Votes Yes to Ban Online Casinos
Yesterday the US House of
Representatives voted yes to approve a controversial bill that
will effectively ban online casinos.
By a vote of 317 to 93 the bill will attempt to ban online
casinos by homing in on financial institutions and internet
The law will disallow banks and credit card companies to process
any transactions that are between gamblers and online casinos
based in offshore locations.
The floor debate lasted for four hours and Virginia Republican
Bob Goodlatte who proposed the bill referred to online casinos
and internet gambling as the scourge of our society. The bill
now moves on to the Senate where it is thought the subject of
online casinos is not a priority.
Some Democrats were behind the measure and believe online
casinos should be banned, while others pointed out that the bill
was full of loopholes. One area of the bill that appeared
particularly slanted was the fact that the measure would still
allow for wagering on horse racing and lotteries to be conducted
via telephone lines and the internet over state lines and this
point for many, smacks of hypocrisy.
Presently, the law that makes online casinos illegal is the 1961
Wire Act, which makes gambling over state lines, via the use of
telecommunication systems illegal. When this law was written,
the internet did not exist but now the law is asking to be
amended to take in to account the means of placing bets via wire
less methods, such as mobile phone gambling and via BlackBerries.
Many, who are behind the bill that will update existing laws,
believe that problems such as underage and addictive gambling
will be eliminated. The flip side of the coin argues that
banning online casinos is not constitutional as the internet is
for everybody to enjoy, and it is up to those close to
vulnerable individuals to protect them from their weaknesses. It
is possible for children to log on to all sorts of harmful sites
on the internet such as hard core pornography and children can
'chat' to paedophiles on the internet, so why has internet
gambling in online casinos taken precedent over protecting
children from hardcore pornography and sexual predators?
Cynics are certain that this move is to gain Republican
popularity and to keep Republican control of the House of
Representatives before the election in November. Many Americans
are against gambling in general but in a recent survey
undertaken on Wall Street, results showed that 85% of Americans
thought that banning online casinos was not the right decision.
There are many online casinos proponents that feel the only way
to reign in this problem is by making online casinos legal.
Great Britain has made online casinos legal and is beginning to
put regulations in place to protect gamblers.
A spokes person for an online casinos association asked "Should
the government be filling the role of parents to protect the
vulnerable at the expense of Americans freedom of choice?"