Category Archives: Federal News

Military Personnel to be Screened for Problem Gambling under new Trump Directive

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the concerns of gambling in the military. The Department of Defense actually operates gambling facilities where service personnel gamble on slot machines. A few years ago Sen. Elizabeth Warren pushed an amendment to study the issues of problem gambling saying, “If the military is going to operate gambling facilities that bring in tens of millions of dollars in revenue, it also needs to ensure there is adequate prevention, treatment, and financial counseling available for service members struggling with gambling addictions.” She explained that over 36,000 service members fit the definition of problem gamblers. Now the Trump Administration has passed an initiative to screen for problem gambling during service member’s medical examinations. An online source explains: 

Members of America’s armed forces will now have to undergo screening for gambling addiction thanks to a new provision contained within the *National Defence Authorisation Act* that was signed into law by *President Trump* this week.

Section 733 of the House Armed Services Committee Report 115-874 requires the Department of Defence (DoD) to incorporate medical screening questions specific to gambling disorder in the next annual periodic health assessment conducted by the Department as well as in the Health Related Behaviours Surveys of Active-Duty and reserve component service members.

NCPG executive director *Keith Whyte* said: “Previous DoD surveys have found active duty personnel are two to three times more likely to have gambling problems than civilians. Better detection of gambling problems improves overall health and reduces social costs. Undetected gambling addiction exacerbates substance use disorders, depression and suicidal behaviour.”

He added: “NCPG strongly believes military personnel need and deserve effective gambling addiction prevention, education, treatment, enforcement, research, responsible gaming and recovery services. With the provision requiring members of the Armed Forces to be screened for gambling addiction, championed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, we take a vital step to improving the lives of service members and their families.

 

 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

 

Advertisements

New Sports Betting Bill Introduced in America

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many ongoing efforts to see sports gambling expanded in the U.S. The most recent string of events has been the New Jersey legislators and Governor fighting an ongoing battle to bring sports gambling to their state. Federal Law basically prevents sports betting with the exception of a few locations that were grandfathered, namely Las Vegas. All attempts to subvert the law by New Jersey have failed, so now their approach is to move beyond individual state efforts by looking to a Federal solutions. As the discussions of sports betting continues to grow among the major sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA and MLB, New Jersey believes they are in a better position for a broad sweeping Federal gambling expansion effort. An online source explains:

“With casinos in Atlantic City closing at an alarming rate and gambling revenue in decline for a number of years New Jersey Representatives Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone have introduced new legislation to legalize sports betting in New Jersey and eventually across the nation.

Pallone’s proposed legislation would exempt the state from the federal prohibition on sports betting. LoBiondo’s law would introduce a four-year opportunity window which would allow every US state to introduce legislation for professional and amateur sports betting.”

Time will tell if these new efforts prove fruitful, but the fact that the major sports leagues are increasing their level of dialog on the subject, is not a good sign for those hoping to limit the impact of gambling in their jurisdictions.

 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Florida Gov. Scott urges Congress to oppose online gambling

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing federal and state battles regarding online gambling.  Each year it seems someone in Congress brings forth new online gambling legislation.  So far, none have been successfully passed, but an Obama Administration ruling on the federal Wire Act has opened the door for all kinds of online gambling legislation and discussion.  Earlier this year, Casino Watch Focus reported that the FBI warned of the dangers of money laundering, cheating and fraud.  This year is no different and new legislation and discussions are being advanced.  Florida Gov. Rick Scott has joined the dialog and penned a letter to Congress urging them to oppose online gambling and uphold the traditional interpretation of the Wire Act.  The Miami Herald reports:

In a letter to congressional leaders on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the governor urged Congress to clarify that the federal Wire Act bars online state lottery sales and reverse a Department of Justice ruling last year that opened the door to internet gambling.

“Allowing Internet gaming to invade the homes of every American family, and be piped into our dens, our living rooms, our workplaces, and even our kids’ bedrooms and dorm rooms is a major decision,’’ the governor wrote in the three-page letter. “We must carefully examine the short and long-term social and economic consequences before Internet gambling spreads.”

He urged Congress to “step in now and call a ‘time-out’ by restoring the decades-long interpretation of the Wire Act.”

The driving organization behind Gov. Scott and other GOP governors is the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.  They have echoed the recent FBI statements and believe it poses a very real and serious threat to families. The Miami Herald continues:

The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling warns that if these efforts are allowed, there will be little to no control over who is exposed to gambling. Children and gambling addicts could have unlimited access to games as they play in the comfort of their homes on lap tops and tablets, the group warns, and organized crime and international terrorists could use the enterprises to hide capital and launder money.

“We appreciate you consideration of our views,’’ Scott wrote, “and look forward ot working with you on developing a sensible policy that protects Americans and preserves the traditional role of the states in controlling gambling within their borders.”

A complete version of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s letter is available courtesy of the Miami Herald HERE. For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Federal Online Poker Bill Introduced

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many attempts to legalize online gambling.  Most recently, Rep Peter King introduced a bill to allow a broad range of online gambling.  Other legislators such as Sen. Harry Reid commented that the bill would not likely move through the process and that it undermined poker only efforts.  Now, it appears that a poker only bill is being introduced.  The Las Vegas Review Journal reports:

A Texas congressman and longtime Internet poker advocate introduced legislation Thursday that would allow states and Indian tribes to legalize the activity without fear of federal intervention.

The bill, titled the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013, marks the second time Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, has tried to push federal Internet poker legislation through Congress. His 2012 attempt stalled.

In interviews after King’s bill surfaced, Barton said his belief was that a poker-only bill had a better chance of passing Congress, rather than full-blown casino wagering.

