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interest groups lining up to lobby on web gambling

Topic closed. 23 replies. Last post 10 years ago by Badger.

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LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
Tennessee
United States
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October 15, 2004
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Posted: July 5, 2006, 7:49 am - IP Logged

WASHINGTON, July 3 — While Internet gamblers lay down big money on World Cup soccer this summer, teams of lobbyists are facing off on Capitol Hill in a contest over whether the United States should choke off the growth of wagering on the Web.

Representative Jim Leach, Republican of Iowa, co-sponsor of bill to cut back Internet gambling.

 

Faced with bills to curb online betting, which attracts an estimated $12 billion a year in wagers worldwide, an array of interest groups like casinos here and abroad, as well as sports leagues, antigambling coalitions and even poker players, has dispatched lobbyists to argue what should be legal and what should not.

Major League Baseball wants to make sure that any measures do not diminish fantasy sports games, which it credits for a resurgence in its popularity.

The big Las Vegas casinos, which have been neutral over online betting, have embraced a proposal in the House to establish a study commission. Convenience stores are watching to see whether sales of lottery tickets might be affected, though Powerball seems to be safe for now.

The horse racing industry seems sanguine, but dog tracks are worried. Offshore casinos are fighting any restrictions.

The Justice Department has always considered Internet gambling illegal. But that has not stopped online wagering from flourishing.

Gambling opponents are pushing for bills to put teeth into enforcement. In the House, proponents of a crackdown merged two bills. The majority leader, Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, announced a few days ago that the measure would be voted on this summer as part of what the Republicans call their American Values Agenda.

The odds of a bill's becoming law this year appear long. Beyond that, nearly everyone agrees that online betting may be unstoppable because of the reach of the Internet and the difficulty in regulating its activity.

David O. Stewart, an analyst and a lawyer who produced a study of online gambling for the American Gaming Association, a client of his firm, paraphrased an adage used by the Supreme Court in a campaign finance case, saying: "Money, like water, will find its way. And I really think that applies to this. The money will find a way to get to the offshore sites."

Proponents of Internet gambling argue that the Congressional trend goes against the growing tide of international wagering. As many as 80 countries allow it in some form.

The most prominent model is Britain, which through revisions of its gambling laws is about to devise a tax-and-regulatory structure that it hopes will entice offshore gambling companies to locate there.

Britain is sponsoring a fall symposium on instituting such changes.

Other countries are eyeing rulings of the World Trade Organization, where tiny Antigua, with its offshore casinos, continues to press the trade body to find that the United States is violating trade agreements by trying to block access to online gambling.

"Americans are already gaming in large numbers because it's entertainment," said Mike McComb, a spokesman for Betmaker.com, based in Costa Rica. "It's an extension of entertainment. In England, what they've found is that it's just something that needs to be regulated to protect consumers. And it's a great source of revenue."

In the United States, the fight is set to resume when Congress returns from its Fourth of July recess. The House proposal would make it illegal to use a banking instrument like a check or credit card to settle Internet wagers, and it would penalize institutions that act as intermediaries channeling money between the offshore gambling enterprises and American bettors.

The measure would also update the Wire Act of 1961 to prohibit Internet gambling specifically.

"It will not be a perfect preclusive approach, but it will be pretty strong," said Representative Jim Leach, Republican of Iowa, a co-sponsor of the bill.

The Poker Players Alliance, a relatively new player on the Hill, and others that would be affected by a ban point to big-money interests like horse racing that are is not covered under the proposal.

The bill, said Michael Bolcerek, an amateur player who is president of the alliance, is "picking winners and losers."

Celebrity players have even dealt a few hands to lawmakers in an effort to show that poker is a game of skill, not chance, a critical legal distinction in the debate.

Mr. Leach said the poker players offered a fairly persuasive argument. But he added that he still believed that there were no social benefit and few "happy aspects" to Internet gambling. Not only can gambling be addictive, with debts racked up quickly online, Mr. Leach said, but from a moral standpoint, gambling also breaks apart families and poses a danger to under-age players.

Some gambling opponents want an even broader bill. The Traditional Values Coalition, a conservative group, wrote in a letter to Congress in the spring that the exemption of horse racing showed that it paid "to pony up."

The Center for Responsive Politics calculated that a sizable part of the racing industry has contributed more than $3 million to lawmakers, presidential candidates and state and federal political action committees since 2000. Far more than half the total went to Republicans, the center said.

Mr. Leach bristled at the notion that special interests or campaign contributions influenced him. He said he did not accept PAC money.

Kathryn Rexrode, a spokeswoman for Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who is a co-sponsor of the merged bills, said the horse racing industry contributed when Mr. Goodlatte was not sponsoring such legislation, but when he was chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Mr. Leach said that "we authorize nothing new for horse racing," because it is regulated under the Interstate Horseracing Act. Even fantasy sports games, he added, would be further restricted under the bill, with bans on betting on individual teams or players.

