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Bachus vows to continue fighting Internet gambling in the United States

The Bush administration's final tilt at online gambling - the last minute "midnight drop" style publication of the regulations supporting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act - has drawn the battle lines for next year's Congress, according to a report in the the Birmingham News this week. And the industry's wannabe arch enemy, Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus, appears to relish the prospect of frustrating any attempt in the 2009 Congress to overturn or modify the legislation.
 
The publication of the regulations in the dying days of the Bush government has been widely criticised, and has been almost as controversial as the Act itself, passed in a late night session of Congress attached to a must-pass security bill that left most politicians ignorant of its content. 
 
The Act seeks to outlaw financial transactions with online gambling operators, placing the burden of enforcement on a protesting financial services industry critical of the lack of precision in its definition of what constitutes an illegal gambling transaction. Vested interest carve-outs for Internet betting on state lotteries, horse-racing and fantasy sports have complicated the drafters' task, whilst politicians with an opposing view have mounted a spirited defence of the right of Americans to choose how they spend their disposal income. 

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One politician who is unequivocally against Internet gambling despite the skewed nature of existing legislation is Spencer Bachus, who has made a name for himself in some interesting pronouncements on the industry and provocative one-liners beloved of the media.
 
The Birmingham News says that Bachus approves of the manner in which both the Act and the regulations were pushed through, and he intends to support their retention in the 2009 Congress if the incoming Democratic administration of Barak Obama seeks to overturn or modify same.
 
Bachus is quoted as saying of the UIGEA regulations midnight drop in November: "No longer will the offshore gambling interests benefit from turning any computer into a casino that is available every minute of the day."
 
His main political opponent is likely to be the Democrat Representative from Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Barney Frank who has been highly critical of the UIGEA and its impact on the banking industry, and favours a tightly regulated and taxed online gambling regime in the USA.
 
Frank said of the midnight drop: "This midnight rulemaking will tie the hands of the new administration, (and) burden the financial services industry at a time of economic crisis."
 
The Birmingham News reports that at stake is a big part of the $16 billion global online gaming industry. Bachus was an active supporter of the actions of Senators Bill Frist and Jon Kyl who pushed the original bill through Congress in a controversial process that saw it attached to the must-pass Safe Ports Act. Bachus argues that the easy-access of Internet wagering encourages gambling addictions, especially among young people.
 
"I keep saying to everyone involved, if people want to go to a casino, that's one thing, but putting a computer in the bedroom of every teenager has addicted a whole generation," Bachus asserted rather broadly in a recent interview.
 
Ever since the night UIGEA was passed in 2006, Congress has debated - sometimes passionately - whether the government should be in the business of telling law-abiding adults that they can't make certain financial decisions at home that would otherwise be legal in a casino, the Birmingham News explains. Bachus' side won the initial argument to get the ban enacted into law, but it's been under attack ever since as an overreach.
 
Democrat Representative from Nevada Shelley Berkely told the newspaper: "The clock is ticking on President Bush's prohibitionist crusade against Internet gaming and that is clearly why these flawed regulations are being forced on the financial services industry at the very last minute."
 
Bachus, on the other hand has been critical of how long it took Treasury officials to draft the new rules, which take effect in 2009. Federal officials struggled with the drafting, admitting to Congressional hearings that it was proving a more difficult and protracted 2 year task than Congress had anticipated.
 
Some foreign computer gambling operators already have stopped accepting bets from American computer-users, said Michael Waxman, a spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, which supports the industry. But US gamblers are not criminalised in the Act and can avoid the UIGEA ban by setting up accounts with non-U.S. banks. The online industry in general supports US legislation to legalise, regulate and tax online gaming.
 
"We think not only is Congress going to have the incentive to move on legislation ... because of the flawed rules attempting to ban the activity, but Congress is going to realise it's much better to look to protect consumers and collect billions in tax revenue," Waxman said.
 
Bachus, who has been derided by online gaming advocates, is gearing up for the next battle when Congress reconvenes in January. With his trade-mark penchant for exaggeration, he told the Birmingham News: "These offshore gambling sites earned hundreds of billions of dollars, and the people that have opposed me on this have hundreds of billions to spend."

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Gambling News :

Interwetten 2016 Earnings Results - Privately-owned online sports betting operator Interwetten delivered robust full year results for the 2016 fiscal period, in which the company has almost achieved doubling its revenues over the past four years, success it attributes to its in-house developed platform

EU Online Gambling Tax Harmoney Dead - Tax expert says European Court of Justice Attorney General's opinion on UK-Gibraltar litigation signals that EU courts are happy for individual member states to impose their own laws on online gambling.

Jack Lam Facing Big Fines in the Philippines - It's going to be costly for Macau online gambling and junket tycoon Jack Lam to return to the Philippines following his rather hurried departure last year with allegations of economic sabotage, bribery and tax evasion swirling around him.

Walter Merricks Term As Gambing Commissioner Extended - The UK Government has extended Walter Merricks’ term as Commissioner of the Gambling Commission for a further year, ending December 31, 2017.

Loot’enKhamun Pays $3.8 Million Jackpot - A London-based construction worker’s year got off to a great start when he hit the Loot’enKhamun jackpot at bwin casino.

PlaySugarHouse To Carry Konami Content - Content provider Konami will provide its Gypsy Fire and Fortune Stacks slot games to Rush Street Interactive-operated PlaySugarHouse.com on an exclusive basis in the New Jersey real-money online and mobile wagering market.

ITF TERMINATES BETWAY SPONSORSHIP DEAL - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has reportedly terminated Betway’s three-year sponsorship partnership as an extension to their anti-match fixing and sports integrity policy.

GSA To Launch European division - The expansion enables the GSA to better focus on the regional needs of its members outside of North America and underscores its recognition and commitment to growing European membership.

Paddy Power Trading Update - Company prevails despite adverse sports and US election results; Trump success cost the group GBP 5 million, whilst punter successes took another GBP 40 million in Q4-2016.

Tabcorp SunBets project - The details were revealed this week in an IT News article quoting Tabcorp's chief information officer, Kim Wenn, who described the SunBets project as Tabcorp's biggest global venture yet.

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