An interesting view from a former political staffer
Did the Christian right wing inadvertently trigger the massive demand for daily fantasy sports betting is the question raised in an interesting opinion piece in the Observer Thursday, written by one-time Washington political staffer Ari Rabin-Havt, who served as an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as on Al Gore and John Kerry's presidential campaigns.
The op-ed gives a behind-the-scenes look at how – and why – Sen. Bill Frist engineered the UIGEA in 2006 to keep the conservative Christian right on-side, observing:
"The booming fantasy gambling industry can thank none other than the Christian right for its existence. Legislators wrote a loophole into a 2006 anti-gambling law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which was subsequently inserted into an uncontroversial port security bill without a public vote or the knowledge of most members of Congress. The bill then passed both chambers with near unanimous support in one of the last votes Congress took before the 2006 election.
"Like many other moralistic prohibition campaigns, this effort to curtail a human behavior nearly as old as civilization failed. But in this instance the prohibitionists' efforts unintentionally led right to a massive expansion of the online sports betting, in the form of daily fantasy websites.
"At the time, when I was working for Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Senate scuttlebutt was that Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist had slipped UIGEA into the port bill to ingratiate himself with the Christian right. Dr. Frist needed evangelical voters to get out and vote that November if he hoped to retain a Republican majority in the chamber. He also needed their support for a rumored but never materialized presidential campaign. Dr. Frist did not respond to a request for comment from the Observer."
Interestingly, when approached for comment on the op-ed by The Observer, the high profile Christian Focus on the Family organisation indicated that it was no longer interested in the topic, with a spokesperson saying: "Gambling isn't an area that we currently cover."
Read the full story here: http://observer.com/2015/10/holy-rollers-how-the-christian-right-teamed-with-the-nfl-to-create-fanduel/
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