On the 15th of February US Congressman from Virginia Bob Goodlatte reintroduced HR 4777, the “Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.” Goodlatte hopes to pass the bill, which will amend the earlier Title 18 of the United States Code containing the Federal Wire Act passed in 1961. The Wire Act outlawed telephone betting by making it illegal to place bets by “wire transmission.”
The explosion of Internet poker rooms and sports books in recent years was possible only as a result of the ambiguity surrounding the definition of “wire”. While opponents of Internet gambling insisted that the meaning included cable, satellite, and cellular technology, no court would uphold a conviction based on that definition. Goodlatte hopes to amend that by expanding the Code to include all forms of electronic transmission, as well as to include all types of bets.
Earlier attempts to pass the legislation were thwarted by the lobbying efforts of Jack Abramoff, according to Gooodlatte’s office. But Abramoff’s recent guilty pleas to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials have added political capital to Goodlatte’s campaign.
According to Goodlatte “Illegal online gambling doesn’t just hurt gamblers and their families, it hurts the economy by draining dollars from the United States and serve as a vehicle เว็บสล็อต for money laundering,” stated Goodlatte. “It is time to shine a bright light on these illegal sites and bring a quick end to illegal gambling on the Internet.”
“But outlawing online gambling won’t stop the activity.” says Will Catlett of Sportsbettingscams.org, an industry watchdog site. “It will only drive it underground. If online gambling is outlawed then the government will lose its ability to legislate online gambling policy and police it’s dangers, not to mention its ability to tax the transactions. Goodlatte’s bill will do exactly the opposite of what it wants to do.”
As of July 2005, according to Forrester polls, there were over 300,000 gambling websites entertaining over 7,000,000 online gamblers. While the bulk of traffic to these websites initially came from the United States, that number is now around 40% as players are attracted from all over the world. If the bill is passed, the industry will shrink dramatically, and shift its focus to other nations. Meanwhile, online gamblers in the United States will be out of luck. “It’s amazing to me that this bill just might pass quietly with little or no resistance.” says Catlett. “Anyone who enjoys gambling online really should write their State Representative to let them know why this bill shouldn’t go through.”
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Sports are particularly targeted by the gambling industry and bookies who make a fortune from outcomes. This has become such a problem that many can no longer tune into what used to be a nice experience. Anyone with a gambling problem has to curb their interest if they want to escape the temptations and players have also been caught rigging games in order to win a stake.
Tennis is something that most people enjoy and tournaments in their own country are great to watch. In Australia, however, constantly throughout matches there are betting suggestions flashed onto the screen. The current value of each player in the stakes draws people in. Many want to show how clever they are in picking winners and so they put their money where their mouth is.
Children are also observed taking bets from each other in school playgrounds during their own matches. The question is where does it stop. With easy access to online gambling the problem has snowballed.
Already we have many who are living on the streets because they lost their home, family, and jobs because of gambling. Others are under the care of psychiatrists and doctors to try to get away from the problem. That means they must not watch any event where the bookies are advertising if they want to heal themselves of the addiction.
While this is a free country and everyone has the right to advertise surely common sense has to be shown on the part of governments who allow this situation to continue. For people like me the interest in sports that used to be there has gone. While sporting teams are looking for public support and donations their interests are not being served by the gambling trap that surrounds their professions.