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Hearing of the House Financial Services Committee's Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology Subcommittee: Proposed Regulation to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

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Location: Washington, DC


Hearing of the House Financial Services Committee's Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology Subcommittee: Proposed Regulation to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

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REP. RON PAUL (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I'm sorry I'm late. I had another hearing.

But let me just make a very brief statement, and I don't have any particular questions here.

But I did want to be on record in opposition to the regulations as well as the legislation that stands dealing with Internet gambling.

I've always taken the position that though I do not endorse gambling per se, that people should make their own decisions; it's a personal choice. And I've always been concerned about this type of legislation and regulation is that it's likely to open the door, as I believe it already has, to the control and invasion of the Internet itself. And I think the Internet has to be protected.

But I think that there are decisions that individuals make, and they can make mistakes. But I believe those decisions, whether it has to do with how they spend their money or what they put in their mouths or what they smoke, they do it at their own risk.

But I also extend that belief to a personal belief that in economics people ought to be allowed to do that too. And it's been -- and have economic transactions at their own risk, and government shouldn't be there to promote virtue or ethical standards, and they shouldn't -- the government shouldn't be there to promote what they see as a fair economy. So sticking to those principles of government interference in this manner usually is not beneficial.

So I have a written statement, Mr. Chairman, that I'd ask unanimous consent to submit to the record. And I would like to yield back.

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REP. PAUL: I have a couple of brief questions for the panel, anybody who feels like answering it can. And -- (inaudible) -- you may have touched on this in the testimony, in your testimony, but I want you to emphasize it, if you have not.

First, I want to talk about the potential cost that might be put on you for doing this. There always has to be a dollar cost when we write regulations. Nobody really knows about it, but I'm sure you've anticipated it. Is there any way you can quantify that and figure, well, this is going to cost me so much?

I was in the medical practice, and they'd come in with regulations and we'd have managed care. All of a sudden you might have to hire three new people for your office. I'm wondering whether there's a cost. Do you have to have more people involved in looking after regulations like this, and the hours that might be involved?

The other concern I have is the amount of records that we keep. There's been financial regulations, you know, for a long time, since the '70s when we really got busy and required a lot of financial regulations. And even before 9/11 there was a tremendous amount of financial regulations sitting out there. And it gets to the point where the regulations and the information that is accumulated loses its effect because there's too much.

And so there's a lot of information on innocent people, and then the people who figure, well, we're going to do this illegally, maybe they'll have a trick. And it really doesn't achieve what you're supposed to be achieving. And I'm just wondering whether you see that as a complication where yes, you can do your best and accumulate a lot of records, but there'll be so many records that nobody gets to sort these out, in spite of all the technology we have here, governments sometimes tend to be inept and they have too much information. They can't make good use of it.

And the other point that I want to ask about is do you feel like there's a burden placed on you unfairly where you might have to make a judgment and a decision on what is legal and what is illegal? Is that burden ever placed on you, where it seems like that's one of the proper roles of government, deciding what is legal and illegal, rather than putting the burden on the businessperson or financial institution to decide oh, it's my judgment to decide what is illegal and what we should report.

And those are the general concerns I have, and anybody want to make any comments on those issues?

MR. ABERNATHY: Yeah, if I may, Congressman Paul, can I take them in reverse order?

REP. PAUL: Fine.

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