Anti-gambling to merge with anti-terror?

Proponents of the ban on Internet funding, including Rep. Michael Oxley of Ohio, have contended that bank instruments used in online gaming can facilitate money-laundering and terrorism. So, for the second time, they are moving to graft the ban onto the USA PATRIOT act. From Interactive Gaming News:

Oxley, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services and a longtime advocate of Internet gambling prohibition, plans to add H.R. 2143, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, to an anti-terrorism bill currently in committee.

A federal law passed in 2002 created a commission to study the intelligence and law enforcement failures that made the U.S. susceptible to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The commission released its final report in July 2004, and one of the recommendations was to increase the scrutiny of financial transactions originating offshore.

Based on this finding, Oxley wants to attach H.R. 2143 to a working bill aimed at putting some of the commission’s recommendations into law.

Introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. and passed in the House as a standalone bill in 2003, H.R. 2143 would ban the use of credit cards, wire transfers, e-cash and other forms of payment for funding Internet gambling activities.

The 9/11 bill is scheduled for its second hearing in the Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, and CongressDaily reported Monday that Oxley will seek to a add the funding prohibition measure.

As chairman of the committee , Oxley is in a good position to do so, but that’s not to say the strategy wouldn’t be met with resistance.

“The leadership wants the 9/11 bill focused,” one Washington insider told IGN. “If they add this provision (H.R. 2143) onto it, then anyone can add anything they want down the road, and they don’t want to open up that box.”

The gaming provision will likely see some daylight, he added, “but I doubt it will win.”

Oxley to Piggyback Funding Prohibition Bill on Anti-Terrorism Legislation

It just goes to show that politics is politics. Even legislation like the USA PATRIOT act, which is a flashpoint of concerns about homeland security and civil liberties, is a creature of politics, which means that every congressperson has the chance to get their two cents in. Oxley tried this during the passage of the original USA PATRIOT act, but his amendment was left out of the final bill.

The more I study gambling, the more I’m convinced it is connected to everything. I just got finished reading Michael Barkun’s A Culture of Conspiracy, which talks about how people create bricolages of different conspiracy ideas: masons, bankers, aliens, and black helicopters all combined into a “New World Order” conspiracy casserole.

Perhaps after ROLL THE BONES I’ll attempt to reconstruct a shadow history of the world that incorporates gambling into the conspiracy, kind of like the editors in Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. Hopefully it wouldn’t overtake me. There are certainly many similarities between the obsessive gambler (or collector) and the conspiracy zealot: the search for hidden truths and the placement of patterns and logic onto random events.

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