Let me preface this opinion by saying that my political affiliation is libertarian. I am a realist, however, and since they have absolutely no chance of winning, I planned to vote Republican as I have done before. Last weekend, however, and specifically the actions of Bill Frist, has left a sour taste in my mouth, and I feel no shame in saying there is no possible way I will vote for them. In a Friday night/Saturday morning session, while many of us were out or possibly asleep, Senator Frist succeeded in piggy-backing an online gambling ban onto the much needed Port Security bill through back-room tactics. Of course, this ban probably would not have stood on its own merits.
The law itself does not make online poker illegal, per say, but it puts the entire bulk of the load onto the banking industry by forcing them to stop all transactions that might be gambling related. Even if this regulation was possible, is it necessary?
Studies have shown that a properly regulated Internet gambling market could bring in federal and state taxes upwards of $3 billion; can our government afford to turn its back on that type of money? Just to clarify-we can’t armor the troops’ Hummers, but we can include online gaming as a “national defense” interest? These are questions that should have been considered before the Republicans took away one of our personal freedoms and shot themselves in the foot for the upcoming elections. Evidently the Democrats were right about something.
The most pressing question is how this bill will affect the casual online player, and the ripple impact on the market as a whole. But don’t get me wrong, I have a tremendous amount of faith in the international business community to outsmart this bill-after all, when we’re ranking the collective intelligence of different groups, the U.S. Congress is just ahead of lobotomy patients, and just behind slightly retarded monkeys.
UMiami MBA ’08