- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

We applaud the District’s plan to legalize some forms of online gambling and give consumers the freedom to make their own decisions while safeguarding them from fraud and money-laundering. However, the approved prohibition on credit cards is unnecessary and may even have a negative impact on consumer safety, especially given that online losses are capped at $250 per week (“I-Gaming Plan caps losses at $250 per week,” Metro, July 5).

The focus should not be on banning the use of credit cards but on making sure consumers are protected and the payment method permitted is safe, secure and transparent.

Credit card companies protect consumers better than any other form of payment because they use strict monitoring to prevent identity theft and fraud while limiting consumer liability when fraudulent activity occurs. In addition, credit card companies have more advanced data systems that can be used to help protect against underage gambling.

While critics worry that credit cards can provide unsecured loans, alternative payment methods such as checks and debit cards carry the same risk because banks allow accounts to be overdrawn and credit cards can be used to fund these alternative payment methods. Furthermore, with a modest maximum loss amount, the current plan already provides significant consumer protection against unsecured gambling loans.

The D.C. Council has taken a historic step toward promoting the freedom of people to gamble online while ensuring that appropriate consumer safeguards are in place. In that spirit, we urge the council to overturn its prohibition of credit card usage to further protect consumers from fraud and abuse.

MICHAEL WAXMAN

Executive director

The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative

Washington

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