Republicans Can't Resist the Urge to Condemn Online Gambling

A plank supporting the prohibition of online gambling, briefly removed from the Republican platform at the behest of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), has been restored to placate social conservatives. The plank, which appeared in the 2000 and 2004 GOP platforms, reads:

Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support legislation prohibiting gambling over the Internet or in student athletics by student athletes who are participating in competitive sports.

The second sentence is inartfully phrased, but I'm assuming Republicans don't want to allow online gambling by everyone who is not involved in college sports. Since Congress has never explicitly banned online gambling (although it did prohibit the processing of payments for forms of gambling that were already illegal), this plank goes beyond supporting the status quo. On its face, it calls for a blanket ban that would criminalize the conduct of millions of Americans who use the Internet to play poker, bet on sports, or place other kinds of wagers. Professional poker player Greg Raymer asks: 

Is the Republican Party no longer the party of personal freedom and individual responsibility? Why has this party, that used to protect my rights, now become the party that wants to create a Nanny-state?

The Democratic Party platform is silent on the subject of gambling. Poker News notes that the PPA's own chairman, former New York Sen. Al D'Amato, has endorsed the Republican nominee, while former Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), co-author of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, is backing Barack Obama.

I chronicled the federal crackdown on online gambling in the June issue of reason. In a 2007 column, I contemplated the paternalistic proclivities of both parties.

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  • the innominate one||

    "Is the Republican Party no longer the party of personal freedom and individual responsibility?"

    probably a rhetorical question

  • Elemenope||

    Is the Republican Party no longer the party of personal freedom and individual responsibility? Why has this party, that used to protect my rights, now become the party that wants to create a Nanny-state?

    1960 called. Where the fuck did you go?

  • ||

    I figure this guy was still calling them the party of personal responsibility and freedom when they were just locking up gay people and producers of p()rn.

  • ||

    Now will Wayne Root be able to deliver all those gambler votes he sorta promised?

  • ||

    Why don't they just make "fun" illegal? That should placate the social conservatives.

  • ||

    While it is true that some families have been hurt by gambling (I don't see it doing many people any good except those who own the gambling houses) is that sufficient warrant to ban it? I note the same critique applies to churches, sects and religion in general. And since the latter is more prevalent than the former I suspect more families have been divided over god than over gambling. Apparently they have trouble with on-line gambling but not with government gambling monopolies called lotteries.

    As for Mr. Root and him delivering on his promises, well, the one thing Mr. Root delivers is copious quantities of BS. But apparently the LP this year was in the mood for lots of BS even if they had to take on Republican rejects to get it.

  • ||

    I have never personally cared for gambling because I think its a waste, but I certainly do not agree with Government (or in Dictator Bushes sense, Regimes)telling adults what they can and cannot do with their hard earned money. If a hard working adult wants to piss all his paycheck away on some web craps table then so be it. Who am I to judge?

    Jack W
    http://www.anoweb.alturl.com/

  • ||

    Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling

    seriously?

    MILLIONS?

    I must devise a scheme to prey on them.

  • ||

    I must devise a scheme to prey on them.

    Maybe some sort of state-sanctioned lottery would do it.

  • Elemenope||

    I suspect more families have been divided over god than over gambling.

    Heh. Intriguing point.

  • ||

    Apparently, Barney Frank has been inundated with donations from internet gambling interests since he sponsored that bill.

    He's also sponsored bills to legalize marijuana, voted against the FISA bill, and opposes immigration quotas.

    I really hope he wins a Senate primary.

  • ||

    He's also sponsored bills to legalize marijuana, voted against the FISA bill, and opposes immigration quotas.

    And he had that prostitution ring. Someone wake up Weigel, I think we found the Libertarian Democrat.

  • TWC||

    Condemn On line Gambling? I'm gambling every time I try to go online. Taking bets on whether or not my lousy ISP will work this time. I condemn that. Guess I'll vote for McCain. Maybe he can get my ISP fixed.

  • TWC||

    Someone wake up Weigel, I think we found the Libertarian Democrat.

    Winner!

    Ka. Ching. [$5.00 gold pieces clang down the chute and roll about the casino floor]

  • ||

    Wait, the GOP convention isn't until next month! How can they restore a plank to a platform without a convention?

    Damn, now I have to go read the article to find out what the real news is.

  • ||

    Greg Raymer asks:

    Is the Republican Party no longer the party of personal freedom and individual responsibility? Why has this party, that used to protect my rights, now become the party that wants to create a Nanny-state?

