US Representatives Discuss Internet Gaming

01/06/2012
By Tommie ClarkGoogle

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, a congressional subcommittee made up of House representatives from both parties, recently had a hearing on the topic: “Internet Gaming: Regulating in an Online World.”  The topics discussed included the potential outcome of easing restrictions, consumer protection, possibilities of interstate gambling, the success of present legislation, and a number of new bills being proposed by lawmakers.

 

The first panel speaker was Frank Wolf (R-VA-10).  Wolf entered a heated debate with Joe Barton (R-TX-6) who has proposed a bill for legalizing online poker.  Wolf claimed that poker is no different than any other form of gambling, and therefore the legalization of online poker provides convenience gambling at a level that will lead to problem gambling.  Barton, on the other hand, claimed that poker is a game of skill and should therefore be treated different.  Panelists present at the committee strengthened Barton’s argument by pointing out that though millions of Americans have been engaging in online gambling for years, there has been no relative increase in problem gambling in the U.S.

 

The next two speakers in the panel were John Campbell (R-CA-48) and Barney Frank (D-MA-4), well known supporters of legalizing internet gambling.  The two representatives have cosponsored a new bill they hope will finally succeed in creating a legal framework for licensing online casinos.  Frank commented that such a framework will increase consumer protection and safety.

 

American Gaming Association CEO Frank Fahrenkopf also spoke.  He made a unique and interesting point; he said that states do not have to fear unilateral legalization of online gambling, because if any particular state is against it for whatever their internal reasons may be, they can always prohibit it via state law.

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