Fearing that the Internet will soon become “a giant online casino,” several groups across 13 states that focus on strengthening family relationships have urged Congress to stop the spread of online gambling.
The family-centric groups believe the societal effects of addiction to gambling and broken homes that are expected to increase with Internet gambling legalization will enormously outweigh any benefits seen in additional tax revenue. The family-focused groups, from such states as Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Tennessee and Wisconsin, would like Congress to fortify the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to ensure that the proliferation of online gambling ceases.
“The family is the building block of any society, and yet it is the most vulnerable institution in that society,” Kent Ostrander, The Family Foundation of Kentucky’s founder, told the Huffington Post. “We are going to find ourselves with more broken homes and families than we can afford,”
The 13 groups wrote their congressmen, asking for protection for families and children that they believe the UIGEA was intended to do. A main concern is the December ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice that found the 1961 Wire Act as being applicable to only sports betting. As a result, many states are now considering online gambling legislation and the foreseeable future is that many states will soon jump on board to boost state revenues.
“It is incredibly apparent that within a few years, state-by-state Internet gambling will become a reality in the U.S,” said Eugene Johnson, an associate with the Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jersey casino consulting company.
Some of the family groups opposing online gambling include the Missouri Family Policy Council, the Minnesota Family Council & Institute, and Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values Action.