Online Gambling

Poker Players Demand Tolerance

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It's not often that you hear John Locke and John Stuart Mill mentioned in congressional testimony, but they both show up (along with Jefferson and Madison) in an eloquent plea for tolerance that professional poker player Annie Duke offered during this week's House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Establishing Consistent Enforcement Policies in the Context of Internet Wagers." Testifying on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance, Duke rejected the argument that online gambling must be prohibited to protect children:

Most people who seek to restrict individual freedom invoke protection of children as their motivation. I suspect they find that argument has more resonance than what is often their real motivation—to treat adults like children, and manage their choices for them….I doubt that there is anyone who is opposed to Internet gamijng because of children who wouldn't still be opposed to Internet gaming for adults, even if it could be proven to them that children can be protected.

Duke likewise challenged the claim that no one should be allowed to gamble online because some people gamble too much:

If the government is going to ban every activity that can lead to harmful compulsion, the government is going to have to ban nearly every activity. Shopping, day trading, sex, [eating] chocolate, even drinking water—these and myriad other activities, most of which are part of everyday life, have been linked to harmful compulsions. Are we moving inexorably toward a world where we prohibit online shopping because some people compulsively spend themselves into bankruptcy?…Are we going to ask banking institutions to monitor and regulate our citizens' online shopping behavior to determine when a purchase can or cannot be approved?

That last scenario alludes to federal regulations required by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The regulations, unveiled last month and still subject to change, demand that financial institutions adopt "policies and procedures" that are "reasonably designed" to block transactions associated with unlawful Internet gambling. But as Duke notes, the UIGEA does not define unlawful Internet gambling, and federal regulators say "they cannot and will not tell the regulated community what constitutes an unlawful Internet wager." Duke drives home the insanity of this situation:

The posture of the federal government is, "We are going to create a new federal crime, but we will not tell you what it is." In the proposed rule, the regulators explain their refusal to resolve this by saying that to do so would require them to examine the laws of the federal government and all 50 states with respect to every gaming modality, and that this would be unduly burdensome. Yet that is exactly what they are requiring the general counsel of every bank in the country to do.

Even while delving into the UIGEA's bureaucratic details, Duke does not lose sight of the principle at stake:

The issue before this committee is personal freedom—the right of individual Americans to do what they want in the privacy of their homes without the intrusion of the government….Except where one's actions directly and necessarily harm another person's life, liberty, or property, government in America is supposed to leave the citizenry alone.

Unfortunately, this message is somewhat clouded by the PPA argument, which Duke spent considerable time pressing, that poker deserves special legal treatment because it's not really gambling, since chance is not the predominant element of the game. Politically, the PPA's schizophrenia on the question of individual freedom is reflected by its support for both a Barney Frank bill that would legalize online gambling generally and a Robert Wexler bill that applies only to poker and other "games of skill." I have no doubt that poker qualifies as a game of skill, but I question the PPA's willingness to sacrifice principle and split the anti-UIGEA coalition by seeking special protection for a particular kind of online betting.

Here is a PDF of Duke's testimony. Here is my column booing last year's passage of the UIGEA. Here are Radley Balko's comments on the political strength of poker players. 

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  1. Good language used, but they’re trying to slay the wrong dragon. Appealing to the logic of individual liberty is great to oppose “for the children”, but that’s not what they’re up against. The government wants to protect government gambling monopolies (lotteries) and established lobbies (OTB).

    Good luck trying to stop that.

  2. Dang. Annie Duke for President!

  3. “””Unfortunately, this message is somewhat clouded by the PPA argument, which Duke spent considerable time pressing, that poker deserves special legal treatment because it’s not really gambling, since chance is not the predominant element of the game.””””

    Chance is the predominant element of Lotto, and Bingo.

  4. Odds that her wonderful testimony will change a single ass-headed Congressman’s mind: zero.

  5. “”””I suspect they find that argument has more resonance than what is often their real motivation-to treat adults like children, and manage their choices for them…””””

    Bingo

  6. “We are going to create a new federal crime, but we will not tell you what it is.”

    Nothing startling there. The Sherman Antitrust Act did just that over a hundred years ago.

  7. “We are going to create a new federal crime, but we will not tell you what it is.”

    Nothing startling there. The Sherman Antitrust Act did just that over a hundred years ago.

    Clean Water Act, RICO, et al.

  8. Yep. That’s why arguing from that angle probably will have little effect.

  9. “I question the PPA’s willingness to sacrifice principle and split the anti-UIGEA coalition by seeking special protection for a particular kind of online betting.”

    It’s the membership. The PPA is primarily old farts, like me, who enjoy playing online poker from the safety of their homes. They just want to be able to get back in the tournies asap. They have no interest in ‘saving’ other games.

  10. The Sherman Antitrust Act did just that . . .

    Violating the Sherman Act is not a crime. You won’t go to jail for violating it, for instance.

  11. The government of course wants you to stop purchasing your gambling globally and spend your money locally at the casino that they receive the majority of the revenues from. It’s not that hard an argument to see.

    There is momentum on the PPA’s side as more and more congressmen get on-side with some form of Internet Gambling. Mr. Sullum is correct though, they are bashing down Casino and Sports Betting to build themselves up and they don’t give a damn about any other form of gambling. Some poker pros are the biggest sports and casino players you will see – however for the sake of the PPA they hold their noses and pretent that Poker isn’t gambling.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, no company is going to move into the US to set up shop in 45 different states that allow gambling. The majority of large poker rooms continue to be ones that operate outside of the US and thus are not taxible.

    My question for the reason writers is this though: Why not a more in-depth look at the Barney Frank Bill. I don’t see this bill as being any better. It does not repeal the UIGEA, it only says that you can be exempted if you meet certain criteria – which if I had to hazard a guess will NOT include a lot of foreign operators. There are several issues with the Frank bill as proposed that I could see reason having issues with – but none addressed here.

    I respect what the PPA has done and I wish people that bet sports (I daresay more players than poker) and traditional casino type games would get together in the same manner. It’s tough though, because the poker players are the RockStars of the last couple of years. There are no well-known (main stream) sports bettors or blackjack players who have the same name association as Annie Duke. And in this day and age, it’s a powerful tool to have.

  12. If the government is going to ban every activity that can lead to harmful compulsion, the government is going to have to ban nearly every activity. Shopping, day trading, sex, [eating] chocolate, even drinking water-these and myriad other activities, most of which are part of everyday life, have been linked to harmful compulsions.

    Do people never get tired of this dumb argument? Maybe the government only wants to restrict the activities that cause the most harm while providing the least benefit.

    Gambling is a social ill while “shopping” is a necessary part of the economy.

  13. The government wants to protect government gambling monopolies (lotteries) and established lobbies (OTB).

    I disagree, Episiarch. I think you give the government too much credit for rational self-interest. It’s moral panic, pure and simple.

