In America, the Governor of the eastern state of Massachusetts has been branded a hypocrite this week as he stepped up efforts to pass his gambling reform package through the legislature.
Governor Deval Patrick's proposal would permit three casinos in the state but, paradoxically, also includes a measure that would make online and telephone gambling illegal. Criticised earlier for only making half-hearted attempts to sell his high-profile plan, the Governor launched a dramatic campaign for his plan that aides said marked the beginning of an earnest political movement to persuade lawmakers and the public of its merits.
‘For a very long time now, gaming has been in practice in Massachusetts and gaming revenues have been used to support public projects,’ Patrick told a crowded State House.
‘In 1762, John Hancock raised lottery money to rebuild Faneuil Hall after a fire. Lottery funds were used to finance the Revolution.’
However, three paragraphs in his bill prohibit online gambling that puts him at odds with fellow Democrat and Massachusetts' US Representative, Barney Frank. Frank is the sponsor of Federal legislation to license and regulate online gambling nationally and has strongly criticised the Governor’s plan to punish online gamblers while inviting casino operators into the state.
‘Why is gambling in a casino okay and gambling on the Internet is not,’ said Frank.
‘He’s making a big mistake. He’s giving opponents an argument against him.’
Opponents of the proposal also point to the fact that the Governor placed a telephone bet with the Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, in October that the Boston Red Sox baseball team would defeat the Colorado Rockies to win the 2007 World Series. The Red Sox won the baseball championships and Patrick collected but this would be illegal if his proposal were to become law.