Federal panel to study regulation of Internet

Nov 26, 2002 6:20 AM

   While Nevada considers new rules for Internet gaming, a Michigan congressman wants to create a five-person panel to regulate it nationally.

   Democratic Rep. John Conyers last week introduced a bill to study issues relating to gambling in cyberspace. His proposal counters ongoing efforts on Capitol Hill to kill interactive wagering.

   “I have always believed that (prohibition) approach reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the Internet, as most Internet gaming sites exist outside the U.S., and outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement,’’ Conyers said.

   Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, said his group might support a gambling commission but hasn’t made a final decision.

   UNLV professor Bill Thompson, an expert in public policy, said the Conyers bill is worth a look when Congress reconvenes next year.

   “If we have a ban, it won't go away, and if we legalize it we will have all sorts of problems regulating it,’’ Thompson said. “There’s no effective way to stop Internet gambling.’’

   The Nevada Gaming Commission is under a legislative mandate to develop guidelines for Internet betting by January.