Claims that billionaire land casino magnate is using his political influence to turn his online competitors into criminals
Veteran US libertarian politician and three-times presidential candidate Ron Paul has criticised efforts funded by the billionaire land casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to ban most forms of internet gambling in the United States, writing in a widely published op-ed article that Adelson is using the nation's legislative process and his political influence to "turn his online competitors into criminals."
Paul opines that Congress may in the dying weeks of the current season vote on the Graham and Chaffetz Restoration of the American Wire Act bills promoted by Adelson (see previous InfoPowa reports).
"It is an open secret, at least inside the Beltway, that this legislation is being considered as a favor to billionaire casino owner, Sheldon Adelson. Mr. Adelson, who is perhaps best known for using his enormous wealth to advance a pro-war foreign policy, is now using his political influence to turn his online competitors into criminals," Paul writes.
He warns that a federal online gambling ban would overturn laws in three states that allow online gambling, and end the ongoing debate over legalising online gambling in many other states, pointing out the error of any claims that such a law will protect states' rights to autonomy over legislation within their boundaries.
Paul attacks the Adelson argument that citizens of states that ban Internet gambling may easily get around those laws by accessing online casinos operating in states where online gambling is legalised, observing that the flawed justification that the "states rights" of prohibition states must be protected by the creation of new federal crimes turns the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which was intended to limit federal power, on its head.
He asserts that nowhere in the US Constitution is the federal government given any authority to regulate activities such as online gambling, which remains the purview of individual states.
On a more personal level, he argues that the proposed banning legislation is not at all about the morality of gambling… it is about whether Americans who do gamble should have the choice to do so online, or be forced to visit brick-and-mortar casinos.
"Prohibiting behavior that does not involve force or fraud has no place in a free society," Paul opines. "It is no more appropriate for gambling opponents to use force to stop people from playing poker online than it would be for me to use force to stop people from reading pro-war, neocon writers."
Paul is also concerned at the prospect that giving the federal government new powers over the Internet "…will inevitably threaten all of our liberties. Government bureaucrats will use this new authority to expand their surveillance of the Internet activities of Americans who have no interest in gambling, just as they used the new powers granted by the Patriot Act to justify mass surveillance," he claims, concluding:
"The proposed ban on Internet gambling is a blatantly unconstitutional infringement on our liberties that will likely expand the surveillance state. Worst of all, it is all being done for the benefit of one powerful billionaire. Anyone who thinks banning online gambling will not diminish our freedoms while enriching criminals is making a losing bet."
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa