On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints upset the Indianapolis Colts to win Super Bowl XLIV . As Drew Brees and the Saints dominated the fourth quarter to seal their victory, the millions of people who gambled on the game likely either groaned or shouted with glee.Super Bowl betting was the topic of an article that appeared late last week in Roll Call , the major Congressional newspaper in Washington, D.C.Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) utilized the Big Game and the number of people who bet on it either online or through bookmakers as another reason why Congress needs to pass Rep. Barney Frank’s poker bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. While Frank’s legislation would not legalize online sports betting, McDermott says that passing the bill “could open the door to allowing this activity in the future.”Frank introduced his poker bill in May, and held a hearing on the issue in December in the House Financial Services Committee. That committee has not yet voted on the legislation.In his Roll Call article, McDermott points out that “it’s projected that 99 percent of wagers on the Super Bowl will be placed illegally online or through a bookmaker, where consumers have no legal protections and are left vulnerable to exploitation.”While online sports gambling is illegal, most lawyers agree that online poker is not. The Department of Justice holds the position that all gambling on the Internet is illegal, but no one ever has been prosecuted for playing online poker, and there does not appear to be any applicable federal law that would support this position.“Despite attempts by the federal government to prohibit online gambling, primarily through passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, millions of Americans are wagering approximately $100 billion each year on the Internet,” McDermott wrote. “Clearly, the current prohibitory approach to online gambling has failed, leaving consumers vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and money laundering, while billions of dollars flows out of the U.S. economy into the hands of offshore gambling operators who exploit U.S. laws.”McDermott calls Frank’s legislation “a sensible solution to regulate online gambling,” indicating that it would institute safeguards to protect children and problem gamblers.To read the entire article, go to Roll Call .
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