government in action

Can you legislate morality? No, of course not. On the other hand, the many lessons of the past aren't enough to stop the executive and legislative branches of the US government when they think they have an easy and costless soundbite / photo-op.

Case in point? Bush's recent bill-signing ceremony in which he signed into law an anti-online gambling provision. It was tucked into the Port Security Bill that was signed on Friday October 13. Congress had approved the bill 2 weeks before. The Internet gambling provision handles the awkward task of enforcing gambling bans by prohibiting players from using credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers to settle their online wagers.

Anyone that doesn't believe governmental action can have broad reaching effects need only check on the status of International gambling stocks. Several of them have already declared insolvency and most of the others are trading on the pink sheets in the US (and equivalent exchanges in foreign markets). As an example, World Gaming, based in London, was trading for over $3 a share in the US just a few weeks ago but now it's suspended operations and the stock is trading in NY at $0.13 a share. That's down over 95%!

And is this a true war against gambling? Hardly. The biggest sponsors of gambling in the US are the state governments. 48 out of the 50 states have legalized gambling with 42 of them being directly invoved by means of state lotteries that funnel billions of dollars of revenue into state coffers. The Federal bill doesn't interfere with these forms of gambling, nor does it do anything to slow down the gambling meccas of the US in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, nor Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Personally I have no interest in gambling anywhere other than Wall Street but I find it very annoying for such a corrupt administration (Halliburton anyone?) to try to coopt morality in this paternalistic fashion. In the meantime, anyone want to take a real gamble on a 13 cent stock? LOL

(disclosure statement: I don't own any stock in World Gaming--thank God!!!)

Comments

Ciera said…
I gamble every night I go into work:

will I or won't I be injured somehow?

will I have to do mailbags...oh, no, I do them every night so that's a sure thing...scratch that one...

will Chris be nice to me, or will she be bitchy?

And if she is nice to me...do I believe her or not?

usually not...

actually the biggest gamble is whether or not I can get our of roll change for the press
used*to*be*me* said…
I thought the signing of this bill was rather wasteful of time/money but I'm entirely to lazy to do a whole post about it. Thanks to you for doing it!
Deana said…
I love to play blackjack and a few slots when we are in gambling towns but I always allocate a certain amount of money and when it is gone I'm gone. When I win, I tuck some back.
To me it is another adult thing that individuals should have the sense to control themselves.
Not that I want a casino on every street, but you know what I mean.
I didn't like the way they "slipped" this bill through.

I just love the picture of the lady bug with the house in the background. What a neat shot.

And I was so happy with the Sept power bill, I told my husband I loved spring and fall months. It had dropped $43 from the August cost.
Carmi said…
It has always disturbed me that governments everywhere are all too happy to build massive casinos and install video lottery terminals in bars and restaurants everywhere, but they're totally silent on the true cost to society. The compulsive gamblers get swept under the rug because we wouldn't want to sully the desired image of laughing beautiful people in glittering clubs.

One of these days, I'll go back to the casino in Montreal and shoot pics of the derelicts who hover around the outside stairs in the morning. Gamblers all. Not what you'd see in the commercials.

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