Tech at Night: The Online Gambling Debate

Tech at Night

So, online gambling. Right now there are two major pushes going on to get new legislation related to online gambling. Neither is a small government position, and I oppose them both. The current law as it stands isn’t bad. It could be better, but either plan out there right now would make things worse.


To summarize, the two plans out there are both masquerading as right-wing positions, however one turns out to be a classic big government picking of winners and losers, and the other is big regulatory government masquerading as libertarianism. We must pass neither.

So here’s the current law: federal law does very little with online gambling. Sports betting over telecommunications is barred by the Wire Act, but that’s it. What you may have heard of as the ‘online poker ban’ was just the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which just instructed the Federal Reserve to act against funding of already-illegal gambling, if any.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson wants to change that. He wants the feds to pick winners and losers, with men like him as the winners, and online gamblers as the losers. He wants to do this by trying to override state gambling regulation (where gambling has traditionally been controlled) with a new expansion of scope of federal government in the form of a federal online gambling ban.

His efforts are notable because he’s got a lot of money to give to support a Republican running for President, and since this is such as fringe issue for most people, likely Presidential candidates like Rick Perry are showing a willingness to pander to him on this issue, even when they’re normally for states’ rights.


On the other side are the fake libertarians of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) and allies. They represent gamblers who want to shift the risks and costs of their chosen endeavor. Instead of having a big federal power grab banning online gambling, they want a different power grab. PPA wants us to create a massive new regulatory apparatus to control online gambling, and force it to be legal nationally.

I don’t think the feds need to be involved at all. Right now if Washington wants to ban it, it can. If New Jersey wants to legalize it, it can. There’s no reason to pick winners and losers or create new regulators.

And now on to the links survey.

I’m glad to hear the Democrat-driven blame the victim hacking legislation is dying out now that the headlines are gone.

Democrats need to step up and renew the moratorium on Internet access taxes.

It’s possible that proposed NSA reforms would have made us less safe in concrete ways. The Senate may not pass the House bill, even though the House bill was already watered down.

The Chicoms are trying to test our resolve by fighting back as we fight their attacks on us. We mustn’t blink.

Was Russia cultivating Edward Snowden for years?

Facebook is ready to start listening in on you, but the privacy-ambivelent American public will keep using it anyway, just watch.


Bundling is what beat MSIE, not government action against Microsoft’s own bundling of MSIE. Funny that.

Marsha Blackburn is standing up for copyright against freeloading terrestrial broadcasters. It looks like House Judiciary will have hearings.

A group of Senate Republicans is calling up on FCC not to push for socialized Internet. Good on them.

Meanwhile House Republicans are giving FCC oversight on its moves against broadcaster ownership.

Netflix took a misleading shot at Verizon, so Verizon fired back, and so Netflix had to give in.

Surprise! Senate Democrats oppose legislation and favor regulation on the IP Revolution in phone service.

It’s insane that we want government regulation so deep that it would nitpick in-flight movie captions.

European Internet isn’t as fast as the radicals want you to think.


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