Online Gaming Illegal
In a rather interesting move, online gaming effectively became
illegal recently do to a new piece of legislation. This move
by the federal government raises a host of issues.
In what some consider
a sneaky move, online gaming was effectively banned recently
by a piece of law passed within another piece of law. This often
happens in Congress to the frustration of many. In this case,
Congress was set to pass the Safe Harbor Act, which was a piece
of legislation concerning our ports from potential terrorist
attacks. Online gaming, poker specifically, would seem to have
little to do with terrorist and ports. Nonetheless, the Unlawful
Internet Gambling Act of 2006 was attached to it. When
the Safe Harbor Bill received a favorable vote, the attached
gambling act also became law. There was no separate vote.
Given the name, one
would think the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act makes online
gambling illegal. It does not. Instead, the powers that be went
after the money. They effectively made it a crime for a bank
to transfer money to an online gambling company. By cutting
off the money, they effectively eliminate online gambling. In
the ultimate bit of hypocrisy, certain types of gambling such
as horse racing were exempted.
Make no mistake,
the purpose of this new law is to attack the online poker industry.
The industry has grown like mad. Annual revenues are believed
to be in the ten to fifteen billion dollar range. At least they
used to be. With the passage of the new law, the publicly traded
online poker companies either closed outright or saw their stock
devalued to the point where it nearly became the equivalent
of toilet paper. In a flick of pen, an industry was wiped out.
is nothing new with government. We have laws on drinking ages,
smoking ages, assault, battery and, of course, murder. There
is a fine line, however, between legislating against a real
threat and simply playing big brother. When it comes to online
poker, there are as many people that will support its legality
as there are that argue it should be illegal. Those against
it, however, seem to have some explaining to do when it comes
to the fact most states have lotteries which are a losers bet
any way you look at them. Throw in Las Vegas, Atlantic City,
Indian casinos and you suddenly have a pretty difficult time
seeing why online poker is so bad when these others prosper.
Whatever you opinion
on the matter, there is a bigger issue at hand. At what point
are people responsible for their own actions? Personal responsibility
seems on the wane in this country and to disastrous affect.
Why, New York City is even thinking about banning certain types
of fast foods. Last time I looked, nobody was forcing people
to eat fast food. Where will it end? Will cars soon have safety
devices on them that only allow us to drive 55 or whatever the
state speed limit is? It sounds like a stupid question, but
no more so than banning online poker in my opinion.
Our country was originally
based on the idea that people are free to do what they want
for better or for worse. These days, one has to wonder if that
still holds true.
By: Gerard Simington