May 15, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Make no mistake about it: More than just online gaming companies are calling loudly for the end of the current era of online gambling prohibition in the U.S. as ushered in by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.
That chorus of voices has only increased in the days following the introduction of Barney Frank’s new legislation seeking to regulate and legalize online gambling. And some of it is coming from some unlikely sources, namely, conservative pundits who tend to traditionally condemn gambling as harmful to society (most likely as an attempt to pander to their Christian conservative “base” of voters).
That anti-gambling fringe certainly still exists; however, more and more voices that were once on the conservative side seem to be joining the renewed anti-UIGEA movement. Most recently, ex-Republican Congressman Bob Barr has issued a public demand to “Legalize Online Gambling”, printed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Even though Frank’s bill (HR 2267) is imperfect,” writes Barr, “it at least will open debate on the question of why the federal government should be able to put someone in prison for wagering a bet over the internet.
“What is needed is legislation that simply and clearly repeals UIGEA and that repeals or at least curtails the 1961 ‘Wire Act,’ which continues to be broadly interpreted by the Justice Department to prohibit internet gambling. In recent years almost every state has moved to legalize some form of betting, whether by lottery, casinos or racetracks, and it makes no sense — if it ever did — to empower the federal government to continue prohibiting people from using the internet to place bets. If the only way to restore freedom in this respect is to put up with some form of regulation, let’s at least keep the regulatory aspect to a minimum and maximize the ability of adults to place bets online.”
Perhaps the most interesting element about Barr’s statement is the chorus of approval it received from his audience of (presumably conservative) readers. From their comments:
“US citizens should have a choice to participate or refrain,” writes Dave S. “This internet gambling law is another reason why so many Republicans have turned sour on the GOP values and morals platform.”
“I’m a Christian, a born again Bible believing one,” another commenter states. “I do agree with Focus on the family and other groups on most issues. I do not, however, agree with these groups getting involved trying to get the government involved. … I do see the harm in gambling but it’s not up to me to tell someone else how they spend their own money.”
“This is about the only thing I agree with Barney Frank on,” adds MikeB. “The conservative stance on this issue is a pure morality play.”