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Former Fed Supports US Online Gambling Regulation

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Ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh and previous US Homeland Security Secretary Tom
Ridge have co-authored an article that appeared in the Washington Examiner,
supporting the legalisation and regulation of online gambling in the United

Now both advisers for the FairPlayUSA lobby group, the duo said they would
welcome the decriminalisation of online gambling in the US, opting instead for a
strictly regulated industry designed to ‘protect millions of Americans from
shady offshore operators.’

Freeh served with the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) from 1993 to 2001,
while Ridge served under President George W. Bush as Secretary for the United
States Department of Homeland Security and was a member of the Cabinet from 2003
to 2005.

In the article, the pair pointed out that it is no secret that online gambling
is rife in the United States and that it is an activity involving millions of
Americans, most of whom are being forced to frequent unlicensed and unregulated,
and thus unsafe, online gambling sites.

US Federal Internet Gambling Laws Need to be Reformed

As such, the pair wrote that US federal Internet gambling laws are in urgent
need of reform to facilitate a strictly regulated online gaming industry. In
this vain, they proposed four steps that US lawmakers and policymakers should

The first is to strengthen and modernise the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet
Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to both eliminate illegal online gambling, and
‘unambiguously define related crimes.’

The second is to provide US federal law enforcement agencies with the necessary
tools to crack down on ‘rogue’ online gaming sites as well as the power to seize
and shut down illegal sites, while working in close association with US
financial institutions.

The third is to protect the rights of the individual states by allowing them to
self determine what forms of gambling are legal within their borders, while
granting them the authority to prohibit or accept online poker as well as
utilise geo-location tools to block players in prohibited jurisdictions.

A Strict US Gambling Regulatory Framework is Needed

The fourth is to create a standardised and strict gambling regulatory framework
to license and enforce online poker solely in US jurisdictions that choose to
offer the popular internet activity, by incorporating tough regulations and
state-of-the-art technology.

Said the pair in the article: ‘These steps are
critical to protect millions of Americans from shady offshore operators,
especially in light of the DC Council’s recent decision repealing the city’s
Internet gambling law. Applying old laws to new problems poses significant
challenges to a clear understanding of the law but if Congress can move quickly
those challenges can be addressed. We hope they will.’

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