Internet gambling fits the “Super Committee” scope… but is it appropriate?
…and what about Jon Kyl?
By Bradley P. Vallerius, JD

The Budget Control Act of 2011, approved right before lawmakers scurried off to summer recess, is the U.S plan to lower a mammoth federal deficit. Among other things, the Act creates a new “Super Committee” in Congress to specialize in deficit-reducing legislation. Bills approved by the Committee will proceed quickly to voting in the House and Senate, where lawmakers should generally respect Committee decisions.

As a means to reduce the deficit by increasing tax revenues, internet gambling certainly fits the Committee’s scope of authority. But time constraints are a severely limiting factor. The Committee must complete its work by 23 November 2011, which means easier and less controversial issues should gain early priority. Tax code reforms will also dominate the agenda.
So far bills to license and regulate internet gambling have received little deliberation on the record in this Congress or previous ones. Valuable public opinion has not been gathered on important questions, such as what roles are proper for the State and Federal governments and what types of entities are suitable for licensing.
But a deficiency in hearings does not mean there are no discussions outside of Chambers. 

Lobbying reports suggest many discussions are taking place. Party leaders are surely informed of relevant issues and procedural obstacles. And if they think moving a bill through the other committees is too difficult, then maybe it is precisely the sort of thing for which the Super Committee was designed.
Committee members have already been appointed by the Party leaders in each of the two Chambers. 
As Majority Leader in the Senate, Nevada’s Harry Reid personally selected three of them. One of Senator Reid’ selections is Senator Max Baucus, who has substantial experience thinking about internet gambling due to his longstanding membership in the Senate’ Finance Committee, which he now chairs. Also serving on the Committee is Representative Fred Upton, who is currently Chairman of the House’ Energy and Commerce Committee, which has claimed jurisdiction over internet gambling this Congress.
The most intriguing member of the Committee is Senator Jon Kyl, who currently undertakes the role of Whip for Republicans in the Senate. 
Prior to UIGEA’ enactment in 2006, Kyl was a chief sponsor of bills to prohibit internet gambling. Recently he joined Sen. Reid in criticizing the Justice Department for lack of consistency and aggression in enforcing internet gambling laws. Together, Kyl and Reid have requested that the Justice Department clarify its position on internet gambling law– presumably because they hope to improve it.
Like Sen. Kyl, the American Gaming Association (AGA) once opposed legalized internet gambling. Now, however, the AGA says improvements in technology have made regulation in the States entirely possible. In order for internet gambling to have a chance of passing through the Super Committee, Sen. Kyl must have a similar change of mind.
The formal name of the “Super Committee” is the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The committee promises it will soon launch a website to gather public opinion. 

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD has eight years of experience specializing in research and information for the global online gaming industry and is currently pursuing a career in regulatory compliance and government affairs in the U.S.