Last Tuesday was election day in the United States,
and a source in Washington, D.C. close to the political process is
telling IGN that the results do not look good for the Internet gambling
"It's obviously not a positive development from the
standpoint of this industry," said the source, who did not want to be named.
Sometime in the next two weeks, both houses of
Congress will return for a lame-duck session, meaning that the members
who were voted out of office on Nov. 5 will return for a few final days
of business before being replaced with the candidates who won their
An exception to that will be Sen. Jean Carnahan,
D-Mo., who was not re-elected in a special election in Missouri. Because
she was filling the post on behalf of her dead husband, Missouri held an
election two years into her six-year term. Last week she lost her seat
to Jim Talent, a Republican. The change will take effect immediately,
meaning that for the lame-duck session, the Republicans will have a
majority in the Senate, where the Democrats had ruled before. The
aggregate election results for both
houses mean that the Republicans have the majority in both the House and
IGN's source said that Trent Lott, R-Miss., who is
the majority leader in the Senate, wants to keep the length of the
lame-duck session to a minimum. If that happens, it is probable that the
Senate will not have time to vote on HR 556, also known as the Leach
Bill. Lott may have difficulty keeping the session short, however.
"He may be dreaming," the source said of Lott. "I
think they want to do homeland security, terrorism insurance, something
in the appropriations vein to keep the government running and then get
out of there."
The Leach Bill, which would prohibit online gambling
by cutting off funding, was passed by the House on Oct. 1 and is
awaiting a vote in the Senate. If the lame-duck session ends before that
happens, the Leach bill has to start over in the House. IGN's source
said the elections present a tough outlook for the I-gaming industry in
that a southern Republican is now chairman of the Senate financial
One thing the industry has going for it is that John
LaFalce, formerly a Democratic representative from New York, did not
seek reelection this term. LaFalce was at the forefront of House efforts
to ban Internet gambling.
The following election results could also impact the
Rep. Bob Goodlatte
One of the leaders in the effort to ban Internet
gambling in the United States, Bob Goodlatte has tried unsuccessfully to
pass various version of his bill since 1996. After stalling again over
the summer, the Goodlatte bill was eventually merged into James
Leach's Internet gambling funding bill, which passed the House in
October. Goodlatte had no opponent in the midterm elections. He hasn't
indicated, presuming the Leach bill dies this month in the Senate,
whether he'll support Leach again in 2003 or reintroduce his bill.
Rep. John Conyers
Conyers won his district, the 14th district of
Michigan, by a near-landslide: 83.2 percent. The Democrat made his mark
on the industry last session by repeatedly voicing opposition to bills
that would have banned Internet gambling.
Rep. Barney Frank
Frank, one of the most vocal opponents of the Leach
Bill, ran for his 12th term and was unopposed. He is a Democrat from
Massachusetts. In next year's session, he will be the senior Democrat on
the House Financial Services Committee.
Sen. Tim Johnson
One of I-gaming's "friends" in the Senate, Johnson is
still embroiled in the closest Senate election of the year.
The Democrat from South Dakota played a role in
stalling the Leach Bill when it arrived in the Senate by introducing a
competing bill. Johnson's bill is an extension of the Federal Wire Act.
Unlike Leach's bill, it has no carve-outs for horse racing and Indian
gaming. While Johnson played a role in keeping the Leach bill at bay,
insiders feel that the Johnson bill won't get past the House because of
its lack of exemptions.
Johnson is at the end of his six-year term and was in
a hotly contested race for his seat against John Thune. With 100 percent
of the vote counted after the election, Johnson was declared the winner,
edging out Thune by only 528 votes. A recount of the election results
has been ordered for Nov. 25.
Rep. Jim Leach
One of Internet gambling's biggest opponents in the
House of Representatives is Iowa Republican Jim Leach. In each of the
last three years, he has introduced legislation aimed at prohibiting
Internet gaming. His bill was passed in the House in October and could
be brought up during a lame-duck session in the Senate, but political
observers say such a scenario is unlikely.
Leach, who was first elected in Iowa's 2nd District
in 1976, faced a huge challenge in a race that could have implications
far beyond the interactive gaming industry. Leach found himself in a
redrawn district that didn't include his strong and friendly base of
Davenport. The new district includes 20,000 more registered Democrats
than it does Republicans. Leach still won his race by 6 percentage
points though, garnering 52 percent of the vote while Julie Thomas
finished with 46 percent.
Rep. Michael Oxley
As chairman of the Financial Services Committee,
Republican Michael Oxley played a key role in getting the Leach bill
through committee and before the House, where it passed under the
suspension of the rules. Oxley was easily re-elected in Ohio's 4th
District. First elected to the House in 1981, Oxley received 67 percent
of the vote last week.