Representative Mary Bono Mack chaired a second hearing on the future of online gambling in the US. A subcommittee under the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard from two separate panels on the issue with all the usual faces making an appearance in the first part and no new ground really being broken. Before the panel had its chance, we opened up with G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) giving his firm backing to the regulation of online gambling. His view is that it will be a tremendous boost to budgets as well as giving Americans the chance to take advantage of well-paid jobs. The speaker did add: “we must do our best to get it right.
Next up was that wiley Texan himself, Rep Joe Barton (R-TX), who is always at pains to point out that his bill is exclusively poker and that he’s living proof that poker’s a game of skill. Barton added that UIGEA is unenforceable and needs to be reformed. Rep Charlie Bass (R-NH) gave his short pre-panel spiel about how much the lottery has done for the state’s education system.
After all that, we welcomed the first panelist of the day, Barney Frank (D-MA). His and Mr Campbell’s bill, covering all online gambling, has been around for some time and at its heart is allowing adult Americans to spend their money as they wish. He reiterated his assertion that federal government shouldn’t be allowed to control people this way and it goes against everything that has been said about the “Nanny State.” It also goes against the Republican view that the Internet shouldn’t be interfered with and that special controls on a certain part of the internet is not something that “Hands Off The Internet” agrees with.
Frank Wolf (R-VA) then gave across his plethora of reason why allowing this bill to pass is bad with a capital B. Some of the gems he revealed were that you can now gambling in your bathrobe and the old-favorite describing internet gambling as “crack cocaine” was brought out not once but twice. We’re just hoping Wolf doesn’t turn up to the next debate in a bathrobe.
The last member of the panel was John Campbell (R-CA), with four points at the crux of his argument. Firstly it was freedom for all adults to do what they want to do. Then that the bill would provide protection to online gamblers, jobs as all infrastructure would be in the USA and lastly revenue, but not as the main point. He made the valid point that alcohol prohibition didn’t work and that internet gambling has better protection against problem gamblers than brick and mortar venues can provide.
Overall it didn’t really reveal much apart from the panel all being on the same sides of the fence that they were before.