The Sound and Fury of Worlds in Collision

by Lou on March 25, 2006

While attorneys general from across the nation have been urging Congress to pass legislation outlawing internet gambling, a recent poll taken by the Wall Street Journal showed 85 percent of the respondents opposed such a ban.

This appears to be a case of worlds in collision. When so many people oppose a proposed law, that law will probably be ineffectual at best. In fact, one needn’t go back any further than the Prohibition Era for a clear example of how a law at variance with the vast majority of public sentiment is doomed to fail.

Things are probably not as dire now as they were during prohibition. For one thing, most of the proposed legislation centers on making it difficult to move money into online gaming accounts. But with a variety of financial intermediaries, such as Neteller, located in foreign countries where none of this is illegal, clever folks should have little difficulty moving funds from one location to another.

And if it ever became against the law to play poker online, you’d have police agencies all across the country having to go after violators one by one. That’s a lot tougher than it was during prohibition, when raiding a speakeasy would usually result in 100 or more people rounded up at the same time.

I’m not expecting the local vice squad at my door anytime soon, and neither should you. So far proposed legislation by Goodlatte, Leach, and Kyl is more sound and fury than substance. Things could change, but all you’re hearing now is the echo of past legislation, soundly defeated, resonating in the halls of Congress.

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