  14. Maybe the government only wants to restrict the activities that cause the most harm while providing the least benefit.

    This is the job that parents perform for their children. Thanks, but I am adult, I have a brain, and I know how to use it.

  15. Benefit to whom, Dan, you dickwad?

    If we count the entertainment value of gambling as a benefit, then it dwarfs the harm. Especially because the overwhelming majority of the people experience absolutely no harm in connection with the activity.

    The fact that some people gamble their rent money away and suffer as a result is absolutely meaningless as a consequentalist argument against MY gambling. Saying that you have to ban gambling, which is a benefit to me and not a harm, because there are others who are harmed by it makes about as much sense as prohibiting me from eating peanuts because someone else is allergic to them.

    Fuck those people.

  16. This is the job that parents perform for their children. Thanks, but I am adult, I have a brain, and I know how to use it.

    All adults have brains, and yet many of them still get fleeced by the gambling industry.

  17. No, Episiarch has a point, when you consider that in this case, “rational self-interest” means “more dollars in the trough”.

  18. Do people never get tired of this dumb argument?

    Do you ever get tired of having no principles, Dan T.?

    Maybe the government only wants to restrict the activities that cause the most harm while providing the least benefit.

    Maybe they can start by abolishing nanny-statism, then.

    Gambling is a social ill …

    The fuck it is. Gambling is an individual choice, and the fact is that most people who engage in it do so without compulsion and without wrecking their lives, Dan T., you fecal-speckled wart on a dick.

  19. All adults have brains, and yet many of them still get fleeced by the gambling industry.

    Those poor, poor people. Lucky thing Dan T. is here to keep them save and kiss their boo-boos.

  20. All adults have brains, and yet many of them still get fleeced by the gambling industry.

    Plenty of adults subscribe to People Magazine, go to Adam Sandler movies, and donate money to their churches in the hopes of getting to heaven. What are you going to do about those, tough guy?

  21. Unfortunately, this message is somewhat clouded by the PPA argument, which Duke spent considerable time pressing, that poker deserves special legal treatment because it’s not really gambling, since chance is not the predominant element of the game.

    She was bluffing.

  22. All adults have brains, and yet many of them still get fleeced by the gambling industry.

    Wow. You’re not much for free will, are you?

  23. All adults have brains

    In your case, Dan T., empirical evidence doesn’t lead to an affirmative conclusion. We’ll need to open your skull.

  24. This has to be a Dan T. spoof. Even the real Dan T. isn’t that dense of a fucknut.

  25. Violating the Sherman Act is not a crime. You won’t go to jail for violating it, for instance.

    The act, based on the constitutional power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, declared illegal every contract, combination (in the form of trust or otherwise), or conspiracy in restraint of interstate and foreign trade. A fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for one year were set as the maximum penalties for violating the act.

  26. All adults have brains, and yet many of them still get fleeced by the gambling industry.

    All trolls have brains, and yet many of them still get fooled by the idea that they are relevant.

    We must ban…Dan.

  27. Especially because the overwhelming majority of the people experience absolutely no harm in connection with the activity.

    So exactly how are you guys so sure of this?

  28. All trolls have brains, and yet many of them still get fooled by the idea that they are relevant.

    Whoops, I spoke to soon. The amount of fast responses to Dan’s “fleeced” comment show that he still has the gift. To annoy the shit out of people, that is. But that’s what a troll’s all about, isn’t it?

  29. Bagger,

    I don’t think so. He’s been especially unhinged about gambling for some time now.

  30. Whoops, I spoke to soon. The amount of fast responses to Dan’s “fleeced” comment show that he still has the gift. To annoy the shit out of people, that is. But that’s what a troll’s all about, isn’t it?

    Come on – this is the gambling industry (er, sorry, “gaming”). The whole idea is to fleece people by tricking them out of their money.

  31. Gambling is a social ill

    I gather that since I blew a whole $10* on the slots when I was in Vegas, I am exhibiting signs of this “social ill”. Does this mean you want to prohibit me from doing it.

    *For some reason, I don’t get many “comps”. 😉

  32. I disagree, Episiarch. I think you give the government too much credit for rational self-interest. It’s moral panic, pure and simple.

    No way, Brian. There’s so much fucking money in gambling (and taxing it), that there’s no way the government won’t loot it. After all, what are they banning? Gambling they can’t tax, or have trouble taxing.

    It’s all about the benjamins.

  33. The whole idea is to fleece people by tricking them out of their money.

    No, Dan T., you’re confusing gambling with Congress again.

  34. I suspect they find that argument has more resonance than what is often their real motivation-to treat adults like children, and manage their choices for them….

    I heard that argument a few times before this. About different subjects, too. I wonder where? Hmmm.

  35. I gather that since I blew a whole $10* on the slots when I was in Vegas, I am exhibiting signs of this “social ill”. Does this mean you want to prohibit me from doing it.

    Not you personally, but collectively society would be a better place if gambling was kept in the margins instead of the way it’s creeping into the mainstream.

  36. Dan is on fire today. I can just see him sitting in front of his computer clad only in a pair of dirty tighty-whiteys, taking the occasional hit of meth and typing furiously.

    GO DAN GO

  37. Not you personally, but collectively society would be a better place if gambling was kept in the margins instead of the way it’s creeping into the mainstream.

    Gambling was much safer when it was controlled by the mob. Yep.

  38. Not you personally, but collectively society would be a better place if gambling was kept in the margins instead of the way it’s creeping into the mainstream.

    Right. We should keep gambling in the margins, just like homosexuality, drinking, drug use, and trans-fat consumption. That won’t make gambling more of a problem to people who engage in it and become addicted! We should shame them! SHAME!

  39. collectively society would be a better place if gambling was kept in the margins instead of the way it’s creeping into the mainstream

    Why? The worst–the absolute worst–thing about gambling is the line of bums who crowd the counter at the deli on lottery days when all I want is to buy a damn pack of cigarettes. Otherwise, I couldn’t care less what other people do with their money as long as it doesn’t harm me. If it gives them some small measure of happiness to blow their SSI checks on scratch-offs, why do you want to take that away from them??

  40. Gambling was much safer when it was controlled by the mob. Yep.

    It probably was less of a problem – fewer people are as likely to get mixed up in a marginalized, underground criminal activity as they are the same activity when it’s presented as socially acceptable.

    Gambling promotes the idea that you can get something for nothing and takes advantage of those who are most desperate. This is why gambling is immoral – not because there are a mysterious group of people out there who don’t want you to have fun.

  41. collectively society would be a better place if gambling negro music was kept in the margins instead of the way it’s creeping into the mainstream.

  42. I couldn’t care less what other people do with their money as long as it doesn’t harm me.

    But if you’re a member of society, and if gambling harms society, then gambling harms you.

    If it gives them some small measure of happiness to blow their SSI checks on scratch-offs, why do you want to take that away from them??

    Because it’s problematic when people can’t pay the rent or buy groceries or what not because they blew their check on lotto tickets. Plus, it’s simply immoral to take advantage of people just because you can.

  43. Gambling promotes the idea that you can get something for nothing

    No, it promotes the idea that sometimes, less than 50 percent of the time in fact, you can get something for nothing.
    Are you fucking stupid, Dan T.? And yes, that what a rhetorical question.

  44. collectively society would be a better place if gambling negro music was kept in the margins instead of the way it’s creeping into the mainstream.

    Sorry, I don’t see the connection, aside from a rather lame attempt to paint those who are anti-gambling as being racists.

    Surely you guys can do better than this?

  45. Gambling is a social ill while “shopping” is a necessary part of the economy.

    Apparently, some in most states, gambling is a necessary part of the economy. That is why MA, for example, is proposing to expand casino gambling licenses in the state but making a crime punishable by up to 2 years and 25K for doing it online.

    That is also why just about every state in the union has horse racing tracks.

    Many states look to expand gambling to increase revenues for government services (in illinois they are trying to tie transit funding to casino expansion as well)

    so apparently Dan T. reality is intent on proving your “social ill” statement false.

  46. Apparently, some in most states

    Should read:

    Apparently, in most states

  47. All adults have brains, and yet many of them still get fleeced by the gambling industry.

    Drink!

  48. But if you’re a member of society, and if gambling harms society, then gambling harms you.

    That’s fucking it.Somebody cut this fucker off. I’m serious. He’s not adding anything to any debate, he’s a cunt, a collectivist pussy, spewing the same tired un-truisms over and over. Fuck him. Get rid of this spurious twat. Reason? Please?
    At least joe can make a point from time to time.

  49. No, it promotes the idea that sometimes, less than 50 percent of the time in fact, you can get something for nothing.

    Right – so well over 50% of the time you’re taking people’s money and not giving them anything in return. How is this a defensible practice?

  50. All adults have brains, and yet many of them still get fleeced by the gambling industry.

    Plenty of adults subscribe to People Magazine, go to Adam Sandler movies, and donate money to their churches in the hopes of getting to heaven. What are you going to do about those, tough guy?

    The also buy Nike shoes, drink bottled water, attend professional wrestling events, watch NASCAR on the TV, bowl, birdwatch, join theater groups, start businesses, jump out of perfectly good airplanes, make inane comments on the internet and do other unproductive things that cost money.
    That’s all they really want
    Some fun
    When the working day is done
    Girls – they want to have fun
    Oh girls just want to have fun

    Any questions Dan, social ills, T?

  51. whoops, I guess ed is right, and I was wrong, about the crime part:

    http://cybersafe.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2006/220464.htm

    whether Act is unduly vague is another matter.

  52. Gambling promotes the idea that you can get something for nothing

    What? How’s that? You can’t get something for nothing. You have to put something up to try to get anything. Like the Illinois lottery says “you can’t win if you don’t play”

    In essence gambling promotes the idea that you can get a large reward for a bit of risk. You know, like the stock market.

  53. Apparently, some in most states, gambling is a necessary part of the economy. That is why MA, for example, is proposing to expand casino gambling licenses in the state but making a crime punishable by up to 2 years and 25K for doing it online.

    That is also why just about every state in the union has horse racing tracks.

    Many states look to expand gambling to increase revenues for government services (in illinois they are trying to tie transit funding to casino expansion as well)

    so apparently Dan T. reality is intent on proving your “social ill” statement false.

    So your argument is that because gambling exists in our society it must be a good thing?

  54. Right – so well over 50% of the time you’re taking people’s money and not giving them anything in return. How is this a defensible practice?

    SO all those people who speculated in .com stocks and lost their investments. Allowing that to happen is indefensible ?

  55. That’s fucking it.Somebody cut this fucker off. I’m serious. He’s not adding anything to any debate

    Jamie, no offense, but he is master-trolling today. He has suceeded in totally riling up a bunch of people and getting tons of responses to his posts, and driving a number of people into near rage.

    Give some credit where credit is due. We all know Dan’s a troll; today, he is at the top of his game.

  56. So your argument is that because gambling exists in our society it must be a good thing?

    No Dan. I am arguing that your depiction of it as an inherent social ill is incorrect.

    The mere existence of gambling or shopping or anything isn’t in and of itself bad or good. The addiction is the bad thing. But gambling, despite your false assertions, is not the only thing addictive. Food, shopping — just about anything that gives people pleasure has the potential for abuse/addiction.

    Are you arguing that the exist of anything that has the capacity for addition is a bad thing?

  57. “Right – so well over 50% of the time you’re taking people’s money and not giving them anything in return. How is this a defensible practice?”

    Kinda like taxes, except with a better rate of return.

  58. What? How’s that? You can’t get something for nothing. You have to put something up to try to get anything. Like the Illinois lottery says “you can’t win if you don’t play”

    If you use a $1 ticket to win $1,000,000 then you’ve gotten $999,999 dollars without actually producing $999,999 worth of value. Maybe not literally something for nothing but it’s close.

  59. gambling is immoral

    That is your opinion–and one I don’t entirely disagree with. Nevertheless the it is not the government’s job to protect morals.

  60. Being a troll is also immoral.

  61. Back to the article (sorry Dan)…

    Is it wrong, then, as a libertarian, to argue that pot should be legal and that, while really all drugs should be legal, if the government could at least legalize pot, that would be a step in the right direction? Maybe even using arguments about pot not having the harmful effects of harder drugs? I woud say emphatically no. Other thoughts? Because I am in favor of legalizing all gambling, but I am also down with the PPA fighting to legalize poker specifically.

    Disclaimer: I am a lowlife online-poker-playing criminal scumbag

  62. So your argument is that because gambling exists in our society it must be a good thing?

    But if you want my opinion, yes it is a good thing. Anything that allows someone to risk a small amount in return for a large profit on that risk is a good thing. That’s why I like the stock market, too.

    Also, anything that gives people pleasure is a good thing. Me, personally, I am unlucky when it comes to gambling, but I like doing it, even when I lose. I have never once regretted it even after losing everything I was willing to wager. It’s gives me a rush and allows me to feel like I am taking a risk /living dangerously without actually risking very much at all.

  63. you’ve gotten $999,999 dollars without actually producing $999,999 worth of value.

    So the only good “use” of money is if it produces a thing, eh? Wow. I bet if we gave all our money to the government, they could make a really big military.

  64. Are you arguing that the exist of anything that has the capacity for addition is a bad thing?

    No, I’ve already addressed this. Even though it’s true that people can get addicted to shopping, sex, and food these are necessary for a society to function and thus you take the good with the bad.

    Gambling, on the other hand, is something we could do without and be just fine. There are plenty of productive kinds of risk-taking that people could be doing that actually do add value – like investing in businesses.

    Gambling is just a wealth-redistribution scheme when looked at on the macro level.

  65. If you use a $1 ticket to win $1,000,000 then you’ve gotten $999,999 dollars without actually producing $999,999 worth of value. Maybe not literally something for nothing but it’s close.

    And if I bought a stock at pennies a share, and the company becomes super successful, what value did I produce?

  66. Actually, I feel the same way about professional sports as Dan T does about gambling…people spending huge amounts of money on events that give them nothing in return, and don’t help society in any meaningful way.

  67. Give some credit where credit is due. We all know Dan’s a troll; today, he is at the top of his game.

    I’m near the top of mine as well.

    Dan T., your muddle headed, infantile, incomprehensibly lame attempts at intelligent discourse are to be expected from an anal retentive, sociopathic, maladjusted, pimple on the buttocks of a diarrhea afflicted baboon, like yourself

  68. But if you want my opinion, yes it is a good thing. Anything that allows someone to risk a small amount in return for a large profit on that risk is a good thing. That’s why I like the stock market, too.

    But profit implies something of value has been created. If I make something for $4 and sell it for $5 then I’ve created a dollar’s worth of wealth, which is a good thing. Gambling just takes a bunch of people’s money and redistributes it upwards.

  69. We all know Dan’s a troll; today, he is at the top of his game.

    Troll not, his statements are common beliefs in America and make good target practice.

  70. No, I’ve already addressed this. Even though it’s true that people can get addicted to shopping, sex, and food these are necessary for a society to function and thus you take the good with the bad

    And I have addressed this. Casinos are vital for society. That revenue stream is vital to keeping government running. Why are you ignoring this? It’s a huge piece of the pie in most states. The government will tell you itself how vital it is, which is why they keep expanding gambling. because they can’t get the revenue in other ways without taxing individuals excessively.

  71. Troll OR not,

  72. Not you personally, but collectively society would be a better place if gambling was kept in the margins instead of the way it’s creeping into the mainstream.

    I feel myself drifting to the margins already….


  73. And if I bought a stock at pennies a share, and the company becomes super successful, what value did I produce?

    Well, the company you own a piece of must have produced something to become super successful, right?

    Gambling and investment both involve risk, but they are not the same thing.

  74. But profit implies something of value has been created.

    And that feeling of excitement that I get has no value? I am willing to pay for pleasure. Why do you keep ignoring that? Why do you pretend that there is value in pleasure? I go to action movies because I want to escape from my daily life and feel a rush. I do the same with casinos except that with casinos there is a chance that they give me something back.

  75. Dan T. is the kind of person who would let his infant son drown in a river while he calculated the social costs of breaking off a tree branch to save him.

  76. There are plenty of productive kinds of risk-taking that people could be doing that actually do add value

    If only there were a system of government that would eliminate the option of partaking in non-productive activities…

    Ah, paradise, I can almost smell you. Or is that President Kim’s armpit?

  77. Gambling promotes the idea that you can get something for nothing.

    How, pray, does this distiguish “gambling” from most politicians?

  78. John-David | November 16, 2007, 1:20pm | #

    Odds that her wonderful testimony will change a single ass-headed Congressman’s mind: zero

    This was my thought exactly. It makes you want to cry.

    My theory is that Dan T can only write this kind of stuff while sniffing airplane glue and sitting on a giant, vibrating dildo.

  79. And I have addressed this. Casinos are vital for society. That revenue stream is vital to keeping government running. Why are you ignoring this? It’s a huge piece of the pie in most states. The government will tell you itself how vital it is, which is why they keep expanding gambling. because they can’t get the revenue in other ways without taxing individuals excessively.

    Government gambling is a tax – when you buy a lottery ticket, only a portion of your $1 goes into the jackpot that is awarded to the winner. The rest goes to either overhead expenses or to the government as a tax.

    Lottery revenue is hardly “vital” to the government – it’s just a sneaky way to tax people.

  80. And that feeling of excitement that I get has no value? I am willing to pay for pleasure. Why do you keep ignoring that? Why do you pretend that there is value in pleasure? I go to action movies because I want to escape from my daily life and feel a rush. I do the same with casinos except that with casinos there is a chance that they give me something back.

    That’s fine, I was just explaining why gambling winnings are not the same as a profit.

  81. Well, the company you own a piece of must have produced something to become super successful, right?

    How is that relevant at all? *I* didn’t do anything, other than risk my money, to deserve to make a profit on the money I invested — just like gambling. I merely took a risk and hoped the company would return a profit. It is exactly the same thing as gambling from the perspective of the person doing the investment. They are exactly the same thing, the only difference is the amount of risk.

  82. “Right – so well over 50% of the time you’re taking people’s money and not giving them anything in return. How is this a defensible practice?”

    This is absolutely false. Each and EVERY bet gives the gambler the fun of gambling.

    And it’s fun. There’s no point to discussing the issue with anyone who refuses to accept that simple and basic point.

    It was fun to flip baseball cards when I was little, even if I lost my cards sometimes. It was fun to spend a buck on one of those college football pick tickets that people always run. It was even fun, once or twice, to play the slots at the Indian casino. It IS fun to enter a March Madness pool every year. It WOULD BE fun to go to a sports book on the opening night of the NHL playoffs and bet on every game. I can identify all this fun, and the cost of it is my total gambling losings over my entire life, which are exceptionally meager.

    And Dan, my evidence that the vast majority of the people who gamble aren’t hurt by it is the same as my evidence that the vast majority of people who drink aren’t hurt by it: the participation rates for these activities have to approach 75 to 80% nationwide, but there are only a few homeless winos and bankrupt gamblers who lost their house because they spent their home equity line in Vegas.

  83. Violating the Sherman Act is not a crime. You won’t go to jail for violating it, for instance.

    “Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.”

    Title 15 United States Code, Section 1.

  84. That’s fine, I was just explaining why gambling winnings are not the same as a profit.

    But they are. Gambling winnings are profit.

    Your risk money, your risk returns more money than you initial risk. There is the definition of profit.

    You don’t get add caveats like “somethihng of value must be created”. That is not necessary for it to be a “profit”

    profit: 1. An advantageous gain or return; benefit.

  85. “No, I’ve already addressed this. Even though it’s true that people can get addicted to shopping, sex, and food these are necessary for a society to function and thus you take the good with the bad.

    Gambling, on the other hand, is something we could do without and be just fine.”

    Well, no, because to ban gambling you have to actually pass and enforce laws against it, which makes you “nation of fuckers”. So you aren’t just fine – you’re a fucker.

  86. when you buy a lottery ticket, only a portion of your $1 goes into the jackpot that is awarded to the winner.

    When the numbers racket was run by organized crime, a pick 3 generally paid $600 – $800. The state pays $500. They ought to put the lottery commision in jail.

  87. Sports, gambling, alcohol, video games … they’re all a big waste of time and a drain on “society,” according to Dan T.
    Dan T. would like to ban fun. Life.
    Dan T., who apparently shaved off his own cock at an early age, is a Christian-temperance twat circa 1928.

  88. How is that relevant at all? *I* didn’t do anything, other than risk my money

    Not true. You provided capital and/or liquidity, both of which are giant value adds. *You* did a lot, whether you recognize it or not.

  89. And anyway, Dan, stop moving the goal posts. You made a false statement that gambling is a social ill — and it has been shown that it isn’t. The fact that most government not only approve buut encourage gambling (by way of expansion of casino licenses and advertising to play the lottery) is quite indicatives that gambling is not a social ill.

    The rest of your argument boils down to a moral decision about whether or not gambling is just or proper way to go about making a profit. At that point you have have shown yourself to be dishonest in your discussions and I for one am now bowing out.

    You will not dictate the terms of the debate and change them whenever your statements are proven to be incorrect. And I am not interested in arguing something subjective like the value of gambling or whether or not it is more or less ethical than investing in a company’s stock.

  90. How is that relevant at all? *I* didn’t do anything, other than risk my money

    Not true. You provided capital and/or liquidity, both of which are giant value adds. *You* did a lot, whether you recognize it or not.”

    Well, if a game of chance like a lottery is an entertainment, the stakes are an element of the entertainment. For there to be any stakes, there has to be a winner. The person who wins a lottery is helping – is actually instrumental – in constructing the entertainment that all the lottery players are experiencing.

    So the winner in a lottery is contributing to the value created, just as the speculator providing liquidity contributes to the value of a negotiable instrument.

  91. How is that relevant at all? *I* didn’t do anything, other than risk my money, to deserve to make a profit on the money I invested — just like gambling. I merely took a risk and hoped the company would return a profit. It is exactly the same thing as gambling from the perspective of the person doing the investment. They are exactly the same thing, the only difference is the amount of risk.

    Once again, when you invest in a business and make money, it’s because you helped to produce wealth. One of the things needed to produce wealth is capital, which as a shareholder you’ve provided to the company.

    Gambling is a zero-sum game, on the other hand. If ten people play a $1 lottery where the winner gets $10, you’ve still got a total of $10.

    Actually when you consider the bureaucracy involved in a large gambling operation (esp government lotteries), it’s actually a below zero outcome. Wealth on the whole is lost because of the costs of redistributing money without anything of value being produced.

  92. Gambling is a zero-sum game, on the other hand. If ten people play a $1 lottery where the winner gets $10, you’ve still got a total of $10.

    Uhmm..when I buy stock in a comapany and the company fails how much wealth was produced?

    When I buy a collectible and its value goes up over years how much wealth was produced?

  93. Dan, your argument (whatever it may be) is fucking idiotic.

  94. Not true. You provided capital and/or liquidity, both of which are giant value adds. *You* did a lot, whether you recognize it or not.”

    And when I gamble I provide liquidity to the casino/bookie/whatever as well. So it’s the same thing whether we are talking gambling or investing.

  95. Gambling is just a wealth-redistribution scheme when looked at on the macro level.

    You know, this statement by Dan T is factually correct. I find it a feature, however, not a bug.

  96. Americans are not, and sure as hell should not be, required to spend money in value-creating ways. The value creation argument is a total red herring in any debate of the legality of gambling. If Dan wants to argue its morality, let him ’til he’s blue in the face. He can have whatever morals he wants, so long as he keeps them to himself.

  97. Dan, do you oppose gambling entirely, even simple bets made between individuals? Or do you oppose gambling only when there’s a “house” taking in profits?

  98. Gambling is just a wealth-redistribution scheme when looked at on the macro level.

    So is welfare, yet you don’t call that a social ill.

    So apparently being a wealth-distribution schemes isn’t the problem.

    Dan I would at least respect you if you just came out and said you find it morally offensive and think it should be banned rather than try to rationalize that somehow turning a profit from gambling isn’t really a profit.

  99. Kenny – as a dirty degenrate online poker player, I wholeheartedly agree (in large part due to the multiple vacations funded by my winnings)

  100. Uhmm..when I buy stock in a comapany and the company fails how much wealth was produced?

    None. Nobody’s saying that investing in a company is not a risky endeavor.


    When I buy a collectible and its value goes up over years how much wealth was produced?

    I guess if you buy it for $1 and sell it for an inflation-adjusted $2 then $1 of wealth was produced.

  101. Once again, when you invest in a business and make money, it’s because you helped to produce wealth.

    Sorry, Dan, but when I buy stock on the market, I’m not investing in the company. None of that money goes to the company; it goes only to the person I bought the stock from (and the brokerage which charges a commission).

    Try again.

    I was just explaining why gambling winnings are not the same as a profit.

    Try that on the IRS, Dan.

  102. He can have whatever morals he wants, so long as he keeps them to himself.

    He doesn’t have to keep them to himself, he just should not try to impose those morals on his fellow man.

  103. Many people hurt themselves skiing.
    Skiing does not benefit society.
    Skiing should be banned.

    Dan T, Do you agree or disagree with my conclusion? Why?

  104. I can’t believe all this arguing over whether one creates something of value or not. Who cares? It certainly is none of the state’s business whether two people contract with each other in a manner that others deem to have produced sufficient value or not. Here is a simple way to get out of this: concede, just for the sake of argument, that gambling produces absolutely nothing of value. Would you feel any different about the state choosing to outlaw a mutually agreed upon transaction between consenting adults? No. Therefore the issue is pointless.

  105. None. Nobody’s saying that investing in a company is not a risky endeavor.

    Just like gambling

  106. Dan, do you oppose gambling entirely, even simple bets made between individuals? Or do you oppose gambling only when there’s a “house” taking in profits?

    I don’t particularly care about individuals making wagers with each other or guys getting together to play poker, etc.

    My problem is more with the gambling industry and especially with the government’s involvement in gambling as a form of taxation.

  107. Jamie, no offense, but he is master-trolling today.

    Careful, there. You’re treading on the URKOBOLD’s trademark.

  108. Dan I would at least respect you if you just came out and said you find it morally offensive and think it should be banned rather than try to rationalize that somehow turning a profit from gambling isn’t really a profit.

    Well, I’m trying to explain why I find it morally offensive.

  109. Sorry, Dan, but when I buy stock on the market, I’m not investing in the company. None of that money goes to the company; it goes only to the person I bought the stock from (and the brokerage which charges a commission).

    You’re purchasing an investment in the company that’s already been made.

  110. Dan, congratulations. Mission accomplished. You’ve out-trolled yourself today. Even the Urkobold himself would have to bow before your absolute dickheadedness.

    You’ve reached the pinnacle of trolldom. You can now go kill yourself.

