Gambling News » December 2002 » December 6, 2002.
US Citizens Urged To Protect Their Rights And Write To Their Senator.The Sands of the Caribbean(R) Online Casino, where "Every Day is a Good Day to Play!™", is urging US citizens to write their senators in an attempt to persuade them to vote against "The Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act H.R. 556.". What follows is an actual letter received by the casino and the writer has given permission to include it in a press release as an example for all citizens to use when communicating with their government representatives.
PROTECT Your Rights!
Although Congress has wrapped up its legislative business for the year, many in Congress have yet to make a final decision regarding "The Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act H.R. 556."
US players are urged to weigh in with their elected representatives as soon as possible, explaining in their own words how Rep. Leach and his allies are taking the wrong approach towards Egaming. Communicate with your Senators now: http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm
"The Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act" H.R. 556 will deny millions of law abiding American citizens their right to a form of entertainment they enjoy and should be entitled to. The arguments for this bill are primarily moralistic and the approach it suggests for obtaining its goals are simply not practical.
Some of the points made by supporters of H.R. 556:
"Gambling has no socially redeeming value."
Is Congress to pass laws that prohibit American Citizens from pursuing that which they are interested in based solely on the "socially redeeming value" of the activity? Would not solitaire, watching TV by yourself, or planting flowers (beyond the sight of others) be clear violations of this logic?
In America, we are free to worship and financially support any God or Devil of our choice. We can do so without any legal restraints (morally motivated or otherwise.) Why then are we not afforded the same freedom when it comes to non-religious activities? Why are we not allowed to freely choose our entertainment?
If I find Golf entertaining, I can easily spend $75,000 on membership fees to an exclusive club. I can spend thousands more on my equipment and invest hundreds of work hours a year "chipping away" at my leisure.
However, if I want to spend $750 a year playing nickel slots, my only choice (should the anti-Egaming proposal pass) would be to endure the added expense and inconvenience of making trips to and from land based casinos. In an online casino, I don't have the added cost of food, travel, and lodging. I can play as slow as I like, without any dealer pressure to bet or be "dealt out."
Nearly all online casinos offer a 100% deposit bonus. This means, if I've budgeted $50 per month, I only need to produce $25.
Going to Las Vegas or Atlantic City might be nice, but it costs a small fortune. Why should I as an American citizen be denied access to the advantages of Egaming when the citizens of other countries are not?
"Young people are vulnerable to the Pitfalls of Internet gambling."
Young people are vulnerable to the Pitfalls of EVERYTHING. They are vulnerable to the pitfalls of alcohol, smoking, poor parenting, bad TV, unhealthy diets, sexually transmitted disease, etc. The Government must not (should not) attempt to sanitize life of all its potential "pitfalls."
Men and Woman (Boys and Girls) become adults through the process of living. Many well-intentioned "adult" lawmakers seem to forget that they too had to learn some things on their own. They forget it was not only necessary in the development of their character, but also a fundamental right given to them as a human being.
When the government denies a person their right to choose, the government weakens that person. You take from them a piece of strength or wisdom that can only be found in the exercise of free will.
Some things in society should be prohibited, without a doubt. Murder, Rape, Theft, Assault, these are all truly "criminal" in nature. Each act comes at the expense of another human being. But "criminalizing" non-criminal behavior (behavior or activities that DO NOT come at the direct expense of others) ought not be the practice of the United States Government.
Pathological gamblers commit crimes to pay off their debts
Recent studies indicate that the percentage of US citizens who qualify as "pathological gamblers" range somewhere between 1.5% and 2%. Is it logical to deny 98% of responsible US citizens their right to Egaming based on the actions of <2% of the population?
To put this in perspective, would we consider making junk food and fast food illegal? Probably not, despite the fact that a full 30% of the US population is considered Obese and 60% of the US population is considered over-weight. Few people are aware that the costs associated with the unhealthy American diet (in lost lives and medical expenses) outweigh smoking and drinking!
Offshore operations open the doors to Money Laundering and support for terrorist causes...
As we learned with Alcohol prohibition, the best way to support organized crime is to make illegal an activity for which there is high demand. This approach forces everything into secrecy, hides the problem, squeezes out the reputable players, and creates a mile long chain reaction of problems that are WORSE than what is found in a regulated environment.
If the US government truly wishes to tackle the potential for money laundering and criminal activities support that may be born out of internet gambling, the ONLY way is through regulation.
By following the lead of countries like the UK, the United States could provide reputable alternatives for people interested in Egaming. MOST US citizens would prefer playing at a US based casino as opposed to sending their funds to an offshore operation. Tax revenue (in the billions) could be used to treat problem gambling and money trails would be very easy to monitor.
In short, only through regulation (not prohibition) can the US control and track the money that comes in and goes out of casinos (online or otherwise.) Forcing Egaming underground will do nothing to protect those the bill is aimed at helping and will only serve to further strain law enforcement budgets and resources.
Beyond the hypocrisy of contending that gambling is "bad" (even though its OK in churches, and state run facilities) beyond the arrogance of others dictating what is appropriate for another to enjoy, and beyond the inherent "unfairness" of forcing banking institutions to enforce a moralistically motivated law, perhaps the real issue lies here: "No person should be prohibited from doing what he or she chooses to do, unless what they choose to do directly violates the rights of another person...period."
If this is merely a moral issue, why do so many states run their own lottery (which has a tremendous hose edge of 40%, compared to a casino with a house edge of 2.5%)?
Lastly, in a poll conducted by CNN, nearly 2,500 citizens were asked if gambling on the Internet should banned, and 76% of the respondents said no. To view the results of this poll, please visit http://www.cnn.com/POLL/results/244161.content.html
As our rights as American citizens are taken away, our rights are violated. And if there should be a law against anything, there should be a law against that.
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