted out its curious mixture of misinformation about the online gambling business as seen through the clearly biased eyes of several conservative rightist groups, with speakers making general and unsubstantiated claims about the genre's perceived negative impact on society.
The CSIG continued to perpetuate the myth that the 2011 Department of Justice decision that the 1961 Wire Act applied only to sports betting was a sudden decision taken by "a lawyer burrowed in the Justice Department," (according to one speaker) and not the considered and thoroughly investigated work of government legal experts after a two year study.
The Poker Players Alliance issued a statement critical of RAWA and CSIG to coincide with the presser, commenting:
“Rep. Chaffetz and the Sheldon Adelson-backed CSIG cannot cite a single example of player or operator malfeasance in the three states that have appropriately authorized online gaming.
“That is because regulation works. Today, in the U.S. and in regulated markets throughout the world, it is required that Internet gaming companies consent to audits, the implementation of anti-money laundering compliance programs and multi-step identity verification processes, bot detection, and other regulatory measures.
"These operators employ ‘best of breed’ technologies that protect minors and problem gamblers, ensure that the games are fair, and that sites block players in prohibited jurisdictions. Additionally, regulated operators are accountable to the players, regulators, and law enforcement, and they are continually reviewed to ensure they are meeting, and exceeding, the prescribed technical safeguards. None of this is possible if Rep. Chaffetz and Sheldon Adelson get their way.”
Post-conference, the CSIG issued another press release, this one free of the grammatical errors in their first announcement of the presser, and covering what the action group considers to be the highlights of the event.
The release quotes Colin Hanna of the Let Freedom Ring conservative group, who commented that the Department of Justice decision must not be allowed to "undermine" UIGEA and should not have been left to "a lawyer burrowed in the Justice Department."
George Landrith of Frontiers of Freedom is also quoted as supportive of RAWA and the moves to persuade the Congressional Judiciary Committees to progress the Chaffetz proposal intact.
The release also uses numbers from Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research – a Washington-based specialist opinion research firm "geared toward winning campaigns" and hired by the CSIG, which claims that a nationwide survey of 1,000 likely voters in late April of this year found that "a majority of Americans, 66 percent, oppose the legalization of online gambling across the U.S."