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Read Radley Balko's testimony from last Friday's congressional hearing on Internet gambling.

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  • ||

    Nicely done Radley!

  • Fluffy||

    But Radley, what about the children?

  • ||

    Radley, you da man!

  • ||

    Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't arrest him on the spot for being a threat to national security. All that talk of "liberty" and "rights" is just uncalled for in this post-9/11 world.

  • ||

    "Reputable offshore brands like FullTilt poker and PartyPoker would almost certainly incorporate in the U.S. and subject themselves to U.S. market regulation and government oversight."

    These are global companies. Why should they choose to reside in a country where they are highly taxed and have to fear to be regulated or even banned?

  • ||

    These are global companies. Why should they choose to reside in a country where they are highly taxed and have to fear to be regulated or even banned?

    Because Americans are probably going to trust a company located in the U.S. over an off-shore one.

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    And because Americans are suckers for American "branding" and have the highest per capita "disposable" income.

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    These are all personal decisions, of course. And if a free society means anything, it means we should have the freedom to make bad choices, in addition to good ones. The ban on Internet gambling punishes the millions of Americans who were wagering online responsibly due to anecdotal evidence of a few who may do so irresponsibly. It's an affront to personal responsibility, and symptomatic of a Nanny Statist government that treats its citizens like children. A government based on the principle of liberty doesn't police the personal lives of its citizens for bad habits, at any level, much less at the federal level.

    Wow. Excellent. Keep it up, Mr. Balko- stuff like this is why I read Reason.

  • ||

    Jim Bob,

    You mean for the articles . . .and not the hot photos of Reason staffers?

  • ||

    Speaking of why we read Reason, where is the Reason Pillow Girl these days?

  • ||

    Tbone,

    Totally. For the articles. >.>

    Tacos,

    Yeah.

  • ||

    Radley,

    Did they ask you any questions or comment on the record about your testimony?

  • ||

    I hate to say it, but Mr. Balko seemed to preaching to the choir--and I say this as a member of the choir.

    If I weren't, and I was on the committee, I'd have needed more solid evidence to persuade me that yes, a country can allow Internet gambling without the sky falling in, or gamblers being cheated out of their winnings left and right, and how that works in practice. The case of Great Britain would have been a great one to cite.

    The sad part is people need to be shown, not just told, that liberty works.

  • ||

    If I'm ever called to talk before congress, I will digress in my answers at one point during the questioning to talk passionatly about "dez" when the congressmen asks me what exactly "dez" are, I will grab my testicals and yell "dez nuts"

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    I also believe that what Americans want to do with their money in their own homes with no negative consequences to the public should be their decision-not our federal government. Let's drop this foolish law and get on with something that's really important...say bringing our troops home from a war of which we have no business being involved in.

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    These are global companies. Why should they choose to reside in a country where they are highly taxed and have to fear to be regulated or even banned?

    Their largest market (larger than the entire international market) is here?

  • Kittie||

    Well Put Radley!! I agree.. Individuals control their lives and finances. It is our personal choice to buy what we do. It is our personal choice to surrender to "bad habits" "drinking or drugs", "over spending", "gambling". etc..

    If this law is passed.. I imagine soon we could see many types of our US application forms prompting us in multiple check boxes as such.. ie: Do you drink?
    Do you smoke?
    Do you gamble?
    Have you ever committed a crime?

    **Thoughts to be discussed for sure..

    OHH And what about all of the Individuals, Families and lives of people who have fallen victim, or are being convicted behind this sneaky, deceitful UIGEA Law!!

    WHERE and WHO is OUR Protection! How can this be?? Gonzales must be curbed.. look at what he did to all of the 8 US reps whom were fired behind his radical decisions!

    Go get em Guys!! (and Shelley!!)

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    When I read "Nanny Statists", I cringed. I mean, I agree, but I can't imagine anyone on the panel wants that term thrown in their face. I'm afraid that would turn off anyone that might have been coming around to your position. Not that any of them would be able to steer their minds away from "for the children... must ban gambling For The Children..."

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    I cringed when I read this;

    I also believe that what Americans want to do with their money in their own homes with no negative consequences to the public should be their decision-not our federal government. Let's drop this foolish law and get on with something that's really important...say bringing our troops home from a war of which we have no business being involved in.

    I mean, I agree with him, but does EVERY issue have to become a War in Iraq issue?

  • Christopher Monnier||

    I think he was trying to appeal to liberal Democrats with that bit about the War.

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    Great speech.

