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Congress Replies
 
 

The response from Senator Kyl and Congressmen Goodlatte and Leach to attorney Sherman Ellison’s article, “An Illegal ‘Prohibition’ Revisited,” (printed in the summer issue of Gambling Times) was, if nothing else, disappointing.

In keeping with Gambling Times editorial policy, all three lawmakers, initiators of bills to ban Internet gaming, were invited to submit their comments in rebuttal to the article, in the hope that their positions and views on this important legislation would be clarified. Certainly the voting public has an expectation, if not a right, to have a full explanation of the reasoning behind proposed legislation that will impact their lives. Unfortunately some of our elected representatives seem reluctant to offer such explanations, preferring to remain silent in the belief, perhaps, that the less said the better! That position is certainly understandable if one is asked to defend the indefensible or justify the unjustifiable. In the current matter, however, one would think that an intelligent response to Ellison’s article would be almost mandatory lest the voting public indeed draw that very conclusion.

Senator Kyl’s office was contacted and provided with copies of both Ellison’s article and the accompanying civil complaint. They stated that they would review the material and respond accordingly. They have failed to do so even after several repeated requests. We would like to think that this is an indication that Senator Kyl as been positively influenced by the article and has decided to drop his proposed legislation.

Congressman Goodlatte has made no attempt to contact Gambling Times. Numerous phone calls and faxes to his office have elicited no response whatsoever. We hope that this is not an indication of how he deals with questions from his constituents. A recent press release from his office does, however, suggest that he will be re-introducing his bill in the next congressional session. We trust that he will be forthcoming at that time and explain to his constituents and the rest of the country his reasoning and motives for proposing this particular legislation.

We wish now to thank Congressman Jim Leach for availing himself of the opportunity to respond. We reprint the below from his press secretary Bill Tate, without further editorial comment.

TO: Gambling Times

Thank you for the opportunity to review the article you are preparing on legislation addressing the problem of illegal Internet gambling.

A first point to be made is that the article implies that the legislation under review would apply to all Internet gambling. This is not the case with the measure H.R. 556 being proposed by Congressman Leach. Mr. Leach’s legislation is intended to address only that gambling that takes place over the Internet that is already illegal under current law. It in no way whatsoever expands the definition of what constitutes illegal gambling.

Further the article contains a mistake of fact regarding H.R. 556 when, on page 89, it states that “if a financial institution knew payment was going for Internet gambling, then that institution would be guilty of a crime, along with the player.” H.R. 556 would prohibit gambling businesses from accepting bettors’ credit cards, electronic fund transfers, or checks in connection with currently illegal Internet gambling. Gambling institutions found in violation of the Act would be subject to criminal and civil penalties. Financial institutions are provided a safe harbor from criminal acts and civil accountability, unless the financial institution is a gambling business or is actively facilitating Internet gambling through providing financial instruments for this activity.

Moreover, it should be stressed that the bill places absolutely no new liability on the “player.”

Finally, the article consistently misspells Ms. Kueter’s name.

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