Statement by Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), on the Anniversary of Black Friday
On Friday, April 15, 2011, the FBI shut down the websites of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker charging the companies and several of their executives with money laundering and bank fraud. This Sunday marks the one year anniversary of that date, dubbed “Black Friday” by those in the online poker business. Yet, in spite of Department of Justice (DOJ) action against several other illegal Internet gambling companies in the year since, hundreds of illegal, offshore Internet sites are still operating.
As long as these sites are operating outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement and with little to no regulation, the millions of Americans who continue to patronize them will be at risk of being defrauded. After a year of Congressional inaction, the fact remains: Until the U.S. changes existing laws to ensure that only licensed, taxed, and highly regulated companies can operate in the U.S. it is certain that illegal activities will go largely unchecked.
In order to correct this situation, Congress needs to adopt changes that modernize and strengthen the Wire Act of 1961 with conforming amendments to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that would unambiguously eliminate illegal Internet gambling.
It is also essential that current law be modified to establish federal guidelines so there will be consistent regulations for online gambling in all states that choose to authorize it. Such federal guidelines would keep minors from gambling online, prevent fraud and money laundering, address problem gambling and ensure players aren’t being cheated. Without a federal overlay, there will be a patchwork quilt of rules and regulations that will prove confusing for customers and difficult for law enforcement to manage.