When an online gambling ban turns into a "moratorium"

Here’s a disturbing tale of cronyism. The battle over banning internet gaming continues to rage with plenty of people opposing such a move. It has supporters, though, including Sheldon Adelson and, well… anyone who Sheldon Adelson gives a lot of money to. This is widely seen as a question best handled by each state, and some have already either put such restrictions in place or approved gaming. But since the folks in league with Adelson have been unable so far to get an outright national ban in place, a new scheme has been proposed. Some members of Congress are looking at putting a “moratorium” on any new states moving to allow such internet gaming while “they study it.” (The Hill)

Opponents of online gambling in Congress have tried to ban it repeatedly, and failed every time. Now they’re back with a new tactic—a two-year “study” bill and online gambling moratorium. But if you want to place bets on that moratorium ever being “temporary,” you may find better odds in Vegas. And the bill’s biggest supporter couldn’t be happier about that.

Proposals to ban online gambling have failed to gain traction in Congress and met significant backlash from state lawmakers and prominent libertarian and conservative groups that see a federal ban as an infringement on state sovereignty. So will a moratorium succeed in imposing a stealth ban? According to sources on Capitol Hill, a proposal is being floated in Congress to impose a two-year moratorium to prevent states from legalizing Internet gambling while a federal study is conducted. It would not interfere with the online casino-style games currently legal in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, but it would obstruct the legislative efforts currently underway in seven states considering legislation to legalize the activity.

The scheme is called the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA, S. 1668) and it doesn’t take a master detective to figure out that Adelson is behind it. The rather cynical nature of such a proposal is pretty obvious. Forbidding any more states from approving gaming while you “study” the matter is the same thing as a ban. And if you’re so convinced that online gaming is a problem, why don’t you have more support to simply ban it all over the country, including in the states that have already approved it?

On a related note, what about the states which allow you to purchase lottery tickets online? Nobody seems to be in a hurry to ban that or, for that matter, lotteries themselves. In the end, it seems like there’s no opposition to gaming if the money is going into the government’s coffers or the pockets of someone who can dump massive amounts of cash into various politician’s campaigns. But for anybody else it’s obviously a problem which could endanger our youth and put addictive personality types at risk, right?

Or am I just being jaded and cynical again?

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