Barton’s bill would set up a federal system for regulating only online poker. Individual states could opt out of the system, if they wish.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


After Failed Federal Attempts, Online Poker Efforts to Shift from National to State Platforms

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the numerous attempts to legalize online poker, including a recent report explaining that Senator Harry Reid’s latest, yearly-attempt to legalize online poker at the national level, had failed again.  After so many failed attempts at the federal level, it looks like the new goal of the online poker lobbyists will be to focus on passing State legislations. An online source explains:

Ever since the movement for legalized online poker grew out of the threat from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act six years ago, the poker lobby’s focus has been to obtain regulation at the federal level. This focus will change in 2013 as the future of online poker in the U.S. moves to a state-by-state basis.

The proposal last year from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and now former Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) would have regulated Internet poker while prohibiting other forms of online gambling to get support from liberals and conservatives. This proposal was the best chance for legislation at the federal level. Reid’s office claims there might still be an opportunity to pass the bill this year, but passage will be difficult without Kyl in office to deliver Republican support. Poker lobbyists aren’t going to completely abandon Capitol Hill, but it’s become clear that their focus is better placed elsewhere.

For those looking to protect families from the dangers of easy access and unsecured online gambling, it would be wise to be wary of local lobbyist efforts, as they have indicated a great deal of money and resources will be spent to win on a these smaller battlegrounds.  The online source continues:

With the PPA’s focus moving to the states, expect to see more grassroots campaigns at the state level in 2013. “We certainly could mimic some of the things we’ve done at the federal level in terms of fly-ins, paid advertisements, letters to the editor, op-eds and media placements in a variety of papers throughout the states from a poker players perspective,” Pappas said. “There are a number of ways to ramp up the grassroots and activity, and we’re considering all of those.”

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

 

 


New Federal Online Poker Bill Expected to be Filed and Raise Constitutional Concerns

Casino Watch Focus reported many times on the failed attempts of the federal legislature to pass a bill to remove UIGEA and fully allow online gambling at the federal level.  Most attempts have been lead by Senator Harry Reid. A new bill is once again being introduced by Sen. Reid and Les Bernal of Stop Predatory gambling provides a summary of the bill: 

A draft of the online poker bill that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) plan to introduce was released this week. The bill, known as the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012” would legalize online poker at the federal level, a step that became possible last December when the U.S. Department of Justice released an opinion stating that the Wire Act does not apply to online poker.

The bill provides an opt-in structure, in which states have to affirmatively choose to participate in the online poker program. A state would be considered to have opted in if it has passed a law legalizing online poker. Thus far, only Nevada and Delaware have passed such laws. An Indian tribe is considered to have opted in if a designated authority of the tribe submits written notice to the Secretary of Commerce saying so. Money could only be accepted from players located in those states or tribal lands at the time they are playing.

No game other than poker would be allowed under the bill, even if it is licensed by the state. A state could still legalize other games under their own laws, but this law would not allow them to operate those games interstate. The bill has a carve-out that allows interstate bets on horse racing to continue to operate legally, as well as an exception to allow lotteries to sell tickets online.

Other portions of the bill seek to establish a criteria to determine how licenses are issued and tax issues are handled.  The Las Vegas Review Journal explains how parts of the bill could violate due process:

A bill to legalize online poker that is being written in Congress and that Nevada senators are trying to pass by the end of the year could be challenged in court and found unconstitutional, according to a legal analysis by a former top government attorney.

The bill would set up a framework to license and regulate Internet poker companies, and to nourish a U.S.-based online poker industry. But former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement said he found flaws in segments of the bill that seek to punish overseas providers that ran games in the United States and continued to take bets from U.S. players even after Congress passed online restrictions in 2006.

The so-called “penalty box” provisions would prohibit those companies from applying for an online poker license for five years, and from selling their trademarks or software to others seeking a license.

Clement said the bill being formed by Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., “raises serious due process concerns.”

He said it would deprive the providers of “significant property interest,” and could be considered an unconstitutional “bill of attainder” because it effectively singles out a group for punishment without adequate protections for their rights.

This bill could be its own worst enemy as it closes off several forms of online gambling in order to establish a legal framework for poker.  Those party to gambling online outside of just poker will certainly object.  The Las Vegas Review outlines both the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures as groups who oppose due to restricting states opportunities to benefit financially. 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot Odds Not Worth Chasing

Casino Watch Focus has consistently educated the public on the risks of gambling.  Each year the number of those trapped in gambling’s web increases and the amount of money gambled continues to climb.  One online source points to out that Global Betting and Gaming Consultants resent finding’s show that world wide gambling reached $419 billion in 2011.  Even though most people probably think of casinos, the lottery actually accounts for the most gambling at 28%.  Lotteries popularity always climbs as the jackpots increase.  One of the largest multi-state lotteries, Mega Millions, has an estimated jackpot of $540 million.  These large jackpots create a frenzy of gamblers, some of whom have terrible gambling addictions and some who just play on these types of occasions.  But how good are your odds at winning?  The USA Today points out, the odds are definitely not worth the chase:

Social media users were buzzing about the jackpot on Facebook and Twitter, mostly about what they would do with the money, but also about the tiny possibility of winning the top prize. The odds? About 1 in 176 million.

“I’m reading an article about what to do after you hit the mega millions jackpot. Next article, how to housebreak your unicorn,” says @scottbhuff on Twitter. Some posters link to a someecards.com poster that shows a man consoling a woman, and include this phrase: “Plenty of people don’t win the lottery the first few thousand times they play.”

To put your chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot into perspective, you are:

About 176 times more likely to be struck by lightning in your lifetime.

About 3.76 times more likely to be killed by fireworks this year.

Almost 9 times more likely to die from a TV falling on your head this year.

Considering the article goes on to explain that people are spending $50 to $100 at time, its easy to see how people will use large jackpots as a time to loose control and spend beyond their means chasing the impossible.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION