Scott Hardie | October 21, 2002
No one denies that online gambling is bad for everybody except the people who own the virtual casinos. They're raking in money, while the people gambling are losing it by the millions. But has everyone forgotten that those millions are the gamblers' millions to lose?

I've been bugged about the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act since Matt first told me about it a couple of months ago. It seeks to make it a federal crime to gamble online. The House has passed it, now it's on to the Senate. Does anybody care about liberty any more? If someone wants to gamble online, that's their goddamn choice! If they lose their life savings, that's their goddamn choice! It can't hurt the government, it can't hurt the community, it can't hurt the economy (only negligibly). The only people that it can hurt are the gamblers themselves, and the family members who the gamblers have a responsiblity to support. And you know, it IS a responsibility, THEIR responsibility, not the government's and not anyone else's.

The current article of Newsweek has an article on this subject. When talking about getting credit card companies to stop participating in online gambling, it mentions a California woman who lost $70,000 on online gambling, then defended herself by saying that it's a crime under a decades-old gambling law, and the credit card companies are thus accomplices to crime, and so they're not making her pay her $70,000 bill. (Gee, she's from California, what a fucking surprise.) The credit card companies are just trying to cover their own asses, I know, but that's not their money to pay. It's hers. She gambled, she lost it, and she should have to pay it. And she should be legally allowed to keep on losing more.

Matthew Preston | October 21, 2002
Our government feels it hurts them for the following two reasons:
- All of the revenue spent and lost at Internet casinos is money lost to foreign companies. Our government taxes the bejeesus out of legalized gambling corporations in the U.S. They are essentially losing revenue when someone goes online and gambles in Antigua or wherever.
- Any money won by Internet gamblers is highly untraceable. (All of the online casinos will not share and are not required to share information about their customers). This makes it an un-taxable income should the player win online. Again, the government sees that as losing money.... essentially it is.
Most of the government officials trying to ban this are the types that believe that Americans do not know how to handle their money and the government should do it for them.... BULLSHIT! One of the biggest problems today is the lack of fucking responsibility. The government should just legalize Internet gambling and tax the hell out of it, like they do already for land based casinos. The only real issue stopping them is the ability to make sure that any and all of the gambling is done by people over 18.

Scott Hardie | October 21, 2002
I agree with you, but the government is not handling this correctly. The solution to the problems is NOT to eliminate online gambling, but to embrace it instead, by making it legal and taxing the shit out of it like they do gambling in person. They'd help Americans make the money instead of foreign companies (or Americans fleeing to foreign countries), and they'd be able to tax all of the income that people made on it. Plus, here's more reason to legalize it: The government often says that online gambling is unregulated and dangerous and could result in people not being paid their actual winnings, but if it's legal then they could regulate it and make sure that that happens. (And if they want their tax money, they damn well will regulate it.) Also, minors gambling online is a problem, but it's a lot easier to regulate if it happens in this country.

Anna Gregoline | October 22, 2002
The government isn't handling something correctly?!?!?!!? Wow.
But seriously, this is a good discussion. I happen to agree with Scott. You're free in this country to fuck your life up, isn't that nice?

Erik Nelson | October 22, 2002
This law exists solely due to the finance industry lobby, who are losing large sums of money due to online gambling. Government has little concern where individual taxpayers choose to throw away their disposable income or create debt.

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