Monday, August 25, 2003

Antitrust News: CAC Opposes Federal Antitrust Settlement With Gambling Services Organization

CAC commented on another antitrust settlement. This from our press release:

Alexandria, VA--The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism (CAC) today filed formal comments with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia opposing the U.S. Justice Department's settlement with the National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc. (NCPG), a nonprofit trade association representing organizations that assist individuals addicted to gambling.

NCPG consists of 34 state affiliates that provide "problem gambling services" within particular states.  The DOJ charged NCPG with illegally restraining trade among its affiliates by maintaining internal policies designed to prevent one affiliate from offering services in another state's territory.

"NCPG's members entered into a voluntary agreement governing their operations, and that agreement was arbitrarily and capriciously negated by the Justice Department's antitrust police," CAC Chairman Nicholas Provenzo said. "No consumer was deprived of their legal rights by NCPG's actions, but rather the DOJ has deprived of NCPG of its right to associate with one another on mutually agreeable terms."

The proposed settlement, which must be approved by the district court, prevents NCPG from maintaining any policy governing competition that contradicts the beliefs of the Justice Department. "The proposed settlement goes so far as to prevent NCPG from lobbying Congress and the public to overrule the Justice Department's erroneous and unconstitutional attack on the organization's First Amendment rights," CAC senior fellow Skip Oliva said.

The NCPG settlement could become final after the Justice Department reviews and replies to CAC's comments and the court makes a determination of whether the agreement is in the "public interest", a process that could take three to six weeks.

The comment letter can be accessed online at:
One has to wonder about the DOJ enforcing antitrust against a nonprofit? After all, it's a nonprofit. Do we really want nonprofits competing against one another?

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