Internet Poker Cheating Is Government’s Fault, CEI Says

Washington, D.C., November 30, 2008—A Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow says that the recent 60 Minutes reports about online poker cheating scandals show the foolishness of efforts to ban online gambling.

In its broadcast this evening, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported on an online cheating ring that, for a time, stole money from honest poker players on two websites owned by the same company.

"Like all other businesses, online gambling will attract its share of crooks," says CEI Senior Fellow Eli Lehrer. "We really need to ask: ‘How do we deal with them?’ The scandal—which was quite real—does show that online skilled games are, in the long-term, self-regulating. The cheaters got caught."

But, Lehrer says, such cheating is much more likely to erupt so long as Internet gambling continues to exist in a legal grey area. "If Internet gambling were expressly legalized in the U.S., this sort of thing would happen far, far less and be dealt with much more quickly," he says. "The government needs to prevent fraud while otherwise staying out of the way of people who want to gamble online."

Lehrer is available for comment and interviews.


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