Ron Paul Tells House Judiciary Committee to Reject Online Gambling Ban!

C4L Chairman Ron Paul submitted testimony before the House Judiciary Committee today on H.R. 707, "The Restoration of America's Wire Act" which would overturn laws in a number of states by banning online gambling on the federal level. You can read the testimony here:

Testimony of Former Congressman Ron Paul

Hearing on H.R. 707, “The Restoration of America’s Wire Act”

Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations

March 25, 2015

Chairman Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member Jackson-Lee, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony on the “Restoration of America's Wire Act,” H.R. 707.  On behalf of Campaign for Liberty’s nearly three quarters of a million members, I urge Congress to reject this unconstitutional, anti-liberty legislation.

Nowhere in the United States Constitution is Congress given the authority to criminalize online gambling. Instead, the question of whether online, or any other type of gambling, should be legal is one of the many areas "reserved to the states" under the Tenth Amendment.

H.R. 707’s assault on federalism is not just theoretical.  By passing this bill, Congress would nullify laws in the three states where Internet gambling is lawful, as well as 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.  This argument turns reality on its head.  As with all forms of prohibition, criminalizing Internet gambling will not stop people from engaging in the activity.  Instead, the bill would make it more likely the online gambling industry would be 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.  Given what we have learned in the last few years about government surveillance of our Internet activities, can anyone seriously believe that criminalizing Internet gambling will only affect the privacy of online gamblers?  Even those who have moral objections to gambling should oppose this bill since it threatens their liberty.

Many supporters of the Internet gambling ban sincerely believe that gambling is an immoral and destructive activity that should be outlawed.  Of course, this bill is not about the morality of gambling but whether Americans should have the choice to gamble online or be forced to visit brick-and-mortar casinos if they wish to gamble.  Even if there were some moral distinction between gambling online and in a casino, the government has no role to play in prohibiting immoral behavior that does not involve force or fraud.

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 to 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, but such attempts violate the rights of those who would choose to engage in this activity and, by strengthening the surveillance state, threaten all of our liberties.

Finally, this legislation represents the worst form of crony capitalism.  It is no secret that 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 in the marketplace of Internet gambling, this donor is using his wealth and influence to outlaw his online competition.

In conclusion, the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” infringes on individual liberties, violates the Constitution, and amounts to little more than crony capitalism on steroids.  This bill thus represents everything members of the growing liberty movement find repugnant about American politics.  Therefore, I once again urge the members of this Subcommittee to show their commitment to the Constitution, individual liberty, and true free markets by rejecting this bill.

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