The House Judiciary Committee Hearing to discuss the current, past, and future state of Internet gambling housed more extensive and relevant of a debate than there has been on the subject to date. The simple conclusion of the Hearing is that, at the very least, Internet gambling is a fascinating subject that has many facets which each should be studied and examined more closely by the legislative body, state Governors, and state attorneys.
One key point to note from the Hearing is that the US Attorney representing the Department of Justice, Catherine Hanaway, declared gambling to actually be legal for US citizens to participate in. To clarify, Hanaway said that it is LEGAL for US citizens to bet on casino and poker games via the Internet. To unclarify things she stated, however, that is illegal for companies and operations to accept bets that are deemed illegal.
The strongest argument, neither for or against online gambling, came from Professor Joseph Weiler, who is an expert in international trade law, who stated that the WTO agrees that a country can opt out of a clause based on moral arguments, but that the US cannot persuasively claim a a moral argument for Internet gambling when there are exceptions in current laws for Internet gambling for horse betting and state run lotteries.
The professor also explained that a withdrawal in agreement from the WTO by the nation that instituted the WTO should only withdraw if it is dire to the national security of the country. The US, as the leader of the WTO, who sets the examples of where the WTO should go, should not be choosing Internet gambling as its issue to withdraw on an agreement it made with other countries.
Annie Duke, an acclaimed professional poker player, who also has a PhD, was also one of the strongest to give testimony in the Hearing. She made the point that she has children who she would like to be helped to protect from being able to gamble online as underage citizens, but that she would be much more successful in protecting them if she had the government’s help.
Duke also made a strong argument for the skill aspects of poker when asked the possibilities of hitting a Royal Flush. She explained that the possibilities are slim, but that a person sitting on a possible Royal Flush draw will most likely fold if forced out by a skilled player before the player with the possible Royal Flush gets to see if the hand ultimately becomes a Royal Flush.
The Hearing started at approximately 10:15 am and ended at approximately 2:30 pm. There were two breaks for House members on the panel to go vote on other legislation on the House floor.
Come back to Casino Gambling Web for more extensive analysis on the Hearing as the day progresses.