The behind-the-scenes putsch that forced the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) through a skeptical Congress last year saw a little sunshine this week. Witness the news that the National Football League has teamed up with James Dobson's Focus on the Family and other right-wing Christians to head off efforts to …
Why is this here
I'm all for poking fun at retarded Americans but what the hell has this to do with El Reg?
Sometimes I miss the doctor of gonzo journalism. Hunter S. Thompson seemed to be able to blend truth from a drug induced transcendental state, but, having read the above article, it seems to me Thompson just wrote it the way it really was. It's just now obvious.
Why Gambling is Hated by Churches
Most churches (excepting the Catholics, of course) have a major woody when it comes to gambling. And alcohol consumption and sex. But gambling in particular.
As far as I've been able to discover in my research, this active opposition is founded in an economic problem: tithing and gambling are both considered "discretionary spending" in most people's budgets. As such, they are competitors for the discretionary funds.
A dollar spent on gambling on Saturday night is a dollar that the preacher doesn't get Sunday. And the usual related issue that if you've been up all Saturday night gambling you're probably not going to be dragging ass into church Sunday morning.
Now, this would be nothing but a footnote if it weren't for the other linkage here: religious groups opposed to "local or internet" gambling are usually receiving funds "indirectly" from Las Vegas gaming interests. Given the huge amount of money in legal gaming in the US - and the very real possibility of this being lost to off-shore or non-Vegas competitors - it is nothing more than good business for the Las Vegas gaming corporations to "invest" in a "cat's paw" that has no stigma associated with it to attempt to influence legislation to protect themselves.
This has happened before in the US: when I was in college in Kansas back in the 1970's "liquor-by-the-drink" (open taverns) was illegal in Kansas. Every attempt to change the Prohibition-era law was met by huge, well-funded protests by Christian groups, and the legislature would defeat the measure. Until a Kansas City television station uncovered that the funding for these protests was coming from the incumbent "Private Club" owners (liquor-by-the-drink that you paid for three times: a "membership" fee, a "set-up charge for a glass of ice and a "regulated" price for a carefully under-measured jigger of alcohol), who liked having a monopoly on serving alcohol in the state. Once revealed, the open bar legislation passed overwhelmingly in the next state legislature session.
So what can be done to "fix" the problem and stop these silly press events?
Repeal the UIGEA, and along with it pass legislation that allows US casino operators to legally operated internet-based gambling sites. There will be some grumbling from the US gaming industry (a monopoly is always preferred to competition) but with the ability to bypass state legislation against gaming the big casinos will quickly withdraw their support from Christian groups and put it into building web casinos. Kills three birds with one stone: it brings the US into WTO compliance, it raises revenue through gaming taxes (and helps the balance of payments with international gaming in US-owned casino sites), and it shuts up the Fundamentalist Christians by removing another of their funding sources.
And, if I could fart monkey's I'd be famous. But I can dream, can't I?
To churchs: Gambling = greed
And greed is bad.
The NFL and other sports leagues don't want legalized gambling because it will corrupt the referees. A NBA referee is going to jail for 25 years because he helped the mafia fix the games he was working. That last thing I would want if I was a fan of any sport is to think the referee is helping my team win or lose to help anyone. What is to prevent a referee from betting on the game he is overseeing? He can use 3rd parties to prevent any suspicion. Don't be naive and think this will never happen. Money talks.
@ Michael Sheils
...Because El Reg has been covering the long-running saga between US.gov and Antigua re: right-wing USA's attempted unlawful restriction of cross-border (e.g. *HINT* internet) gambling. There's probably been one story a week for the last 6 months. Where have you been??
@ Wade Burchette
Don't be naive and think it doesn't already happen. You even allude to it yourself.
I did not watch The Last Boyscout in a while. It's about time.
So the answer to greed is to remove temptation ? Oh dear, thats not proof of faith now is it. I expect a lot more suffering from right wing god botherers.
Re: To churchs: Gambling = greed
Well most of the world gets on ok with sports betting. There is very good systems in place to prevent it. What is stopping them placing bets in other countrys through a third party at the moment? As it says in the artical the UK gets on just fine with Bookies in every town and a masive online sports beeint industry.
Not that simple...
Most normal Christians don't really have a problem with gambling, sex, booze, etc. I was broought up Methodist (in the UK) and the general feeling is that abstenance isn't the way forward any more, rather moderation is.
The problem you have in the US as far as I can see, is that the government is right wing and Christian, they aren't that popular at the moment so they can't afford to upset their heartland. This means that they pander to the right wing Christians who voted them in, and also the right wing Christian businessmen who supplied all the money required for them to be voted in. This has obvious conflicts of interest and seems to result in protectionism of the existing gambling industries. To be honest, I think that you can pretty much remove the 'Christian' element and just leave good ol' right wing protectionism.
Perhaps they should get Michael Vick to head up the fight?
Seriously, an organisation currently dealing with a high-profile case of illegal dog-fighting, gambling and racketeering in its own ranks probably shouldn't be taking the moral high ground here.
'Foreign Gambling Interests'
The foreign gambling interests the NFL and religious groups are fighting against is actually an online gambling news site called Casino Gambling Web. They just wrote a story about the whole situation here... http://www.casinogamblingweb.com/gambling-news/gambling-law/online_gambling_site_vs_nfl_religious_groups_sports_leagues_46856.html
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