Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Vin Narayanan Archives
More Strategy Experts

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Proponents of online gambling ban serve "demon rum" at House hearing

26 March 2015

By Vin Narayanan
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Demon Rum."

Two simple words uttered by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) perfectly summed up the farcical testimony offered by proponents of federal legislation to ban online gaming in front the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Wednesday.

"I don't think the issue is whether or not government should regulate gaming because it's bad," Poe said. "I think we tried that with prohibition, or 'demon rum,' as my grandmother liked to call it. And look where that got us."

Poe didn't mean characterize the witnesses in favor of banning online gaming with this broad brush stroke. He realized the trap he was walking into when he began his soliloquy with "No offense, Mr. Bernal," referring to the national director for the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation who opposes all forms of gambling.

Poe was actually focused on whether the federal government had the right to regulate the Internet in all instances. But his inadvertent characterization of the testimony to ban online gaming was spot on. It was all "demon rum."

John Kindt, a professor of business administration at the University of Illinois law school, said online gaming would destabilize Wall Street and the stock market by creating a "bubble" for online gaming stocks that would eventually burst.

Les Bernal said state governments were forcing citizens to gamble at casinos and on the lottery.

Washington University Law Professor Michael Fagan said there is no way "any individual or combination of state governments, can expand to the degree necessary to effectively police and regulate the likely scale of legalized Internet casino or poker."

These statements don't just strain credulity. They shatter it into a million pieces.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), openly mocked Parry Aftab, Wired Safety's executive director, for believing that geolocation and identify verification technology worked, even as she provided direct evidence supporting her testimony.

Chaffetz also argued that his Restoration of America's Wire Act (RAWA), which bans online gaming at the federal level and gives states no say in whether they want offer online gaming within their own borders, is a bill that protects state's rights.

Kindt, Bernal and Fagan made no effort to hide their disgust and disdain for all forms of gambling. When asked if they opposed online gaming or all forms of gambling, all three readily admitted they were against all forms of gambling.

When Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) asked if RAWA would hurt the Louisiana Lottery, which he made clear funds teacher pay and other educational initiatives, Kindt and Bernal essentially accused him and the state of Louisiana's of accepting the devil's money and said he should run away from it. Aftab actually answered the question and said RAWA would stop any online lottery ticket sales.

For Kindt, Bernal,Fagan and Chaffetz, it's all just demon rum. No credible evidence was provided to defend their claims. No attempts were made to refute the clear and overwhelming evidence that regulation is working in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Online gambling was demon rum and it had to go.

There’s nothing wrong with being against gambling. But being against gambling doesn’t excuse you from presenting facts.

Congressional hearings shouldn't be places where facts are irrelevant. They shouldn't be places where you can make ludicrous claims and charges without submitting any facts or evidence. That's how you end up with McCarthyism.

The room housing the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations is actually pretty small. Yet despite its size, there's an august feeling about the room. It feels like a seat of power, where important decisions are made after carefully weighing the facts.

Andrew Moylan, who runs the pro states' rights R Street Institute, and Aftab came to the hearing prepared with facts and arguments about why regulated intrastate online gaming is good for states' rights and good for consumers. Aftab noted that there were three cases in Nevada where kids managed to play online poker at a regulated site. She also explained in a fair amount of detail how identity verification works. Moylan explained exactly how the assumption that Internet commerce (and other activities) can only be regulated by the federal government “eviscerates” the commerce clause in the Constitution. They upheld the honor of the room.

Chaffetz, Kindt, Bernal and Fagan served demon rum. And that's a disgrace.
Proponents of online gambling ban serve "demon rum" at House hearing is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
 

Top-10 tips for betting the 2015 NCAA Tournament

16 March 2015
The NCAA men's basketball tournament is the single biggest sports wagering event in the United States. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), about $240 million will be wagered in Nevada alone on this year's tournament. By comparison, more than $185 million was wagered on Kentucky Derby Day. ... (read more)
 

Top-10 college football bowl game wagers

29 December 2014
College football bowl season is upon us, so it's time to revisit my preseason college football prop bets and make some bowl wagers. I went 3-7 in my preseason predictions. I went 2-for-2 on Jameis Winston prop bets -- over on the yardage and under on the touchdowns -- and nailed Ole Miss hitting the over on wins -- they had nine and the line was set at eight. ... (read more)
 

Top-10 weather bets

1 December 2014
The weather plays an important role in our lives. Think about what you’re wearing right now -- odds are it was influenced by the weather. Winter coats, sweaters and sweatshirts come out during cold weather. It’s shorts and sandals during warm weather. And don’t forget the umbrella if it’s raining. But the ... (read more)

Next 10 Articles >

  • Featured Articles

Martin Jacobson wins WSOP Main Event title and $10 million

LAS VEGAS -- Martin Jacobson beat Felix Stephensen heads up Tuesday night to win the World Series of Poker Main Event title and $10 million. Stephensen won $5.1 million for finishing in second. Jorryt van Hoof finished third to win $3.8 million.Jacobson began heads-up play with 142 million in chips and ste... (read more)
 

Van Hoof leads at WSOP Main Event final table

LAS VEGAS -- First the Ryder Cup. Now the World Series of Poker Main Event. It’s been a banner year for the Europeans.A European is guaranteed to win the Main Event after Jorryt van Hoof, Martin Jacobson and Felix Stephensen advanced to three-handed play early Tuesday morning.Van Hoof has 89.6 million in chips. ... (read more)
 

Top-10 casino workers to appreciate on Labor Day

With the Labor Day weekend upon us in the U.S., I thought it would be nice to honor the casino workers who make trips to Las Vegas, Foxwoods, Atlantic City and all of our other casinos special.These people work hard to make our trips to the casinos -- and the hotels many of them are attached to -- an enjoyable experience. ... (read more)
 

Top-10 bets for the 2014 NCAA football season

There's a special sort of insanity involved in betting college football futures. Unlike the NFL, betting on NCAA futures requires giant leaps of faith, with most teams starting players who have never played college football in critical positions and roles. That's why most preseason predictions are wrong so often. ... (read more)
 

Top-10 ways to fix Atlantic City

It's been a rough summer for Atlantic City. Revel Casino Hotel declared bankruptcy (again) in June. Caesars announced Showboat Atlantic City would close at the end of August. And the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino is scheduled to close in September.The Atlantic Club closed in January. Atlantic City's overall ... (read more)
Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.