Thursday, July 20, 2006

We'll Keep This Rant Short and Sweet

National Public Radio's Scott Horsley reported on the Justice Department's crackdown on Internet gambling. Horsley's 3:33 report aired on "All Things Considered." You can listen to it by clicking here. And from the Department of If You're Not Cheating You're Not Trying, word comes that they are tossing out players at the World Series of Poker in Vegas for collusion. Also, a fine column by Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Click on comments to read the column.

4 comments:

dawizofodds said...

7-19-06

Government bets both sides on gambling

Mike Hlas
Cedar Rapids Gazette

It’s always a treat when government tries to save us from ourselves.

So it was last week when the U.S. House of Representatives voted 317-93 to impose a ban on most Internet gambling. Credit card companies would be forbidden from collecting payments for Internet casinos, and financial institutions would be required to help law-enforcement agencies prevent money transfers to illegal gaming sites.

The bill was co-sponsored by Iowa Rep. Jim Leach, who has championed the cause for several years. It was supported in the House by majorities of both parties.

The ban doesn’t include online wagering on horse racing and state lotteries. Go figure.

The bill’s supporters rue that many people ruin their lives with Internet gambling, which is surely true. Apparently, people don’t ruin their lives betting on horse racing on the Web.

Once Congress deep-sixes all the other ways people ruin their lives, the U.S. will consist of nothing but happy, safe and successful people. It’ll be great.

Just a hunch, but those undisciplined and weak enough to blow large sums of money gambling on the Internet can probably find other ways to crash and burn.

In the meantime, some of us wait in line at convenience stores to buy gas or snacks while people are buying lottery or scratch-off tickets, with a cut going to the state.

Does it seem to you that those who are hungriest to snap up Powerball tickets have never sat down and done the math? They have better odds of being named in Warren Buffett’s will.

You have a much better chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the Powerball jackpot. Why that isn’t a depressing deterrent, I have no idea.

It’s funny how gambling is more destructive if government isn’t getting a slice. Many college students surely have been hurt by online wagering. Yet, Iowa green-lighted a casino in Riverside, just 15 miles from the University of Iowa. You think there won’t be 21-year-old students in that joint losing money they can’t afford to waste?

It’s probably not just trying to be good corporate citizens that caused powerful U.S. casino operators like MGM Mirage and Harrah’s to urge Congress to legalize and regulate online gambling.

This essay isn’t advocating Internet betting. Nor is it supporting casino betting, smoking stogies, drinkin’ rye whiskey, or repeatedly hitting yourself in the head with a ball-peen hammer.

It does, however, support stopping 16-year-olds from getting hold of credit cards and betting their families’ houses away while sitting in front of their bedroom computers. If your 16-year-old has access to a credit card, the problem is you.

As for sports gambling itself, it’s as much a part of American life as McDonald’s, Disney and Oprah. Without the wagering on the game, the Super Bowl is the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Without betting and fantasy leagues, pro football is an American pastime instead of a passion.

The United Kingdom has long had legal sports and race betting shops. Ladbrokes has more than 2,000 locations itself. Sports leagues there haven’t been corrupted because of them, and children aren’t allowed in them.

England seems to have survived. The House of Commons spends more time worrying about, you know, war and stuff.

mike.hlas@gazettecommunications.com

Cool Hand Mike said...

If they(government) knew how to tax all gambling, they would have absolutely no problem with it.

STICKYBOI - said...

I agree with the legislation which aims to ban credit cards as a payment method for online gambling of any sort... and i think it should be enforced worldwide – not just in America. In fact, gambling with a credit card should be banned full stop. Not just on the internet. It’s a no brainer when you consider you are placing backing the outcome of an uncertain event with somebody else’s money. Chance and credit do not mix well in my opinion, and continuing to allow it would only contribute further in negatively affecting the high levels of personal debt many citizens today find themselves in. I do however, think that the prohibition won't work; or at least it won’t be received well amongst gamblers - I mean what’s the point in banning a credit card payments made on an online poker game, for example, but not online sports betting? Slightly hypocritical no? I mean how can you allow someone to participate [with or without a credit card] in online horse racing betting, but not put any money on a hand of texas hold’em poker? both activities involve a large degree of chance, and neither are guaranteed to yield financial return.
What really infuriates me is that the minority of irresponsible gamblers [those paying with someone elses money!] have now ruined the fun of online betting for everyone else - those like me who pay with money they actually have in their bank!!
At least for the Americans there is always the free online poker games!

Squirelmaster said...

I realy feel for the gamblers in the US. I cant beleive your Congress banned all banks and credit card companies from accepting transactions from online gambling sites which makes you unable to play online poker. What a bunch of hypocrites your state government are. They have the largest gambling operations with lotto, keno, etc. If they truly believed their rhetoric about internet gambling they would cut out the state operations also. And now they are bringing in a law to legalise slot machines. Personally I would have a big grudge against any party that stopped me from playing on a online poker site. I think there must be some way for you guys to get around this problem. Must make you wonder if you are living in the land of the free when it seems the government has full control on what it will and wont let you do.