FreedomWorks Watching Online Gambling

Published on: December 6, 2008 

With the recent cheating scandals at Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet still being fresh in everyone’s minds, people are wondering just how safe gambling online really is.  The coverage about the scandals has brought grassroots organization FreedomWorks to the forefront of the online gaming community, and they are now putting two cents into the entire ‘regulation versus freedom’ argument.  The group was formed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and the group believes that less government, lower taxes, and greater individual freedom and liberty is the way to go.  Are they saying online gaming shouldn’t be regulated?  No.  They are actually saying quite the opposite.

FreedomWorks believes that the solution to the ongoing online gaming dilemma – which includes the cheating scandals and the banning – is to ensure that gamers have access to the rule of law and that online gaming providers should face strict market discipline.  The group has cited that the online casino cheating scandal is a perfect example of how outlawing and banning online gambling is hurting the players.  The consequences of the UIGEA are driving online casinos offshore and out of the control of the American government where the industry could be legalized, regulated, and consumers protected.  They have gone as far as pointing out that the open online casino environment prior to the UIGEA was actually safer than it is now.

Says Wayne T. Brough, head economist for FreedomWorks, "There is no reason online gaming should be inherently more dangerous than purchasing a flat screen TV online. If anything, the incident demonstrates the dangers of government policies that drive online gaming offshore or underground, beyond the rule of law.”  He also pointed out that banning a multi-million dollar market that has millions of customers is a foolish idea when these customers have the same protections and rights at an online casino as they do when making an online transaction or buying something at the mall.  Cheating and identity theft can happen anywhere.

Brough added, “The solution is not to drive the industry underground and offshore. Rather, it is to ensure that online gamers have access to the rule of law, and that providers of online gaming face strict market discipline where trust can be rewarded, and a breach of trust means a business is not viable.”

It is interesting to note that the Republican Party is the culprit behind the online gambling bans, but FreedomWorks Armey is a leading Republican figure who has denounced the government’s strategy from the start.  Former Republican Senator Alphonse D’Amato is the chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, and Republican Representatives Peter King of New York and Pete Sessions of Texas have also been very vocal about the banning online gaming in the United States.  With a new Democratic government coming into power that will be supported by libertarian Republicans such as these men, Americans may very soon be able to once again gamble online in a safe and secure environment...if they can correct the damage that’s already been done.

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