Internet Bingo Players and the 2012 Elections

This year’s presidential elections in the United States will have a drastic effect on the future of online bingo in the US. Currently there are two different ideas about online gambling regulation in the US. On one hand proposed federal legislation will legalize online poker but would keep internet bingo illegal. Several states have announced plans to offer residents intrastate online gaming and some states have included internet bingo on the list of games to be legalized. The 2010 decision by the department of justice cleared the way for states to offer online gaming.

The two presidential candidates have different ideas about online gaming and are likely to pursue different policies and enforcement strategies. Obama is seen as more sympathetic to the interests of online gamblers. Romney has said he would take a strict prohibitionist approach to all forms of internet gambling. Since the attorney general is appointed by the president a Romney win could easily change justice department policy on internet gambling. Romney’s party advocated a heavily censored internet under the guise of making the net “family friendly.” The GOP has a long history of opposing internet gaming.

The Republican platform called for “legislation prohibiting gambling over the Internet” in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Amazingly enough this time the GOP equates internet gambling with child pornography!  In the part of the 2012 platform dealing with the internet the document reads “Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting. “(Pg. 32)

Ironically one of Romney’s biggest financial supporters has been Sheldon Adelson who owns the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Adelson is also a fierce opponent of internet gambling citing ‘underage gambling’ and ‘gambling addiction’ as reasons for his opposition. It should be noted that part of the platform was written by the far right Family Research Council headed by Tony Perkins. For internet bingo players and gamblers in the US a lot is at stake this election. Currently Americans spend billions at offshore gaming sites that may or may not be honest. Once internet gaming is legalized in the US residents will enjoy the same consumer protections that Europeans currently enjoy.