Online Gambling Prohibition: Blame it on Abramoff

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Apr/15/2010
Online Gambling

Uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff has long been noted as the individual who allowed online gambling to thrive unregulated, unlicensed and - for a few years - free from prosecution.  Whether the industry should thank him or not remains debatable since these days his associations are mostly frowned upon, and online gambling happened to be one such association. 

He and the lobbying firm that employed him, Greenberg Traurig, also did a significant amount of work on behalf of foreign-based gambling Web sites, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.  Greenberg Traurig still plays a meaningful role in representing the sector (The Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. 141 Online Gambling Domain Names comes to mind). 

Citing lobbying disclosure records, a GOP memo asserts that Internet gambling interests paid "Team Abramoff" nearly $5 million from 2001 to 2004, including clients such as the Interactive Gaming Council of Vancouver, which is helping to lead efforts to legalize online gambling in the United States. "While Jack himself is now imprisoned, many of his former associates continue to carry out Abramoff's plan to legalize Internet gambling in the United States," the GOP memo reads.

The Post article goes on to state that gambling proponents bristle at such attacks, and say the memo is full of misinformation that treats all Greenberg Traurig clients as if they were connected to Abramoff, who was fired by the firm.

The reality is that most of the industry heavy hitters represented by Greenberg Traurig up until recently were barely born during Abramoff's lobbying period.  Most of Abramoff's financial support is said to have come from now defunct BetOnSports and PartyGaming, which exited the US market around the same time Abramoff stopped lobbying. 

Keith Furlong, deputy director of the Interactive Gaming Council, validates this point, saying that his group "never retained Jack Abramoff in any capacity. We did retain others at his firm at the very end of his tenure there, and we continue to do so, but we have never had a relationship with him."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) had planned on holding a hearing Friday to discuss proposed legislation that would legalize online poker, but those plans are now on hold for the moment. 

The GOP think tank was also angered by the Obama administration's delaying of implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that essentially holds banks responsible for policing online gambling money transactions, something they say they cannot do to begin with. 

Outspoken Republicans are not about to give up. 

From the Washington Post:

GOP lawmakers as well as conservative groups, began pushing back this week against the legalization effort. Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other lawmakers have scheduled floor statements condemning the legislation, while GOP aides began circulating the Abramoff-related memo and other attacks.  Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement that he would continue to push for implementation of the 2006 law hardening the prohibition for online gaming. "Our children and families need this protection," Bachus said.

Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

 

Gambling News

Fred Done Pays Out on Man City: ‘Painful for the Heart and the Wallet’

Fred Done Pays Out on Man City: ‘Painful for the Heart and the Wallet’

“This is painful both for the heart and the wallet but after winning at Old Trafford there is no way no one is closing that 11 point gap,” BetFred.com founder Fred Done said Monday. “This hurts but the Blues look unstoppable so I’m giving the punters who backed them an early Christmas present.”

Pablo Escobar Hit Man Found in Violation of Parole, Found at Gambling Party

Pablo Escobar Hit Man Found in Violation of Parole, Found at Gambling Party

Colombian authorities are seeking to re-arrest a former hit man for late drug lord Pablo Escobar for violating his parole after he was caught partying with a major trafficker wanted by the U.S., prosecutors said Saturday.

Wayne Allyn Root Prediction: ‘US Supreme Court Will Rule in Favor of Sports Betting’

Wayne Allyn Root Prediction: ‘US Supreme Court Will Rule in Favor of Sports Betting’

Conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root predicts that the US Supreme Court will ultimately allow legalized sports betting when they present their final decision some time next spring or summer.

Federal Agents Shut Down NFL Survival Pool

It was reported this week that US federal authorities shut down the popular Ron & Mike Football Pool.

Mr Green Casino Named Most Socially Responsible Bookmaker of Year

Mr Green Casino Named Most Socially Responsible Bookmaker of Year

Mr Green Casino has been awarded the prestigious title Socially Responsible Bookmaker of the Year 2017 at the SBC Awards in London.

Syndicate