U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent should drop crusade to ban online gambling | Guest column

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By Dean Chambers

As Pennsylvania considers following the leads of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware in legalizing state-regulated gambling on the internet, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Lehigh Valley, is expected to push an internet gambling ban again soon in Congress. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has urged Congress and President Trump not to ban internet gambling.

A resolution passed earlier this year in the New Jersey legislature and signed by Christie notes a federal ban on internet gambling would cause the "dismantling (of) the investments that the state and Atlantic City casinos have already made to implement and regulate Internet gaming," and take away "economics and employment opportunities already realized." Federally banning Internet gambling would eliminate millions in revenue for states like New Jersey.

The campaign over the last few years to pass a ban in Congress has been at the behest of billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who views internet gambling as competition for his brick-and-mortar casinos. Adelson, who owns the  Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, has donated tens of millions to the campaign and super-PACs supporting Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate and Congress. In return, several members of Congress have introduced various bills to ban state-regulated internet gambling.

Dent is expected to submit the latest effort to the State, Justice, and Commerce Appropriations bill pending in Congress. Many grass-roots citizen  organizations, many members of Congress and other elected officials oppose the idea on the basis that states, consistent with the 10th Amendment, should decide whether to legalize regulated internet gambling. The heavy hand of big government should not be used to impose legalized internet gambling or to prohibit it by federal law.

Internet-based gambling has been a source of significant revenue for Atlantic City, where several casinos had closed before the legislature enacted legislation allowing them to get into the business of online gambling. New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada are all seeing substantial tax revenues from legalizing regulated Internet gambling. All of this is threatened by the wishes of Adelson.

The voters elected Dent and others to reform government and represent the interests of the American people. Banning online gambling is a solution to a non-problem that will cost many states a great deal of tax revenue, all for the purposes of granting a crony capitalist benefit to one billionaire, who has donated massive sums of cash to key politicians in Washington.

Congress should stand up for the interests of the American people by defeating, as it already has on several occasions, this latest effort to pass a federal Internet gambling ban.

Dean Chambers is a conservative freelance writer from Kingsport, Tenn. 

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/07/_guest_column_6.html