The Fade Doctor Barber Shop in Oklahoma City was the target of a police raid just days before Christmas. Authorities had received a barrage of complaints about the hair cutting salon, ranging from alleged drug use drug dealing to public urination. The people who lodged the complaints said that the barber shop antics were scaring customers away from the area, which was harming neighboring businesses.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found several men playing dice for money, and arrested everyone in the shop for violating American gambling laws. Twenty four year old barber Timothy Smith is being charged for allowing gambling in his shop. Another person, this time a customer who was there for a haircut, is in trouble for drinking from a bottle of alcohol while sitting in the barber chair. Having an open container of alcohol in a public place is illegal. Even a juvenile was taken into custody during the bust. Police confiscated 6.3 grams of marijuana and a set of dice.
The gambling industry in the United States is a strange place right now. Major gambling centers like Las Vegas and Atlantic City are barely scraping by after the recent recession, and some casinos may never bounce back from the recent drop in customers.
Online gambling is also struggling. Several attempts were made in 2010 to legalize and regulate internet gambling in the United States, but all failed. Barney Frank’s bill was dead in the water months ago, and a more recent attempt by Congressmen Lamar Smith, Spencer Bachus, and Dave Camp to secretly attach a pro-gambling measure to “must-pass” legislation did not work out as planned.
This year also saw the long-dreaded implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA) which seeks to deter the use of online gambling sites in the US by prohibiting the transfer of funds between US banks and internet gambling sites. Fortunately, little changed after the act turned to law, and players in the US still find it easy to gamble online.
American gambling laws are in dire need of revision, but the process is slow to happen. The liberalization of the nation’s online gambling industry is inevitable, but it could take many more years before the necessary changes are made.