Wagons Are Circling

by , Aug 6, 2007 | 7:53 am

“The misinformation campaign is in full swing, and Congress is the target.”
– letter in support of UIGEA

As efforts to circumvent, overturn, repeal and/or just generally undo the UIGEA are gaining momentum, the anti-poker forces are acting as if the UIGEA has saved hundreds of thousands of babies and is an essential part of protecting us from terrorism. And as crazy as what they say may sound — seriously, their arguments couldn’t hold up in a high school debate class — politics has nothing to do with what’s right and/or makes sense … it’s simply a matter of how each side plays its chips.

Click below to read the letter the other side is sending to members of U.S. Congress with hopes of making any anti-UIGEA legislation better off untouched:

(Then feel free to pick it apart at will.)

August 1, 2007

Dear Member of Congress,

As a bipartisan coalition of family and faith-based organizations representing millions of citizens nationwide, we thank you for your efforts to protect families from the dangers of Internet gambling. Last year, Congress took the very valuable step of enacting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) so that U.S. gambling laws could be better enforced on the Internet. We are concerned, however, about ensuring the integrity of UIGEA in upcoming months. We have three primary concerns:

• Congressional support for strong UIGEA regulations from the Treasury Department
o Add list of illegal Internet gambling to FinCEN and OFAC lists, block transactions
o Create a system for reporting illegal sites to the DOJ (Internet, phone, mail)
o Enforce prosecution of illegal online gambling operations
• Your support of UIGEA’s integrity and your opposition to contrary legislation
• Congressional support for U.S. withdrawal from WTO obligations that jeopardize UIGEA

Internet gambling represents the most invasive and addictive form of gambling in history. Speed, accessibility, availability and anonymity make Internet gambling the perfect storm for gambling addiction. Internet gambling also creates fertile ground for criminal activity and threatens homeland security by potentially funding terrorist activity. More than 230 million Americans access the Internet, many of whom are children and adolescents. Internet gambling extends beyond state borders, beyond democratically enacted laws and is piped directly into millions of homes. Before Congress passed UIGEA, nearly 3,000 online casinos could be accessed instantly with the click of a mouse.

Since its passage, UGIEA has severely cut unlawful U.S. profits to foreign gambling interests. Now these Internet casino operations are willing to spend millions of dollars influencing Congress to gain legal access into U.S. homes. In fact, the UC Group (a leading payment service provider in the U.K.) claims to be “leading the initiative” behind Rep. Barney Frank’s bill, H.R. 2046. The misinformation campaign is in full swing, and Congress is the target.

You should be aware of several bills that threaten the integrity of UIGEA:
• Rep. Frank’s bill H.R. 2046 – far-reaching legalization of Internet gambling, providing online casinos with exemptions from federal and state laws
• Rep. Wexler’s bill H.R. 2610 – exempts poker and “games of skill” from UIGEA
• Rep. McDermott’s bill H.R. 2607 – licenses and taxes Internet casinos

Foreign gambling interests are also pressuring the World Trade Organization (WTO) to force the U.S. to legalize Internet gambling. They claim that the U.S. is obligated to legalize gambling because it committed to free trade in “recreational services,” and a WTO panel agreed. Now the U.S. is seeking to amend its trade commitments to make clear that Congress never intended to turn over to the WTO its right to set gambling policy. Congress should return the favor to the U.S. Trade Representative by supporting these negotiations.

Again, thank for your time and service in preserving families. We hope for your ongoing support of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the upcoming months.

Sincerely,
Tom Minnery
Senior Vice President
Focus on the Family Action

Guy C. Clark, D.D.S.
Chairman
National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Gary Bauer
President
American Values

Roberta Combs
President
Christian Coalition of America

Rev. Donald E. Wildmon
Executive Director and Founder
American Family Association

Phyllis Schlafly
President and Founder
Eagle Forum

Tom McClusky
Vice President for Government Affairs
Family Research Council

Dr. Keith Wiebe
President
American Association of Christian Schools