- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2000

NCAA weighs in on internet gambling bill

As members of the amateur sports community, we are compelled to respond to Lisa S. Dean's distorted analysis of the federal Internet gambling prohibition legislation, H.R. 3125, pending in the House ("Policing the internet," Op-Ed, Sept. 25). The National Collegiate Athletic Association strongly supports this legislation because of the tremendous threat Internet gambling poses to the integrity of our games and to the welfare of the athletes on the playing field.

Miss Dean obviously is not aware that gambling on college and professional sports is prohibited in nearly every state in the United States. Despite this prohibition, offshore Internet gambling operators continue to skirt existing laws that were enacted long before the advent of the Internet. The problem is growing at an exponential rate. In 1997, there were fewer than 50 Internet gambling sites. Today there are more than 800.

We are baffled by Miss Dean's conclusion that H.R. 3125 is a fraud in banning gambling on the Internet. Nearly all gambling on the Internet is on either sports or casino games. H.R. 3125 expressly prohibits both activities and provides a strong enforcement mechanism to attack the problem.

Miss Dean also is off the mark when she argues that this prohibition is a dangerous precedent with regard to federal content regulation of the Internet. The bill does not regulate content. It regulates business transactions. With respect to sports gambling, the question is why a new communications medium, the Internet, should be used to circumvent existing laws, including the Wire Act of 1961 and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, prohibiting just such an activity. The answer is it shouldn't.

Opponents such as Miss Dean have resorted frequently to scare tactics, asserting that H.R. 3125 will erode individual liberties and result in an overzealous monitoring of Internet users' activities by law enforcement. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Miss Dean had reviewed the legislation thoroughly, she would have discovered that the bill targets only Internet gambling operators, not individual users.

Furthermore, if you follow Miss Dean's logic, law enforcement should be prevented from stopping all other illegal activity over the Internet, even the sale of illicit drugs. Surely, none of us wants the Internet to become a haven for illegal activity.

Finally, this legislation has been crafted delicately over the past 4* years. During this period, Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Sen. Jon Kyl have met with nearly every interested party and made numerous improvements to their respective bills.

However, make no mistake. The majority of those who oppose this legislation are the same people who want to cash in on lucrative Internet gambling schemes. At a time when young people are losing thousands of dollars gambling on college and professional games via the Internet, Mr. Goodlatte and Mr. Kyl should be commended, not condemned, for trying to put an end to this illegal activity.

CEDRIC W. DEMPSEY

President

NCAA

Washington

Vice President Gore applauds trampling of free speech

If Al Gore cared one bit for the American people, he would have stood up and denounced the irrevocable damage the Supreme Court did to freedom of speech and religion in Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Jane Doe.

The 6-3 ruling prohibited public schools from allowing student-led prayer before school football games. Thank God for Justices William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who stood opposed to the majority. Mr. Gore, however, applauded the ruling, which stifles free religious expression in public schools.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, on the other hand, didn't just say he supported Santa Fe he sent his written opinion to the court. Our rights and freedoms will be protected if Mr. Bush is elected president; Mr. Gore would continue to let our freedoms be trampled underfoot.

JOHN ROBIN CLAYTON

Sante Fe, Texas

Election vital to cultural well-being

Enjoying unprecedented prosperity, our nation can look to the future with great anticipation. We have the ability to show the world how to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the sick.

Our hope for the future depends, in part, on the November elections. Unfortunately, according to the polls, many voters are still misinformed or uninformed.

Why are the November elections so important? Because they most likely will determine how our government will cooperate or interfere in our daily lives for the next decade.

All Americans should be embarrassed that we live in the greatest nation in the world, yet the pope has called our culture the "culture of death." Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, expanded on this theme recently, saying "The United States has never been more affluent in terms of material wealth and creature comforts or more impoverished in terms of spiritual well-being."

Mr. Byrd called America "a hollow nation" and reflected sadly that "religion is discouraged, frowned upon and suppressed spurred by what I believe is a misguided attempt to ensure a completely secular society and a gross misreading of constitutional intent."

The Founding Fathers created our Constitution as a secular document to protect against government establishing a state religion. They expected, however, that the Constitution would be interpreted by wise and moral men.

The Rev. Frank Pavone wrote in the Arlington Catholic Herald, "… that separation of church and state does not mean separation of God and state. If you separate the state from God, the state disintegrates."

Saving Social Security and Medicare are noble and worthy goals, but they pale in importance compared with the moral and ethical questions facing our nation. It is sad to hear, "It's the economy, stupid," as if that is the only issue worth voting for. Bill Bradley, in challenging Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic Party's nomination for president, chastised his party for making money not just an important issue, but the whole issue.

How important are the November elections? Columnist George Will noted on "ABC's This Week" that the most important aspect of the elections may be the makeup of the Supreme Court. Three or four justices may be leaving the high court during the next eight years. That means the newly elected president will have an opportunity to nominate justices to fill those vacancies.

As a conservative, Texas Gov. George W. Bush hopefully would appoint justices who would interpret the Constitution as the Founding Fathers intended. Mr. Gore, on the other hand, has stated publicly that he would appoint justices who would share his liberal philosophy, which includes the continuation of abortion on demand.

If conservative justices are appointed, Roe vs. Wade might be overturned. Using the right to privacy to justify terminating the life of an unborn child was a gross error of law in 1973 and needs to be corrected.

Abortion, stem-cell research, debt reduction for poor nations and the provision of health care and good education for the poor are moral and ethical issues that the next president must address. We need to ask ourselves if we are as interested in America's cultural well-being as in its economic well-being.

The conservative (i.e., Republican) agenda appears to be the one that would get America back on course by promoting economic well-being, as it addresses the cultural issues with minimal government interference. A strong president can lead the nation without asking for rules and regulations that dictate how we lead our daily lives.

Your readers have less than two months to close the information gap and ensure that voters get the whole, truthful story that can lead them to logical, correct decisions on Election Day.

CHARLES H. CRUM JR.

Woodbridge, Va.

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