Feature

Why is online gambling illegal?

Some people consider gambling immoral, but in a country where we condone lotteries and casinos, “there is no moral argument” for excluding one type of gambling, said Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune.

Steve Chapman
Chicago Tribune

Whenever the federal government tries to prohibit citizens from engaging in “a peaceful, popular, and enjoyable activity,” said Steve Chapman, people ignore the law and do it anyway. That’s why Congress should move forward with a proposal to lift the ban on online gambling. “Law or no,” millions of Americans with broadband connections spend $6 billion a year on offshore gambling sites, making the U.S. “the biggest online betting market on the planet.” That represents a massive amount of lost tax revenue for the U.S. treasury.

Some people consider gambling immoral, but in a country where we condone lotteries and casinos, “there is no moral argument” for excluding one type of gambling. Indeed, at this point the main argument against legalizing online gambling is that it will hurt casinos, off-track betting parlors, and state lotteries—but that’s life in the free-enterprise system. As for the charge that legalizing online gambling will transform millions into gambling addicts, Great Britain made it legal five years ago, with no upsurge in addiction. So let’s grow up. Internet gambling can’t be stopped. Why try?

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