Have you heard of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act?

I started paying attention to the goings-on because my husband’s new job is with a payment company. Most interesting thing to note: his days off do not coincide with the rest of the world because those days are high shopping days and he must be at work to monitor things etc.

In any case, the large majority of their business is with retail but they do have a solid amount of companies that do wallet transactions, meaning, they remove money from your account and ‘hold’ it until you use it and then deposit it, in this case, at the gaming site. One of the main reasons these wallet companies exist is for online gambling.

Should online gambling be regulated or outlawed? What is wrong with the way things are right now? I’m not sure I see the problem. But if there is a problem, it makes much more sense to me to regulate and tax the gaming than to prohibit it. Didn’t we learn anything in the 1920s?

I hate Vegas because I can smell the desperation 30 miles out. It is a law in my family that we DO NOT STOP in Vegas no matter if you have to pee like a racehorse or if you are starving. I am not a gambler. I can count on one hand the times I have inserted a quarter, pulled a level and kissed my money goodbye. I have never signed up on an online gambling site and I have no plans to. I do not enjoy it and I do not see that changing any time soon.

However, I do see the propensity for problems with gambling. I am aware that there is a large amount of senior citizens in Vegas that gamble their entire SS checks the minute they get them every month. I understand that it can be an addiction. But to argue your point saying that 1 in 4 college-aged boys gambles online weekly and that we need to save them from themselves and then move from there to making it illegal makes no sense to me.

I think my main issue with the idea of making online gambling illegal is that this bill doesn’t actually do that. It is set up to penalize the ‘wallet’ companies that hold your money. This bill makes it illegal to be that company and do that act. The gambler will not get in trouble. But, the gambler may lose the money deposited in his account when the company he uses to hold his money gets nailed. If he does get it back, it will be after a long time.

My second issue is the hypocrisy of having a Lotto here in California that supports our schools, that is advertised on television and radio, that our government COUNTS on to subsidize costs to educate our children and then on the same coin passing this bill. So, it’s ok to gamble, but only if you do it the way we want you to. Is that the message? And if so, then regulating and taxing still makes more sense than prohibiting it.

Do you agree or disagree? What am I missing?

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  1. You missed the Casinos. We allow plenty of gaming at the tribal casinos…
    and for the record, I’m pretty much against most laws that protect people from themselves. I think it contributes to the lack of personal responbility that is pervasive in our society. my .02

  2. This is one of those issues that can be talked about forever, but like Prohibition, restrictions are not going to work — and will just make thing worse. There are probably actions that could be taken to ease the growing addiction of college kids (limits, etc.), but the idea of making online gambling is unrealistic — and hypocritical.

  3. Being Canadian, I have this weird idea that government is supposed to look out for the interests of its citizenry, particularly the poor, old, and otherwise vulnerable. I think gambling has been shown to be powerfully addictive and needs to be regulated if not restricted, just like other potent, and potentially hazardous, substances that some can take or leave and some can’t.

    The free marketplace of ideas is a nice ideal. But I think it is at odds with the reality of a nation run by corporate interests. And by corporate, I also mean American government. Who can tell the difference these days?

    Gambling is a tax on the poor.

    Wow, there I go, being the “ugly Canadian abroad” again. Pardon me/pardonez-moi. 🙂

  4. “Gambling is a tax on the poor.” I really do believe that. And people look at that in one of two ways. Some say, “How terrible! It’s a tax on the poor,” while the others say, “Finally! A way to get the poor to kick in their share.” I’m not in either camp. Somewhere in the middle, I guess. Is that a cop-out?

    I’m not a big proponent of big gov’t/big regulation, but I live about 15 miles from an Indian Casino. That parking lot is packed, packed, packed…seven days a week, and the cars aren’t shiny and new. It makes me feel empty and afraid for the future of the world every time I drive by.

    The question is how we save these people from themselves and whether we even can. But I agree with you, LeahPeah, that this bill seems a little misdirected.

    I have no answers, solutions, or intelligent thought on the subject.

  5. I think a intersting thing about this so called banned is to look at how this will effect College Students. Will this encourage more underground gambling or will this ban can students to suffer withdrawel from playing. The internet itself can be addicting to some but to mix that with gambling creates 2 problems in my opinion i beleive that this ban will have deeper things to worry about then decrease business aspects

  6. As we talk about protecting college kids from themselves, maybe the credit card companies should not be allowed to hone in on the college students. I don’t have any facts on it, but I would guess they make a lot of money off uninformed students that get into trouble.

  7. First off, the proposed law isn’t about preventing gambling, it’s about protectionism for the physical casinos. The tribes and places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City need to stop online competition before they’re taught the same lessons Amazon and iTunes are teaching book and record stores.

    Second, all gambling should be regulated. Especially with online gaming, where you’re absolutely trusting the house to tell you if you won or not, an honest broker to watch over the games is absolutely essential. I generally won’t gamble online for exactly that reason – there’s no way for me to tell when I’m being cheated.

    That said, I see no reason to ban gambling outright. It’s a matter of personal choice and informed taking of risks. Some people can’t handle that responsibility, but that’s no reason for the government to step in and block everyone from participating.

  8. A few friends of mine are these “college-aged boys” you talk about. They spend most of their evenings on ten gaming tables at a time and they make a lot of money. They consider this new legislation “getting fired” so they bought a yacht and are sailing to the Carribbean after Thanksgiving. While this method of making money does not promote a healthy understanding of the value of a dollar, it is a legitimate source of income for my friends. I say, tax ’em.

  9. jenn – i did miss the casinos. you’re right. the casinos have to pay taxes, right?

    neil – i totally agree.

    k – “Gambling is a tax on the poor.” i’m not sure i agree with you on that point, but it looks like other people do. and i love canadians!!

    pioneer woman – you sound pretty intelligent to me! i know what you mean about feeling sad when you see the full parking lot.

    jj – i wonder the same thing.

    me – yes! i am so against giving away credit cards to college kids that don’t yet understand what it means to be fiscally responsible. let’s attack that one as a nation.

    chuck – i don’t know why i didn’t realize it until you said it, but of course this must be backed by the physical casinos. and i hadn’t even thought of the cheating aspect. that makes total sense.

    katie – really? they make lots of money?? well, part of me thinks that is pretty awesome but another part of me feels bad because they are learning something about life and i’m not sure that lesson really will hold water their entire lives. tax them, indeed.

  10. I’m big on the idea that people should take responsibilty for themselves and their actions, so I’m automatically against these kinds of laws (including the seatbelt and helmet laws). I’m not a gambler, so these proposed laws don’t effect me personally, but I feel they are an infringement on my personal rights.
    I don’t want someone else to save me from myself. I make my own choices for my own reasons, and I don’t really worry about whether someone else agrees with them.

  11. people should be responisble for their actions, gambling should be regulated, and gambling is a tax on the poor – I agree with all of those points. The online poker thing is MASSIVELY HUGE and I personally know people who spend THOUSANDS on that crap.

    Still, this law blew it. Those “wallet” companies should have been regulated and taxed. The online casinos, regulated and taxed. Easy money from suckers is OK with me. Let people piss away their money if they want, I’m cool with that. Just let us take a piece of it.

    Ah well, maybe Joe should find another contract, I think that the online gaming biz (and companies providing payment services), at least in the US, is toast after this one.

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