"Stick in the Eye" Legalization Approach

The latest plan out of the US Senate to legalize online gambling might seem like a step in the right direction, but in reality it’s more like someone claiming they are doing you a favor while poking you in the eye with a stick.

VentureBeat.com reports that a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is close to a deal on legalizing online poker, which would seem at first a possible victory for supporters of greater liberalization of gambling laws.  Seems like a reason to celebrate, however the group is also considering tightening restrictions on other forms of Internet gambling, which could have a devastating affect on the growth of social gaming, casino games, and other forms of online gambling.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) are leading the effort to gain support for the measure.
Here’s why this approach is bad for almost everyone.  The Justice Department in December decided that the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 did not bar all Internet gambling, but rather just sports gambling.  Accordingly, the prospects for legal treatment of almost all forms of online gaming, including poker, look very good.  The primary effect of the Reid-Kyl proposal is to limit what US citizens can do, not expand it.
It’s not only the game playing public that would be hurt by this approach.  Investors have been pouring money into social gaming companies in the hopes that the barriers between online gambling and social casino games will melt away.  This law as proposed will make these investors very unhappy.
The bottom line here is that, when you see what appears to be a step toward legalization of online gaming in the US, consider all the angles.  And watch out for something sharp coming toward the upper part of your face.

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