Obama opens door to return of video gambling
Guest Columnist [I...web site author...have posted this amongst my various gambling-warning
resources without permission but intending to immediately take it down if The State
newspaper...copyright owner... "calls my hand" on it; I'm afraid that it will become inaccessible
within archives if I only provided a link, HERE
Just over a decade after South Carolina finally managed to rid itself
of the scourge of video poker and the influence that almost owned our Legislature, the Obama
administration has opened the door to welcome it back to our state.
In fact, it opened the door for virtually every
form of gambling in December when it quietly issued a new interpretation of existing federal
law, proclaiming that the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act did not
apply to anything other than sports betting.
The decision clearly undermines the long
established intent of Congress that technology shouldn’t be used to circumvent state gambling
laws, and the practical impact will be that any form of gambling that is legal in any state
will be made available on the Internet in every state.
In other words, any state could effectively
legalize virtually any form of gambling for the entire country, whether we like it or
Ready or not, nationalized gambling, here we
So much for states’ rights.
All of this foolishness began when a group of
cash-strapped pro-gambling states (such as Obama’s home state of Illinois) got together to
begin lobbying the administration to “reinterpret” the Wire Act, and on Christmas Eve, when
most people were too busy to notice, Obama came through.
A number of states are looking to use
state-sponsored interstate gambling (such as lotteries) as a quick fix for their budget woes
— further exploiting the poor as well as those who are addicted to gambling, while not having
to deal with the negative societal costs in those states (crime, bankruptcy, abuse and
divorce come to mind).
Aiding this process seems a little odd for someone
who has spent so much time accusing Republicans of wanting to balance budgets on the backs of
the poor, but Obama’s administration is making it easier for states to do just
And it didn’t take long for them to get started:
Illinois sold its first online lottery ticket in May — and announced that it intends to
become a global hub for online gambling.
History demonstrates that once a government gets
dependent on gambling as a source of revenue, it does whatever it can to expand that revenue
— meaning that it works to draw in more suckers with more addictive games. (How many rich
people do you wait in line behind at the gas station playing any of those 50 different
Despite the U.S. ban on financial institutions
processing funds from online gambling, it is a $30 billion industry — which tells you all
that you need to know about why big-spending state governments want in on the
But private-enterprise gambling won’t take kindly
to state governments moving further in on their turf. They’ll soon be lobbying (or suing) for
the right to circumvent state laws and run virtual casinos too.
The genie will be out of the bottle, and online
gambling will spread to every desktop, laptop, i-Pad and mobile phone. It will be a 24/7/365
casino that leaves state and local taxpayers to deal with the societal
If we have learned anything from the Internet
revolution and the explosion of smart phones and mobile apps, it is that technology is
limited only by the imagination, which means that any attempt to keep this change limited to
lottery tickets is foolish at best, and intentionally deceptive at worst.
You don’t have to use too much imagination to
envision Internet cafes featuring video poker via the Internet, or for that matter to see the
familiar video poker machines back in their old locations, with the new twist that their
games are delivered via the Internet. Actually, we’re already seeing that, by people who are
ignoring our state law. Obama’s new interpretation of federal law could make it impossible
for us to stop them.
Congress has to take a stand and defend its own
laws (and the states’) against the Obama Justice Department’s view that they don’t mean what
everyone knew they meant for decades.
South Carolinians almost lost their government to
gambling interests once. We can’t let that happen again.
Mr. McKissick runs a Columbia public relations
business; contact him at drewmckissick @gmail.com.
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Rights Reserved. http://www.thestate.com
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[posted 30 July