April 6, 2015
A week after members of Congress debated a bill that would forbid states from legalizing online gambling, the Poker Players Alliance have issued a petition asking the White House to veto the measure. In order to receive a response from the White House the petition must receive 100,000 signatures by May 2.
Despite having legal and effectively regulated online gambling in America for more than two years, some in Congress insist that allowing states to legalize and regulate the activity is too dangerous for America. Supporters of the woefully mistitled Restoration of America’s Wire...
March 27, 2015
It’s the most wonderful time of year! Human Achievement Hour is once again upon us, giving us reason to pause and consider recent innovations that have or will significantly improve the human condition. I usually like to focus on some development in medicine or environmental tech, but this year I feel compelled to highlight what may be the most significant advancement in the modern economy. What began with eBay—the digital garage sale—has now blossomed into an entire economy and a way of life. You may have heard it called the “sharing economy,” or “collaborative consumption” is actually about efficient resource allocation.
Instead of leaving rooms or homes empty and unused families can make extra money by renting them out to vacationers or business people through Airbnb or VRBO. Instead of paying to leave your car at the airport—you can now have someone ...
March 24, 2015
The following is a guest post by Chelsea German, Researcher and Managing Editor of HumanProgress.org.
When Homo erectus first learned to control fire a million years ago, humanity gained the ability to light up the night. From fire to electricity to LEDs, lighting technology has advanced unceasingly ever since. Yet every year, the Earth Hour campaign calls on millions of people to forgo this remarkable achievement by turning off their electricity. Earth Hour even discourages the use of smoke-emitting candles, plunging many participants into the same impenetrable darkness that surrounded our ancestors before fire was first...
March 11, 2015
According to a Gambling Compliance story (paywall) posted today, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) participated in a conference call last week with about 20 state and lottery officials to discuss his proposal to create a nationwide ban on Internet gambling. Chaffetz’s bill rewrites the 1961 Wire Act, which he claims was “reinterpreted” by Obama’s DOJ in 2011—which opened the door for states to legalize online gambling. When the participants voiced their concerns that Chaffetz’s bill would also criminalize lottery activities that were legal prior to 2011, Chaffetz responded by brazenly suggesting that when his bill passes, they can try to pass their own federal bill. “You can come back and re-start if you want,” Chaffetz concluded.
The call was organized by the Commerce...
March 11, 2015
Should the United States government ban online poker? One billionaire casino owner thinks so. In the quest to convince Americans that they shouldn't be able to do what they want with their own money in their own homes, proponents of the ban have spent big bucks and spread big lies. Below are some of the biggest whoppers.
February 19, 2015
Many people associate professional licensing with consumer safety. For example, we wouldn’t want any schlub doing surgery. But where occupational licensing laws may have started out with the goal of protecting consumers, they have now become a means by which certain professionals restrict competition. States require licenses for hundreds of occupations including perilous professions like florist, funeral director, hair braider, and fortune teller.
The case of the “Caveman” blogger who was bullied by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition for providing nutritional advice without a license illustrates how licensing threatens not just our economic freedom, but our other basic freedoms. Luckily for blogger Steve...
February 12, 2015
Thomas Jefferson once said, “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” On this issue, TJ seems to have hit the nail on the head.
Since Uncle Sam started telling us what to eat, Americans have steadily grown less healthy in many ways. In the 1970s, we were told to eat less meat and more grains. We listened, but it did little to curtail the oncoming obesity “epidemic” (some claim government recommendations may have actually caused this epidemic). And for decades, we have been told to restrict our consumption of cholesterol in order to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. That is, until now. ...
February 5, 2015
As expected, members of the GOP reintroduced a measure that would create a de facto prohibition on all Internet gambling. The effort, which was written by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, has Republicans divided. Three states have already legalized online gambling while others are considering legislation to do the same.
A move by the federal government to overturn or block these state laws is seen by some as an example of “crony capitalism” and as incompatible with traditional Republican values, such as federalism. The measure failed to gain traction in the last session, thanks in part to opposition from prominent free-market, conservative, and grassroots organizations. But with a presidential election looming, it is uncertain if the allure...
February 5, 2015
“Say goodbye to your favorite sprinkled doughnuts,” warned Clayton Morris, guest host on Fox & Friends. “The [FDA] is now regulating Americans intake of trans fat…the amount needed to make something as small as a sprinkle on your doughnut may be banned.” Morris is referring to the decision announced by the Food and Drug Administration in 2013 to reclassify partially hydrogenated oils—revoking its status as “generally recognized as safe” and creating a de facto ban on the artificial trans fat found in the oils. Fox’s overwrought presentation of the issue led many observers to ridicule the segment as well as opposition to the FDA action. The ribbing is warranted; discussion on both sides of the debate has overwhelmingly relied on...
February 2, 2015
Industry experts expected yesterday’s Super Bowl game to bring in around $100 million in legal sports wagering in Nevada. That’s a lot of moola, but it pales in comparison to how much Americans bet illegally. While it’s hard to know exact numbers, the American Gaming Association estimated that Americans would spend around $3.8 billion in illegal gambling on the Super Bowl.
While gambling on a football has probably been around since the first game, many state and federal statutes prohibit even small, friendly wagers among friends.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006: Although UIGEA doesn’t outlaw gambling online, it does prohibit payment transactions related to “unlawful” online gambling. While the law doesn’t specify what it...