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Is the Congress Stacking the Deck on Internet Gambling?

Congress adjourned early this week (HOOORAY) because of an impending snow storm. This storm has forced the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations of the House Judiciary Committee to postpone their scheduled hearing on the "Restoration of America's Wire Act" (HR 707), legislation outlawing Internet gambling.

Perhaps the extra time might make the Subcommittee reconsider their decision to hold a one-sided hearing where all the witnesses testify in favor of banning online gambling. Tim Carney explains:

As of Tuesday evening, the Committee hadn't published the witness list, but a source familiar with the hearing gave me the lineup, and it's hardly balanced.

One witness, University of Illinois Professor John Kindt, argues that legalized online gambling will be a money-laundering haven for terrorists and organized crime.

A second witness at Thursday's hearing, law professor and former federal prosecutor Michael Fagan, sounds the same notes. "Commercial Internet gambling creates huge pools of capital, which effectively serve as wholly unregulated banks," Fagan said, while testifying before Congress back in 2010, "inviting and facilitating money laundering and terrorist financing."

Les Bernal, a prominent anti-gambling activist, is another witness. He's president of a nonprofit group called Stop Predatory Gambling.

A fourth witness, Parry Aftab, is the most moderate, calling for "a strict regulatory system" of online gambling on the federal level.

The Subcommittee rebuffed several attempts by free-market groups (including Campaign for Liberty) to add an opponent of the bill to the witness list.

Carney's must-read column on the relationship between the billionaire casino owner who is working to outlaw his online competitors and the members of Congress who are supporting this assault on individual liberty can be found here.

Here are statements in opposition to banning online gambling from  Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul and Campaign for Liberty President John Tate .


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