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Kevin Smith

IGC Initiates Grass-Roots Campaign

17 April 2003

A week into an aggressive grass-roots effort to draw attention to the idea of regulating online gaming in the United States officials with the Interactive Gaming Council say the initiative is getting off on the right foot.

"It has only been a week, but so far the response has been good," said Keith Furlong, the deputy director of the IGC.

Last week the association launched a new Web site,, which helps online gamblers contact their local congressmen and voice their desire to see the industry regulated instead of prohibited.

The site prompts visitors to provide their names and addresses and automatically sends a form letter to their senators and representatives. It also features a text box, enabling users to personalize their letters if they wish. The letters are delivered in such away that it appears the player sent the e-mail directly.

The IGC is encouraging I-gaming operators to promote the initiative on their sites.

The form letters encourage congressmen to support a bill that would study the feasibility of regulating online gaming and oppose two prohibition bills making their way through the legislative process.

Rick Smith, executive director of the IGC, said simple math dictates that if enough players take the time to fill out the form and contact their congressmen, a flood of letters could ensue. He said upward of 60 percent of the global gaming market is represented by U.S. players.

"That means that thousands of Americans enjoy this as a form of entertainment," he said. "If they speak up, members of Congress will realize that many of their own constituents are upset about efforts at prohibition, preferring instead, player protections that would be made available through regulation."

Furlong said several hundred players have already used the tool and that he expects the initiative to continue gaining steam.

"We have a lot of credible operators who are starting to promote this idea," he said. "Their cooperation is vital to our success and the more and more of them that we get on board the better chance we have of impacting the legislative process."

Players are asked to oppose House bill H.R. 21, and Senate bill S. 627. The House bill, titled "the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act," was introduced by Rep. James Leach, R.-Iowa, and is intended to stop online gambling by U.S. players by making it illegal to process I-gaming-related payments over the Internet.

S. 627, introduced by Sen. Jon Kyl, R.-Ariz., contains language similar to the Leach bill.

Leach's bill passed out of the House Financial Services Committee on a voice vote in March, while Kyl's legislation is pending before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

The Leach and Kyl bills, and an alternative bill from Rep. John Conyers, D.-Mich., which would study the licensing and regulation of Internet gambling, have become hot topics of conversation among players and operators in the industry. Furlong said it has long been the standing of the IGC that the most effective way to deal with the industry is to fully regulate it and not try and prohibit it.

"The IGC believes that most Americans will not appreciate their financial institutions dictating how they can spend their money," he said. "That intrusive prospect has to worry anyone involved in e-commerce generally, let alone those concerned about a deprivation of personal freedom. Prohibition of any kind has a track record of failure in this country and hopefully Congress will learn from its lessons of the 1920s and deal with the industry head-on and regulate it. It will take work and won't be easy, but it is the right thing to do."

For information on how you can participate in the ProFreedom movement, visit

IGC Initiates Grass-Roots Campaign is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith