Walter E. Williams

If the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act is approved, it will become a precedent for congressional control over other aspects of the Internet and an important loss in our liberty. Let's follow the money and ask who benefits should the law be passed. What about legal gambling establishments in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and elsewhere? From their revenue point of view, they'd be happy to see less online gambling competition.

What about federal, state and local governments? Online gambling, most of which is offshore, doesn't create any tax revenue for them. The bill focuses on online games such as poker, blackjack and sports betting but exempts taxable state-regulated gambling such as lotteries and horse racing.

If people want to gamble online, they are going to gamble online. The only thing the act will accomplish is, like Prohibition, make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding people. It will turn banks and other financial institutions into government snoops. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said, "If an adult in this country, with his own money, wants to engage in an activity that harms no one, how dare we bar it." I second that and add, since protection of "the children" often serves as an excuse to restrict our liberties, that if children get involved, let their parents, not Congress, deal with it.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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