TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Editorial: Gambling Prohibition Bill Flops on Principle

Editorial: Gambling Prohibition Bill Flops on Principle

San Antonio News Express (
Fri, 21 Jul 2006 15:54:51 EDT

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that its supporters
would like you to think bans wagering over the World Wide Web.

"This is the strongest bill that works to end this scourge of Internet
gambling, protects our young people and our families," the Washington
Times quoted Virginia Republican Robert W. Goodlatte, a cosponsor of
the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act.

Rep. Goodlatte's morally inspiring words, however, weren't entirely

The bill does close a loophole in current law that has allowed
offshore casinos and casinos in states where gambling is legal to
accept online bets from residents of all 50 states. But it falls far
short of prohibiting Internet gambling.

The House, for instance, carved out an exception for online interstate
betting on horse racing. It also creates intrastate exceptions for
Indian casinos and for lotteries.

So online gambling is a scourge if it's done with a non-Indian casino,
but not if it's done with a state lottery. And young people and
families need to be protected from betting on dogs, but betting on
horses is a wholesome activity.

Far from being a strong measure against gambling, the Internet
Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act is a demonstration of
politics as usual in Washington. Interest groups with lobbying muscle
on Capitol Hill got their exemptions, while legal brick and mortar
casinos in the United States created a financial obstacle for their
foreign, online competition.

Whether you support or oppose gambling is a matter of principle. A
House measure that feigns gambling prohibition is about as
unprincipled as playing poker with a marked deck of cards.

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