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February 26, 2013 Print

Race To The Bottom Has No Winners

by Chad Hills

In a frantic race to the bottom, several states are competing to legalize online gambling. And, Nevada is determined to beat New Jersey.

Several weeks ago, New Jersey’s Gov. Christie “vetoed” an online gambling bill … telling supporters he was willing to pass it only if ‘certain conditions’ were met. His signature is all but guaranteed.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone by New Jersey, gambling-dependent Nevada immediately jumped into the state-level fray, quickly passing a bill to legalize interstate online gambling. Nevada’s past attempts to dominate a national online-gambling monopoly (via federal legislation) have failed miserably; thus, Nevada was forced to react quickly and play its weak hand on state-level Internet gambling.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, “It was one of the speediest actions on a bill seen in the Legislature in recent memory other than at the end-of-session when there is a rush on bills to meet the adjournment deadline,” concerning the passage of Nevada’s interstate internet gambling bill (AB 114).

In a flurry of activity, Nevada rushed online gambling through the House and Senate as an “emergency measure,” according to the Associated Press. If the devil is in the details, his script is still being written for this bill. The cart was definitely before the horse with AB-114, which effectively authorizes Nevada to enter into compacts with other states to offer Internet poker. Nevada passed the bill first, leaving the “how-to” details until later.

Gov. Sandoval commented, “This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada … Today I sign into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada … This bill is critical to our state’s economy and ensures that we will continue to be the gold standard for gaming regulation.”

Delusional optimism? Probably.

Representative William Horne, Nevada’s Majority Floor Leader, and sponsor of AB-114, couldn’t resist a jab regarding Nevada’s lead in the race to the bottom: “As to our competitor, New Jersey, they should be accustomed to following Nevada.”

Delaware and Massachusetts (SB 101 & SB 197) are in the race, as well. Big gambling, particularly Internet gambling, lacks self-sustainability. It’s destined to self-implode through market cannibalism, player extinction and the proliferation of harmful addiction.

The gambling cartel’s race to the bottom has no winners. We need to ask: Is the role state government to serve, protect, promote justice and preserve order among its citizens? Or, is state government’s role to exploit citizens through the promotion of deceptive vice to gain more tax revenues?

What are your thoughts on government and gambling?

Race To The Bottom

Race To The Bottom

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  • http://www.facebook.com/rich.muny Rich Muny

    Poker is an honorable game and liberty is the cornerstone of our democracy. Both won today, Mr. Hills.

    Isn’t it time you all stopped attacking freedom? Can’t you see the big government you help empower is crushing religious liberty? I personally think your organization would be best served by letting poker players play.

    • ChadHills

      One of my favorite Poker Player’s Alliance (PPA) lobbyists, Rich Muny! Good to hear from you again.

      Attacking freedom? Is that what you call your efforts to expand casinos into homes so you can further exploit citizens? I call that an invasion. Empowering big government? Wasn’t PPA’s original intent to have “big government” regulate Internet poker so it would be “safe”? Gosh, I guess I must have misinterpreted what PPA originally wanted. :::Wink::: Religious liberty and gambling are not on the same battle field, my friend, but the battle for traditional marriage is impacting religious freedom. And, last of all, in your opinion, our organization would do best by ‘closing our eyes’ and letting your favorite vice, online gambling, expand? Sorry to disappoint you, but the negatives of gambling far outweigh the benefits (revenue to states) by a ratio greater than 3:1, economically, and much more socially. Two words for states considering Internet gambling: Bad Policy.

      Take care, Rich, and thanks for your thoughts, though we almost always agree to disagree.

      -Chad

  • http://twitter.com/thew92 Matt Allen

    Just think Mr. Hills don’t you wish you could go back in time to 2012 where there where bill out by Rep. Barton and Sen. Kyl that just allowed online poker while outlawing nearly all other house banked games online. Now you are going to get a surge of states getting the most predatory slot machine like games out there. If only your group would of not opposed those bills maybe it would just be online poker.

    • ChadHills

      No. If you have principles, stand for them. The gambling lobby has no principles – only greed. And who really believes they can trust anything the gambling lobby says? The NFL was foolish for believing sports would remain exempt from national online gambling (if it stood a chance of passing, which it didn’t). How many times has gambling promised, “Only this much …” only to be back in state or federal legislation asking for more, more, more? Answer: Almost every time. Once their foot is in the door, there’s no stopping the ‘body’ from following. State by state are less dangerous than declaring the entire nation as a gambling hub and having casino bosses in Vegas loot the entire country. You know full-well, and I know, it will never be “just poker.” More! More! More!

      Sorry to disappoint you, but we’d do exactly the same thing if we could repeat 2012.

      Take care and thanks for writing CitizenLink!

      -Chad

  • http://twitter.com/schlucky1 Matthew

    You will never win this battle Chad Hills. The American spirit of freedom will always prevail. No one wants to force online poker into people’s homes, but millions want the freedom to choose to do so if they please.

    • ChadHills

      Thanks for your comment, Matthew. God determines what battles are won and lost, but I will continue to fight for what I believe to be right, ethical, and good for families and citizens. We are a free people, and I do not believe you are inhibited from playing poker. But, we apparently view the Internet differently. You see it as a place for vice to flourish (you call it ‘freedom’, I call it ‘vice’), while I see it more as a means for efficient communication and as a huge public library available to the public for useful information, conducting business and improving society. Gambling, per my view, offers not useful product; but, it does cause harm.

      As for the “millions,” would that be 1.5 million, as part of the Poker Player’s Alliance? This pales in comparison to the 15 million or more [see http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/reports/4.pdf ] who suffer problem and pathological gambling addictions. But, I support people and states having their say and their vote. I will say, however, these decisions will have consequences, and sweeping public policies should not be crafted on the desires of special-interest groups – they should represent and benefit the majority of families and citizens.

      Take care, Matthew.

      -Chad

  • ChadHills

    Hi Matthew, I like to respond to those who comment, to let them know I care about what they say. And, admittedly, I’ve missed the two-week deadline to post and comment on some blog comments submitted (out of the office). My apologies for ‘missing’ a past comment challenging a body of data I must have referenced. My time is stretched thin over multiple issues.

    Regarding my “gross misuse of data” and being a “total sham,” I hope this is never the case. If there is a body of evidence that gambling is good for marriages, good for families, good for society and good for children, then I’d love to see it. Please send it my way and I’ll be happy to post it.

    Last of all, let’s address scruples. I’m attempting to present the truth about gambling to the public. That seems to irritate you. Why? I’m not stopping people from gambling – gamble all you want. But I am hoping to stop gambling from exploiting homes, schools, libraries and businesses via the internet. It’s just not good for families. Hope you have a better day. -Chad

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