July 21, 2010 Print
Internet Gamblind

Rep. Barney Frank Seeks to Decriminalize Internet Gambling; 67 Percent of Americans Disapprove

by Catherine Snow

‘Why (would) we would be taking steps to open casinos in every home, dorm room, library, iPod, Blackberry, iPad and computer in America?’

Nearly 67 percent of Americans are opposed to decriminalizing Internet gambling.

Yet, Rep. Barney Frank, D – Mass., – chairman of the powerful House Financial Services committee – is persistent in his effort to repeal the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

Rep. James McDermott, D-Wash., has a companion bill to tax the proceeds — conveniently creating yet another revenue stream for the growing government.

Their bills gained little favor two months ago when considered by the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, the committee’s ranking Republican, found Democratic support of Frank’s bill to be both contradictory and hypocritical.

“The timing of today’s hearing on Chairman Frank’s proposal to legalize gambling over the Internet strikes some of us as ironic, to say the least,” the Alabama congressman said. “After all the talk during the last year about shutting down the casinos on Wall Street, it does not make any sense to me why we would be taking steps to open casinos in every home, dorm room, library, iPod, Blackberry, iPad and computer in America.

“This morning, President Obama signed legislation whose proponents claim will protect consumers from unwise financial decisions and from predatory practices by financial institutions, he said.  “(Yet) this afternoon, this committee is considering the merits of a bill that will fleece Americans by reversing current restrictions on Internet gambling, which is perhaps the ultimate example of Americans making unwise and harmful financial choices. It seems that Democrats’ solicitude for the well-being and protection of American consumers has its limits.”

Family groups agree and contend UIGEA’s repeal is not in the best interest of families, finances or freedoms.

Chad Hills, gambling analyst for CitizenLink, cautions Americans – especially those with libertarian-leanings – not to buy into Democrats’ clichés of “personal choice,” “consumer protection” and “tax and regulate.” Rather, he asks Americans to consider the long-term, unintended consequences.

“These bills are being pushed by the well-funded, illegal online gambling industry that seeks to exploit Americans, manipulate U.S. members of Congress and subvert U.S. policy – all in order to profit foreign gambling operations,” Hills said.

Societal costs of decriminalizing online gambling – which conservative estimates predict in upwards of $25 billion a year – would be yet another economic burden to already cash-strapped states and local governments – not to mention churches and nonprofit organizations.

In its 1999 report on Internet gambling, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that:

“many families of pathological gamblers suffer from a variety of financial, physical and emotional problems, including divorce, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and a range of problems stemming from the severe financial hardship that commonly results from pathological gambling.

“Children of compulsive gamblers are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, such as smoking, drinking and using drugs, and have an increased risk of developing problem or pathological gambling themselves.

“As access to money becomes more limited, gamblers often resort to crime, in order to pay debts, appease bookies, maintain appearances, and garner more money to gamble.”

Frank’s bill would not only override existing federal and state laws prohibiting gambling, it would give the government extraordinary access to personal information, as well as to tax the Internet.

Ask members of the House Financial Services Committee to oppose the decriminalization and taxation of Internet gambling (H.R.2267/H.R.4976).

View today’s hearing.

Read H.R. 2267 – Rep. Frank – Overturns UIGEA, legalizes Internet gambling.

Read H.R. 4976 – Rep. McDermott –(Similar to H.R. 2268) Places federal and state taxes on Internet-gambling commerce.

Read Chad Hill’s blog post, “Internet gambling costs what?”

Read Chad Hill’s blog post, “Stossel, libertarians supporting Big Government, more taxes?”

Read Chad Hill’s blog post, “Ballpark Franks and Gambling.”