The online gambling community has renewed hope for one of the candidates running for US President, and she just happens to be the favorite to win. With the Nevada Caucuses taking place this Saturday, The Las Vegas Sun reports that Democrat Hillary Clinton supports a study to determine if Internet gambling can be fairly regulated so that individuals can safely participate in it and American businesses can compete in the international market.
Until now, only Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has gone on record as denouncing prohibition of online gambling.
“I believe strongly that the internet should not be regulated by the federal government and believe even more strongly that people should be free to engage in the activities they wish, as long as they are willing to take responsibility for their actions.” Dr. Paul told Gambling911.com this past fall. He also indicated that politicians are afraid to touch any issue related to the Internet “for fear it would label them ‘pro-porn’ or ‘pro-gambling’.”
While Clinton leads in polls, Paul leads among many of Republican candidates in terms of finances. A huge grass roots one-day fundraiser is being planned on Martin Luther King’s Birthday this coming Monday January 21. Paul has mostly been ignored by the mainstream media, however.
“The irony is that he is one of the only Republican candidates that could actually defeat Hillary (Clinton),” commented Gambling911.com Senior Editor, Payton O’Brien.
Ms. Clinton’s proclamation could also serve as an indirect shot at Senator John McCain, whose fellow Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl, helped push online gambling prohibition through the Senate in late 2006. McCain is presently the favorite to win the Republican nomination and prediction markets indicate he likely will.
In the past Senator McCain has attempted to get legislation passed that would ban betting on college sports. Unlike his colleague in Arizona (Jon Kyl), who has received significant amounts of money from major sports leagues that have pushed to ban Internet gambling, McCain’s arguments against college sports wagering have some merit and are not necessarily viewed as being pushed along by “special interests”.
“John McCain fears corruption of college sports since student players do not get paid and they are more vulnerable,” says O’Brien. “This is more an ‘integrity’ issue for him even though he realized – like the Iraq war – it’s not necessarily a popular stand. McCain is more principled.”
He’s also a casino gambler himself who has been photographed at the tables…sometimes in front of big stacks of chips. Whether he would encourage such studies into the regulation of online gambling remain to be seen.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, a few big companies like MGM Mirage and Harrah’s Entertainment have supported efforts to legalize Internet gambling, but the concept lacks broad support.
The American Gaming Association has been reluctant to push Online Casino Singapore for legalization, instead supporting a bill to study whether Internet gambling can be regulated. Some say this is a necessary first step so the enterprise can gain legitimacy.
The association represents land-based casinos rather than the companies now operating Web casinos from offshore, locations far from the reach of U.S. regulators.
Though the right to gamble has never been a pressing issue for most Americans and it may be years before Congress takes up the issue again, some industry experts say legalization is inevitable because of the potential tax revenue now going offshore to a thriving underground economy.
The legislation proposing a study of online gambling is co-sponsored by Nevada Representative Shelley Berkley, who has been among the most outspoken opponents of recently passed prohibition.
“This (internet gambling) legislation has a loophole big enough to drive a truck through that was designed solely to protect betting on horse racing and lotteries over the Internet,” Ms. Berkley, who co-chairs the Congressional Gaming Caucus, told Gambling911.com. “Internet gaming is becoming more popular every day and we need a comprehensive federal study that looks at the question of whether or not it can be effectively regulated and what role technology can play in accomplishing that goal.
Fellow Democratic Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards were a little less reluctant to support the industry. Obama, an avid poker player, cautiously supports a study of Internet gambling and supports regulation to address the worst abuses, which is somewhat reassuring to online poker players.
John Edwards, on the other hand, opposes legalization of online gambling, doubting it can be controlled.