    Treat Greg gently. He's been in that cave for a long while.

  • ||

    Some online gambling sites.

    C'mon GOP, where is the legislation that addresses this family rending scourge? Talk is fucking cheap. Put up or shut up.

  • ||

    Why has this party, that used to protect my rights, now become the party that wants to create a Nanny-state?

    Why, indeed? The only change I would make would be to insert "other" between "the" and "party".

  • ||

    This is a good online gambling site:

    Gambling

  • ||

    Raymer's not really that naive. He's a very smart guy, in fact, who toyed with the idea of running for VP on the LP ticket (before it became the crowdedest competition of '08.) He's soft-selling his message (that GOP leadership is not what they claim to be) to get it to a wider audience. Unlike others who do sell that message far more rigorously (e.g. Balko), Greg Raymer has a broad audience. He can't just start spouting militant anarcho-capitalism without alienating some of that base. He's being MLK to reason's Malcom X.

  • J||

    I think Barney Frank is great, but he is no libertarian democrat. He isn't an economic libertarian, and he doesn't seem to for ALL drugs.

    He is, however, a smart, thoughtful, and pretty rational guy.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Why don't they just make "fun" illegal? That should placate the social conservatives.

    Yes, but maybe not in the way you mean. A lot of conservatives I know engage in illegal fun and have more fun doing it because it is illegal. And more guilt on Sunday morning.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Since churches differ in their philosophies, we can be sure that not all churches are correct. Therefore, many churches are going to lead their flocks to a negative after-life outcome.

    We need to stop these awful institutions from gambling with their member's souls! I demand that the Republicans outlaw donations to churches.

  • ||

    Treat Greg gently. He's been in that cave for a long while.



    Now, now, to be fair, it's quite possible those sunglasses have prevented him from actually seeing the truth about that kind of thing years ago.

    Quoting Barney Frank (from Jacob's above-linked article)


    "If an adult in this country, with his or her own money, wants to engage in an activity that harms no one, how dare we prohibit it because it doesn't add to the GDP or it has no macroeconomic benefit? Are we all to take home calculators and, until we have satisfied the gentleman from Iowa that we are being socially useful, we abstain from recreational activities that we choose?…People have said, 'What is the value of gambling?' Here is the value: Some human beings enjoy doing it. Shouldn't that be our principle? If individuals like doing something and they harm no one, we will allow them to do it, even if other people disapprove of what they do."

  • robc||

    Hey Barney (and yes I know he isnt reading this),

    I agree with your quote. You know what I like doing that doesnt harm anyone? Collecting 100 fucking percent of my paycheck you retarded fuckwit.

  • Metal Messiah||

    Ever since Bush took office in 2001 with a Republican majority in congress, the GOP has been deafeningly silent on the whole idea of "small government."

    Seriously, have you once heard any Republican politician claim they were in favor of smaller, less intrusive government this election cycle?

    They aren't even pretending anymore.

  • ||

    """Is the Republican Party no longer the party of personal freedom and individual responsibility? """

    Where the hell has this guy been? In a cave since the 1960's?

    """the GOP has been deafeningly silent on the whole idea of "small government.""""

    They've been very loud about promoting big government.

  • Joe Duffy||

    This is dishonest. The non religious right fully supports individual responsibility and new forms of taxation rather than simply raising taxes. Here is a more objective view of the conservative stance on gambling http://www.offshoreinsiders.com/index.php?Page=Articles&ArticleID=1388

  • ||

    Seriously, have you once heard any Republican politician claim they were in favor of smaller, less intrusive government this election cycle?



    Ummm... Ron Paul? Seriously, doesn't he count? He is a Republican, a politician, claims he is in favor or smaller less intrusive government, and was seeking the nomination this election cycle.

  • ||

    Brandybuck-

    A ROn Paul administration would launch a series of investigations concerning 9/11. I think some of you guys are glad he lost for just that reason.

  • Mike Laursen||

    This is dishonest.

    What's the "this" to which you are referring?

  • TWC (Shilling for No Star)||

    A ROn Paul administration would launch a series of investigations concerning 9/11. I think some of you guys are glad he lost for just that reason.

    Strange as that may be, it's better than anything McCain or Obama have thrown down the pipe.

    Obama should have let Kennedy drive Hillary home. Woulda saved a lot of trouble.

  • ||

    Waaaah!!! There are taxes!

  • Mike Laursen||

    Damn straight. Although, I'd say its actually, "Waaaah!!! There are too many taxes!"

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