There appears to be good news and bad news for those that enjoy the right to be able to gamble online. On one hand, there is new legislation being introduced to legalize it. On the other hand, it doesn’t appear to have much chance to pass.
New legislation proposed Thursday by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., would overturn the ban on Internet gambling that was enacted last fall.
The bill, which is likely to have a hard time getting through Congress, was proposed by Frank, who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He says that the law, which prevents using credit cards to place bets online, is an inappropriate interference on the personal freedom of Americans and should be repealed.
Frank calls the ban “One of the stupidest things I ever saw.”
The Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007 would permit licensed companies to accept bets from United States residents as permitted by individual states, sports leagues and Indian tribes, according to Frank.
The bill would let operators of gambling sites be unrestricted and allow U.S. banks and credit card companies to once again allow payments to online gambling websites. The bill would also force the licensed companies to have protection against problems such as underage and compulsive gambling.
To help this, users registering at gambling sites would have to provide personal information such as name, address, date of birth, and other information. The information would go through a payment system that would check the information for accuracy.
Frank doesn’t think that the ban makes sense because other forms of legalized gambling currently exist in almost every U.S. state. He adds that the Internet gambling ban also leaves Americans who choose to gamble online without “meaningful consumer protections.”
All Internet gambling companies are located outside the U.S. Most of the companies are British yet about half of the customers in the $12 million industry are American. Those that support the ban say that online betting can be addictive and drain bank accounts.
Frank did indicate that the Democratic party most likely would not support the new legislation, especially considering the vote for the ban legislation passed by a huge 317-93 margin. The Bush administration is also probably a lock to oppose it.
Some in the gambling industry are even against Internet betting. The horse racing industry, for example, is against it because they say it could hurt the integrity of their sport. The same goes for most professional sports leagues.
The Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing regarding the topic in June.