House online gambling hearings: a day late, a brain short

The tag team of Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, seeking to inject some much-needed sanity into the debate regarding online gambling, but they quickly ran into the ‘no fact zone’ that is Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia). Goodlatte couldn’t even correctly recall the name of the UIGEA legislation he himself had sponsored in 2006, repeatedly referring to it as the “Uniform Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.”

Meanwhile, in an interview with ABC News, Rep. Spencer Bacchus (R-Alabama) trotted out the same tired clichés equating gambling with crack cocaine, while other members of Congress reminded everyone that with the clock ticking on this particular legislative session and a litany of more pressing issues (war, bankruptcy, discovering the location of the President’s birth certificate, etc.) confronting the country, there’s little if any chance that anything will be done about online gambling.

The net effect of this is that the UK public companies — whose shareholder agreements forced them to exit the U.S. market in 2006 — are left once again with their noses pressed up against the glass, outside wanting in. Didn’t 50 Cent say something about window shoppers?