Talking about online gambling is illegal

Poker chipsAt least in Washington State:

The first casualty in the state’s war on Internet gambling is a local Web site where nobody was actually doing any gambling.

What a Bellingham man did on his site was write about online gambling. He reviewed Internet casinos. He had links to them, and ran ads by them. He fancied himself a guide to an uncharted frontier, even compiling a list of “rogue casinos” that had bilked gamblers.

All that, says the state – the ads, the linking, even the discussing – violates a new state law barring online wagering or using the Internet to transmit “gambling information.” (Source: Seattle Times)

The idea that shutting down a website will somehow curtail online gambling is laughable. Will it be illegal to visit similar websites that are hosted in other states and countries? Will it now be illegal to buy books about online gambling? Will Washington State block TV advertisements from online casinos? Don’t count on it.

More importantly, we all take gambles each day of our lives. Not too much separates the Las Vegas Strip from Wall Street, but you won’t ever see laws preventing online stock trading. That’s why government has no business banning gambling, online or otherwise. Government should only step in to punish gambling vendor fraud.

The best part of this mess is that the Washington State Legislature is allowing online bets at government approved horse racing websites. Who wants to wager that the Washington Horse Racing Commission paid a lot for that?

One Comment

  1. Clint

    Surely you can’t compare the stock market to online gambling. The stock market, while subject to occasional dramatic dips, has averaged close to 10% return for some time now. And, though stocks can be volatile, the risk can be reduced with some pretty basic diversification. Additionally, there are many who would argue that trends and/or metrics can be used to logically determine the direction a stock will go in the long-term. I don’t think the two are comparable.