During the markup to House Resolution 2267, the bill proposing online gambling regulation, opponent Spencer Bachus repeatedly referred to an article in the Orlando Sentinel as heralding the incipient dangers of Internet gaming. Bachus said the paper bemoaned the lure Internet cafes posed to children, and argued this meant accepting online casinos means subjecting kids to risk.
Bachus repeated the citation a number of times during the course of the discussion by the House Financial Services Committee, as if he had discovered a hard kernel of fact gaming proponents could not refute nor digest. But the Alabama Republican had either accidentally or deliberately muddied the water with misleading information.
Bachus said that some areas of Florida had legalized Internet gambling, which is allowed at these cafes. The facts are that the cafes do not have license to operate any form of gambling, but that they exist in a gray area of the law under the definition of “sweepstakes.”
While the games played at the cafes are on computers, as part of the design to squeeze into the gray area, money is handled both in and out by the store. Therefore, failure to secure the gambling from children would fall on a land-based form of gaming, and an unregulated one to boot. If anything, Bachus’ citation argues for H.R. 2267, and the need for Internet casino regulation.
For Bachus to be a driving force behind the UIGEA online gambling ban, and yet not be aware that neither has Florida passed its own Internet gambling rules nor are Internet cafes the same as online gambling, is asking for quite a suspension of disbelief. This suggests the committee’s ranking member was purposely disingenuous for lack of any valid argument.
Clearly the other committee members did not see Bachus’ reasoning as persuasive, as the measure passed by a 41-22 vote, advancing to the full House of Representatives.
Published on July 31, 2010 by EdBradley