Betting line has Internet surviving legal challenges

Jul 16, 2002 4:26 AM

To be or not to be, that is the Internet question.

The clearest explanation and interpretation of the hottest topic in the gaming industry came last week in a commentary by Jonathan Stanewick of Cybercast News Service.

Stanewick states that "if Internet gambling were to become illegal at home, United States citizens would be forced to open offshore accounts to fulfill their gambling desires. Such action will result in an economic drain from financial institutions within the United States."

The commentary goes on to say that any legislation by the federal government concerning the Internet would be an attempt to expand its power and gain a foothold into the industry.

The House floor awaits a vote on two bills proposing bans on Internet gambling. One bill would prevent the transfer of funds from credit card companies and other financial institutions to Internet gambling sites. The other would update a 40-year-old ban on interstate wagering so that it would apply to the Internet and also include state lotteries.

Stanewick predicts the bill to ban interstate gambling will be defeated. "It will lose the backing of numerous gambling groups," said California Republican Rep. David Dreier, chair of the Rules Committee.

Both bills, according the CNS article, present numerous risks to both individual liberty and American democracy by expanding the reach of the federal government into an area that is mainly controlled at the state level.

"These proposals directly contradict rights given to the states in the Tenth Amendment," Stanewick states. "Gambling in the real world has always been dealt with at the state level, and should be on the Internet as well."

Offshore on-line casinos are expected to take in somewhere between 5 to 6.4 billion dollars next year.