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Congressman Ron Paul Discusses State Legalization of Online Gambling

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Mar/22/2009
Ron Paul

Gambling911.com's Senior International Correspondent, Jenny Woo, sat down with Texas Republican Congressman, Ron Paul, this week to discuss the issue of legalized online gambling.  Dr. Paul has been one of the most outspoken supporters of legalized Internet gambling, citing "individual rights" as a primary reason for this platform.   He has even co-sponsored a bill to legalize online gambling with none other than Democrat Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Ron Paul gained huge national attention through his grassroots campaign to become President of the United States.  At the time, Congressman Paul did not hesitate to declare the US economy was in a recession while everyone else appeared to be in self-denial.  And, yes, he did beat out eventually GOP candidate, John McCain, in some of the earlier state caucuses.

As a means of helping to prop up their economies, individual states are now seriously considering legalizing what is now a $38 billion industry.

Jenny:  What's your opinion of moves being made by individual states to draft legislation that would make online gambling legal vs. the federal governments attempts?  Would you consider following the lead of other states by trying to get online gambling legalized in Texas?

Congressman Paul:  I think that's good, in other ordinary circumstances that should be the end of it.  There was time in our history, it's a long time ago when the states were recognized as almost like independent countries and they were suppose to have very a loose relationship to the fellow government.  That has long passed but recently there have been a lot of people talking whether it has to do with gambling or other things.  The states are just tired of the mess and are sort of striking out and saying we have to reassert ourselves.  So any time a state will do this whether it's online gambling or not, it should be encouraged.  I'm afraid, of course the mentality of those who love to rule over us in Washington as well as our Courts will continue to give us trouble but I think it's an encouraging sign that the states and the people want more independence rather than by the Federal Government. 

JENNY:  House Banking and Finance Committee Chairman Rep.. Barney Frank noted that online gaming would represent $52 billion dollars in tax revenue and said a bill to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) would come soon.  You co-sponsored a bill with Congressman Frank.  And just so you have some idea, we spoke to online gambling operators last week in Costa Rica and a few operators out of the UK as well and they are claiming the recession has barely caused a dent in their businesses.  Wouldn't it be a no-brainer to get online gambling legalized so that we can start pumping this much needed money into the nation's economy?

CONGRESSMAN PAUL:  This is probably where I'll have a slightly different opinion on this because my goal has never been to send more money to the government.  It's up to states if they are going to collect in this way.  Fine, but I don't want to change this for the purpose and the goal of raising more revenue.  I've always had trouble with the "supply siders" who say, "Well if you are at marginal rates you're going to get more revenues because it'll be a healthier economy."  Which is very good.  But if we get more revenues because we have a healthier economy, I want to cut the government.  Same way with this, if it's a source of revenue and taxes occur, I don't want to try to bail out Washington or any state government that spends too much money by any additional taxes.  But all things being equal that shouldn't stop us from continuing in moving in the direction of saying, "Yes, we ought to be allowed to have online gambling and run our affairs as we see fit."  

JENNY:  We know your stance on the issue and it seems a strong possibility that Barney Frank is going to try and push new legislation through Congress to get the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act) repealed.  Do you see a good number of Republicans supporting such legislation now?

CONGRESSMAN PAUL:  I think it's going to be tough.  They see this, not so much in the economic terms; they see this as endorsing something very bad - that kind of thing.  It's sort of the whole idea of when I talked to them about even legalizing medical marijuana, "Well yeah that makes sense Ron, that's okay and we understand the state's rights issue but I don't want to look like I'm soft on drugs."  And for many of them, their constituents think there's something awfully wrong with gambling.  Of course, you've heard me say before that, for me it is not the issue; it's people making their own free choices on how they would like to spend their money and enjoy themselves.

Be sure to check back Tuesday for Part II of Jenny Woo's Interview With Congressman Ron Paul where he discusses proposed legislation to audit the Fed. 

Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior International Correspondent 

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