Gambling Industry Could Get Burned if Bernie Sanders is Elected President

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Gambling Industry Could Get Burned if Bernie Sanders is Elected President

Followers of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, show their support with the slogan "Feel the Bern."

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But just how would the gambling industry feel about the Bern should the white-haired, 74-year-old native New Yorker who describes himself as a socialist actually become President?

Would the gambling industry end up getting burned?

As part of its continuing series on the 2016 Presidential candidates and their views on gambling issues (click the POLITICS link on the home page for previous articles in the series), Gambling 911 examined Sanders' record on gambling and discovered that it is somewhat contradictory.

He has both supported and opposed legislation that was harmful to gambling.

And when it comes to the specific issue of online gambling, in the past he twice voted for measures restricting it, but now says he doesn't have an opinion on it.

Sanders began his political career in 1981, when he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont's largest city.

After serving for several terms, he ran for and was elected a U.S. congressman representing the Burlington area in 1988.

After multiple terms as a congressman, Sanders was elected U.S. senator from Vermont in 2005, a post he has held ever since.

So what is his Congressional voting record on gambling?

According to Vote Smart, an independent non-partisan organization that tracks the voting records of members of the U.S. Congress, Sanders cast votes on three legislative bills involving gambling while he was a congressman and none while a senator.

In 2003, he voted in favor of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, a bill that made it illegal for financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies to process financial transactions that involve online gambling.

The bill, which covered the processing of credit card transactions, electronic fund transfers, checks and other forms of money transfer, passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 319 to 104.

In 2006, he voted in favor of the Internet Gambling Bill, a bill that prohibited online gambling through the use of any communication of information that assists in planning bets.

The bill, which also set a five-year prison sentence for those who knowingly violated the law, passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 316 to 93.

Also in 2006, he voted against the Restricting Indian Gaming to Homelands of Tribes Act, a bill that increased Federal regulation of Indian tribe-run casinos.

The bill failed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 247-171.

By voting twice for bills that made it harder for Americans to gamble online, it appears that Sanders is against online gambling.

But according to The Hill, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Sanders' most recent statements on online gambling indicate that he isn't quite sure where he stands on the issue.

“The essence of the issue here is what role, if any, should the Federal or state government play in regulating Internet activities," Sanders said in reference to Internet gambling. "My mind is not yet made up on the issue."

Not yet made up?

The issue of online gambling has been around since the 1990s.

What's taking so long to form an opinion?

So the bottom line on Sanders, when it comes to gambling, is this:

Sometimes he's for it.

Sometimes he's against it.

And sometimes he just doesn't know.

By Tom Somach

Gambling 911 Staff Writer

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