Internet gambling to become legal again?

By Rori Black

Rep. Barney Franks (D-Mass) has introduced a bill to lift the ban on Internet gambling.

“[I]t is an inappropriate interference on the personal freedom of Americans, and this interference should be undone.” More bluntly, he has called the ban “one of the stupidest things I ever saw.”

Franks questions why, with some form of gambling legal in almost every state, why there are limitations on Internet gambling. He supports some restriction on the practice such as age limitations. Supporters of the ban worry about compulsive gambling and minors’ ability to circumvent age-based security.

When the Republican-backed measure passed last October, British companies had to close their American operations and lost approximately 80% of their business. The WTO has been investigating issuing sanctions against the US as the law unfairly targets offshore casinos, whose livelihood has been threatened by the ban.

A savvy user can still circumvent the US law and gamble online. Like most morality-based legislation, one questions the constitutionality of the law as well as nanny-state-ism that thinks it can prevent us from making harmful personal decisions. There will always be addicts, be they compulsive slot button pushers or serious poker players. Limiting Internet commerce isn’t the answer.

Categories: Politics/Law/Government

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7 replies »

  1. I’m not a fan of gambling at all, but if someone wants to blow away their savings at the poker table or while visiting Bodog.com, let ’em. The whole bill was a sop to the traditional gambling industries such as horse-betting, who went whining to Congress over the idea that they’d actually have to compete in the marketplace.

  2. Anti-gambling bills only postpone the inevitable confrontation between people’s behaviors and the consequences of those behaviors.

    Most anti-behavior legislation (specifically that limiting what usually is construed as “legal” behavior such as drinkin’, smokin’ and gamblin’, etc.) is unwarranted government interference with freedom of choice.

    I hate it when government interferes with that freedom. People should have the right to make bad choices.

  3. The worse part for me is that, yeah, it’s government sticking its nose where it has no business. But it’s CHRISTIAN “morality” driving these kinds of laws. Sam Harris spends some time in THE END OF FAITH explaining how victimless crimes pretty much all issue from the pulpit, and I’d buy a copy of that book for every American if I could afford it.

  4. You know what I’d like to see, Rorie? I’d like to see Barney Franks go after the FCC rate regulators who are trying to force Internet radio out of business at the behest of their corporate masters…. Internet gambling is not about creating hegemony for megalomaniacal media companies – raising per play rates on songs to Internet radio providers is….

    As for idiots gambling their lives away, I could care less. If people want to destroy their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, I say let ’em have at it.

    I’d write more, but I gotta go check my Lotto numbers….

  5. Denny –

    A question for you, as this is something that occasionally rolls through my mind. Should adults be ticketed and fined for not wearing their seat belts?** Yes, seat belts can save lives but should I be financially penalized for choosing to not wear one? Stupid choice on my part, but all the same, if the risk of dying isn’t inspiring me to buckle up, would the risk of financial penalty and even if I were more concerned about my wallet then my neck, is it really the governments place to try to persuade me to make the right choice?

    I think there’s a parallel when we talk about “protecting” people from gambling addiction (or alcohol or what have you) with legislation, but perhaps not.

    **I do, however, very strongly believe that adults who do not make sure their underage passengers are restrained should be held responsible by some means, because that’s not taking one’s own life into one’s hands.

  6. Don’t know what Denny thinks, but from where I sit, no, the government ain’t my momma. Seat belts are a good idea but seat belt laws are paternalism. You have to be a completely moron to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, but you have the right to be a complete moron.

    If I buy the arguments used to justify seat belt and helmet laws, then I have also signed on, in principle, to laws requiring me to eat my vegetables.

  7. I like to play poker online. Betfred – one of the brit sites – had to close my account. Poker.com and Absolute Poker are the only two that still let me play.

    It’s absolutely insane. I mean who do these guys in Washington think they are to tell me I can’t spend my 50 bucks on poker if I want to? It’s just so damned presumptuous.