Mr. Leach pointed to the coalition of supporters for the bills, including churches that represent many denominations, like Christian fundamentalists, that tend to have a consensus on little else.

"I just think the stars are in alignment, that Congress knows it has to deal with this issue," he said.

On the Senate side, Mr. Leach is counting on two Republicans, the majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, and Jon Kyl of Arizona. The Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid, a former gambling commissioner in Nevada, "has serious concerns about our ability to properly regulate Internet gaming," his spokesman, Jim Manley, wrote in an e-mail message.

    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
    Tennessee
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    Posted: July 5, 2006, 3:23 pm - IP Logged

    The odds of a bill's becoming law this year appear long. Beyond that, nearly everyone agrees that online betting may be unstoppable because of the reach of the Internet and the difficulty in regulating its activity.



    hopefully the odds will always be long.....

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      New Mexico
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      Posted: July 5, 2006, 11:57 pm - IP Logged

      The odds of a bill's becoming law this year appear long. Beyond that, nearly everyone agrees that online betting may be unstoppable because of the reach of the Internet and the difficulty in regulating its activity.



      hopefully the odds will always be long.....

      With all those lobbyists in town the mirror-razorblade-rolled-up $100 bill business must be booming in the Capitol building washrooms.

       Convenience stores are watching to see whether sales of lottery tickets might be affected, though Powerball seems to be safe for now

       Bet a lot of people are surely surprised PB's in no danger.  Likely that was a real cliff hanger.  Ho hum.

      The horse racing industry seems sanguine, but dog tracks are worried.

       Horses feel a certain kinship for the seat of government, knowing they have, back there underneath their tails, a brother-in-spirit to the decision-makers.  Dogs, on the other hand, worry about coyotes.

      Mr. Leach said the poker players offered a fairly persuasive argument. But he added that he still believed that there were no social benefit and few "happy aspects" to Internet gambling.

       Mr. Leach is a master of understatement.

      Mr. Leach pointed to the coalition of supporters for the bills, including churches that represent many denominations, like Christian fundamentalists, that tend to have a consensus on little else.

      So long as they believe in Jesus and whether other folks ought to have to go to prison for gambling, what else do they need to know?

       "I just think the stars are in alignment, that Congress knows it has to deal with this issue," he said.

       This ought to be on the Mystical Forum.

      J

      Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

      It's about number behavior.

      Egos don't count.

       

      Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

       

        dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

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        Posted: July 6, 2006, 12:44 am - IP Logged

        I love how Republicans call it "values" when it's really just lining their pockets.

        Democrats rule WA state however and didn't even allow public discussion on the matter. I guess they, plus the WA state gaming commision got their bribes from tribal casinos in advance. 

          BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
          Dump Water Florida
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          June 5, 2002
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          Posted: July 6, 2006, 2:10 am - IP Logged

          The only thing Democrats and Republicans stand for is election. I find it disgusting how our supposed freedoms turn to dust in the hand of our "leaders".  These people don't work for me, speak for me, or do anything to help me, yet they have the freaking nerve to think they have a say in what I choose to do that harms no one. 

          No matter what it is, someone is addicted to it.  Does that mean we must all live in a child's world where the worse drug is chocolate milk?  Stupid bastards are ruining everything without fixing anything. 

          Went to city hall tonight for the commissioners meeting. Stood up and told them what they were doing wasn't legal, even cited the statute numbers.  They didn't discuss it or consult the city attorney, just went ahead and voted for it as if I'd said nothing.  It is down right scary watching your city ignore the law.  If you're not a lawyer with the will to sue them, they can get away with anything.

          BobP


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            Poway CA (San Diego County)
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            Posted: July 6, 2006, 3:55 am - IP Logged

            I have read in this thread and others concerning this matter people saying that the government would not be able to do anything about internet gambling.

            Those of us that use online betting services have found out that many banks and many credit cards will not allow transactions that have anything to do with gambling. 

            Title 18 of the U.S. Code requires all banks to report to the U.S. Government all transfers of $10,000 or more.

            On top of all that, you probably know about SWIFT.  If not, read this article:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/global/main.jhtml?xml=/global/2006/06/28/ncia28.xml

            So, the U.S. Govenment can and does monitor transactions from overseas. 

            Still think they can't know who is gambling? 

             

              sfilippo's avatar - skull
              Oklahoma
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              Posted: July 6, 2006, 3:35 pm - IP Logged

              I've been wondering if 'overseas ISP's will be a way to shield online gaming from U.S. authorities. And if transferring winnings to the states, just keep it in increments of less than the red flag amount.

              I don't think new U.S. law can stop online gambling.

               

              Smiley Steve

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                Poway CA (San Diego County)
                United States
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                January 25, 2004
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                Posted: July 6, 2006, 3:45 pm - IP Logged

                I've been wondering if 'overseas ISP's will be a way to shield online gaming from U.S. authorities. And if transferring winnings to the states, just keep it in increments of less than the red flag amount.

