I personally don't engage in gambling at all -- beyond a few quarters in the slots when I'm in Las Vegas. I can think of lots better things to spend my money on -- besides, many online experts attest that online gambling is closely tied to spam, phishing and organized crime. Off-shore gambling operations take their toll in U.S. dollars each and every day. But what do you think?
Should online gambling be legalized?
Yesterday I received Representative Bob Goodlatte's endorsement of the latest WTO ruling on internet gambling...
"I applaud the USTR for clarifying the United States' strong stance against Internet gambling by withdrawing concessions under GATS in the Internet gambling sector.
Our nation's anti-gambling laws were enacted to help curb such activities as money laundering, the exploitation of children, bankruptcies, and the like. It is the sovereign right of the United States to pass such laws and the GATS agreement, which was negotiated in 1993, could not have contemplated Internet gambling, especially since the U.S. and many other nations already had anti-gambling laws on their books in 1993. In light of the recent decision by the WTO, it makes sense that the U.S. government clarify its obligations on this issue."
But there's a lot more to this story...
One side of the debate believes that the Bush administration's unprecedented decision will withdraw the U.S. gambling service sector from World Trade Organization (WTO) jurisdiction is good news for U.S. sovereignty (read more)
The United States will maintain a ban on Internet gambling services despite an adverse World Trade Organization ruling, sez Reuters, InformationWeek
But where do we draw the line?
On one side we hear the cry that government needs to protect its citizens from the billions of dollars of damages caused by online organized crime. On the other side we hear the government is taking away our freedoms. I have to wonder if it really boils down to a question of government intervention to doing ourselves fiscal harm.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda expressed its deep disappointment over the announcement by the Bush Administration. (May 4, 2007) (Read More... )
Other Criminal Havens Protest saying the legislation unfairly targets offshore casinos. The twin Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has argued that online gambling provides income for hundreds of its citizens. (Read More... )
Democrats say "Yes" to illegal gambling
Doesn't it seem like every time lawmakers block an illegal activity that can potentially rub someone else wrong, the Democrats moan and groan like they've been damaged.
The online gambling industry is celebrating two U.S. Democrats who have now introduced a bill in favor of internet gambling. This time it was Representative Shelley Berkley (D) who introduced a bill calling for a one year study of online gambling by the National Academy of Sciences.
Study? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, has Berkley been living under a rock for the past five years? What part of "Illegal" do they NOT understand? It certainly doesn't take a year to study it . Next thing you know they'll be advocating legalization of phishing. (Read More... )
Then, Democrat Barney Frank actually proposes legislation that would legalize illegal online gambling. Or, so one might suspect. However, in true left-wing style, the bill is pure bunk, merely masquerading as a bill with teeth. It actually does nothing beyond laying more layers of legislation. What worries the gambling and criminal element is that online gambling will be regulated and taxed -- becoming a deterrent to borderline gambling junkies. (Read More)
Frank calls that ban "an inappropriate interference on the personal freedom of Americans" that should be undone. In contrast, he says his measure would allow Americans to bet online with licensed Internet operators that have safeguards against underage and compulsive gambling and agree to be subject to U.S. jurisdiction and taxes.
In a debate such as this, I always like to investigate who the players are.
If you do just a little research into who is most vocal in supporting the democrats, you'll find it reads sort of like the 'who's who' of online gambling. Do a little more research into those IP blocks, and it might even suggest looking suspiciously like the Spamcop list of spam servers proliferating online gambling spam. (Which ranks rather high in spam denizens after pharmacy spam, pump-and-dump stock schemes and male enhancement scams!) Most vocal are names like: PokerListings.com, (Sweden); Online-Casinos.com (Denmark); PokerNews.com (Cyprus); Eye on Gambling (Canada); Bookmakers Review, (UK); Launchpoker.com, (UK); Point-Spreads.com (FL); Gambling911.com (FL) and even one called "Blogging Stocks" -- to name just a few. These are not the kinds of entities that I would want published on my campaign support list, would you?
U.S. sports say "NO" to Illegal Gambling
In the fray however, there are some who refuse to jump on the Democrat administration-bashing bandwagon. Major sports leagues, both professional and amateur, have registered their opposition to the legislation proposed by Frank that claims it will legalize and regulate online gambling. TheHill.com reported May 1 that organizations such as the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball along with some amateur organizations sent a letter to members of the House Financial Services Committee. (Read More)
Thank goodness, even Nancy Pelosi and a number of other Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress supported the ban on online gaming when it was approved last September. They know which side of their bread is buttered. One News Now says The FRC spokesman believes the main reason Frank is pushing for the legalization of online gaming is because the industry is "a big cash cow" for the Democratic Party. (Actually only slightly tilted to the Democrats, 53% to 47% -- but then again, the drive-by media makes a huge deal about 53% to 47% disagreeing with the Bush administration!)
If you engage in online gambling, consider who you support, and why. Give another thought to where that money goes when you lose it -- or, rather -- where do you want that money to go.
Thanks for reading...
Fred Showker, Editor, Graphic Design & Publishing