Online Gambling Bill Headed for Mark Up Vote

26 July 2010

Just like it was alluded to last week in the House Financial Services hearing Barney Frank’s H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act is moving quickly through the beginning stages and already has a mark-up set for Tuesday, July 27th.

The hearing had its fair share of supporters and distracters with heated discussion’s coming from both sides. Barney Frank, who is Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee certainly would not call for a mark up if he didn’t already think he had the votes to get it passed. The HR 2267 mark up is one of 6 that are on the agenda for Tuesday however making it hard to pinpoint when the vote will occur.

They’re still strong opinions on both sides of this issue. The main argument for some kind of regulation of online gambling is revenue and can be summed up by Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative who commented in a press release Friday that,

“The passage of this legislation would be a win-win as it will protect consumers, create an estimated 32,000 new jobs over five years and provide federal and state governments with as much as $72 billion in new revenues over ten years.”

The counter argument to that seems to be protecting the children, as former federal prosecutor Michael Fagan summed up,

“Any parent who’s puzzled or despaired over their child’s trancelike playing of video games during the past 20 years can readily see why Internet gambling operators are drooling over the chance to legally expand their market base into the United States.”

There are those however that break it down even further and suggest that it is not fair for the U.S. government to take away a person’s right to choose if they want to gamble online or not. It is a matter of taking away our right to freedom of choice.

Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato wrote about this view in a politico.com opinion contributor article when he said,

“The freedom to play poker is not one of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. But when the Founding Fathers conceived of a new nation, they never dreamed that someday Congress would dream up a law to ban that particular freedom — especially when such a ban was so clearly against the wishes of the American people.

What the Founders did envision was a government that would necessarily listen to the wishes and demands of those who sent them to Washington in the first place.”

No matter what side you are aligned with, it looks like online gambling is coming to the forefront on Congress real soon, probably this year. With a little luck, freedom of choice will win the day.

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