Progress in Nevada, California, Illinois, and New Jersey will continue nonetheless.
The Republicans’ 2012 “platform” is not exactly sophisticated. In theory, the platform should represent Party members’ general values. But really it is not possible to align every member on every issue, and few members are properly informed about all issues. So when communicating with the broad membership base, it is usually best to keep the message simple.
The Republicans’ 2012 platform addresses internet gambling, and the message is indeed simple:
We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting.
Sadly, this position conflicts with economic realities. The fact is there is immense demand for internet gambling in America, and for 17 years the demand has been met solely by foreign operators. A multibillion-dollar foreign internet gambling industry thrives despite repeated attempts by Congress and the U.S. Justice Department to break it. The most infamous attempt, led by Republican Congressional leaders in 2006, has proven a severe failure and waste of administrative expenses.
Keeping children away from internet gambling is no insurmountable challenge because even foreign operators require that customers have a bank account and proof of identity. It is absurd to think a child could dupe Caesar’s or MGM into opening a real money account. A more difficult problem is how to control the risks of problem gambling and addiction. The fear is that an individual sitting in his bedroom can develop a secret addiction and eventually blow away his family’s entire life savings. It happens often, actually. And sometimes the individual steals and embezzles in order to conceal or continue feeding the addiction. But this happens even now, with a prohibition in effect.
And of course there is the issue of the economy. Because internet gambling operators are presently located overseas, America receives none of the benefits of this very real economic activity. This means no wagering or operating taxes are delivered to American government, and it means thousands of jobs are filled by workers overseas instead of at home in America.
The right thing to do is enact laws that will enable American gambling corporations to rescue the market from foreign operators. This will stimulate American gambling corporations to hire American workers to assist with internet gambling operations, and it will finally allow American government to collect tax revenue to offset the social costs of internet gambling.
The point is that right now it is important for Romney and other Republicans to tell the broad electorate whatever they must to win election. Actual governing doesn’t come until later. But for now a certain class of voters wants to hear about God and Country when they flock to the Party’s circus of a convention.
And in the 50 states, progress will continue regardless of election year rhetoric.
Meanwhile, internet gambling is not exactly a focal point for Democrats either, but President Obama’s office has at least recognized some important complexities. In May the White House issued a statement on internet gambling in response to petitions for legalization received through a program called “We the People.” The White House says it is of the opinion that the 50 states have the power to make their own decisions about internet gambling regulation:
“…Online gambling on sporting events or contests violates federal law. The legality of other forms of online gambling is dependent upon the law of the states where the bettor or gambling business is located. It is left to each state to determine whether it wishes to permit such activity between its residents and an online poker business authorized by that state to accept such wagers…”