The Big Business of Illegal Gambling

Tonight at 9pm CNBC will investigate the horrors of illegal gambling . It will doubtlessly delve into the shady underground economy of gambling, where billions of dollars flow from hand to hand and international borders, where “contracts” are enforced with violence, and innocent small fish are victimized with no legal protection available. I just hope that the report takes note of why illegal gambling is dangerous and I certainly hope that the report highlights why illegal gambling is shady and why victims have no legal protections, namely because the activities *are illegal*.

When the report makes its way to discussing online gambling, which they’ll undoubtedly claim is illegal despite the fact that there are no active federal laws banning Internet wagering (except for sports betting), let’s just hope they also talk about how the Department of Justice has been using the pseudo-ban on Internet gaming to persecute and extort money from legitimate Internet casinos that happen to be based outside the US.

People like to gamble and they aren’t going to stop because the government tells them they can’t–clearly they can. But they shouldn’t have to stop. Most of the ills associated with gambling can be directly tied to the fact that it has been forced underground, but even disregarding that fact, it isn’t for the government to tell citizens what to do so long as they aren’t harming anyone else.