Urgent - H.R. 4777 Update
Click here to take action against H.R. 4777.
Kate Phillips of the New York Times reports that H.R. 4777, which would crack down on internet gambling, will come to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this summer:
Gambling opponents are pushing for bills to put teeth into enforcement. In the House, proponents of a crackdown merged two bills. The majority leader, Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, announced a few days ago that the measure would be voted on this summer as part of what the Republicans call their American Values Agenda.(entire article here)At The Agitator, Radley Balko writes:
The odds of a bill's becoming law this year appear long. Beyond that, nearly everyone agrees that online betting may be unstoppable because of the reach of the Internet and the difficulty in regulating its activity.
David O. Stewart, an analyst and a lawyer who produced a study of online gambling for the American Gaming Association, a client of his firm, paraphrased an adage used by the Supreme Court in a campaign finance case, saying: "Money, like water, will find its way. And I really think that applies to this. The money will find a way to get to the offshore sites."
Because the bill effectively deputizes banks to sniff out and eradicate gambling among their customers (the creepy privacy implications there ought to kill this bill by themselves), it amounts to a piece of blatantly protectionist legislation, in that its practical effect will be to shield a domestic company (PayPal, which is owned by eBay) from foreign competitors like FirePay and Netteller.
Mr. Balko has more about the privacy and trade implications of a ban on internet gambling here.
At To the People, Cicero calls for a boycott of EBay until it reverses its position on H.R. 4777.
The Poker Players Alliance makes it easy to contact your members of Congress regarding H.R. 4777, providing a sample letter. Go here to take action. You can also join the Poker Players Alliance. Your $20 membership fee gets you a lapel pin and a t-shirt.