After I read a pro-UIGEA letter penned by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL) sent to the US Congress, I decided to analyze it – both its own loaded language and the “information” it bases its decent and moral plea upon.
Party Poker people – go vote. More specifically, you American Party Poker people need to get out, vote and get involved with your own country’s government. This is an election year and if we can’t break 50% voter turnout this time around, then we shouldn’t count as a representative democracy.
And out here in the real world, things aren’t going according to plan – just as it appears that Barney Frank and friends are poised to topple the UIGEA, there comes a letter.
That’s right, last week Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL) penned a letter to Congress (TP article) urging it to remain strong in its support of the UIGEA.
So follow the above link, open up another window – let’s look at what is really being said and exactly how it is “substantiated.”
It begins with: “Dear Colleague:” Maybe I’m being too hard here, but the word colleague bothers me. It seems arrogant, like an antiquated word bandied about by blowhards. OK… I am being too hard.
The first paragraph is basically an introduction (although points for using the melodramatic word “gut” instead of the actual word, “repeal.”) The second paragraph is where it gets interesting:
The bill (Frank-Paul introduced HR 5767)would result in the de facto repeal of federal and state gambling control laws and would likely result in a massive expansion of gambling on the Internet.
I’m not sure what universe Senator Kyl and Rep. Bachus live in, but the massive gambling explosion has already occurred. Remember Chris Moneymaker? Online gaming is a worldwide phenomenon now and is, in fact, more popular than ever. This is not an act of holding back a growing demon – this is an[other] act of separating USA from the world community. As a sidenote, those “federal and state gambling control laws” have nothing really to do with gambling – they are regulations placed on financial institutions. Banks can’t process bets or money going to gaming sites, which effectively makes online gaming illegal. However the UIGEA has no direct effect on the legality of online gaming. Keep that in mind, we’ll come back to that later.
Paragraph three is fun because it points to the:
…offshore Internet gambling enterprises have paid millions of dollars to lobbyists in an effort to overturn UIGEA.
Well yeah they are off shore – they can’t collect any money if they are on American soil. Not to mention the fact that some of those gambling institutions are not just off-shore, they are not American companies!
It also fails to mention the $3 million that the Horse Racing Industry contributed to Congressmen in 2005 (remember that horserace betting is un-regulated under the UIGEA.) And wouldn’t you know, but Senator Kyl and Rep. Bachus each received large sums from these lobbies – Barney Frank did not.
Furthermore, the article referenced, 3/31/08, “Internet Gambling Ban Back on Table” is really tough to find. So hard to find, that the guy who does the research for my articles couldn’t even find it. We’re talking about a man in Eduardo (the researcher) who tracked down financial reports for 2005-06 for non-publically traded companies – the guy finds the needle in the haystack every single time. So I would not call 3/31/08, “Internet Gambling Ban Back on Table” a major article.
By paragraph 4, they’ve hit their stride. Claiming that Internet gambling Industry was:
…making billions of dollars a year taking illegal bets from Americans, [and] was furious when UIGEA was enacted into law after a decade of congressional debate and development.
While the exact numbers are impossible to get at, in 2006 online gambling in America was approximately a $3 Billion industry (thank you Eduardo.) So for that industry to be making billions in illegal bets, just about every single penny it made had to be illegally gained.
Then the letter gets into the roles of the Federal Reserve and the Department of Treasury, who have each had multiple representatives speak of the benefits of repealing UIGEA at Barney Frank’s recent hearings:
to issue regulations to enforce existing federal and state laws that make Internet gambling illegal.
Oh Senator Kyl and Rep. Bachus, internet gambling is not illegal. The processing of bets made over the internet by financial institutions is illegal, but the gambling itself is not. So the question is: do the Congressmen know that and are just making an innocent error OR are they attempting to manipulate their “colleagues” who may have been too tied down in other legislative enterprises (for example: a war in Iraq, a housing/credit crisis, education, healthcare…) to follow the UIGEA saga by railroading them with loaded (and erroneous) language?
Then come paragraphs 5 and 6 – truly classic writing. To paraphrase number 5, it says that if the UIGEA has been as ineffective as critics maintain, then why are the “Internet gambling interests” spending millions to get rid of it? Of note is the sneaky rhetoric trick used in paragraph 5 – it says that the gaming interests are trying to convince Congress that the regulations WILL BE ineffective. This is different than “already has not been” because it sets the timetable for the efficacy of the UIGEA into the future. Consequently, they have moved from discussing what has occurred to what is yet to occur – making the UIGEA seem as though it could be a cause to champion in the future.
All they have to do now is establish what kind of cause it is…
The reason: UIGEA is already beginning to cripple them (loaded word, and aren’t “they” spending millions to influence Congress? Both crippled and affecting Congress…) The Annenberg Public Policy Center, which conducts the annual National Annenberg Survey of Youth, found that weekly Internet gambling among college-aged youth declined nearly 75% between 2006 and 2007, falling from 5.8% to 1.5% just one year after the enactment of UIGEA.
So I looked this study up and read the final report. While the number of 18-22 year olds ADMITTING to an official State Study going on to sites largely misconstrued to be illegal dropped (it was a phone survey with 900 counted responses) the global “moral” issue of youth gambling was unaffected. Here’s a quote from the study itself:
“Monthly rates of card playing, a broader measure of gambling, have not declined as dramatically. Monthly card playing in college-age youth dropped from 39.3 percent to 30.5 percent, a nonsignificant drop. The drop among high school-aged males was even smaller, 26.6 percent to 22.0 percent, also nonsignificant.”
Back to Paragraph 6:
Internet gambling is highly addictive, as it brings the casino into the home and office, and it is particularly attractive to minors and young adults (totally unsubstantiated – many studies suggest that the average of Internet gamblers is in the mid 30s.) While no law enforcement is perfectly effective, the Annenberg data shows that passage of UIGEA…
No. The study shows that people tend to admit to doing something less if they think it is illegal. Also remember that “75% drop, from 5.8% to 1.5%” actually means that 52 (5.8% of 900) respondents said yes before and only 14 (1.5% of 900) said yes the next time.
So in total, 38 peopl
changing their answer after they thought it became descriptive of an illegal activity out of a group of 900 (out of a group of about 300 million: the population of the USA) provided enough inspiration for Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL) to implore their “colleagues” in the US Congress to save the laws that make internet gambling illegal.
Try to wrap your head around that one. Better yet, do something about it.