The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) sent a letter to members of Congress calling for legislative action on the Reid-Kyl bill in the lame duck session in order to avoid delay in combating the problems associated with unregulated online gambling.
In a missive directed to Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, the 330,000 member police organization urged the lawmakers to strengthen the antiquated Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) as is set forth by the draft of the Reid-Kyl bill. The FOP also suggests creating a strategy and regulatory framework to tackle “the problems of online fraud, money laundering and illegal gaming.”
The letter is dated Nov. 26 and was written by FOP National President Chuck Canterbury. In detailing some of the current issues faced by law enforcement, the FOP stresses that “due to lack of legislation, U.S. consumers have no assurances operators will provide prompt and accurate payments; no protections are in place to prevent or detect money laundering; no firm and transparent licensing of operators exists; and no regulatory controls are in place to prevent criminals from entering the marketplace, rigging games, or misusing customer financial data.”
Canterbury goes on to say that the problems are fixable, but failing to address the concerns during the current legislative session will only put law enforcement further behind in its quest to fight crime stemming from online endeavors. The letter went so far as to call it “laughable” that the country relies on the regulations enacted 51 years ago by the 1961 Wire Act, a time when “the Beatles were first performing and President Obama was born.”
The Reid-Kyl bill is formally known as the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012. While permitting a carve out for online poker, the proposal aims to strengthen regulations pertaining to online gambling. Most notably, the bill would rescind the DoJ decision in 2011 that found the Wire Act to apply only to sports betting. Also, the UIGEA, Wire Act, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA) of 1970 would be amended to cover online activities.