Daily Archives: June 27, 2008

Kansas Supreme Court provides ruling in Gambling case

The Kansas City Star reported the ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court on the issue of state owned casinos in Kansas:

The case focused on one central point: Did the new law meet the Kansas Constitution’s definition of a “state owned and operated lottery” when casino developers would run the business and own the facilities? In a unanimous ruling released Friday morning, the court said it did.

The Supreme Court rejected the argument that KS does not really own anything but the profits because they won’t purchase the equipment, market their product or absorb any expenses related to doing business. The Kansas City Star article explained:

“While the state is not the exclusive owner and operator of all aspects of the lottery enterprise under (the law), the state owns and operates the enterprise itself and owns and operates key elements of the lottery,” the ruling states.

The Court’s view of ownership seems to differ from that of every other state who’s model and system is the same as KS. Deference without distinction? Yes. A surprising ruling from a state facing serous economic shortfalls looking for to be bailed out by gambling revenues? No


Related Stories:

Kansas Supreme Court upholds stupid gambling law by Yael T. Abouhalkah, Kansas City Star Editorial Page columnist

Kansas court upholds law to expand gambling by CARL MANNING, Associated Press

Why some “burdens” help protect our children

In 2006 Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.  UIGEA made it illegal for online gambling companies to accept money for unlawful Internet gambling transactions and it called for regulations on the banking and payment processing industry. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System board of governors released proposed regulations for UIGEA on October 1, 2007.  Unfortunately the Federal Reserve and Treasury have used the excuse that they can’t finalize the rules because they are unclear on what is illegal online gambling and what is legal online gambling.

The AP is reporting the latest move on Capitol Hill:

The House Financial Services Committee voted Wednesday on legislation to require federal regulators to write a uniform definition of which types of gambling should and should not be allowed on the Internet, followed by new rules implementing the ban. The tie vote, 32-32, meant the legislation failed under committee rules.

Financial institutions have been upset with UIGEA from the beginning because they feel it’s a burden to monitor gambling transactions, but one Representative spelled out why such “burdens” are so necessary:

The committee’s top Republican, Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, argued that gambling is the fastest-growing addiction in the United States and having it online makes it accessible to children.  “The banks have decided that this is a financial burden,” Bachus said. “We have decided, on the other hand, that our children are worth protecting.”

MO Ethics Commission makes clarification on Lobbyist Gifts to Elected Officials

In an effort to expose the influx of gifts and political contributions from gambling special interest, we have posted documented stories of elected officials accepting concert tickets, cruises, meals and other monetary gifts. With that aim below is an interesting story from The Turner Report.

From Randy Turner at The Turner Report:

Though the names are carefully blacked out on the opinion, it appears an elected official who has been accepting tickets to entertainment events from lobbyists tried to get a ruling which would allow him or her to accept the tickets, keep one, report that one, and then spread the tickets around to others without having to count them as gifts.

That effort failed.

The opinion, issued June 5, indicates the person requesting the opinion asked the following question:

“If an elected official accepts more than one ticket to a sporting event or an entertainment performance, uses one ticket for his or her use and then give the remainder to another person, not related to him or her and not employed by him or her in an official capacity, does the lobbyist disclose only the value of the ticket used by the elected official or the total of all tickets received and accepted on behalf of the elected official?”

The opinion said that the lobbyist must report the value of all tickets.

Of course, the value of all the tickets must be reported. The whole idea of reporting gifts is so the public can know which lobbyists are lavishing gifts on which elected officials. If the lobbyists are giving the gifts to the elected officials and then those officials turn right around and provide them to others, it is still something that ultimately leaves the elected official feeling kindly toward the lobbyist and whatever special interests he or she represent.

When we see our elected officials trying to get around those reporting requirements, it becomes obvious why the requirements are necessary. Of course, banning all gifts from lobbyists would be the best solution. That would not keep them from exercising their constitutional right to petition the government, it would just allow the public’s business to be conducted in a more businesslike fashion.