The Senate Majority Leader rarely proposes anything good, so I was surprised to read that he is circulating draft legislation to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, an act that basically drove the internet gambling business out of the United States.
The ban is destructive, given that more Americans play poker than golf or tennis, more than $100M spent every day on bets in legal casinos, and so a huge internet business has been driven underground or offshore.
So it’s good that Senator Reid wants to repeal the ban. But Sallie James of Cato points out what I should have seen — that statists like Reid rarely propose anything that’s completely good:
...the draft legislation would — you guessed it – place a tax on the wagers (you didn't think you'd get your freedom back without conditions, did you?). Second, the bill applies only to poker, and continues to prohibit “Internet gambling” more broadly.
So Reid’s focus on his Las Vegas cronies, many of whom give him campaign money.
"Mr. Reid’s office is considering language that would allow only existing casinos, horse tracks and slot-machine makers to operate online poker websites for the first two years after the bill passes, which could limit the ability of other companies to enter the market"...While Reid’s proposal may be an improvement on the status quo, it falls far short of restoring the full freedom of consenting adults to use their money, time, and online access in a manner of their choosing.