October 03, 2006 (1:11 PM EDT)
Gaming Expert: Online Bets Will Continue, Despite New Laws
By W. David Gardner, TechWeb Technology News
Online gamblers in the U.S. will likely be seeking alternate ways of wagering to avoid new restrictions by Congress that are aimed at halting the practice, an expert in online gambling said in an interview Tuesday.
“It’s not going to work,” said Frank Catania, former New Jersey gaming regulator. “There are alternate ways of payment — telephone cards, for instance.”
Congress passed the tough regulation last weekend by tying it to unrelated legislation on port security.
The legislation, which is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush, seeks to block U.S. banks and credit card companies from accepting payments for online gambling.
Already hit hard by the legislation are several online gaming enterprises whose stocks collapsed on British stock exchanges. Although the majority of online gamblers are in the U.S., the firms that take the bets are scattered around the world in Europe, the Caribbean, and Central America. Many gambling firms’ stocks trade on the London Stock Exchange.
Catania, who is a former assistant attorney general and director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said online poker players will feel the brunt of the legislation. He added that bricks-and-mortar casinos support online gambling, because they have aspirations of getting into the market someday.
Noting that 48 states already permit gambling through casinos or lotteries, Catania said little campaigning against gambling in the states has surfaced recently.
While banks and credit card companies can be expected to comply with the new regulations, Catania said gamblers and online gambling operations will develop “workarounds” to continue betting. “These companies will find a way to be able to take bets from the U.S.,” he said.