Tuesday October 21,2014 : MORE OPPOSITION FOR SHELDON ADELSON
"When powerful gaming interests are spearheading the fight to ban online gambling, it should give you pause."
Erik Telford, senior vice president at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity in the United States, has come out strongly against the political influence leveraged by land casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson in his bid to ban almost all forms of online gambling.
In an op-ed article in the influential political publication The Hill headed "Ending the cycle of casino cronyism," Telford opines: "When powerful gaming interests are spearheading the fight to ban online gambling, it should give you pause.
"Their main policy objective is focused on federal legalization to ban online gambling outright – stifling their competition before it ever reaches the market.
"It is a glimpse of crony capitalism in its most naked form, and represents a very troubling assault on Internet freedom, giving government a foot in the door for a broader regulatory regime and usurping our federalist system."
Telford reprises the now well-known background to Adelson's expensive campaign to outlaw online gambling, covering the Department of Justice's back down on the Wire Act in December 2011 and the casino mogul's current political attempts at federal level to resurrect its provisions in Restoration of America's Wire Act legalization driven by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Representative Jason Chaffetz in Congress.
Telford characterises these attempts thus: "While their pretense is to advance a moral good, this policy would undermine the free market, encourage crime, and erodes the constitutional concept of states’ rights."
He quotes free market advocates, who agree that consumers would enjoy more security if online gambling was regulated and licensed in the United States as has been the case in many other countries.
“In this black market, where virtually all sites are operated from abroad, consumers have little to no protection from predatory behavior.” he quotes officials of the Institute For Policy Innovation in their address to congressmen on the proposed internet gambling ban recently.
“Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that this bill allows the federal government to take a heavy hand in regulating the Internet, opening the door for increased Internet regulation in the future,” they cautioned.
"Just like Prohibition in the 1920’s, banning this vice would actually incentivize criminal behavior. Those fearful of fraud, child participation, and profits diverted to gangs or terrorists should push for legalization in every state to make the industry as transparent as possible.
"Legalizing this long-established, multibillion dollar business gets the profits out of the shadows, expands market opportunities, and puts revenue into the coffers of both legitimate business and state governments that will benefit."