Make a bet online and you go to jail?

In Crime, stupidity, U.S government on November 14, 2007 by Editor Z

I am shocked, Shocked to learn there is gambling in this online Casino.

Governor Deval Patrick (D-Massachusetts)is now taking measures to heavily punish online gamblers and online gambling venues, while simultaneously pushing hard for a move to provide funding for three Casinos to be built in the state.

If approved by the state legislature, violators could face criminal charges with penalties of up to $25,000 in fines and prison sentences of as many as two years.

Critics such as Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) point out the hypocrisy of such a move:

Why is gambling in a casino OK and gambling on the Internet is not?

Currently the federal ban on Internet gambling penalizes not the gambler but the gambling websites.

This would be a dramatic change in policy.

MY TAKE: This is hypocrisy at its worst. One may gamble if it can bring revenue to the state, but if someone wants to in the comfort and confines of their own home gamble a bit on the Internet it is suddenly a crime deserving of a prison sentence.
Its just as counterproductive as the policy of throwing a drug addict in jail and not sending them to a rehab clinic of some kind. It is completely meaningless and will not cure anybody. Gambling is a large problem, but it is a psychological problem. It is a problem of irresponsibility. It is many things. But it isn’t something worthy of a two year jail sentence (some child molesters serve less time in the big house then that).

There are several questions one should ask when thinking about supporting this unnecessary law. What constitutional and rational ways would one go about enforcing such a policy? How would you gather evidence? How would one punish out of state or even foreign gamblers or gambling websites that are based outside Massachusetts and sometimes even America, and thus are not subject to Massachusetts state law or sometimes even American law?

The last thing we need is another private practice that doesn’t harm the safety of the larger public to be treated like a crime. If you want to discourage gambling Governor Patrick here is an idea.DON”T BUILD ACTUAL CASINOS IN THE STATE!


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