Earlier this week, the head of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board stated that Barack Obama’s website may be running an illegal raffle. The ‘illegal’ raffle seeks a donation of $5 or more between now and midnight on July 31st, and “you could be one of 10 supporters chosen to meet Barack backstage and watch his acceptance speech in person” at the ‘Open Convention’ at Invesco Field in Denver this August.
The Minnesota state Gambling Board website states over and over again that only nonprofit organizations may conduct a raffle. The site does say that a spaghetti dinner, pancake breakfast or car wash could be used to raise money. Perhaps the DNC can ask Obama girl to wash cars for contributions!
Tom Barrett, executive director of the Minnesota board, received a phone call from someone who had seen the website, and after reviewing it, decided to contact the Department of Public Safety, according to local media reports. The call most likely came from a disgruntled Twins bettor who could not get paid because his offshore book claimed the the US laws were making it difficult to make payments to the states.
This also proves what opponents of the UIGEA have been saying all along, that in this country, gambling laws are regulated by the states. Yet this 2006 Federal banking law is what has caused such a great effect on Internet and offshore gambling.
Apparently this could have been avoided had the Obama website either 1) said the contest was void in Minnesota or 2) included a way for people to participate in the drawing without being forced to invest in Obama’s campaign. The brain trust in the Obama camp apparently took the latter as it would encompass evvery state – the site now has a link stating, “If you do not wish to make a donation but would like to participate in this program, you can still be selected to join Barack at the Democratic National Convention in Denver by clicking here.”
Irrelevant of the fact that we are calling our President by his first name, what I wonder is, “What were the Obama organizers thinking?” They must have thought that this would be a great way to drag in $5 donations form the same players who gamble on the Lottery, but I guess no one thought that ‘raffle’ this may actually be construed as gambling. Perhaps Obama should take a look at ALL the laws in this country and review some of the arguments that have gone in front of the House Financial Services sub-committee. It makes me wonder if Obama cannot conduct something as simple as giving away a few seats at a football stadium without sticking his foot in it, how is he going to run the entire country?
It is also quite depressing as the best chance the gambling community has in seeing any recent legislation making it into law is an Obama presidency. But, as a fellow gambler told me the other day as we spoke about the recent political ads we see here on television, “I have greater concerns for this country than gambling laws”. Perhaps this is one of those glaring examples that show why he is voting for the Republican this fall, and his #1 reason for doing so – lack of experience.