Former MO Congressman Cashing In on Move to Legalize Online Gambling

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:30 am
click to enlarge Welcome to the poker "lobby." We'll start you with $300,000... - Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Welcome to the poker "lobby." We'll start you with $300,000...
The Washington Post published an interesting read earlier this week about Dems in Congress who are gunning to overturn laws that make Internet gambling illegal.

Rep. Barney Frank and others want the government to regulate cyber-wagering in poker, and mah-jong, among other games, and, of course, to cash in. Quoth the Post: "The federal government, which rarely prosecutes online gambling, would net billions of dollars in tax and licensing revenue if it were legalized, proponents say."

As St. Louis readers know, it sucks to be in that "rarefied" company...

David Carruthers and Gary Kaplan, the former big-wigs behind BETonSPORTS, recently got sentenced to prison for running a huge offshore Internet gambling business.

Their prosecution by former U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway took more than three years -- and was hailed by the feds as the largest cyber-betting crackdown in history.

The Post reports that more than $4 million in lobbying fees for legalizing online gambling have been thrown onto the table in Washington during this last year. A major beneficiary? Former Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt.

Among the backers is former House majority leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), a lobbyist for PokerStars, a major Internet gambling firm based on the Isle of Man. Gephardt registered to represent the firm on Aug. 4 [2009] and earned $300,000 through December [2009], disclosure forms show. His firm declined to comment on its work for PokerStars.
Still, if Gephardt greases a lot of wheels and gets Frank's legislation through Congress, it probably won't console guys like Carruthers and Kaplan. As of now, online sports betting is one form of cyber-wagering that would remain illegal.

As the Post reports, the National Football League is a vocal opponent of the proposed bill.