Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's Not Like the Lottery is Gambling

Since you aren't capable of deciding how you should spend (or lose) your money, Congress has banned internet gambling. Of course, they rejected an amendment to the bill that would have extended it to include horse racing and state lotteries. Incidentally, the profit margin from state lotteries is in the 40% range, while casinos average about 3-5% (I'm looking for the source on this, I heard it a couple of weeks ago). Recent evidence indicates that the growth of casinos on Indian reservations is cutting into the profits of lotteries - if this trend continues, I'd expect the government to shut down these casinos any way they can. And Radley Balko asks the same question I did: why does the Washington Post break down Congressional votes by astrological sign?

More from Jacob Sullum:

You can't even give Goodlatte credit for being a consistent moralistic busybody. His bill, co-authored by Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), makes exceptions for lucrative state lotteries and the politically influential horse racing industry.

It seems government sponsorship renders what would otherwise be a "scourge" as wholesome as the Postal Service, Amtrak, and the Interstate Highway System. And horses are so beautiful and majestic that naturally you can bet on them, online or off. But not on dogs; that would be crazy.

Goodlatte's bill likewise leaves untouched gambling on riverboats, on Indian reservations, and in cities such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It's one thing to engage in this distasteful activity out in the open, quite another to do so in the privacy of one's home.


At 8:43 PM, Blogger Molly said...

I think, however moralistic, I'd be even more mad if Goodlatte (is that really his name??) DID try to interfere with gambling on Indian Reservations; just like we can't ban it in Canada or Mexico, so, too, should we not be able to touch it on the Reservations (although, sadly, most people don't think this way, despite promises to the contrary).

At 10:53 PM, Blogger Scott McC said...

This probably WILL lead to them trying to ban it in Canada and Mexico, so people don't do it online there!

But yeah, obviously I think gambling everywhere should be completely legal and that Indian Reservations (god, what an awful term) should basically be self-governed.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Scott McC said...

Yeah, isn't that name priceless?

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Molly said...

Why is Indian Reservations such a bad term, Scott? Clearly, the US government was saving, or RESERVING, the very BEST land for the Native Americans.


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