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Frist Finally Answers Questions About Internet Gambling Bill

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When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed back in early October several members of our staff tried to contact Bill Frist through telephone and email methods. No one was able to get through to the Republican who snuck the UIGEA through along with an important Port Security measure. The closest we came to a reply from the Senator was when Frist wrote a personal message to Southern Baptists saying how he accomplished their goals.

Finally, we have received a response, granted a stock response. Here it is...

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on illegal internet gambling. It is an honor to serve in the US Senate and a privilege to respond to your letter.

I have heard from many concerned citizens regarding passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. While I understand the concerns of the numerous individuals that participate in on-line gaming, the bottom line is simple: Internet gambling is illegal. Gambling is a serious addiction that undermines the family, dashes dreams, and frays the fabric of society. Congress has grappled with this issue for 10 years, and during that time the on-line gaming industry has exploded. Although it is impossible to monitor every on-line gambler or regulate offshore gambling, steps can be taken to police the financial institutions that disregard our laws.

On September 30,2006, following a vote of 409-2 in the House of Representatives, the US Senate passed the port security improvement act of 2006 by unanimous consent. This bill included an amendment preventing financial entities from processing credit cards, checks and similar transactions in connection with Internet gambling. This legislation granted federal and state authorities the power to sue to prevent or restrain violations of its provisions, while limiting the relief available against Internet service providers unless they are directly involved with the unlawful gambling website. On October 13,2006, President Bush signed the legislation into law (pl 109-347).

The letter came months after the inquiries were sent to his office and a couple weeks after he was already out of office. The question of why the UIGEA was attached in such a sneaky underhanded manner was not answered.

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