On June 9th, the highly respected American newspaper the Los Angeles Times issued perhaps the most high profile endorsement of the regulation and acceptance of online gaming and poker, rather than the course of action that state legislators and Congressmen in Washington, DC are currently undertaking.
In an editorial entitled "Don't Bet The House", the staff of the Times analyzes the current legislation on Capitol Hill and simply asks the question, "Doesn't the federal government have better things to do than try to block people from going online to make a wager on the Super Bowl or the Final Four?" The editorial continues on with a well thought out course of action that perhaps our representation in Washington would do well to consider.
The Times editorial staff points out that the legislators are looking to curb underage gaming, problem gamblers and attack the offshore sites that are unregulated by U. S. law. While they do give credit in a small manner to the elected officials on these counts, they also emphasize that they aren't doing anything regarding regulation of the horse racing industry online. Online racing wagering is something that Congress legislated to the states in 2000, which the Times points out is a "less than sincere" effort when it comes to the outlawing of online gaming and poker. The Times also states, "Isn't it a hallmark of a free society that we don't outlaw otherwise inoffensive vices simply because some people harm themselves?"
The Times editorial staff comes out especially strongly on the factor that regulation and taxation of the $12 billion industry is the way to go. Through this course of action, the Times states, the federal government can receive a significant amount of funding and end their hypocrisy regarding allowing some forms of online gaming but not others. They also accurately point out that if American based casino operations were able to offer similar fare online, the protections for the players would be significant rather than their current gray area in the offshore world. As they end the editorial statement, the Times perhaps makes the most stinging statement when they say, "Moralistic members of Congress should not be allowed to thwart online freedoms."
Kudos must be extended to the Los Angeles Times for their forward thinking and well reasoned editorial. If other significant publications such as the Times expressed their sentiments regarding the online gaming and poker question in this manner, perhaps the federal government would see that they are missing the boat on the continuing worldwide growth of not only online poker but the gaming industry overall. As Congress is ending its sessions for the current year, it will be a situation that will be closely watched as this year and 2007 roll around. To read the full editorial from the Los Angeles Times, visit latimes.com/news/opinion.
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