October 24, 2006

Federal Hold 'em


From the Ayn Rand Institute: Restrictions on Internet Gambling Are an Infringement on Our Rights. (via Principles in Practice)

On Oct. 13 President Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a measure restricting Internet gambling.

"This measure, which requires financial institutions to block credit card and other payments to Internet wagering businesses, is an infringement on our rights," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

"Gambling, when practiced responsibly, can be a totally legitimate form of entertainment. The government has no right to prohibit adults from doing it--on the Internet or anywhere else--and no right to prohibit businesses from offering gambling opportunities to potential customers.

"Why do supporters of the law deny individuals the freedom to spend their hard-earned money on gambling? Because, they say, people will bet and lose more than they can afford. In other words, individuals are inherently incapable of making rational decisions, and thus it is the government's job to protect us from ourselves. This vicious, paternalistic idea has no place in a free society."

From AP: Experts: Ban won't stop online gambling.

Gamblers may look over their shoulder now, but experts say a new Internet gambling ban won't keep bettors from ponying up, just turn them on to overseas payment services out of the law's reach.

"It has put a terrible scare into people," said I. Nelson Rose, who teaches gambling law at Whittier Law School. "But it won't by any means wipe out Internet gambling."

The fright swept through the $12 billion industry on the heels of the recent arrests of two gambling company executives and a new law President Bush signed Oct. 13 that seeks to ban most online gambling and criminalizes funds transfers.

The law has wiped out billions of dollars in shareholder value of British companies, leaving the industry's future in doubt as U.S. lawmakers initially trumpeted they had found a way to halt bets coming from America. But serious questions remain about whether the legislation can be effective in stopping U.S. residents from playing poker or betting on sports.

Posted by Forkum at October 24, 2006 06:40 PM