Sunday, April 29, 2007
From the Online Gaming News:
Frank pushing for regulation of Web betting
April 27, 2007
by Tony Batt
Las Vegas Gaming Wire
WASHINGTON, DC – (PRESS RELEASE) — U.S. Rep. Barney Frank on Thursday introduced legislation to repeal the Internet gambling ban approved by Congress last year, but the bill faces long odds.
Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said his bill would require the Department of Treasury to license and regulate Internet gambling companies so Americans could bet legally online.
The committee scheduled a hearing on Frank’s bill for June.
At least two other bills that would roll back the Internet gambling ban — including one by Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. — are expected to be introduced within weeks.
The ban prohibits the use of credit cards and other bank instruments to pay for online wagers.
Congress passed the ban after it was attached to a port security bill in the closing days of last year’s session.
Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, described the ban as “an intrusion on individual liberty.”
“The issue here is whether adults who work for their money … in the comfort of their homes, should be allowed to engage in a form of recreation which they enjoy and which has no conceivable negative impact on anybody else,” Frank said.
But he acknowledged that the Democratic leadership of the House likely would not support it. The Bush administration also could oppose the legislation.
Internet gambling is a $13 billion industry licensed in more than 50 countries, according to Frank’s bill.
Frank said the ban violates America’s obligations under the World Treaty Organization.
“Incidentally, some of my colleagues who tell us that we can’t interfere with the World Trade Organization for global warming or the rights of workers are perfectly prepared to ignore it on behalf of interfering with people’s right to gamble,” Frank said.
To pay for regulation by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Frank’s bill would require Internet gambling companies to pay unspecified fees for a one-year license, which could be renewed.
The Treasury Department is expected to release regulations within days to enforce the ban that Congress approved last year.
Frank said he has not received any feedback from the Treasury Department about his bill.
“I assumed they were against it, so I didn’t bother asking them,” he said.
Las Vegas casinos pay federal taxes, Frank said, and requiring Internet gambling regulation fees would not be dramatically different.
“The federal government lost its anti-gambling virginity many years before I came here,” Frank said.
Joining Frank at Thursday’s news conference to unveil the bill was Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who voted for the ban last year, but is one of 11 co-sponsors of Frank’s bill to repeal it.
“I was not an enthusiastic supporter of (the ban), but I did feel that there was a void in regulation and wanted to send a signal,” King said. “But I am strongly supporting this (Frank’s bill) because this does, for the first time, send a voice for a strong regulatory framework at the federal level.”
Berkley also is co-sponsoring Frank’s bill and plans to introduce her own version as early as next week.
Berkley and Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., will propose legislation calling for a one-year study of Internet gambling by the National Academy of Sciences.
Berkley has reversed her position on Internet gambling since voting to ban it in July 2000.
“I became convinced that technology exists that could provide safeguards to protect children from betting online and limiting the amount of money bet online,” she said.
Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., also intends to unveil legislation that would exempt online poker from the Internet gambling ban.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
I’m sure many poker players have been following the US Governments efforts to regulate on-line poker, and the dance they are performing around the tune of “Individual Rights”.
The fight seems to center around the finances of funding the off-shore sites. That being the weak point of the whole system.
The first pressure was felt in the area of the credit card – which happened to be the most vulnerable, also, because of the numerical systems attached to the cards, the vendors and the sites. The routings of who owed what to whom. Lots of folks with an interest in those numbers.
The US tax laws (paraphrased by me, and I’m far from an expert on tying shoes here) seem to tell us that one may not claim losses in excess of wins. That there are some arguments in the definition of “wins” – and taxes due. Those arguments may be shortened to: If you go to the table with twenty-five dollars and leave with twenty-six, you owe tax on a dollar (a session). The counter argument goes: Poker is all one long session and you owe taxes on any wins on a yearly Income/Loss basis.
The Federal Government seems to want some “control” of the poker business. At this point the poker players seem to be the only group of anyone mentioning MONEY/TAX. The Feds don’t seem to make an issue of it. You notice that? They’re after control.
The political issue, which I have seen mentioned once or twice from sources un-specified, revolve around profit sharing among the states – the reservations – the Feds and et al.
The real struggle seems to be money, but few are talking about it. I’m convinced they think about it all the time.
Let me digress just a bit to a person thought – I think that the American Public listens to all the political candidates argue their qualifications and then select the one they find the dumbest to send to office to represent them. I know it is not true, of course. But it seems that way. Personal rant over.
The major casinos issue to all and sundry a CARD. These casinos track all manner of things: Time at the machines; which machines; how much paid in; how much taken out; where you eat – and what; whether you tour-bussed in or drove, and other personal information. If you exceed the $600, $900, whatever dollar amount the government sets for winning, the casinos know it and have you sign the papers – which eventually tells the government who, what, when and where. Which the IRS finds interesting. They like W2’s and their variants‘.
When you create a house mortgage once a year the bank sends you a form to be used in conjunction with your taxes. No sweat, no pain. You get the form, the IRS accepts it. You gain the deduction.
The same is true for investment portfolios of all types. (Except the deductions, I hope.)
When you create a business you have several options in the bookkeeping area. You can do them; have some else do them; etc. The final results are predicated on the receipts, both income and expenses you kept during the year.
Many businesses like credit cards for that reason – they record the who, what, where, and when’s automatically. Automatically from the users point of view.
There are a great many other CC’s and uses.
So, to my point: Why did the Government want to do away with Credit Cards funding on-line gambling?
They created an un-controllable system of on-line wallets; assisted in the off-shore flow of funds through fees of all types; deprived our domestic banks and establishments of income transactions, and created an atmosphere of dis-satisfaction with the public.
Why’d they do that? They wanted control, even at the expense of popularity and, to me, the cost of looking stupid.
Why did they force the blunting of the very instrument they needed for control – the Credit Card.
Why not REQUIRE ALL on-line gamblers to have a DEBIT CARD devoted to NOTHING but gambling. No other funding method from US on-line players. Only that debit card. The routing numbers will take care of the direction. The application for the cards will take care of the juvenile wannbe – and parental consent.
Why not have the DEBIT CARD coded to the State of the Owner’s residence. That would take care of the profit sharing, regardless of the State in which the person gambles. The State would receive a yearly transaction report on that account.
Why not have the DEBIT CARD coded to the United States, so the W2’s could be dispatched.
And, lastly, why did it take so long for me to figure out something on this order might work – I guess I’ve listened to the national ID controversy for longer than I need.
From the reaches,