On-line gambling

I’ve never gambled on-line and I have no intention of ever doing so. But, I think it is ridiculous the lengths our government has gone to prevent adults from doing so. It wasn’t enough to actually move all the gambling servers to Caribbean islands, etc.,– that seems reasonable enough that you won’t let the actual company exist within the US– but they’ve actually made it very hard to use your credit card with an on-line gambling company. Sure there’s problems with gambling, but there’s also problems from eating too much fast food. The government is well within its rights to nudge us one way or another, but, in general, should let adults behave as adults when it is clear they are engaging in consensual actions that don’t directly harm others.

Big Steve, who does enjoy his on-line poker (from Canada) makes the point of the hypocrisy of all this given all the state-sponsored lotteries.

My basic view is that if states can run lotteries, then citizens should be able to gamble online.  They actually have a decent chance of winning in a poker tourney, whereas the lottery is mostly for people who do not understand math.  Which one is more or less moral?  Yes, poker online can give gambling addicts more opportunities to lose their money, but keeping it illegal is just going to move those folks deeper underground.  Yes, kids can play online but not in regular casinos and that is a problem.  But how about we give parents some responsibility on that.  There are all kinds of things online–we need to figure out how to handle that challenge besides all or nothing, one size fits all solutions…

But I am not clear why adults cannot gamble online if states are actively promoting gambling in another form–lotteries–where the odds are much more against the player.  I do, however, understand the desire for politicians to play to certain blocs of voters to demonstrate that they are sufficiently religious/observant.  So, I am not sure the status quo will be changed, but there has been more progress than I would have expected.   I guess I shouldn’t gamble on the outcome.

I’d love to see this Puritan impulse in our government go the way of laws against using birth control.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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