Sunday, July 02, 2006

Poker and Legislation: Goodlatte Gang Gives it Another Go

It's been a while since we've talked about legislative news, but a recent announcement from our beloved federal legislators brings it to the front of the poker-news pages once again. With a thank-you to Iggy at Guinness and Poker for calling my attention to it, a June 30 piece in the Las Vegas Review-Journal confirms something that this sideline pundit has suspected for some time: the various anti-online-gambling measures being served up in Congress will be combined, to attack each of the several facets of the online spectrum. Here's the link to the original story.

Anyone with a sense of independent thought will sense what's wrong when they read the LVRJ piece and encounter Goodlatte's operation phrase for his fanatical efforts --- the "American Values Agenda." It's tiresome, just another case of a politician wrapping his agenda in one of those "I know what's good for you" robes. While the majority of this push comes from the neo-Right, both political wings are eternally guilty of the practice.

Goodlatte serves up for four easily dismissable points for his rhetoric, paraphrased here:

1) That online gaming eases accessibility for children to gamble;

Response: It wouldn't, if parents had a mote of self-responsibility about their credit cards. But it's easier to play the victim.

2) That online gambling increases the societal ills caused by chronic and problem gambling;

Response: Debatable. With the prolification of other forms of gaming, the ability to gamble is no longer a matter of physical distance. Besides, are those who just happen to live in proximity to a physical gaming center then not worthy of similar governmental protection?

3) That online gaming can be dishonest, and that such matters are unenforceable and unrecoverable through U.S. laws.

Response: And this would differ from an Indian casino on tribal land exactly HOW? Besides, crooked online games rapidly suffer the same fate as other crooked enterprises --- people stop doing business with them, and they shrivel up and go away. Also, if the U.S. government regulated them, then America's citizens would have some assurance of a fair deal. This, however, would require both common sense and an adherence to the type of laissez faire free-market enterprise good 'Pubicans are supposed to cherish. Goodlatte and gang exhibit neither.

4) That online casinos are avenues to money laundering and other tools of financial deception.

Response: Show us the numbers. I think this is an empty claim --- and while there are the occasional exceptions, common sense says that the monies laundered in this way are a miniscule fraction of those moved through other channels.

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