The gambling industry has become a major contributor to political candidates and parties. As one example among many, the man who invented the instant scratch-off lottery ticket is funding the campaign to replace our Electoral College with his "national popular vote."
The Justice Department's opinion is part of a multifaceted, bipartisan effort to legalize Internet gambling. A House subcommittee held hearings in October and November with testimony by gambling supporters such as Frank Fahrenkopf, CEO of the American Gaming (Gambling) Association and former Republican National Committee chairman and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who tried to repeal the 2006 law when Democrats controlled the House in 2010.
Fahrenkopf predicted how the Justice Department opinion would enable the gambling industry to hit the jackpot. He said, "It's now clear that not only can lotteries sell tickets online, but also games that look like slot machines and poker."
On the other hand, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said that ending the federal ban on Internet gambling would enable the spreading of gambling to every computer, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows phone. It would be like having a casino at everyone's fingertips, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
A warning also came from the world's richest casino owner, Sheldon Adelson. He announced his opposition to Internet gambling because the available technology is not good enough to prevent teenagers from making wagers.
A report from Loma Linda Medical School in California showed that at least 1 out every 5 young people has a serious gambling-related problem, and the rate of gambling among the young is now almost double the 1988 rate.
Some people seem to think that no harm is done by lotteries; it's just individual choice. But here is the wisdom of our forefathers in an 1879 U.S. Supreme Court decision: "Lotteries ... are a species of gambling, and wrong in their influences. They disturb the checks and balances of a well-ordered community. Society built upon such a foundation would almost of necessity bring forth a population of speculators and gamblers, living on the expectation of what ... might be 'awarded' to them from the accumulations of others" (Stone v. Mississippi).
We should not permit the Obama administration to surreptitiously change federal law in order to vastly expand the gambling industry.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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