UIGEA "makes no sense at all" says top land exec

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UIGEA "Makes no sense whatsoever," says Lanni

The chairman of the American Gaming Association and head of the giant US land gambling firm MGM Mirage, Terri Lanni had some straight talking things to say about the recently Introduced Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act when he addressed the G2E conference in Las Vegas this week.

The new U.S. law making it illegal for banks, credit card companies and online payment systems to process payments to online gambling companies "makes no sense whatsoever," he told conference delegates, adding that he was hopeful that the new Democratic leadership in the U.S. Congress could provide a chance to explore the legalisation of online gambling.

"The Republican Party pandered to the religious right," he said, referring to the manner in which the UIGEA was rushed through Congress without proper debate and consideration, attached to a more important but totally unrelated Bill. In October, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee was successful in tacking the Internet gambling ban onto a popular bill on port safety. Frist is retiring from Congress as he considers a possible run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Lanni said MGM would like to see a study commissioned to examine whether online gambling can be successfully regulated in the United States.

Lanni's address was followed by one from the head of the UK Gaming Commission, Peter Dean who said: "Britain wants to be second to none in the regulation of Internet gambling ...We firmly believe that the way forward is to regulate, rather than prohibit."

Dean said that from a British perspective, the U.S. ban is puzzling, in that "prohibition doesn't have a conspicuous record of success in this country ... the obvious result is that the activity is going to be driven underground."
 
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