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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 09, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 12Apr00

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.


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