This is the third part of a series of articles on proposed anti-gambling legislation. This article continues the discussion on the reasons for this legislation and the facts in the real world.
Or are legislators trying to protect us? It all seems a bit confusing, to be honest.
As we have mentioned, both the Senate and the House are currently examining the issue of “Online Gambling”. The bills were submitted by Senator Kyl, Congressmen Goodlatte & Leach.
Rep. Goodlatte’s bill, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (the Wire Act), aims to update the Wire Act to prohibit all forms of online gambling. It also makes it illegal for gambling businesses to accept credit or electronic transfers. Common Carriers and ISPs are required to block access from gambling-related sites upon request by law enforcement.
As Rep. Goodlatte does, Senator Kyl’s bill, Prohibition on Funding of Unlawful Internet Gambling makes it illegal for gambling companies to accept checks, credit cards and electronic transfers for the purpose of placing illegal bets. However, his bill doesn’t address those who place bets.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is the bill that Rep. Leach submitted. It is basically a copy from the bill Sen. Kyl submitted. The bill, called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, is a copy of the Kyl bill. It prohibits gambling businesses accepting checks and credit cards.
Goodlatte quotes, “Jack Abramoff’s total disregard for legislative process has allowed Internet gaming to continue thriving into an what is now a twelve-billion-dollar business that not only hurts individuals but also makes the economy suffer by draining billions from the United States and serving as a vehicle of money laundering.”
These points are quite interesting.
We have some misinformation about Jack Abramoff’s disregard for the legislative process. This comment and others follow the logic of Jack Abramoff being against these bills, Jack Abramoff being corrupt, and 3) voting for these bills to avoid corruption. This logic is absurd. This logic is absurd. We should reverse it and repeal any Abramoff-supported bills and pass any Abramoff-opposed bills, regardless of their content. Legislation should not be passed based on one person’s reputation, but on its merits.
Jack Abramoff also opposed bills in the past. He did this on behalf of eLottery, attempting exclusion of the legislation from online sales of lottery tickets. Ironically, the protections that he sought are now included in this bill. State-run lotteries would be exempted. Jack Abramoff would likely support this legislation, since it provides him the protections he sought. However, Goodlatte and others can use Abramoff’s disgrace to improve their bill. This will make it not only anti-gambling but also ant-corruption. It will also reward Abramoff as well as his client.
His next statement is that online gambling “hurts individuals” and “hurts their families”. I assume he means problem gambling. Let’s get this straight. A small percentage, if any, of gamblers end up becoming problem gamblers. This is not true for a large percentage of the population.
Goodlatte also believes that internet gambling is more addictive than gambling in casinos. Sen. Kyl called online gambling “the crack cocaine for gambling” and attributed the quote to an unnamed researcher. Researchers have proven that online gambling is not more addictive than playing in a casino. In fact, online gambling is more addictive than electronic gambling machines found at racetracks and casinos across the country.
Research by N. Dowling and D. Smith at RMIT University Bundoora, Australia, “There is a general consensus that electronic gambling is the most addictive form of gambling. It contributes more to problem gambling than any other type of gambling.” Electronic gaming machines are often referred to as “crack cocaine” of gambling.
As to Sen. Kyls claim about “crack cocaine”, quotes at include “Cultural busybodies have long known that in post this-is-your-brain-on-drugs America, the best way to win attention for a pet cause is to compare it to some scourge that already scares the bejesus out of America”. It was different in the 1980s and 1990s. The troubling trend was not officially known until it was dubbed “the new crack cocaine.” Jim Leitzel, University of Chicago Professor of Vice Squad, notes that a Google Search reveals experts who call slot machines (The New York Times Magazine), video games (the Canadian Press), and casinos (Madison Capital Times), the “crack cocaine of gaming.” Leitzel’s search also revealed that spam email is “the crack drug of advertising” (Sarasota Herald Tribune) and that cybersex (Focus on the Family).
We can see that calling something “crack cocaine” has become a meaningless phrase, indicating only that the person who made the statement believes it is important. We knew then that Sen. Kyl, Rep. Leach, and Rep. Goodlatte felt the issue was important. Otherwise they wouldn’t have introduced the legislation.
The next article will continue my coverage of the issues raised in politicians against online gambling and offer a different perspective on their rhetoric. It will cover the “drain on economy” caused online gambling and the concept of money laundering.