Family Centric Groups Oppose US Internet Gambling
While there is a large push for the legalisation of online gambling within the US, family centric groups in 13 states are calling on Congress to block legislation that legalizes internet gambling.
They are hoping that Congress will strengthen the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to prevent the internet from becoming a “giant online casino.” The UIGEA was passed in 2006 however, last December the U.S Justice Department ruled that in-state online bets not involving sports do not violate federal law. Thanks to this ruling many states are now passing legislation that legalizes online gambling in order to raise revenues via taxation.
However, last month a number of organisations spoke out against online gambling. Founder of the Family Foundation, Kent Ostrander, has said that online gambling is “an effort to separate a family from its assets. The family is the building block of any society, and yet it is the most vulnerable institution in that society.”
Ostrander believes that any added tax revenue to state governments will be more than offset by societal costs. He believes that there will be more broken homes and families than the state could afford.
Last week the groups sent letters to congressional leaders asking them to strengthen laws in order to “protect our children and families from the destruction of safeguards Congress has previously established.” The letter added that the Department of Justice’s ruling undermines “Congress’ clear intent when it passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act”.
Casino companies and the states in which they operate say that hundreds of millions of dollars are being lost to offshore gambling operators which offer no protection for the customers or tax benefits for the government.
According to the letter signed by over 50 organisations, there are 10 states considering internet betting plans. However, it certainly appears as if there could be a difficult time ahead for legislators.