Net gambling ban in perspective

Frank Catania, a former director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJ’s regulatory police body) has a great piece on the futility of Internet gaming prohibition in Cnet news:

Every attempt to regulate activity on the Internet seemingly raises questions about the proverbial slippery slope.

But if regulation of the Internet is a slippery slope, then surely an outright ban of an Internet activity constitutes falling off the cliff.
Right now, Congress is seriously considering the over-the-cliff approach in the form of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (H.R. 4477). This bill would cut off the ability of Americans to use the Internet for (almost) all forms of gambling. (The big exception is for those who follow and bet on horse racing, underscoring the golden rule in politics: With enough money and political muscle, special interests can win themselves an exemption.)

We all know the Internet is revolutionizing the way we obtain information, enjoy leisure time and connect with others. This prohibition attempt has little to do with the technology; it’s really about some members of Congress trying to impose their own sense of morality on the Internet. The fact is that Christian conservatives pushing these bills are attempting to force their religious beliefs–that gambling is immoral–on all Americans (except those who bet on the horses).

What the bill’s supporters fail to understand is that short of completely banning the Internet or heavily censoring the Internet as China does (with criticism from the U.S. government), there will always be Internet gambling available to U.S. players. The Internet sails far beyond our boundaries or the long arm of U.S. law. More than 70 countries currently regulate Internet gambling, and sites based in these countries are accessible to U.S. players. A ban on Internet gambling just doesn’t make sense.

What’s more, a ban on Internet gambling would not address the public-policy issues at hand–the very issues that antigaming zealots warn about–such as preventing underage gambling or offering assistance to problem gamblers.

Instead of prohibition, we should turn to regulation to deal with these problems.
Prohibition won’t work for Net gambling either | Perspectives | CNET

I couldn’t agree more. Congress needs to hear more well-reasoned analysis in this vein.

Have a great weekend.

Spread the love