Online Casinos Singled Out to Police Deadbeat Dads
During the markup this week of Barney Frank's bill proposing the US regulate online casinos, Representative Michele Bachmann offered an amendment suggesting that Internet gambling sites be required as part of their licensing to refuse access to parents behind on child support. Bachmann, a Republican from Minnesota, said online casinos should be made to determine which customers are deadbeat dads and refuse deposits from them, or face fines and suspensions.
Some gaming analysts found the proposal to be ironically similar to the problematic UIGEA, which the Frank bill would render moot. In both cases, enforcement is required of the private sector, with penalties for lack of success, despite great difficulties acquiring the necessary information to properly decide when the law is applicable.
At best, online casinos should be only required to reject patronage of deadbeat dads from a list provided by the regulatory authority. To ask Internet gaming sites to investigate the child support status of all customers on a continuous basis is creating an unreasonable burden on the industry, says OCA gaming analyst Sherman Bradley.
Bachmann said the cost to taxpayers of carrying the burden left unsatisfied by irresponsible parents made keeping those deadbeats from gambling money at online casinos a public necessity. However, she failed to explain how online gambling differed from hotels, music concerts, movie theatres, or almost any form of spending imaginable.
"Internet casinos are still being singled out even as they are welcomed into mainstream life in the US," says Bradley. "Sure, deadbeat dads should be paying their bills rather than spending money entertaining themselves, but why are online casinos the only group forced to police their patrons?
"Congress wouldn't think of committing the absurdity of asking every bar or moviehouse to determine which patrons owe child support, or face punishment," Bradley continued. "It seems, even while the online gaming industry faces charges that they do not posess the capability to properly run age checks, Congress trusts the Internet technology to achieve far greater screening than is plausible in land situations."
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