Apparently some important folks in Washington are reading my blog, because there’s a bill on the legalization of Internet gambling being debated.
Proponents say legalizing online gambling might raise $10 billion to $42 billion in new government revenue over 10 years according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
On the other hand, douchebags have this to say:
“Betting with a credit card can undercut a player’s perception of the value of cash, leading to addiction, bankruptcy and crime.”
According to a May 2009 Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans called gambling “morally acceptable,” while 36 percent called it “morally wrong.” But there are concerns. In a Pew poll in 2006, 70 percent said they think legalized gambling encourages people to gamble more than they can afford.
See if you can guess the percentage of poll respondents I’d like to punch in the face. If you said 106%, your math-game is pretty weak, but your heart is in the right place. Now if we can just get you away from the poker for a few minutes, we can organize a rally and bring the poker business back into the states instead of inflating the GDP of every country in the Caribbean. It’s just another billion-dollar industry, you can have it.
While passage of a bill that legalizes and regulates/taxes nonsports betting is unlikely to be passed before Congress’s 7-week recess, Stephen J. Dubner points out on the Freakonomics Blog that the gub’ment regularly lightens up on the rules when they desperately need your tax dollars. And the way we’ve been spending for the last few years, there’s no question about that.
From Dan Okrent’s recent Q&A about Prohibition: “No factor played a larger role in the repeal of Prohibition than the government’s desperate need for revenue as the country fell into the grip of the Depression.”
In short: governments who hate vice suddenly hate it much less when cash flow is slow. And we are seeing that again today.