U.S. Representative Tim Bishop said this week that while he supports a proposed bill that seeks to regulate internet gambling, it does not signify that he has altered his stance on the proposed construction of a casino on the East End.
Introduced in April 2007, the bill is being sponsored by U.S. Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts. To date, it has received support from 47 federal lawmakers, including Mr. Bishop of Southampton.
Mr. Frank proposed the bill, known on Capitol Hill as the Internet Gaming Regulation and Enforcement Act, because he wants to amend title 31 of the U.S. Code to provide for the licensing and regulation of internet gambling facilities. The proposed legislation is also intended to provide national governance over monetary transactions that result from online gambling.
On Tuesday, Mr. Bishop said he is not personally opposed to gambling, though he does think that online gaming companies need to be regulated. The bill has nothing to do with bringing a casino to the East End, or increasing gaming activity in the Hamptons.
Mr. Bishop stressed that he is still holding firm in his beliefs that the Shinnecock Indian Nation should not be allowed to open a casino in the Hamptons, even if the tribe earns federal recognition.
“My position on the Shinnecocks remains exactly the same,” he said. “I’m opposed to gaming on eastern Long Island, because it would diminish the quality of life here.”
The legislator said the federal bill, labeled House Bill 2046, was meant to protect American consumers from internet hucksters out to make a quick tax-free buck while taking advantage of online gamblers. He reported that a few states have online gaming laws, but that there is currently no national protection for those who wish to gamble on the web.
“This would provide appropriate consumer protections,” Mr. Bishop said. “It would also bring transparency to internet gaming to reduce or eliminate fraudulent activity.”
The Internet Gaming Regulation and Enforcement Act is gathering the steam it needs in order to be presented for a vote before Congress, according to a House of Representatives staffer. It is now being reviewed by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. In order to become law, the bill must pass both the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and be signed by President Bush.