  111. I can’t believe all this arguing over whether one creates something of value or not. Who cares? It certainly is none of the state’s business whether two people contract with each other in a manner that others deem to have produced sufficient value or not. Here is a simple way to get out of this: concede, just for the sake of argument, that gambling produces absolutely nothing of value. Would you feel any different about the state choosing to outlaw a mutually agreed upon transaction between consenting adults? No. Therefore the issue is pointless.

    Actually, my argument is that gambling as an industry is zero-sum and therefore all the problems it causes make it a harmful activity on the whole.

    This is why almost all successful societies restrict gambling to some degree or another.

  112. Well, I’m trying to explain why I find it morally offensive.

    That’s fine, Dan. But everything anyone finds morally offensive is not a “social ill”.

  113. Dan’s first comment was:
    Do people never get tired of this dumb argument? Maybe the government only wants to restrict the activities that cause the most harm while providing the least benefit.

    Just arguing morality? This was an odd way to start not arguing for regulation. Keep your morality off my poker chips.

  114. He doesn’t have to keep them to himself, he just should not try to impose those morals on his fellow man.

    This is where I ask if it’s okay for people to steal each other’s stuff…for some reason the moral belief that you shouldn’t do that does get imposed on others.

  115. That’s fine, Dan. But everything anyone finds morally offensive is not a “social ill”.

    Didn’t say it was. But gambling is.

  116. This is why almost all successful societies restrict gambling to some degree or another.

    Uhmm, false.

    The US and most countries in Europe are successful societies and they don’t restrict it. They regulate it. In fact, in most parts of Europe the state owns the casinos.

    They control it and make sure that they take their cut.

    What the US seems to be restricting is the part you don’t find offensive. Poker games and the like ( as evidenced by the raids of poker games in bars etc)

  117. But gambling is.

    Except that it isn’t

  118. Dan, congratulations. Mission accomplished. You’ve out-trolled yourself today. Even the Urkobold himself would have to bow before your absolute dickheadedness.

    Yeah, the strange thing is that the less outrageous my comments are, the more people seem to get bent out of shape about them.

  119. This is where I ask if it’s okay for people to steal each other’s stuff…for some reason the moral belief that you shouldn’t do that does get imposed on others.

    Is it morally acceptable for a starving man to steal a loaf of bread?

    Property rights have nothing to do with morality.

  120. I don’t particularly care about individuals making wagers with each other or guys getting together to play poker, etc.

    My problem is more with the gambling industry and especially with the government’s involvement in gambling as a form of taxation.

    What exactly makes you have a problem with the gambling industry? That the odds are set up to favor the house? Care to expand on this?

  121. Why do I get the feeling that Dan T. looks like this?

  122. Now, People…Dan T does serve a useful purpose. Whenever I’ve had it up to here with libertarianism, and am ready to abandon it as mere selfishness masquerading as a political philosophy, along comes Dan T to remind me of the clear and present danger of nanny staters.

    No argument is more honest than self-interest, where as arguments about social good almost always mask the speaker’s personal disapproval.

  123. Yeah, the strange thing is that the less outrageous my comments are, the more people seem to get bent out of shape about them.

    You know what the problem is Dan, you state opinions as fact. That is what gets people bent out of shape. The fact you say “Gambling is a social ill” rather then “Gambling is a social ill, to me” or “In my opinion gambling is ….”

  124. Fuck posted too soon…

    Adding:

    And then you act like people who don’t share your opinion are stupid or hate others or something. All because you come off as convinced of the inherent superiority of your ideas– contradictory facts be damned


  125. No argument is more honest than self-interest, where as arguments about social good almost always mask the speaker’s personal disapproval.

    So you don’t think anybody can honestly be interested in promoting social good? No wonder libertarianism is such a misanthropic philosophy – you guys can’t get your minds around the idea that somebody might be motivated by something other than selfishness.

    Although I personally have no direct self-interest in seeing gambling go away.

  126. You know what the problem is Dan, you state opinions as fact. That is what gets people bent out of shape. The fact you say “Gambling is a social ill” rather then “Gambling is a social ill, to me” or “In my opinion gambling is ….”

    Sorry, I assume that people understand the difference between opinion and fact without me having to spell it out every time. Of course my statement that gambling is a social ill is an opinion. Just like your insistance that it’s not.

  127. This is where I ask if it’s okay for people to steal each other’s stuff…for some reason the moral belief that you shouldn’t do that does get imposed on others.

    I think I have to concede this point: I brushed too broadly when I implied that morals are not the basis of just laws. I can’t think of anything else to name the belief that the bedrock of society must be respect for life, liberty and property, aside from “morality”. So I shall rephrase:

    Dan, keep your urge to impinge on my life, liberty or property off my poker chips unless you can prove that by playing poker I somehow impinge on the life, liberty or property of another.

  128. So you don’t think anybody can honestly be interested in promoting social good?

    The problem lies in even DEFINING “social good,” and the assclowns like yourself who throw out that phrase are invariably pushy, narcissistic, power-hungry puritanical assholes who would gladly use their reins of power to choke off even the most simple pleasures that individual freedom allows, all in the name of “society.”
    Dan T., please have your mother get a retroactive abortion.

  129. well over 50% of the time you’re taking people’s money and not giving them anything in return. How is this a defensible practice?

    Damn, there goes the insurance industry.

  130. Jamie – I have to say, the troll role has, in my opinion, been reversed. Dan is actaully arguing in a civil manner, whether you agree with him or not. You, however, …

  131. the assclowns like yourself who throw out that phrase are invariably pushy, narcissistic, power-hungry puritanical assholes who would gladly use their reins of power to choke off even the most simple pleasures that individual freedom allows, all in the name of “society.”

    Well at least I can’t be accused of not setting challenging, long-term goals.

  132. And then you act like people who don’t share your opinion are stupid or hate others or something. All because you come off as convinced of the inherent superiority of your ideas– contradictory facts be damned

    ChicagoTom and others, I certainly do apologize if I’ve implied that people who disagree with me are stupid or hateful. I don’t think I’ve written anything to that effect but one doesn’t always know how things come across.

  133. Dan T.,

    Gambling promotes the idea that you can get something for nothing and takes advantage of those who are most desperate. This is why gambling is immoral – not because there are a mysterious group of people out there who don’t want you to have fun.

    It appears that what you are arguing is that things which promote immoral ideas should be criminalized. I am curious to see you either honestly defend this position, including its extended ramifications, or else clarify how this is not what you believe.

  134. long before congress got involved, leftists (WA state legislature is heavily democratic/progressive) in WA state made online poker a C felony

    this means it is the same seriousness of offense as stealing a car.

    welcome to the leftwing nannystate.

    also noted that in WA state, poker is legal. you just have to play in casinos, where the state takes their hefty taxes.

    but they claim its to protect people.

    so, playing a $5 tournament (several hours of entertainment – plus, i was a winning poker player before the ban. made good money) online is “dangerous”, but playing in a casino isn’t?

    welcome to WA

    “for the children”

  135. Jamie – I have to say, the troll role has, in my opinion, been reversed. Dan is actaully arguing in a civil manner, whether you agree with him or not. You, however, …

    Yeah, well, when a guy wants to smear his pussy all over my joie de vivre, I get a little pissed off.

