The 2012 Elections and Online Gaming

In November Americans will go to the polls to select a new president. Both candidates have made their positions crystal clear on a number of issues and experts are predicting a very close race. President Obama inherited an economy that was in shambles and so far has not been able to bring back economic stability. For most Americans the economy is the most important issue and both candidates have focused their campaign efforts on the economy and how to improve it. There is one issue where the position of both candidates is not clear; online gambling.

Because of the economy and several wars online gambling has taken a back seat in the current presidential race. Neither candidate has voiced a clear position. In 2008 Obama was seen as more sympathetic to online gaming than Republican John McCain. Gamblers were disappointed in 2011 when the Justice department headed by Obama appointee Eric Holder seized the domains and assets of four online poker sites. A month later a popular online bingo site was seized. The actions caused one major online bingo network to withdraw from the US market.

If the economy continues to improve the elected president will face pressure from cash strapped states that want new revenue streams that legal online gambling will provide. Nelson Rose, a Whittier College law professor who specializes in gaming issues told the Huffington Post “The president and Congress are going to be faced with proposals both to legalize every form of gambling and also outlaw all the gambling.” Over half of all states are currently passing pro online gambling legislation. Gambling critics say that the harm will outweigh the revenues provided by online gaming. Les Bernal, the executive director of the nonprofit Stop Predatory Gambling stated “Anyone serious about getting America heading in the right direction has to get government out of the predatory gambling business.”

So far neither candidate has stated a clear position on internet gaming. When he was governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney supported the introduction of slot machines to help shrink a $3 billion dollar deficit. Romney later opposed the slots saying that the state was revitalized and no longer had to suffer from the harm done by gambling. Earlier in the year Romney told the Las Vegas Sun he would state his position on gambling before the Iowa Caucus. So far no statement has been forthcoming. Romney is also a Mormon and the Mormon Church is vehemently opposed to gambling.

Online bingo players remain frustrated by a lack of clarity from both candidates when it comes to online gaming. At this point it is hard to determine which candidate would best serve the interests of online bingo players and gamblers.

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