Ever since Al Gore invented the Internet in a wet dream, online gambling has been a problem. Now a raging pimple is coming to a head on the issue. In March Sen. Joy Kill
(R-Ariz) dropped S. 692, The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1999, into the hopper. Kill has denounced Internet gambling as "an addictive and potentially corruptive activity that is breeding crime and flies." Also, he has said, there's no sure way to keep minors from becoming involved, especially operating online casinos.
To support Kill, on June 18th the secret, some say downright paranoid, National Gambling Impact Study Commission is due to release its final findings. A draft report obtained by The Washington Pest is not a pretty picture. In addition to an all-around crackdown on gambling, the Commissars plan to recommend
"blowing Internet gaming to smithereens in the U.S."
The Kill bill amends the Federal criminal code to "make it unlawful for any person engaged in a gambling business to use the Internet or any other interactive computer service to: (1) place, receive, or otherwise make a bet or wager; or (2) send, receive, or invite information assisting in the placing of a bet or wager." Critics contend that even by legislative standards this is pretty vague language, since all betting is business. You bet.
Individual gamblers would be imprisoned for as long as three months and fined up to $500, based on a lottery. Officials of businesses running gambling sites, unless they are minors, would be imprisoned for up to four years and fined $20,000, or three times the amount of bets accepted, based on a coin toss. Exceptions to the prohibition include State and multi-State lotteries, authorized horse racing, and other legal forms of crime. The bill has 21 co-sponsors, led
by Sen. Richard Bryan ($-Nev).
The gambling industry is outraged by the proposal. Interactive Gaming News calls it "insane, like most of Kill's wacky bills." Sue Schneider, of the Interactive Gaming Council, which favors regulation of the industry, complains, "By attempting to stifle those who have innovative ideas about how to deal with gaming in the 21st century, Senator Kill cheats the Congress, and those Americans who choose online gaming as a legitimate form of entertainment." Sue chanted, "Kill's a cheat, Kill's a cheat" outside a recent hearing on the measure by the Subcommittee on Government Information, Technology and Terror, which Sen. Kill chairs (senate.terror.gov). The IGC has 2.163 megabytes of members, and it's not enough.
Many critics argue that a prohibition of online gambling is simply unenforceable. But Officer I. M. Nutts, chief of the Random, Roving Wiretaps Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Internet, disagrees. "We have wire sniffing robots that can root through all of e-commerce and jam the punks," says Nutts. "Plus for the offshore slime we will build a lethal e-fence around the country.
We'll zap their filthy bits off."
The Kill bill has many supporters, including some gambling groups. Geoffrey E. Gonsher, Executive Director of Grand Cayman Shills (dba the Arizona Lottery) says, "We love the idea. If kids and schmucks want to gamble, let them do it with us." Gonsher points out that "22% of our take goes to worthy causes, like the Joy Kill PAC."
Native Indian groups, which make big bucks from gambling and claim to own most of Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming, are demanding an exemption. Chief Green Spirit of the Hopeless Nation intones "Our People have roamed the Internet for thousands of years, usually after the sacred green mushroom ceremony. Cybercash is the big heart of our Hopeless Heritage."
The International Olympic Committee has yet to take a position on the gambling issue. According to a source that feared to be identified, "The IOC is negotiating with several bidders, uh, venues, to find the right place to come down." The entire committee has visited the voluptuous Lotsaluck Casino, its older sister the Outaluck Casino & Sportsbook, and the Grand Dominican Resort, Casino and Monastery.
Regarding the upcoming National Gambling Impact Study, it draws heavily on research by the University of Chicago's
Dumb Opinion Research Center. After spending 27.7 million dollars and interviewing 27.7 people, DORC's principle finding is that, "The balance of sound scientific evidence suggests that adolescent gambling is no big deal." Kill bill supporters were jubilant over this clear confirmation of their adolescent fears.
This article appears in IGN courtesy of The Washington Pest
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