  136. My problem is more with the gambling industry and especially with the government’s involvement in gambling as a form of taxation. – Dan T.

    This is the kind of sloppy thinking that annoys me. I’ve always been tempted to like the crack that “the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math,” except for the fact that taking part in the game is voluntary. What is coercive is the government outlawing competing games of chance, and only allowing certain other actors the privilege of opening a casino, holding a raffle, etc.

    Don’t forget that the casinos opened by the Native Americans are an unintended consequence of the doctrine that the tribes are sovereign governments, like the several states. If a state had the authority to start a lottery or issue licenses for other gambling venues, than a tribe could do so on its reservation land. Only by refusing to have any legal gambling at all could a state prevent an otherwise qualified tribe from starting their own operations.

    I’d actually prefer it if state governments got out of the gambling business and let anybody start up a casino, horsetrack, lottery, etc. Those businesses could be taxed on the same basis as any other enterprise. The state would then be neither in the position of promoting gambling, nor of trying to prevent it.

    Kevin

  137. Souljaboytellem – Crank dat Soulja Boy

  138. It appears that what you are arguing is that things which promote immoral ideas should be criminalized.

    I think it’s more accurate to say that things which produce bad results should be criminalized, or at least marginalized.

    I mean, if nothing else we should at least consider the possibility that gambling has been illegal or highly restricted in our culture because people have found that it produces negative results.

    So my question is this – if people just want to ban gambling because it’s fun, why are the vast majority of fun activities not being advocated against? What’s different about gambling that makes many think it should be banned while nobody thinks that (say) playing chess should be banned?

  139. Dunno Ed, check here

  140. This is the kind of sloppy thinking that annoys me. I’ve always been tempted to like the crack that “the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math,” except for the fact that taking part in the game is voluntary.

    The lottery tax is “voluntary” in the same sense that sales tax is voluntary. You can’t play the lottery without paying the built-in tax just like you can’t buy something without paying the sales tax.

  141. This entire comment thread is amazing. I just wanted to throw that out there.

  142. Dan T.,

    I mean, if nothing else we should at least consider the possibility that gambling has been illegal or highly restricted in our culture because people have found that it produces negative results.

    Let me understand this correctly. Would you say that in general, you believe that when social mores and values are traditional and possess historical longevity, that it ought to be an important factor when considering official policy decisions?

  143. Well, thanks for that observation, Bingo. Don’t know what we’d do without it 😉

  144. So you don’t think anybody can honestly be interested in promoting social good?

    Uh, no, I didn’t say that. I said “almost all,” which means “most,” and is way different from “all.” Mathematically: 49% < n < 100%

    I know it’s easier to refute what you wish people had said, instead of what they actually said, but it’s intellectually dishonest. And that’s why you get such a bad reception, here.

    You really don’t contribute anything to the debate. Surely there’s someplace in the blogosphere where you could find people who only differ with you about the details, rather than wasting everyone’s time here questioning the premises. You could help someone, somewhere move a debate forward if you so chose.

  145. Let me understand this correctly. Would you say that in general, you believe that when social mores and values are traditional and possess historical longevity, that it ought to be an important factor when considering official policy decisions?

    It’s worth thinking about at least – certainly it’s wise to study history. In this case, if you’re at all open minded on the subject I’d think you’d at least want to explore why gambling has traditionally been restricted instead of just assuming it’s all because random people want to spoil your fun.

  146. Right – so well over 50% of the time you’re taking people’s money and not giving them anything in return. How is this a defensible practice?

    This isn’t true. In a gambling game where the house has a slight edge, say 51/49 on a $1 bet, you are basically, in a run of 100 plays, winning on average $51 and losing $49, for a total loss of $2. That’s only $0.02 per $1 bet. Blackjack played with perfect basic strategy is somewhat similar to this. Other games have worse rates of return. You aren’t giving up $1 in that case for nothing, but for a 49% chance of winning another dollar and a 51% chance of losing the dollar you bet. The expected value of this is negative, but that $0.02 on average is what the gambler chooses to pay for his or her entertainment. A person has a right to make that decision.

  147. Tonio,

    Au contraire. We need people testing our premises, no matter how bilious or biased their approach. That said, there are commenters here who contribute absolutely nothing useful (e.g. Edward) but they tend to be obsessively topical in their defecations (viz. for example, obsessive Ron Paul hate).

  148. I think Dan is opposed to the gambling industry due to the perceived mob ties / “Casino” style image that has been associated with it in the past. I’m not sure how much of that still exists, but I can see why people would be opposed to that.

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, Dan.

  149. This is the kind of sloppy thinking that annoys me. I’ve always been tempted to like the crack that “the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math,” except for the fact that taking part in the game is voluntary. – Me

    The lottery tax is “voluntary” in the same sense that sales tax is voluntary. You can’t play the lottery without paying the built-in tax just like you can’t buy something without paying the sales tax. – Dan T.

    More sloppy thinking, Dan. I can play the lottery or not, depending on whether or not I can get along without a luxury – the entertainment value of carrying the faint hope of wealth around in my wallet for a few days before it is dashed by the laws of probability. With the sales tax, there are certain necessities of life I would have to do without if I was determined to avoid paying it.

    In both cases I could try to purchase the goods and services I want or need countereconomically. The state will claim that I owe them money if they ever catch me “evading the sales tax,” and perhaps charge me criminally if I can’t pay up. Similarly, if someone tries to run a gambling establishment without state imprimatur, they could very likely wind up accused of felonies.

    If you meant that the government’s claim of a monopoly can be as unjust as the claim that it has the authority to tax, I’m actually with you there.

    Kevin

  150. Do people never get tired of this dumb argument?

    It’s a very smart argument, which is why we don’t get tired of it.

    Gambling is a social ill

    If Americans were to lose our appetite for risk taking, we’d be completely dominated by more adventurous souls before we could cry, “Mommy!”.

  151. It’s worth thinking about at least – certainly it’s wise to study history. In this case, if you’re at all open minded on the subject I’d think you’d at least want to explore why gambling has traditionally been restricted instead of just assuming it’s all because random people want to spoil your fun.

    Obviously it’s because they know better than I do about how much I can handle myself when gambling.

  152. It’s worth thinking about at least – certainly it’s wise to study history. In this case, if you’re at all open minded on the subject I’d think you’d at least want to explore why gambling has traditionally been restricted instead of just assuming it’s all because random people want to spoil your fun.

