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Religious Right Pressing for Senate Vote on Online Gambling

The Baptist Press focused on the online casinos legislation facing a reconvened U.S. Congress this week, looking toward the resumption of legislative activity on September 5 and describing legislation supported by pro-life and pro-family Americans as "...hanging in the balance." The prohibition of online casinos is one of the legislative items that the religious right wants to see banned, apparently.

The Senate and House of Representatives probably will have little more than a month to deal with the online casinos legislation before the November election, with the adjournment date for this Congress set for October 6.

Bills that await passage by only one chamber when Congress reconvenes include:

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which seeks to ban most online casinos. The House voted 317-93 for the online casinos measure in July, but the Senate has not acted on it.

“We have been working on an (online casinos) bill for years,” Barrett Duke commented about the online casinos legislation, vice president for public policy and research of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission told the Baptist Press. “Meanwhile, gambling predators have been suckering millions of Americans into losing billions of dollars. It’s up to the Senate to get this job done and shut down most of these gambling sites. It would be tragic to come this close and fail. The senators just need to hear from the voters.”

“All of these bills should be passed,” Duke said, including the online casinos bill. “I can assure Southern Baptists that the ERLC will continue to press for passage of every one of them. We ask that all those who want to see our country become a more moral, healthy, God-honoring nation get involved and make themselves heard in Washington. Insisting on passage of these bills is a great way to get started.”

It is clear that despite the worldwide success of online casinos, much controversy still remains.

Millions of ordinary Americans gamble at online casinos on a daily basis, despite the official prohibitions against such online casinos, declares a new policy study by the American Gaming Association. Internet gambling has exploded in recent year, and the thousands of online casinos crowding the marketplace create a brand new arena for casual and serious gamblers in the United States. Are online casinos helping or hurting the economy? Are online casinos posing moral or ethical dilemmas? The debate continues…
“By driving all Internet gambling business to foreign entities,” said author, lawyer and association consultant David O. Stewart, “no jobs are created for American workers, no returns are earned by American companies, and no tax revenues are paid to American governments.”
Stewart concluded that the current disconnect between law and reality also leaves American gamblers largely defenseless against unregulated or under-regulated offshore internet gambling casinos now estimated to number 2,500 worldwide.
The report on net gambling, which urged Congress to study the issue, comes as Congress is on the brink of a crackdown on gambling.



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