US government allows gambling that is beneficial to their tax coffers, banning all other activity.
US government only likes gambling when it’s the Uncle Sam coffers that take it all. Not a very surprising behavior, but we’d all like to see gamers and operators winning at least something.
Did you fill out a March Madness bracket at the beginning of the month? I know I did. But what you probably don’t know is the fact that if you have put any money in the pot, you have broken American gambling laws in the majority of states. Well, not as if the FBI will be knocking on your door for that $5 you bet, but still.
The NCAA website itself has a warning for basketball enthusiasts: “Fans should enjoy … filling out a bracket just for the fun of it, not … the amount of money they could possibly win.” Sounds like a hypocrisy, right? We all know that betting on March Madness is comparable to Super Bowl wagering, in fact, this year the NCAA tournament has generated more bets than the Super Sunday.
Government’s stance on gambling
The sad truth is that the US lawmakers can’t seem to make up their minds about gambling in the country including the activity at online casinos in the United States. Contradictions are everywhere: certain casinos are approved, lotteries receive boosts, while betting on sports and charity poker tournaments are outlawed. It all seems like the government is allowing gambling as long as they are the ones that profit from it.
US government reveals contradictory stance towards gambling
•American gambling laws allow lotteries and some casinos, but ban betting
•Widespread bans allow criminals to take advantage of the betting dollars
•Tax revenues are lost due to Americans gambling at off-shore sites
And the trend is clear: the government is acting increasingly as the “all-taking” house in a casino. The authorities crack down on the bookies for running rackets, and then go on to offer much worse odds in their state lotteries. Moreover, the taxpayers’ money is spent on advertising these lotteries.
Casino licenses are awarded mostly to connected people, who make their money from slots with miserable winning margin. However, when Americans go to enjoy a game of poker with more favorable rakes and conditions than the official ones, it’s all suddenly illegal and money-laundering.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Three states: Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have realized how much citizens like to gamble online. And instead of spending their dollars at off-shore sites, they can now do this legally within the state borders. Other states now see how much gambling tax money is generated and are looking to jump on the bandwagon.
It has been recently revealed in the American gambling news that the casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, is behind the discouraging adverts put forward by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. The ads read: “Gambling will be available in every home, every bedroom, every dorm room, on every phone, tablet, and computer!”
Naturally, Adelson doesn’t want you to stop gambling, he just wants you to go to land-based casinos. Oh, did I mention he owns some of them?
A different point of view
Cato Institute has recently carried out their own research. One of their scientists, Patrick Basham, says gambling is more a symptom, than a cause. He said: “It’s very hard to disentangle all the things that are going wrong in that person’s life. The people who get into these problems tend to have difficulties.”
Basham also argues that gambling can be beneficial and not only financially. He opined: “It’s good for our emotional health … physical health … It provides social interaction, which has all kinds of physiological benefits. Older people who gamble have less alcoholism, less depression than older people who do not gamble.”
What is wrong with the government’s stance
Many experts agree that gambling in its essence is not a threat. However, it must be approached with caution, just like anything else: drinking, eating, and even exercising. But when the lawmakers start telling us they know best, and then go on to ban certain things, it looks funny, to say the least.
Another thing to consider is that when something is banned, it’s only natural that it will move into the underground world. And this is how a small problem is turned into a big one. What is wrong with legalizing and regulating gambling and then cashing in on tax money, I will never understand. The government prefers to ban gambling altogether, refuse taxes, and then spend money on tackling criminal activity that spans from their own actions.