Although we believe it is about time we saw more of this – support for US online gambling- we are actually pretty surprised to find that support is finally happening. Online gambling has found a certain degree of support in House when a subcommittee indicated last Tuesday that they would move forward with laws to legalize and regulate some forms of online gambling. Chairperson of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Manufacturing sub-panel, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), said the committee would however still have to deliberate before acting on any new laws.
Both industry leaders and law makers who were present at the hearing on Tuesday are in agreement. Legislators have finally realized that the time has come to act on this issue; to allow the bingo halls, card-rooms, casinos and racetracks of this nation, to operate online. It was noted that some type of gambling is available in every US state, other than Utah and Hawaii, and that it was time to get the nation united, and operate as a regulated industry.
The introducer of the regulation legislation this summer – Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), said that he learned to play poker while in the Boy Scouts, and this does not surprise us at all. Playing poker is about as American as baking an apple pie! Barton reiterated that if you learn something in the Boys Scouts, then it ‘has to be a good thing!’
The hearing pointed out many facts that we have known for a very long time. Facts such as the amount of money already spent by millions of online gamblers in the US – it is estimated that upward of $6 billion, enters the coffers of offshore gambling websites that are not legal in the USA. Members FOR online gambling were brandishing facts such as this at the hearing. They have used this data as a base-line for selling the industry to government, and the fact that regulating and taxing online gambling could seriously shore-up the federal deficit, and make a big impact on State finances too.
G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) – a high ranking committee member, said games such as bingo and poker are ‘as ubiquitous in the U.S. as baseball and football’. He added that the Congressional hard-line-stance on the issue has driven millions of Americans to offshore sites, where not only does their gambling spend leave the country; they can easily be scammed as they have no player protection from the country in which they live. Witnesses and legislators also argued that UIGEA has not worked, and Barton said that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was in fact un-enforceable.
It has been his argument all along that poker is a game of skill; that President Obama is well-known to be a first-rate card player, and he also added that Pres. Nixon partially funded his first congressional campaign with his poker winnings. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) co-sponsor his Bill, and he believes that this proves his ideas have merit.