Monday March 3,2014 : FORMER CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER SAYS ONLINE GAMBLING SHOULD BE LEGALISED
Lloyd Levine failed to push legalization through when he was in politics, but he hasn't given up on the idea.
The name Lloyd Levine will be familiar to our readers following developments a few years back on the Californian online gambling legalization scene, back then he was an Assemblyman who took a credible run at the legalization of intrastate online poker but, like others, he failed.
Now out of politics proper but still consulting in the state, Levine popped up again over the weekend in an op-ed article in the Sacramento Bee that showed he has lost none of his enthusiasm for regulated and taxed online poker.
The former Assemblyman argues that his state sanctions and regulates Internet wagering on horse racing, and there is no reason such wagers should be limited to that sector.
Not to do so fails to recognise the practical realities of the Internet and human behaviour, Levine says, pointing out that the nature of the Internet makes enforcement of existing prohibitions on Internet poker virtually impossible.
There are no shortages of websites ready and willing to accept U.S.-based players, he claims. These have no US regulatory supervision, raising questions on the safety of players, and California receives no taxes when its residents gamble on them.
"All the current system does is prevent California’s legal gambling establishments from competing against the illegal operators," Levine says.
The former Assemblyman admits that legalising Internet gaming will not totally eliminate the problems associated with the unregulated, offshore sites, but he says it will provide a safer alternative that insists on operators using the latest technology and trained staff to exclude the underage and problem gambler, and deliver safe and fair gambling to Californian consumers.
"No system is fool proof," Levine asserts. "If someone is determined to gamble underage or gamble more than is prudent, the best technology in the world can’t prohibit that.
"But that holds true in [brick and mortar] casinos as well, and isn’t a good argument for doing nothing."
Levine concludes by suggesting that by legalising California can allow its existing, legal, tax-paying gaming establishments to compete with unlicensed and unauthorised offshore operators and provide a safer gaming alternative for residents who are gambling online anyway.