Wednesday, July 12, 2006

House Wants to Protect Us From Ourselves

The knuckleheads are back at it in Washington. The House, by a 317-93 margin, approved a bill that would ban not only sports bets, but online poker, which provides entertainment to an estimated 23 million Americans. Yet this bill carves out exemptions for horse racing and state lotteries. To make the bill work, it would become illegal for financial institutions or intermediaries to process payments to offshore casinos through betters' electronic funds, checks, debits and other e-wallet transactions. Now the question is simply this: Why? Supporters say many Internet sites are fronts for money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorist financing. "There are no social benefits for Internet gambling," said Iowa Republican James Leach, co-author of the bill who is pictured reading to a student. So if the social benefits are nil, why not go all the way and include horse racing and state lotteries in the ban? We could go on all day about this, especially considering there are other more pressing issues in the world. But rest assured we will have plenty to say if the Senate decides to put this bill front and center. In the meantime, you can check a roll call of the House vote by clicking here. And you can write your representative and tell them to stop wearing silly hats by clicking here (thanks to reader Mark for his help).

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