Thursday, November 16, 2006

Slim chance of overturning the ban

My good friends, BUCWILD and ****73NJ, were asking me about this article, which starts:
Casino executives and a poker lobby group said that they hope a change in power brought by the midterm elections will help them overturn an Internet gambling ban rushed through Congress while Republicans were still in control.
I don't think so. My reasons?

1. The GOP was obtuse enough to pass this ban, while excepting for state lotteries, horses, and casinos. The Dems are historically more obtuse.

2. This was not a major issue in the midterm elections.

3. As Dick Armey said today, the only place where avoiding any economic understanding furthers a career is in Congress. While the futures markets did not predict these recent election results perfectly, they still seem to outperform polls. So if information futures are bad, polls are worse. And if information futures are better than polls, then if used properly, we may improve lives and policy. Why would we expect Congress to improve lives and policy?

4. The article talks about how states can determine internet policy, just like with casinos. Duh!!! What is the point of the internet, if sites are excluded by state? Another terrible idea.

Here are some ideas from Jason Ruspini and Tom Bell, about some legislative possibilities. An excerpt:
Tom W. Bell's suggestion that lobbying campaigns take place at the state level could therefore be helpful. Efforts that would be ineffectively small at the federal level could be marshaled and directed at the most favorable states. The markets would only be legally open to those states' residents, and the operators of the markets should make the good-faith practice of blocking clients from states were gambling is clearly illegal. But there is reason to suspect that if such a law is passed in one state, others will follow, in part from precedent, in part as a tax-dollar rush. At some point, a network effect will help the process along. Within a couple of years, a "confederation" of states where prediction markets are legal could be bootstrapped.

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