Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Now is the time to legalize Internet gambling

Posted by sanityinjection on May 13, 2009

It is a rare day – a very rare day – when I find myself in agreement with Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) about anything. I generally find Frank to be a vile stain on the institution of Congress. However, we are both in favor of legalizing Internet gambling. Frank is trying to push a bill that would accomplish this through the House, although it’s doubtful whether it would pass in the Senate.

Frank claims that he supports the move “as a matter of personal freedom”. However, it should be obvious to any knowledgeable political observer that his real motivation is the billions of dollars of tax revenue that would be brought in by legalizing and taxing Internet gambling. While I cringe at the thought of giving Frank and his liberal buddies more toys to play with, I would vastly prefer this method of raising revenue to taxes on less dispensable aspects of life such as my paycheck and the gas that fuels my car.

In fact, I do view legalizing gambling as a matter of personal freedom. I see no rationale for the government to tell me I may not choose to risk my money in an online poker game or casino game – although it’s perfectly legal for me to risk it in the stock market, in currency trading, or any other risky financial endeavor that may have worse odds. And don’t think there aren’t people addicted to those pursuits just as seriously as some people are addicted to conventional gambling. Meanwhile, problem gamblers are already having little difficulty feeding their addiction illegally online, or legally at casinos in various states. (Ironically, casinos oppose legalization of online gambling because they fear the competition.) As are regular people – odds are you or someone you know has gambled online.

It is time to do away with this vestige of the nanny state. The law allows me to harm myself with alcohol and tobacco, or mutilate myself with tattoos, body piercings, and cosmetic surgery, but feels it must protect me from a purely financial form of ruin? Why should I, a responsible person, be prevented from enjoying online gambling because someone else has an addiction?

So let Barney and his buddies have the tax revenue. I’ll win back my taxes at the blackjack table. 🙂

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