Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Legalizing On-Line Gambling

A new study has shown that Americans who participate in on-line gambling can afford to do so. Most are college-educated and only 12% made less than $35,000 a year.

So, if on-line gambling is not a major societal problem, should we legalize it?

Personally, I don’t see why we should keep it illegal. First of all, whether it’s legal or not has no bearing on whether people have easy access or not. Anyone can gamble on line, whether it’s betting on sports or playing poker. And there is almost no chance of prosecution.

Secondly, this is an easily taxable industry. Right now, the money earned on gambling websites is processed off shore. With our out-of-control deficit, why turn away such a solid source of revenue? I would hope even supply-side Republicans would see the wisdom in taxing this particular industry.

And, finally, legalizing on-line gambling allows for regulation. Right now, these websites have little or no reason to avoid cheating. And while legalization wouldn’t shut down the shady off-shore operations, I bet that most on-line gamblers would choose to switch to websites regulated by a state or national gaming commission.

The fact is, gambling, like drinking, is not inherently immoral. Doing it to excess and ruining your life and your family’s—that’s immoral. But the vast majority of poker players and horse betters and the like are perfectly able to enjoy gambling without losing a significant or even moderate amount of money. Just because a few people are addicts doesn’t make it necessary to keep the activity away from the rest of the populace.

Besides, as the study shows, on-line gamblers are not problem gamblers. And problem gamblers hardly need the Internet to fuel their addiction—local bookies and the growing number of legalized casinos are more than enough of an outlet. By keeping on-line gambling illegal, we’re just denying ourselves a source of tax revenue and letting an industry stay unregulated that really needs some oversight.

At the very least, Congress should look into the issue.


Blogger griftdrift said...

So, if on-line gambling is not a major societal problem, should we legalize it?

I'll keep my comment brief.


4:37 PM  
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2:03 AM  

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