Oppose the ‘Sheldon Adelson’ Internet Gambling Ban Bill

An ever-increasing number of Americans, especially young Americans, are rejecting the surveillance state, the nanny state, and the crony state. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, too many in Washington have not yet gotten the message. For example, this week a bill was introduced in Congress that tramples on individual liberty and constitutional government for the benefit of one powerful donor.

The legislation in question is the “Restoration of America's Wire Act.” This legislation would make it a federal crime for adult American citizens to gamble online. But the United States Constitution gives Congress no authority to criminalize online gambling. Instead, it is up to the individual states to decide whether or not to permit Internet gambling.

This bill nullifies the law in the three states where Internet gambling is lawful, as well as the laws in the nine states that allow their citizens to purchase lottery tickets online. State governments are supposed to nullify federal laws, not the other way around!

Supporters of the bill claim that online gambling is controlled by criminals and terrorists. But this argument turns reality on its head. As with all forms of prohibition, criminalizing Internet gambling will not stop people from doing it. Instead, the bill would ensure that the online gambling industry is controlled by criminals. If running online casinos is outlawed, only outlaws will run online casinos.

By giving federal bureaucracies another excuse to spy on our online activities, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act will further erode our privacy and expand the surveillance state. Even worse, this assault on the Constitution and individual liberty is being done at the behest of one billionaire casino owner who, not coincidentally, is also one of the nation’s top political donors. Rather than compete with his online competitors, this donor is using his wealth and influence to outlaw his online competition.

The main problem with this bill is that it is incompatible with a free society. Gambling is a non-violent behavior that adults choose to engage in. Those with moral objections to gambling are, of course, free to use persuasion to try and convince others not to gamble. What they may not do is use the force of the state to stop people from gambling. Not only will such efforts be futile, they violate the rights of those who would choose to engage in this activity and, by strengthening the surveillance state, threaten all of our liberties.

The Restoration of America’s Wire Act infringes on individual liberties and violates the Constitution in order to benefit one wealthy political donor. This bill thus represents everything members of the growing liberty movement find repugnant about American politics, and any politician hoping to gain the support of this growing movement must reject this bill.

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