*The following post is a guest article from KAP's long time friend and political guru, Chuck Gooch. You can read more of Chuck's (Gooch's, as we call him) thoughts on his myspace page located: http://blog.myspace.com/chuckgooch - Thanks for the article Chuck!
President Bush, last Friday, signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 into law. The act was attached to the more known Terrorism bill which was passed with bi-partisan support after heated debate. This legislation is aimed to cutoff credit card payments to from overseas gambling sites to or from the U.S.
I have never gambled online. I have spent countless hours playing the free games that they have on most of these websites. I don’t generally wager money on anything that’s not a sure thing, but I am very upset that this decision has been taken away from me.
This legislation is an election year attempt by our government representatives to show the religious right that they haven’t forgotten about them. Evidently most religious zealots only gamble in private games, football pools, the state sanctioned lottery, or on business trips to Las Vegas, Biloxi, and other state regulated casinos. I’d like to see how many of our elected representatives that voted for this bill have spent time doing any of the above mentioned activities, and how many of them have (or had) accounts on online poker websites.
How can the government forbid something it has already essentially left up to the states to regulate? 44 states have legalized gambling for lotteries, and almost 30 states have casinos. Shouldn’t each state be the sole decider on what they allow its citizens to do? That has always been a rally-cry of the conservative movement, and appears to be the standard when it comes to gambling regulation. Supporters, I’m sure, will tell you it is a national responsibility because it involves international bank accounts. That’s just their excuse. The state or federal authorities isn’t able to tax these transactions, so they’re essentially left out of a loop they have been so cozy within for years when it comes to state-sanctioned gambling.
I’m disappointed with the Democrats for supporting this legislation. I’m disappointed with online gamblers who voted for the Republicans who supported this action, because they should have known they were setting themselves up for something like this. I expected this from President Bush who has consistantly erred on the side of less freedom since he took his oath of office.
Its too late to change the law now. Anyone who has seen government in action knows that there will never be enough support to change this legislation on its own. Our choice is to lobby our Representative, Senator and President to hide a repeal in another bill (preferably in something that sounds patriotic and American, people don’t read those bills), or to support people who want to hire lawyers to challenge this, and hopefully find some loophole that can give us some paradigm of freedom.
The president and congress weren’t asleep at the wheel on this one. America was