While US President Obama has no official stance on the online gambling debate, his recent comments have been taken as such by his critics.
During a questions and answers session following a talk at Lehigh Carbon Community College, a student asked the President if, based on studies he had made into criminology, he would consider the legalisation of certain drugs, gambling or prostitution to provide a means of stimulating the country’s economy. Obama gave a brief response to this question which he later acknowledged was the kind of question that had been commonly asked by students for several decades. The President said that while he appreciated the boldness of the question that would not be his job strategy.
Many analysts and protagonists of online gambling had firmly believed that Obama’s stance would be in favour of legalising and regulating the industry, despite there never having been a direct affirmation of this from the President or his office. In his presidential campaign, Obama has merely gone as far as saying that he wanted the Internet to remain free from interference by the government.
Since taking office, Obama has kept the industry’s members guessing about whether he would back them or not.
The recent legal attacks made by the United States Justice Department against the industry have been raising concerns about any desire the administration may have to overturn the previous administration’s implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Some experts are beginning to question whether the Department is merely enforcing the current laws or are taking advantage of them to levy huge fines on some operators who have run afoul of those laws.
In the past week, discussions have begun by lawmakers over proposed legislation being introduced by Representative Barney Frank which has been created in an attempt to overturn the unpopular UIGEA. His Bill is also designed to lay the basic foundation for online gambling to be properly regulated in the United States.