Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
LDS Congressman Votes Against Internet Gambling Ban
Deseret News 6Apr00 N2
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, a member of the LDS
Church, stunned some fellow House Judiciary Committee members
Wednesday by opposing a bill to ban Internet gambling. Cannon is a
staunch opponent of gambling, but announced he will fight the bill
because, in part, it bans only some Internet gambling while allowing
other types. "It doesn't ban Internet gambling, just SOME Internet
gambling," Cannon said.
"I side with the conservative think-tanks and organizations who argue
that more damage will be done with a bill that partially prohibits
what is fundamentally completely wrong," he said. "Government is a
powerful teacher. It should teach with clarity. The social ills
with gambling are not selective but cross the spectrum," Cannon added.
Cannon is joined by like-minded members who tried to pass an
amendment on Thursday by Rep. Ed Peace, R-Ind. that bans buying state
lottery tickets via the Internet. He also plans to push for other
amendments that seek to remove exemptions for Internet gambling on
horse, dog racing and jai alai.
In a recent interview, Cannon spoke of political support that seems
to exist only to prevent expansion of Internet gambling that competes
with existing "bricks-and-mortar" casinos and other gambling
institutions. "Bricks-and-mortar black jack (in casinos) doesn't want
competition from Internet black jack," Cannon said. "That's the
impetus behind this bill."
Closing the loopholes aren't enough for Cannon. "I oppose regulating
the Internet, period," he said. He prefers, "leaving the Internet
alone and letting it grow for a season before we start pruning."
Cannon opposes all taxes on the Internet, including collecting sales
tax on purchases. Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt has a different opinion and
has led a fight to collect sales tax for Internet purchases.