Speaking in defense of his bill regulating online gambling operators, H.R. 2267, Chairman Barney Frank told the House Financial Services Committee that his motivation in authoring the measure goes beyond increasing revenues to dealing directly with guaranteeing freedom. Frank said that government should restrict choice only when direct harm to another person is involved, which he asserted is not the case with online gambling.
Spencer Bachus, a leading voice in Congress against gaming bills, said the Frank bill would provide “gambling in every home, every computer, Blackberry, iPod.” He said states should be making the decisions to allow Internet gaming, rather than have it forced on them.
“This bill, if it imposes anything, imposes freedom,” replied Republican John Campbell of California to the concerns of Bachus. Campbell noted that US residents would have increased choice, not diminished, if the bill were made law.
Bachus continued, saying the effect of the proposal would be redistribution of wealth from poor Americans to foreign gaming operators. He tried to use the insurgent grassroots rejection of governmental expansion and the socialistic redistribution of wealth to an ill-fitting connection with online casinos.
But Frank responded testily, calling Bachus’ argument nonsense and saying to him that the bill is about “allowing people to voluntarily make decisions of which you disapprove.” Frank said US residents should be free to make their own choice, without clearance from church groups “or the Christian Science Monitor or whoever.”
When a committee member suggested the bill be tied to Jim McDermott’s proposal on online gambling revenue or another such bill detailing tax collection, Frank went so far as to note that, while the revenues make a nice addition to the cause, he sees his measure as “a fundamental matter of freedom.”
The bill passed a preliminary voice vote, with an official roll call of members to occur later today.
Published on July 28, 2010 by JoshuaMcCarthy