Here comes nationalized gambling
You probably haven’t heard much about this, but the same Obama Justice Department that is pushing to deny states the right to define marriage (by opposing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act) is now pushing to diminish the ability of states to regulate gambling.
In years past, Congress took action to stop the spread of gambling across state lines with legislation such as the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. All along, Congress’ position has been clear and consistent that it opposes allowing technology to be used to circumvent individual state gambling laws.
Enter the Obama Justice Department, which this past December quietly issued a decision interpreting these acts of Congress “not” to apply to anything other than sports betting.
Aside from undermining the long established will of Congress, the practical problem is that this decision would allow any form of gambling that is legal in any state to be made available on the Internet and circumvent the gambling laws of others states. The net effect is that any state could effectively legalize virtually any form of gambling for the entire country, whether we like it or not.
Ready or not, nationalized gambling here we come.
All of this foolishness began when a group of cash-strapped pro-gambling states (such as Obama’s home state of Illinois) got together to begin lobbying the administration to “reinterpret” the Wire Act, and on Christmas Eve when most people were too busy to notice, Obama came through.
Currently there are a number of big spending states that are looking to use state sponsored interstate gambling (such as lotteries) as a quick fix for their budget woes. In the process, they will further exploit the poor as well as those who are addicted to gambling, while not having to endure the negative societal costs associated with it in other states, (crime, bankruptcy, abuse and divorce come to mind).
This all seems a little odd for someone who has spent so much time accusing Republicans of wanting to “balance budgets on the backs of the poor”, but Obama’s administration is making it easier for states to do just that.
And of course it didn’t take long for them to get started. Illinois sold its first online lottery ticket this past May, (and announced that it intends to become a global hub for online gambling).
History shows that once any government gets dependent on gambling as a source of revenue, it then does whatever it can to expand that revenue – meaning it works to draw in more suckers with more addictive games. (How many rich people do you wait in line behind at the gas station playing any one of those fifty different multi-colored scratch-off tickets?)
Despite the current US ban on financial institutions facilitating the processing of funds from online gambling, it is currently a thirty-billion dollar industry; which tells you all that you need to know about why big spending state governments want in on the action.
Forget about the “not in my backyard” fights over casinos, these states want to get in on where the real action is: the Internet.
But keep in mind that private enterprise gambling won’t take kindly to state governments moving further in on their turf. They’ll soon be lobbying (or suing) for the right to circumvent state laws and run virtual casinos too. The genie will be out of the bottle, and online gambling will spread to every desktop, laptop, i-Pad and mobile phone. It will be a 24-7-365 casino that leaves state and local taxpayers to deal with the societal fallout.
If we have learned anything from the Internet revolution and the recent explosion of smart phones and mobile apps, it is that technology is limited only by the imagination, which means that any attempt to keep this change limited to lottery tickets is foolish at best, (and intentionally deceptive at worst).
Congress has to take a stand to defend its own laws against the Justice Department’s view that they don’t mean what everyone knew that they did for years. Otherwise every other form of gambling that could be made available across state lines via technology WILL be made available.
We can’t let that happen.
Contact your members of Congress and let them know that you don’t support Obama’s effort to overturn the right of states to control gambling in their own jurisdictions.