• Leave the Gamblers Alone!

      Yesterday ESPN announced they will remove all poker-related programming and advertising (except for this year’s World Series of Poker).

      Wimps. And the gambling industry is no better. Industry lobbyist, former senator Al D’Amato, claims “[poker] is a game of skill” and therefore should not be subjected to federal anti-gambling laws. “Regulate it, but don’t ban it,” he says.

      Give me a break. The cowardice of business in standing up for free markets never ceases to amaze me.

      What wimps! Why don’t they have the courage to say the government has NO business intervening in an activity between consenting adults? I’d hope the poker lobby and the leading sports network would defend the game and its players. Instead they push legal tricks or distance themselves from poker.

      The feds accuse the companies of bank fraud and money laundering. The LA Times reports:

      In 2006 Congress passed a law curtailing online gambling. Most of the leading sites found ways to work around the law…

      Well, duh. That’s what happens when prohibitionist politicians create black markets. Alcohol prohibition created organized crime.

      Why does the government ban online poker in the first place? Because busybodies like Senator John Kyl call it “the crack cocaine of gambling.” They point to a study that claims there are millions of American gambling addicts.

      The study exaggerates the problem, but I acknowledge that some people can’t handle gambling. But those people get into trouble anyway – legal or illegal. Online poker players are consenting adults wagering their own money, causing little harm to anyone else. If we want to ban things because they might be addictive, then why not ban alcohol? Smoking? Sex? The stock market?

      Government outlaws online gambling, yet it runs its own gambling operation: the state lotteries. And what a scam they are! States offer terrible odds. The indicted poker sites take less than a percent of each bet. Yet state lotteries take 50 percent of each bet.

      The nerve! Government pushes its own inferior game while outlawing better ones. By forcing internet gambling offshore, America loses a $12 billion industry…and a little bit of our freedom.

      Leave the gamblers alone!