The respected Las Vegas Review-Journal this week carries an absorbing article on the benefits of legalised online gambling in America, authored by a former problem gambler.
Writing at http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/the-bet-america-needs-to-make-103813559.html, Adam Resnick juxtapositions internet gambling against the backdrop of a stressed economy.
Resnick presents his credentials as: "I am a former compulsive gambler, and much of my life has been devastated by the poor decisions I made in service of that addiction. I lost all of the money that I earned as a successful health care entrepreneur and served time in prison after my gambling contributed to a bank failure.
"Examining the financial state of our government reminds me of those dark days when I would borrow money just so that I could either pay my debts or head to the casino.
"Even if you succeed at that game temporarily, it eventually catches up to you. Always.
"Looking at the unsustainable condition of the nation's balance sheet, this drunken night at the casino will end soon too, and it will end painfully for all of us unless we start generating taxable revenue that does not simultaneously hamper production."
One of the ways in which government can access that sort of revenue is the regulation and legalisation of online gambling, Resnick points out, urging Congress to recognise that such a strategy can generate very significant funds for the government, and that the pastime is most dangerous when left to the shadows of the international underworld.
Resnick observes that gambling has always been a well patronised activity, and that government paternalism has drawbacks. Politicians who want to use the gambling issue to make a moral statement are only exacerbating its dangers, he notes, adding that gambling is already big business in the United States, and that citizens will engage in it regardless. Combined with the potential to generate revenue and the fact that legalised, regulated and monitored gambling would better protect the vulnerable, regulation makes sense.
Properly regulated gambling could leverage advances in technology to ensure that the under aged and addictive are excluded, betting is monitored and controlled in terms of value and time, and there are ample warnings of the dangers of addiction, Resnick opines.
"Our country is in fiscal crisis, gambling is a big business, and the current underground gaming model is ruining many more lives than would an appropriately regulated federal system," Resnick concludes.
"It is time that we as a society accept that reality and proactively deal with the issue for all of our benefit. If I gambled, I'd bet that doing so could be worth it."
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