Home » Blogs »

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

Dig Deeper …