Declan McCullagh of CNet News reports (“Congress May Roll Dice, Legalize Net Gambling“) that some in Congress are reconsidering the wisdom of prohibitions on Internet gambling, which we have discussed here many times before. Declan notes there’s another hearing on the issue today and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will be discussing his continuing effort to allow Internet casinos to obtain licenses from and be regulated by the federal government:
Frank, who will be testifying during Wednesday’s hearing, says that because nearly all states already permit some form of traditional gambling–including lotteries, betting on horse and greyhound racing, and sports wagering — the federal government should legalize and regulate the online equivalents. Instead of a blanket legalization, his legislation would require the Treasury Department to police the industry and ensure that it takes adequate steps to identify minors and compulsive gamblers.
My TLF colleague Tom Bell has done seminal work in this field and you will definitely want to check out his recent essay, “The UnInGEn-ious Act’s Non-Impact on Internet Gambling” and his classic 1999 Cato white paper, “Internet Gambling: Popular, Inexorable, and (Eventually) Legal.” What Tom has done better than anyone else is to show that, as is the case with almost every “market activity devoted to the pursuit of happiness,” eventually the law will adjust to accommodate these activities. It may take some time for the law to adjust, but it will.
Incidentally, I loved this little gem of a quote that Declan included in his story from the activist group Focus on the Family, which argues of this effort to legalize online gambling: Continue reading →