Internet Gambling Legislation Costly and Un-American

01 July 2006

Counterpoint: Bill is costly to taxpayers — and un-American
guest columnist
June 27, 2006

Congressional Republicans in Washington remain obsessed with banning Internet poker, and a prohibition bill will hit the House floor within days. Unfortunately, Florida’s own Rep. Dave Weldon is on the record favoring a ban.

The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (HR 4777), sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and co-sponsored by Rep. Weldon, seeks to stop American citizens from gathering online to play poker. It passed the House Judiciary Committee last month. A similar piece of legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Leach, R- Iowa, prohibits individuals engaged in the “business of betting or wagering” from knowingly accepting monetary transactions from “unlawful Internet gambling.”

The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Board will prescribe regulations for financial institutions to identify and deputize these banks to restrict such transactions without liability. Another piece of legislation being considered by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., would piggyback off of the aforementioned pieces and take a similar approach in regulating online gambling.

Poker is a game of skill, unlike slots or roulette. Like jazz and baseball, poker was invented in America. More than 70 million Americans enjoy the game, and 23 million of them choose to play it online. Why poker should become illegal when played online is beyond me. It is also beyond the understanding of a great deal of the American public; nearly 75 percent of the individuals polled were opposed to Congress’ efforts to ban online poker.

Specifically, the voting public should know the following about this bill in case it becomes law:

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