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Feds Gamble with Americans’ Rights

Online gambling concept man holding poker chips through a laptopNew Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada recently legalized online gambling following a 2011 Justice Department ruling that allows it. But a proposed federal bill aims to reverse that ruling and ban online gambling nationwide. As NJ.com reports, Senators Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein “would reimpose a long-standing interpretation of the federal Wire Act that held betting over the internet violated the law.”

Las Vegas casino operator Sheldon Adelson, an outspoken supporter of the proposed ban, claims online gambling “targets the young, the poor and the elderly where they live” and “crosses the line of responsible gaming.”

But the existence of online gambling, like any other form of entertainment, does not force anyone to engage in it. Each individual can choose to gamble online—or choose not to. (Existing laws forbid those under twenty-one to gamble.) And those who gamble can choose to do so responsibly or irresponsibly.

Adults have a moral right to spend their money as they see fit, and gambling companies have a moral right to offer their services as they see fit. So long as those gambling or offering gambling services do not violate rights, government has no moral right to interfere.

Shame on Graham and Feinstein for seeking to violate the rights of Americans who wish to gamble or offer online gambling—and shame on Adelson for asking government to throttle his competitors.

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