    Slightly off topic, one of the more insane rules when I was in Publik Skool was the complete ban of playing cards. One kid I know actually got suspended for possessing them. You know, can't tempt The Children™ with gambling and all.

  • Kittie||

    Here is a link for info regarding this Blog...
    http://www.casinogamblingweb.com/gambling-news/gambling-law/internet_gambling_petition_new_goal_10_000_signatures_46120.html

    Below is my comment Generalizing the posts above...
    The US Gov. needs to Stand behind their "Word or Agreements" and be responsible for every move they make. US Governmental Decisions need to be made according to Proper Protocol, the Law, and within the guidelines of our Constitutional Rights.. not Greed, Money, various Commodities, nor their GIVEN Power!

    After all...The People of our Government all started out being US Citizens then,... are supposed to be wisely selected then elected to achieve and maintain the "Power" to Represent our United States.

    Why is it they we are more and more feeling the serious repercussions of mistakes, lies, sneakiness, and individualized selfish decisions made by our "Government" or "Superiors" in Power!

    Come on People.. Protect Ourselves... not Fight Ourselves!. Lets all remember too "We are the Land of the Free" Things are starting to feel like we are all Powerless or in a Jail!!

    What ever happened to "And Justice After All"

    God Bless

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    I agree with anon. The "nanny statist" term is a bit dodgy. Not that it isn't accurate mind you, but that it smacks of "whack-a-loon" cliche. Other than that, excellent testimony my good man and good call on the Frank shout out.

  • Fuzzy||

    Nice work, Balko!

    I hate to be mean, but if you are a pastor, and you're the guy who does this and that in the community and prays to God for guidance and divine intervention, wouldn't your son be completely ensconced by the love and watchful eye of God that he couldn't fuck up as bad as he did?

    Or is it, if God fails, pray to the feds?

    This coming from an atheist who knows how to mange his bankroll and walk away from the table/computer/track.

    Sorry if any religious folks are offended (I do mean that sincerely) but it's testimonials like Pastor Greg Hogan's that really drive home the fact (for me, anyway) that:

    A) God doesn't exist

    and

    B) when he doesn't seem to be "helping", believers demand a real, all-encompassing patriarchal entity to enforce their morals and solve their problems.

    If I don't need God in my life, I don't need the federal government in it either.

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    Slightly off topic, one of the more insane rules when I was in Publik Skool was the complete ban of playing cards. One kid I know actually got suspended for possessing them. You know, can't tempt The Children™ with gambling and all.

    That's not so much about gambling as much as it is about distractions in class. At least for my school it was banned for the same reason cell phones, hats, and Game Boys where banned.

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    One of the major hidden reasons for this law was that none of the leading companies was US based. The conservative goverment was set a quandry. Let non-US companies carry on making profit from the US market unable to tax them or legalize US based companies and antagonise their base. Instead they came up with a 3rd option, ban the monetary transfers, both stopping money going out and kowtowing to their base!

    Problem is they underestimated the backlash. Now they can't put into place laws that favour US companies because of fair trade, and when the playing field is level, which company in their right mind would set up in a country that has been so antagonistic against them and could yet keep flip flopping making their position insecure. Plus any reversal will cause trouble with those focal conservatives who think gambling is the devil's plaything.

    In the meantime the UK pushed through new gaming laws to control online gaming in reference to money laundering, problem gambling & fair play. If you think an American gamer wouldn't trust a company operating under British regs. you're being short sighted!

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    Headblade basically nailed it head on in the previous post.

    And one might legitimately wonder why the United States wouldn't just allow certified and regulated online poker sites within the United States. As Mr. Balko correctly noted, plenty of professional companies like Harrahs would rush in to fill that need.

    The answer is because the big interests that pushed for this bill the hardest weren't the members of the blue-nosed religious right, they were the powerful and entrenched interests of groups like the Nevada and Atlantic City Chambers of Commerce, the Indian reservations, and the big casino owners themselves. These groups believe that legal online gambling will cost them money from lost live gaming. Whether or not this is in fact true is certainly a subject open for a legitimate debate, but they believe this to be the case, and that is all that really matters.

    As with everything else in life, if you want to find the truth, you have to follow the money.

  • Gambling Man||

    Coming from the UK, I can't believe how the US is being restricted by their Government to do basic things. Everyone know prohibition doesn't work and that it leads to underground workings and crime.

    Regulation and controls is the way to deal with problem gambling, allow people to gamble in a controlled way makes sense - shutting yourself away just hides the underlying problems.

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