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Looking at Motives of UIGEA Supporters

July 9, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — In his quest to overturn the United States’ online gambling ban, the UIGEA, Rep. Barney Frank has found his biggest opponent to be fellow U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus, who is joined in his anti-gambling rhetoric by Alabama Governor Bob Riley, another politician staunchly in favor of banning gambling in all shapes and forms. These two figures have lobbied hard to criminalize online gambling, under the argument that it’s harmful to individuals, families, and society in general.

Since both these politicians are from Alabama,’s Tom Weston decided to take a look at that state’s track record with problem gambling, to see if these efforts were sincere or just for political show.

What he found is very illuminating. Governor Riley has apparently assembled a special task force to raid bingo halls, illegal in Alabama, and “has sworn the state will accept no legal gambling”. Yet, the state provides absolutely no funding to treat the victims of problem gambling.

"According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, Alabama is 'void of problem gambling resources.'" Weston writes. "There is no state program to educate the public about the signs of compulsive gaming, nor are there programs to treat members of the community suffering from the disorder."

Both politicians claim that such resources aren’t necessary, because if gambling is illegal, there can be no problem gambling. However, statistics disagree. Weston quotes Keith Whyte of the NCPG, who has said that states where gambling is illegal have roughly the same incidence of problem gambling as states where it’s legal, “much as dry counties still have alcoholism.”

“Further, Whyte says he ‘never met a problem gambler who said he had a hard time finding a place to bet,’ regardless of the law under which the gambler lived.”

What’s more, Rep. Bachus has so far failed to even sign up as a sponsor for a new proposed law called the Comprehensive Problem Gambling Act, which would be the first law to address problem gambling on a federal level.

So, are Bachus and Riley really concerned about problem gambling, or is it all a political show? Weston maintains that, according to rumors, Bachus is cynically courting the strictly anti-gambling Christian conservative coalition for political support without actually following through on their larger social goals. Voters have to draw their own conclusions, but the statistics don’t seem to be on the side of these Alabama politicians.

To read Tom Weston’s original story at, please click here.