[Author's note: There now seems to be some question over the veracity of the letter below. I came across it in several locations before bringing it here, and its original source seems to be an iGaming article back on March 16th... duly noted. However, this piece questions whether the letter itself is real, a piece of inter-Congress correspondence that never got beyond the planning stages, or perhaps the whole thing is a rather well-crafted, smear-Kyl hoax. --- hh]
Yeah, we like Barney Frank and we guess we like Al D'Amato, but we're pretty sure John Kyl, the Republican Senator from Arizona, remains high on our list of all-time losers. When Frank issed his call for the UIGEA's repeal a couple of weeks back, Kyl wasted no time in sending off a letter to his pal Georgie W., urging for strong enforcement of the UIGEA's provisions. The text of that letter has recently been made public, so enjoy for yourself:
March 15, 2007
President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of the millions of families represented by our organizations, we thank you for signing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 into law. The immediate impact of this legislation on offshore operators was overwhelming: online gambling businesses listed on the London stock exchange lost over $7 billion in market capitalization in one day after the bill was passed by Congress. However, the law delegated critical implementation details to the Executive branch, so we once again respectfully request your continued leadership on this very important issue affecting countless families across the nation.
Any progress made over the last several months may evaporate if immediate action is not taken to ensure strong and effective implementing regulations. The House Financial Services Committee Report explained, “The legislation contemplates a mechanism whereby banks and other financial service providers will be provided with the identity of specific Internet gambling bank accounts to which payments are to be prohibited.” In other words, the Federal government needs to provide banks with lists of unlawful Internet gambling businesses.
As we noted in our letter dated October 30 of last year, the best blocking procedures vary by the type of payment system. For instance, credit cards code their merchant accounts by type of business, so they can block certain codes. Internet gambling businesses may be self-identified to the credit card companies, or identified by customers or law enforcement. Other payment systems such as debits from checking accounts do not code transaction types, so they would rely almost exclusively on a government-provided list of prohibited recipients.
We renew our request that you ensure that law enforcement and regulatory personnel commit the resources needed to identify illegal Internet gambling businesses and give the new law the teeth that Congress intended it to have. This does not require a large commitment: Internet gambling companies are very public about their activities (including their funding mechanisms) because they seek a large customer base. A small commitment of government resources can shut down or interrupt the vast majority of illegal Internet gambling in this nation.
Your continued leadership on this important issue is greatly needed at this time, and time is of the essence. Proposed regulations may be released in the next few weeks, and weak regulations will embolden the Internet gambling industry to come roaring back onto U.S. shores. Only through strong regulations can the intent of the law be enforced. Thank you for your consideration of this issue and your continued defense of the rule of law.
(Senator John Kyl)
I'm starting to not like this guy very much, gloating about the fact that his efforts, in part, helped knock off that $7 billion in market equity from fully licensed and regulated UK firms in a single day. Now that's a free-market thinker all 'Pubican big-business types can be proud of, isn't it?
I guess this is what the well-greased politician does. Kyl's own receipt of money from Major League Baseball (regarding the well-documented carve-out for fantasy sports) is now documented as being north of $40,000. Looks like MLB got their dirty work done cheap.