The GOP takes a stand against online gamblingBy August 30, 2012 at 7:49 pmWhenever gaming appears on the political landscape it takes on a partisan cast. In some states, the Democratic Party is pro-gaming and supports gaming legislation, while the Republican Party takes the opposite point of view and opposes the legislation. In another state, conditions may very well be reversed and the Republicans support the legislation and the Democrats oppose it. However, until this week it has never been part of a national party platform specifically; in general that is because gaming has remain a state and not a federal issue. There have been a couple of exceptions, and they all include some form of interstate commerce and that is always under federal jurisdictions The federal Wire Act prohibits sports and horse wagering via the telephone or telegraph, it was under federal jurisdiction because electronic communication was considered interstate commerce. The same happened with slot machines, you could make them in any state, but not transport them across state lines for the purpose of gambling.Indian gaming became a federal issue because the courts were siding with Indian tribes against states and the states wanted to rein Indian gaming in and force the tribes to deal with them. The gaming industry supported the legislation because it too wanted to rein Indian gaming in and carve out a role for itself in the process. None of those were partisan issues. However, we now have a full-fledged debate on Internet gambling – clearly a federal issue – it is interstate commerce. The government, until last September, was putting on a full court press against online gambling, but then the justice department decided that only sports betting violated the old wire service laws. That leaves gambling on the Internet without any clear federal regulation; and to complicate matters further. many individual states are pushing forward with their own laws and regulations. Nevada is developing a complete regulatory structure and has begun licensing operators and technology. Illinois is selling lottery tickets online and that is just one step from playing slot machines online in Illinois. The gaming industry, through its lobbying arm, the American Gaming Association, is supporting unifying federal legislation. The Nevada congressional delegation is supporting federal legislation as are senators and representatives from other states.However, in the midst of a hotly contested presidential campaign, gambling is not an issue that either party wants to be debating in congress. Until the Republican convention this week in Florida no party had a gambling platform. That has changed; the convention has been one of grand speeches, constant media coverage and very little controversy, if you ignore the Ron Paul supporters and the feminists. In an atmosphere of certain values – anti-Obama-ism, conservative Christianity and Republican business and tax policies, it should come as no surprise that gambling falls afoul of family values. The GOP is opposing federal regulation to permit and control online gambling and supports strong federal enforcement of all applicable anti-gambling and anti-Internet gambling statutes.“Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting.”The Republican Party’s national platform was released Tuesday at the party’s convention in Tampa, Fla., and plenty of political blogs out there will tell you all about the planks on job creation, taxes, and gay marriage and so forth. The only item relevant to Meadowlands Matters, though, is filed under, “Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods.” That addresses online gaming, an issue that has won the ongoing support of the New Jersey legislature at the state level – though Governor Christie has yet to be convinced that the wagering wouldn’t run afoul of Atlantic City….California and Washington, D.C., among others, seem to be gaining more traction at a state level. John Brennan, North Jersey Media, 8-30-12For supporters of online gaming, that is a clear message, the Republican Party has moved away from your views. Will the Democrats endorse it and give you a clear choice? I doubt it. Gaming or gambling, whatever you choose to call it, is acceptable in a social sense in 2012 in a way it never was before – but politically it is still considered to be a hot potato. I don’t know how many people would vote against a party for supporting gambling, but I don’t think we will get find out this year. I expect the Democratic party to ignore the issue completely – they have enough battles to fight as it is.