July 16, 2008
Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee has been reaping the rewards of his support for gambling online by a large increase of political donations from those who would profit from his efforts to de-legalize online gambling. In addition the gambling "industry" (which is estimated to be a $5.9 billion industry - despite being illegal in the U.S.) is holding high end fund-raisers in his honor according to a story in the Boston Globe. One of those fundraisers was held in the home of a former Rep. Frank staffer whom now makes a tidy sum lobbying for online gambling.
One of his "fans", a media relations director from an online gambling site referred to Rep. Frank as a God for his efforts. New donors to his campaign also include celebrity poker players like Annie Duke ("The Duchess of Poker"), Howard Lederer ("The Professor"), and Andy Bloch ("The Rock"). I testified against the "Duchess" last year over online gambling, and while she seems very nice I unfortunately was not given a cool nickname (or at least not one to my face or that could be printable here.)
Elsewhere a study conducted jointly by academics of the University of Western Ontario in Canada and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas -- found that online gamblers tend bet more frequently and aggressively than they do in casinos (they needed a study to figure that out?) They also discovered that "online gambling is readily accessible via the Internet even though it is outlawed or in a "legal grey area" in United States and Canada."
While the study might not be new news their unbelievable conclusion is. After concluding how different real live gambling and online gambling are the crackerjack study team "suggest legalizing and regulating online gambling, similar to the way casino gambling is regulated, may help reduce the incidences of problem gambling." They give a laundry list of suggestions, some which have been automatically ruled out because of the anonymity of the Internet, such as "cross-checking new users with lists of pathological gamblers." Or have proven to not be successful when tried in regulating online pornography.
They also "recommend online gambling casinos minimize use of flashing bold graphics to signal wins to lessen the emotional experience for gamblers."
Please tell me this was not a government funded study.