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Online Casino News - March, 2009

NFL Hires Lobbyist to Fight Online Gambling Regulation


  Seed Newsvine

by Margaret Oliveira, News Staff Writer

March 27, 2009

The National Football League has long been a foe of the online gambling industry. Ever since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was on the drawing board of a certain U.S. Senator (cough, cough, Jon Kyl), the NFL has had its hands in the mire, so to speak, when it comes to keeping online gambling from becoming a legally regulated activity.

One need only look at the carve outs written into the UIGEA - which is the piece of legislation that bans online gambling in the U.S., albeit quite ineffectively - to see why the NFL was and continues to be so adamant about keeping online casinos, poker rooms and internet sportsbooks from seeing the light of day with U.S. citizens. Unbeknownst to most Americans (those who either don't gamble or are not big football fans), the UIGEA gives exemptions to fantasy football betting over the internet.

And while the NFL says they oppose online gambling so as to protect the integrity of the game, it's pretty obvious that their definition of integrity must be part of some "fantasy", if you get my drift. Furthermore, if the NFL was really trying to keep gambling out - because it's the act of gambling, no matter the medium, that jeopardizes integrity, right?....well then, surely they would want to do something about the $81.5 million that was wagered with Nevada bookmakers on the Super Bowl alone last year.

But Nevada is regulated, and therefore, has integrity, they say. Yet regulating online gambling wouldn't be the same thing? Is it just me or does it smell like a sweaty locker room in here? Obviously, the real threat to the NFL is money - I mean, isn't it always. This explains why the NFL is going so far as to hire a fulltime lobbyist to "pressure" lawmakers on Capital Hill. They've even set up a political action committee to make federal contributions. Now, I've heard of the separation of Church and State, but the separation of Sports and State? But I guess so. The NFL even has its own office on Capital Hill.

The battle now, however, is looking like it will be much tougher for the NFL. Now that the Bush administration is out of office, and land-based casinos are feeling an unprecedented loss in business - while all the while U.S. citizens continue to successfully wager at offshore online casinos in the face of an ineffective UIGEA - the giants of Vegas now appear to be open about the prospects of regulating online gambling. An interesting dilemma to say the least.



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