                I don't think new U.S. law can stop online gambling.

                 

                If you read the article about SWIFT you see that there is no red flag amount.  Title 18 has an amount, but now we know that the CIA can monitor ALL money transfers into the United States. 

                I do think the U.S. can stop online gambling and/or tax it.  Tax would make more sense to the people that make the laws!!

                 

                  LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                  Tennessee
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                  Posted: July 6, 2006, 3:51 pm - IP Logged

                  i'll be glad when they finally get something done with the whole matter.personally i like it the way it is now......

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                    New Mexico
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                    Posted: July 6, 2006, 5:26 pm - IP Logged

                    i'll be glad when they finally get something done with the whole matter.personally i like it the way it is now......

                    You can't blame those legislators for dragging their feet.  They're in a no-win situation.

                    If they go one way, they infuriate the busybody holier than though know-what's-good-for-everyone-else crowd.

                    If they go the other way they lose no-telling-how-much in bribes and kickbacks.

                    But if they drag their feet the longer they do so the more nose-candy they get for those reminders of bought loyalty trips into the washroom to do a few lines while they try to make up their minds.

                    J

                    Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

                    It's about number behavior.

                    Egos don't count.

                     

                    Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

                     

                      Badger's avatar - adu50016 NorthAmericanBadger.jpg
                      Wisconsin
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                      March 27, 2003
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                      Posted: July 6, 2006, 10:10 pm - IP Logged

                      "David O. Stewart, an analyst and a lawyer who produced a study of online gambling for the American Gaming Association, a client of his firm, paraphrased an adage used by the Supreme Court in a campaign finance case, saying: "Money, like water, will find its way. And I really think that applies to this. The money will find a way to get to the offshore sites."

                      This pretty much sums it up.

                      "The most prominent model is Britain, which through revisions of its gambling laws is about to devise a tax-and-regulatory structure that it hopes will entice offshore gambling companies to locate there. "

                      Which shows that the Brits have a much better grasp of how the real world works today than do our American politicians.

                      ============

                      How can you tell if a politician is lying?

                      Answer: His lips are moving.

                        JAP69's avatar - alas
                        South Carolina
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                        Posted: July 6, 2006, 10:27 pm - IP Logged


                        American politicans have jumped the fence to being a dictatorial power trip.

                        Other countries have dictators as rulers.
                        Here in the U.S. we call them politicans.

                        WHATT

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                          New Mexico
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                          Posted: July 6, 2006, 10:40 pm - IP Logged


                          American politicans have jumped the fence to being a dictatorial power trip.

                          Other countries have dictators as rulers.
                          Here in the U.S. we call them politicans.

                          JAP69:

                          It's a puzzle, isn't it?  Happened during our watch, too.

                          From the time you and I were kids until now isn't half a century.  When we got it the country had a Constitution, had a gross national product, a single prison in every state, had exports instead of imports.  Had something akin to a democracy.

                          Now we're handing it off to the next generation and it's got a stink a tumblebug would gag on.

                          Crazy, so much, so fast with so little intent on our parts.

                          J

                          Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

                          It's about number behavior.

                          Egos don't count.

                           

                          Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser

                           

                            JAP69's avatar - alas
                            South Carolina
                            United States
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                            November 4, 2001
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                            Posted: July 6, 2006, 11:11 pm - IP Logged


                            American politicans have jumped the fence to being a dictatorial power trip.

                            Other countries have dictators as rulers.
                            Here in the U.S. we call them politicans.

                            JAP69:

                            It's a puzzle, isn't it?  Happened during our watch, too.

                            From the time you and I were kids until now isn't half a century.  When we got it the country had a Constitution, had a gross national product, a single prison in every state, had exports instead of imports.  Had something akin to a democracy.

                            Now we're handing it off to the next generation and it's got a stink a tumblebug would gag on.

                            Crazy, so much, so fast with so little intent on our parts.

                            J

                            Yes it is a puzzle.

                            The whole thing in a nutshell is we have gone from what the majority wants to what the minority interests want.

                            WHATT

                              JAP69's avatar - alas
                              South Carolina
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                              Posted: July 6, 2006, 11:15 pm - IP Logged


                              American politicans have jumped the fence to being a dictatorial power trip.

                              Other countries have dictators as rulers.
                              Here in the U.S. we call them politicans.

                              JAP69:

                              It's a puzzle, isn't it?  Happened during our watch, too.

                              From the time you and I were kids until now isn't half a century.  When we got it the country had a Constitution, had a gross national product, a single prison in every state, had exports instead of imports.  Had something akin to a democracy.

                              Now we're handing it off to the next generation and it's got a stink a tumblebug would gag on.

                              Crazy, so much, so fast with so little intent on our parts.

                              J

                              Yes it is a puzzle.

                              The whole thing in a nutshell is we have gone from what the majority wants to what the minority interests want.


                              I think the majority interest groups might better start atttending more town meetings on up to meetings where higher office holders meet the populace.

                              WHATT