July 17, 2006
Our wonderful Congress has decided they need to ban online gambling:
The House easily approved a bill yesterday to curb online poker games, sports betting and other Internet-based wagering that gained infamy as a central focus of a major lobbying scandal.
The 317-to-93 vote came nearly six years to the day after a similar measure went down to surprise defeat. At the time, unknown to its conservative supporters, the bill was derailed by lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the office of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, on behalf of the disgraced lobbyist’s gambling clients.
“This is the opportunity to expunge a smear on this House done by many lobbyists,” Abramoff included, said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), one of the legislation’s chief sponsors. “Now is the time to set the record straight.”
Oh, you’ve set the record straight. We can see that you care very little about freedom, but that if you’re getting enough money, you’ll care about whatever you’re paid to.
Thankfully, a new group called the Poker Players Alliance has stepped up to fight for our rights. Let’s hope they’re doing more than tilting at windmills…
Michael Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would prohibit Americans from playing poker on the Internet.
“We are disappointed that the House of Representatives would assail the rights of Americans to enjoy the great game of poker on the Internet. It is unconscionable that a skill game like poker gets swept into the net of prohibition, while online horse betting and Internet lotteries get free passes,” said Mr. Bolcerek.
“The United States should follow the lead of the United Kingdom by regulating and taxing online poker, not banning it. An economic analysis just released by our organization shows that U.S. regulation of online poker has the potential to raise more than $3.3 billion in annual revenue for the federal government, in addition to another $1 billion for state coffers. We hope that this analysis will give a fresh perspective for U.S. Senators about the benefits of regulation.
“The Poker Players Alliance is undeterred in its mission to promote and protect the game of poker and we will continue to advance the cause on behalf of poker players in the United States.”
I do have a problem with this. They harp on the fact that poker is a skill game— which it is— as the basis for it being allowed. I’d rather just let them argue for liberty, rather than arguing that poker is worth of an “exception” to regulation.
I don’t wish to let any Congressperson, even my own, tell me whether or not I have the right to play poker online. I’m an adult, and I can make that decision for myself. And frankly, if I want to play a little blackjack or roulette, I’ll do that too.
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