The publication US News gave American politicians Barney Frank and arch rival Spencer Bachus plenty of space to present their strongly opposing views on Internet gambling this week, bringing a welcome exposure to the subject shortly after Frank launched his latest bill to legalise and regulate the pastime in the United States.
The result is an interesting comparison of the libertarian approach aimed at protectiing the rights and freedoms of citizens espoused by Democrat congressman Frank, and a more moralistic, controlling attitude from Republican politician Spencer Bachus.
The two views, which can be found at http://www.usnews.com/articles/opinion/2009/06/01/online-gambling-debate-barney-frank-vs-spencer-bachus.html raise nothing really new in the arguments deployed by the two men, but it is a useful reference to their debating positions and widely differing attitudes on how the US citizen should be treated in his or her personal use of the Internet.
Frank concludes: "Finally, there are two blatant contradictions in the position of those conservatives who push to outlaw Internet gambling. First, it is the most glaring example we have of interfering with freedom on the Internet. Second, to those who claim to be unhappy with the intrusiveness of the "nanny state," there is no stronger case than for a nanny government insisting we be "better" people by reducing our freedom."
Bachus, who tends to use previous incidents to reinforce his often sweeping statements, ends his presentation by saying: "Even if one concedes that legalization and regulation could possibly prevent underage gambling, compulsive play, cheating by casinos as documented by 60 Minutes and the Washington Post, and money laundering or drug trafficking by criminals on U.S.-sanctioned gambling sites, the pre-2006 problem of predatory, illegal offshore casino bets would return. One country's rules would be woefully insufficient. Ultimately, the results of legalization would be expanding, sanctioning, and inevitably losing control of an industry that offers few advantages to the economy or tax base but incredible pain to families across the country."
The two arguments are well worth reading, and the presentations are followed by an online poll where readers can indicate whether online gambling should or should not be legalised and regulated in America – when InfoPowa visited the voting was overwhelmingly in favour of legalization.