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BetOnSports Responds to Bill

1 October 2004

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – (PRESS RELEASE) -- We are disappointed by this week's passage of H.R. 5011 by the House Financial Services Committee. Many of the bill's goals are laudable -- particularly provisions to protect military personnel from bad financial sales practices, and to address a number of issues relating to terrorism and the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. The bill, however, also contains a surreptitious provision inserted by Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus to bar US citizens from using credit cards to place bets on online gambling sites.

It is regrettable that, rather than engaging in an open public dialogue on the issue of online gaming, some elected leaders would use the important issue of homeland security as a thinly-veiled opportunity to impose their own narrow views on Americans.

Further, the bill's provision to ban the use of US-issued credit cards on online gaming sites will undermine the financial transparency it purports to advocate. When the millions of American consumers who place bets online are unable to use their credit cards to do so, they are forced to use other financial tools, most of which are significantly less transparent than credit card transactions.

Some members of Congress have been unwilling to acknowledge that gambling is, particularly where practiced openly and legally, a safe and legitimate form of entertainment. Millions of Americans now enjoy participating in office Super Bowl pools, purchasing lottery tickets, visiting church or charity- sponsored bingo halls, or enjoying time at casino hotels and resorts. When properly regulated, online gaming is no different than any of these activities and provides the additional benefits of privacy, security and control.

Online gaming is already a multi-billion dollar industry -- an industry that is legal and regulated in most of the western world. By taking a similar approach here, US lawmakers can make it possible for reputable and established companies, like my own, to operate here in the United States -- paying taxes, adhering to regulations, and playing a positive role as good corporate citizens.

BETonSPORTS has played a leading role in engaging Americans on the issue of online gambling. In addition to an ongoing national television, print and outdoor advertising campaign, BETonSPORTS recently hosted a series of summit meetings in cities across the United States, bringing leaders from the legal, academic, and non-profit communities together with industry representatives to discuss the future of online gambling in America. In the coming weeks, BETonSPORTS will be sponsoring a series of college campus debates on the topic of online gaming, as well as publishing a white paper on the topic.

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