I don’t mean to be indigent about the matter, but who’s kidding who. We have gambling in virtually every state of the union. Whether it’s the horse race tracks that stretch across the U.S., or the slot machines and poker rooms inside those race tracks, or the casinos on “Riverboats” and Indian Reservations, or just the state sponsored gambling – the lotteries, scratchoffs and PowerBALL!! And, let’s don’t forget those destination Mecca’s of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
I can’t remember the last time I was anywhere in the United States where I could not drive to a major casino within 30 minutes. Yet, we keep living under the illusion that there is something unseemly if not downright immoral about gambling online. Well, it is happening, of course. Every day, all across the U.S., players are getting online and gambling. Whether it’s playing the NFL at their favorite online sports book, or finding a seat in their favorite online poker room, or playing a little blackjack, Americans are on the internet every day playing.
So what do we gain out of this charade that gambling shouldn’t be allowed online. One thing we guarantee is that any regulation of it is done somewhere else and, let’s face it, that usually means it’s not done at all. Now I’m not pointing any fingers, but in small island countries where online gambling has become a major part of their economy, don’t we really have the wolves guarding the henhouse.
Another thing we get is to let someone other than the United States benefit from all those tax dollars that the regulating country receives. At a time when we have staggering federal deficits, we certainly would want to bring in millions of dollars of tax revenue off of online gaming.
Does this remind anyone of anything? I don’t know if you’re watching the new HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.” But, I swear 1920 Atlantic City is difficult to distinguish from 2010 Anywhere USA. No one wanted prohibition more than the bootleggers. The biggest opponents of legalized gambling in the U.S. are those who are doing it offshore and keeping the big Vegas boys out of the business. It’s the wild west out there right now, and it’s about time someone stood up, stopped all the nonsense, and began to tame it.
Just when it looked like we were headed in this direction, Congress up and passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which purposes to have banks and financial institutions stop the transfer of funds from your and my banking accounts to offshore casinos. Well, that was a huge setback. A bill has been introduced in Congress to reverse the effect of the UIGEA and allow for online poker rooms to operate in the United States, but this bill did not make it to House floor for a vote in 2009.
Gambling is an accepted part of American life. Anyone that tries to tell you otherwise is just kidding you (and maybe themselves). Let’s just get this behind us, acknowledge what already is, and start moving forward with American based online gambling.