Monday, October 09, 2006

Online Gambling as a matter of values

In a post of several days ago, I was mentioning Antigua v USA in the WTO to question the legality of the new Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement act. It is important to note that the WTO's Appellate Body did recognize the right of US to ban certain activities based on moral grounds, but the issue is not with the values that such a ban supports: it is with the lack of consistency that implies. Again, gambling is not illegal in the US (both Nevada and Atlantic City are part of the US) and the assertion that allowing (or not) to gamble is one of the rights reserved to the states would probably not support a serious analysis due to the inter-state commerce issues that the methods of payments might attract. Furthermore, allowing horseracing brings to the floor the whole argument that betting has an impact on family values.
So is it really about values? Or the situation represents yet another example where the lack of serious and non-partisan discussion about what the real American values are leads to legislation that will probably hurt even more the same values that tries to protect? Has anyone told to those pushing for the legislation that if they are more than 23 million American online-poker players they are unlikely to stop due to legislation and they will probably restort to illegal sites? Has anyone thought about where the profits of those future illegal sites will go?
I don't bet, I don't like gambling, but I like far less legal inconsistency and poorly designed public policy...

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