    The most vocal opponents to gambling, throughout history, have always been religious institutions. I would not claim that there isn’t an understandable motive for mentally connecting gambling and immorality, but I have very little trust for religions as arbiters of morality because of (a) philosophical conflict with the idea that moral values are fundamentally objective and ought to be imposed externally; and (b) a longstanding historical tendency to rationalize the prejudices of its intellectual leadership. To my eye, there are no worldly moral authorities that don’t engage in this kind of behavior. Now, that fact alone doesn’t necessarily bankrupt the notion of moral authority, but it should call into question its validity, particularly as a historical phenomenon.

  153. Give some credit where credit is due. We all know Dan’s a troll; today, he is at the top of his game.

    His trolling really is showing some mastery today. He really distilled his dumbshit provocation down to its essential form.

  154. What’s different about gambling that makes many think it should be banned while nobody thinks that (say) playing chess should be banned?

    I don’t want to ban chess, but I’d be willing to ban fianchetto.

  155. Dan T. | November 16, 2007, 3:17pm | #

    Yeah, the strange thing is that the less outrageous my comments are, the more people seem to get bent out of shape about them.

    No, the outrageous comments are at least semi-amusing.

    The “patently stupid and illogical” ones are what get people worked up.

  156. so DT says, “Actually when you consider the bureaucracy involved in a large gambling operation (esp government lotteries), it’s actually a below zero outcome. Wealth on the whole is lost because of the costs of redistributing money without anything of value being produced.”

    I contest this. Who decides what value is? Dan T or the consumer?

    Goddamned Chicago economics.

  157. Dan T. | November 16, 2007, 3:58pm | #
    … In this case, if you’re at all open minded on the subject I’d think you’d at least want to explore why gambling has traditionally been restricted

    if you’re at all open minded, you could look into the logical fallacy you’re currently testing out, having already worked through a host of others…

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-tradition.html

    by your coin, female genital mutilation in Africa is arguably superior to women’s rights, given that the former has been going on for 2000 years, and the latter for less than 100

    you might as well just say, “Bible says so!”, or something like that. Its less pathetic than trying to dress up really bad arguments in the clothing of logic

  158. Dan, you keep asserting that gambling produces bad results.

    Please specifically describe these bad results. Then describe how they apply to each and every gambler.

    I won’t haggle with you over whether the concept of a social harm makes sense. It doesn’t, but I know you’re too stubborn to ever accept that. So rather than argue the point, I’ll just ask you to define the social harm and how it directly impacts each and every gambler.

    I need to understand the harm you’re trying to stop better before I can adequately determine the strength of your point.

  159. The most vocal opponents to gambling, throughout history, have always been religious institutions.

    In my admittedly twisted brain, this has always confused me. The two places you see the most fervent praying are at the sides of a deathbed or a craps table. People are praying their ass off for a favorable roll.

    Maybe it’s just that God doesn’t answer those prayers very often. Some of you theists probably could explain this better.

  160. In this case, if you’re at all open minded on the subject I’d think you’d at least want to explore why gambling has traditionally been restricted instead of just assuming it’s all because random people want to spoil your fun.

    You keep asserting this, and have done so in previous threads, and there’s no historical basis for this statement. At all.

    Jump in a time machine and have it randomly deposit you somewhere around other humans at any point from 4000 BC to 1800 AD and the odds are gambling will be perfectly legal and accepted. And common.

  161. J sub D

    As an atheist, I have been known to lapse into fervent prayer when someone runs a red light when I’m going through on the green>

    Holy J—s C—-t!

    😉

  162. Now that this has died down and there is still no weekend open thread, I’m going to shamelessly repeat an earlier post that got ignored in an avalanch of Dan hate, on the off chance anybody is still checking this thread. I disagree with Jacob and want to know if I’m alone here:

    Is it wrong, then, as a libertarian, to argue that pot should be legal and that, while really all drugs should be legal, if the government could at least legalize pot, that would be a step in the right direction? Maybe even using arguments about pot not having the harmful effects of harder drugs? I woud say emphatically no. Other thoughts? Because I am in favor of legalizing all gambling, but I am also down with the PPA fighting to legalize poker specifically.

    Disclaimer: I am a lowlife online-poker-playing criminal scumbag

  163. You’re purchasing an investment in the company that’s already been made.

    Sure, but its not new money to the company, which benefits not at all from my purchase.

    I think Dan is opposed to the gambling industry due to the perceived mob ties / “Casino” style image that has been associated with it in the past.

    Of course, activities are much more likely to draw organized crime once said activities have been made illegal.

  164. “””The whole idea is to fleece people by tricking them out of their money.

    No, Dan T., you’re confusing gambling with Congress again.”””

    Maybe he is confusing it with religion.

    I’d bet dimes on a dollar that Dan is the kind of guy that gets pissed off when you keep telling him what to do. Yet he argures for the existance of a nanny state.

  165. “””The most vocal opponents to gambling, throughout history, have always been religious institutions.

    In my admittedly twisted brain, this has always confused me. The two places you see the most fervent praying are at the sides of a deathbed or a craps table. People are praying their ass off for a favorable roll.”””

    And they run some of the biggest bingo games.

  166. Ryan, It’s probably the best thing to do tactically. Look at the success of the nanny staters. Get that camel’s nose under the tent, m’boy. Lie like a rug about your ultimate intentions. Our freedoms are being relentlessly chipped away in small pieces. Time to build ’em back up, using the same deceptive, devious methods. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. It’s a strong talking point. Use it.

    But I could be wrong. 😉

  167. Doesn’t gambling serve a larger social purpose by separating stupid people from their money and placing said money in the hands of people who are obviously smarter than they are about things like math, and risk/reward, and stuff?

  168. Let’s call a spade a spade (and a club a club). What the government reps who want to stop internet gambling object to is that the owners of online gambling establishments are foreign entities, not u.s. corporations. All those millions of dollars are being subverted to offshore or non-u.s. banks.

    Legalize Internet gambling and return those dollars to the United States! (Look at the Indian casinos; they are thriving and funding good things for the State of California—somebody got SMART for a change!)

  169. Ryan –

    Not to go all Ron Paul about your question or anything, but I think it depends on how the legislation is structured.

    If you have some one-sentence piece of legislation striking cannabis from the list of contraband substances, I certainly think a libertarian should favor that legislation.

    OTOH, if you had some omnibus drug policy revision legislation, that redefined the list of contraband substances, penalties, etc., and that legislation legalized cannabis by omission, then I don’t think a libertarian should favor that legislation.

    This may seem picky and technical, but voting for bill B would legislatively reiterate the prohibition of the other drugs, and would therefore be an unacceptable bill, even though as a practical matter it has the same ultimate impact as bill A.

  170. Hey, guys, what the hell are you discussing in all this thread?

    Dan T. claims that gambling is bad for society. OK. Like alcohol – it hurts you but gives you a temporary nice feeling. OK. Assume it is true. Assume gambling is evil, evil, evil. And evil.

    Does it imply that the right answer to unhealthy voluntary activity is a prohibition?

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