23 March 2006

Consistency on Gambling

I don't gamble, usually. Well not with money anyway. I may run across the street as a line of cars approaches to save time. And time is... well you know.

But I do think I should be able to gamble with money if I want to and have the funds to do so. Yet betting on sports is against the law. So is online gambling. As usual, the CATO Institute serves up a slew of reasons the government should spend less time legislating our morality. I'll give you some pertinent excerpts so you don't have to go to that link. I serve my lazy/busy readers as well:

Last month, police in Fairfax, Va., conducted a SWAT raid on Sal Culosi Jr., an optometrist suspected of running a sports gambling pool with some friends. As the SWAT team surrounded him, one officer's gun discharged, struck Culosi in the chest and killed him. In the fiscal year before the raid that killed Culosi, Virginia spent about $20 million marketing and promoting its state lottery.

Charity and barroom poker games are being shut down by police departments across the country. Meanwhile, state lotteries are cashing in on the poker craze with Texas Hold'em-style scratch-off games.

The new anti-gambling bill contains a loophole that lets state lotteries continue to sell their tickets online.

As noted, despite prohibitions against Internet gambling, it's still a billion-dollar industry. Third-party vendors such as Neteller, located offshore, have sprung up to facilitate transactions between gamers and gaming sites.

That means U.S. consumers will be more susceptible to fraud and will have no legal recourse when a shady offshore outfit bilks them out of their money.

Not to mention that offshore, black-market outfits present prime funding opportunities for organized crime and international terrorism.

I'm against gambling in general -- on moral grounds if you have responsibilities to others that the lost money could be going toward. But that, my friends, is not the governments business anymore than it is mine.

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