Two Congressional Hearings in Favour of Online Poker
Last week there were two Congressional hearings on online poker in the US and both of them came out strongly in favour of passing legislation to legalise and regulate the online poker industry.
The first hearing was the Indian Affairs Committee where the tribes demanded to be involved in all gambling bills and to be given the same chances as Nevada based casinos to run online poker websites. At the end of last week the hearing of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade took place. The first panel consisted of Barney Frank, Frank Wolf and John Campbell.
Frank Wolf is one of the very few anti-poker voices in Congress. Wolf claims that gambling is dangerous and addictive. He said that “gambling is a dangerous activity and study after study has shown that for many in our society there is no question that it is strongly addictive.”
However, Barney Frank retorted that he is co-sponsoring Wolf’s bill to start programs to help prevent, treat and research problem gambling. Frank claims that a regulated online poker industry will be more effective in dealing with problem gambling than trying to implement a blanket ban. Frank also argued that a regulated industry would help create jobs, capture revenue and “all adults to enjoy freedom from unnecessary government interference.”
There was a second panel consisting of Rachel Volberg, a researcher in problem gambling from Chicago University, Charles McIntyre, the executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, Mark Lipparelli from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Frank Fahrenkopf the president of the American Gaming Association.
All of them support online poker and Fahrenkopf claimed that now the technology is available to protect US players which is much better than leaving them to play at unregulated offshore websites.