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Gambling Regulations Win Out but Game Not Over
Nov 25 2008 - 1:03pm
Congressional deliberations on the sinking economy and corporate bailouts have overshadowed some recent positive financial news. The Bush administration has gained the upper hand in a drawn out battle with Capitol Hill critics by finalizing regulations to crack down on illegal Internet gambling, a welcomed action by most but one that's already under attack.
Financial institutions have been given until December 2009 to comply with a directive to put in place mechanisms to block credit card payments to Internet gambling operations. As banks utilize existing technology to intercept these transactions, the monetary channels to Internet gambling operations will quickly slow to a trickle of American dollars. In fact, Internet gambling in our nation has already come to a near stop as a result of passage of the illegal Internet gambling ban. When the banks put the regulations in place, countless individuals, young and old, who remain entrapped by online gambling addictions will have little choice but to abandon their habits.
The regulations, issued Nov. 12 by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, had been the missing component to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which passed by wide margins as part of a broader bill in the waning hours of Congress in 2006-409 to 2 in the House and with no objections in the Senate. Many of you deserve much credit for helping to move this bill through Congress.
While this achievement is celebrated, it must also be safeguarded. One of the men in the middle of the nation's economic negotiations, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), is also at the center of efforts to torpedo these regulations. The House Financial Services Committee chairman has taken strides from the beginning to scuttle any meaningful regulations on Internet gambling, a lucrative industry that has always been illegal in the U.S. Just last June, Rep. Frank and other reliable cohorts for the online gambling industry, Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Peter King (R-NY), tried to assail the regulations before they were even finalized and given a chance at success. Fortunately, their efforts were pushed back.
But the game is not over for these determined few. We can expect Rep. Frank and his allies to play their cards again-sooner rather than later. In all frankness, they will likely have a reasonable shot at their agenda with an incoming Congress more sympathetic to their views.
The $13 billion online gambling business has entrapped Americans of every stripe and socio-economic background with the ease of one-click credit card entries and the hopes of quick riches. Yet the only ones profiting are the business operators, located mainly outside the United States. Its losers are left with insurmountable debt and families in ruins. It would be a tragedy to allow this destructive force to continue by permitting the new regulations to be swept away.
Submitted by Guest on Tue, 11/25/2008 - 14:00