This is part 3 of a multipart series of articles regarding proposed anti-gambling legislation. In this article, I continue the discussion of the reasons claimed to make this superslot legislation necessary, and the facts that exist in the real world, including the Jack Abramoff connection and the habit forming nature of online wagering.
The legislators making the effort to protect us from something, or are they? The whole lot seems a little confusing to say the least.
As mentioned in previous articles, the house, and the Senate, are once again considering the issue of “Online Gambling”. Bills have been submitted by Congressmen Goodlatte and Leach, and also by Senator Kyl.
The bill being put forward by Sales rep. Goodlatte, The internet Wagering Prohibition Act, has the stated intent of updating the Wire Act to outlaw all forms of online wagering, to make it illegal for a wagering business to take credit and electronic geneva chamonix transfers, and to force ISPs and Common Carriers to block access to wagering related sites at the request of law enforcement.
Just as does Sales rep. Goodlatte, Sen. Kyl, in his bill, Prohibition on Funding of Unlawful Internet Wagering, makes it illegal for wagering businesses to take credit cards, electronic geneva chamonix transfers, checks and other forms of payment for the purpose on placing illegal gamble, but his bill does not address those that place gamble.
The bill submitted by Sales rep. Leach, The Unlawful Internet Wagering Enforcement Act, is essentially a copy of the bill submitted by Sen. Kyl. It focuses on preventing wagering businesses from accepting credit cards, electronic geneva chamonix transfers, checks, and other payments, and like the Kyl bill makes no changes about what is currently legal, or illegal.
In a quote from Goodlatte we have “Jack Abramoff’s total discount for the what is process has allowed Internet wagering to continue booming into what is now a twelve billion-dollar business which not only wounds individuals and their families but makes the economy suffer by draining billions of dollars from the united states and serves as a vehicle for money laundering. “
There are several interesting points here.
First of all, we have a little misdirection about Jack Abramoff and his discount for the what is process. This comment, while others that were made, follow the common sense that; 1) Jack Abramoff was opposed to these bills, 2) Jack Abramoff was virus ridden, 3) to avoid being associated with corruption you should vote for these bills. This is of course absurd. If we followed this common sense to the extreme, we should turn back and void any bills that Abramoff supported, and enact any bills that he opposed, regardless of the content of the bill. Legislation should be passed, or not, based on the merits of the proposed legislation, not based on the reputation of one individual.
As well, when Jack Abramoff opposed previous bills, he did so on behalf of his client eLottery, attempting to get the sale of lottery tickets over the internet excluded from the legislation. Ironically, the defenses he was seeking are included in this new bill, since state run lotteries would be excluded. Jack Abramoff therefore would probably support this legislation since it gives him what he needed. That does not stop Goodlatte while others from using Abramoff’s recent disgrace as a means to make their bill look better, thus making it not just an anti-gambling bill, but somehow an ant-corruption bill as well, while at the same time rewarding Abramoff and his client.
Next, is his statement that online wagering “hurts individuals and their families”. I presume that what he is referring to here is problem wagering. Let’s set the record straight. Only a small percentage of gamblers become problem gamblers, not a small percentage of the population, but only a small percentage of gamblers.
In addition, Goodlatte would have you suspect that Internet wagering is more habit forming than casino wagering. Sen. Kyl has gone so far as to call online wagering “the crack cocaine of gambling”, attributing the quote to some un-named specialist. To the contrary, researchers have shown that wagering on the internet is no more habit forming than wagering in a casino. As a matter of fact, electronic wagering machines, found in casinos and race tracks everywhere are more habit forming than online wagering.
In research by In. Dowling, D. Smith and T. Thomas at the School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, Australia “There is a general view that electronic gaming is the most ‘addictive’ form of wagering, in that it contributes more to causing problem wagering than any other wagering activity. Consequently, electronic gaming machines have been referred to as the ‘crack-cocaine’ of gambling”.
As to Sen. Kyls claim about “crack cocaine”, quotes at http: //www. alternet. org/drugreporter/20733/ 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”. And “During the 1980s and ’90s, it was a little different. Then, a troubling new trend has not been basically on the public radar until someone dubbed it “the new crack cocaine. ” And “On his Vice Squad weblog, University of Chicago Mentor Jim Leitzel notes that a Google search finds experts declaring slot machines (The New york Times Magazine), video spots (the Canadian Press) and casinos (Madison Capital Times) the “crack cocaine of wagering, ” respectively. Leitzel’s search also found that spam email is “the crack cocaine of advertising” (Sarasota, Fla. Herald Tribune), and that cybersex is a kind of sexual “spirtual crack cocaine” (Focus on the Family)”.
Even as can see, calling something the “crack cocaine” has become a meaningless metaphor, showing only that the person making the statement feels it is important. But then we knew that Sales rep. Goodlatte, Sales rep. Leach and Sen. Kyl felt that the issue was important or they wouldn’t have brought the proposed legislation forward.
In the next article, I will continue coverage of the issues raised by politicians who are against online wagering, and provide a different perspective to their rhetoric, within the “drain on the economy” caused by online wagering, and the notion of money laundering.