Somebody Has His Facts Wrong
7/21/08 - The Hill's Congress Blog - View Source
Last month, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) passionately argued before the House Committee on Financial Services that Congress should continue to prohibit Internet gambling. In support of his argument, Bachus cited research conducted by McGill University showing, he said, that one-third of college students who gambled online attempted suicide. The problem: in no way is this what McGill’s research showed.
Dr. Jeffrey L. Derevensky, a leading McGill professor on gambling addiction, publicly repudiated Bachus’ claim today saying there are no studies that have come out of his university showing a connection between Internet wagering and suicide attempts. In fact, Dr. Derevensky believes the regulation of online gambling – a concept totally opposed by Bachus – is an opportunity to put in place safeguards to combat problem and underage gambling.
Ironically, the far right wing is willing to allow online gambling on horse racing and fantasy sports, which received carve-outs in the conservative-backed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, but they want to protect Americans from gambling online on poker, sports and other games.
Believing that Americans can do with their money what they want as long as it harms no one, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) last year introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2046) that would legalize and regulate online gambling – but only with a number of built-in consumer protections. These protections include safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and identity theft.
Close to 50 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, financial interests, including the Credit Union National Association, and the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, have endorsed the Frank bill. We hope Congress follows and looks to regulate Internet gambling in order to protect consumers and ensure the collection of billions in new tax revenue currently lost in a flourishing underground marketplace.