A HYPOCRITICAL INTERNET GAMBLING BAN

24 July 2006

THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR

Protecting American family values — or the offline industry? Gambling is one of the great successes of online commerce. Americans bet nearly $6 billion online last year, roughly half the global total

The Economist
(Jul 22, 2006)

As someone paid to have a keen appreciation of risk, David Carruthers must regret his choice of travel agent.

The chief executive of BetonSports was flying to Costa Rica, but no sooner had he touched down in Texas to change planes than he was arrested and later charged, along with 10 of his associates and various companies, with racketeering, fraud and conspiracy.

This week the shares in BetonSports and other online gambling companies listed outside the U.S. plunged as the suspicion grew that, after years of inaction, prosecutors mean to close the industry down.

Much of Congress is on their side. Last week the House of Representatives voted to make it illegal to settle a bet with a credit card or wire transfer. Although the Senate is unlikely to make the bill law, the message is plain enough: Internet gambling is corrupting and illegal and should be stopped.

The congressmen’s eagerness to demonstrate their uncompromising moral stance is more ironic than impressive. For the American campaign against Internet gambling is tainted by hypocrisy as well as futility.

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