The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

House Moves to Stop the Casino In Your Home

Posted by thelamp on July 14, 2006

Lost among the deserved publicity given to online pornography’s invasion of American homes is the similar damage to families done by Web-based gambling sites. The House of Representatives is moving to stop these destructive businesses, and CMC supports those efforts.

The House Judiciary Committee last week passed H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, sponsored by two Republican members from Virginia, Bob Goodlatte and Rich Boucher. The bill essentially catches the law up with technology. The 1961 Federal Wire Wager Act bans the use of a telephone to place a bet; the updated version would apply that ban to the Internet, and also prevent the use of many credit and debit cards to make bets.

The movement on the bill is a welcome development in light of the mushrooming financial success of the online gaming industry. Worldwide, the business was worth $3 billion in 2001, but grew to $15 billion last year. If left unchecked, it’s expected to top $24 billion by the end of the decade.

This action puts the United States in opposition to the World Trade Organization, which says the bill would ignore international free-trade laws. CMC’s response to these objections is simple: “So?” Congress has a duty to protect its citizens from the danger of online gambling. It’s destructive to marriages and families, and is often targeted to those least able to afford to rack up losses.

The Pew Research Center last week released a poll stating that 70 percent of Americans think legalized gambling encourages people to gamble more than they can afford. The question isn’t why that number is so high; it’s how 30 percent of those polled can possibly believe gamblers aren’t encouraged to bet beyond their means. The government has a legitimate interest in protecting its citizens from this predatory industry and H.R. 4777 is a welcome step in the right direction.

To send an e-mail to your Member of Congress, encouraging him or her to vote for the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, click here.


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