Senator Reid Has a Change of Heart
Washington, D.C., December 3, 2010 — Once an opponent of legalized online gambling, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is now circulating draft legislation that would legalize Internet poker. Like many lawmakers, Reid seems to believe that government should not ban online betting—an activity that millions of Americans engage in each year both on and off-line. The proposed legislation would overturn a bill passed in 2006 that bans financial institutions from processing online-gambling transactions.
Michelle Minton, Director of the Insurance Studies project at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, supports Sen. Reid’s change of heart. “Not only is a ban impossible, but legalizing the activity could result in increased tax revenue, job creation and economic growth,” said Minton. “While some politicians might personally find online wagering distasteful, it is not their job to babysit adult Americans, especially when almost every state has some form of legalized land-based gambling such as casinos and state lotteries.”
Minton also argued that supporting legalization is good politics. “Overturning the ban on Internet gambling is the right thing to do and beneficial for all political parties,” Minton said. “For Democrats, legalization increases personal freedom of choice and improves international relations. For Republicans, overturning a ban on voluntary online wagering will limit government bloat, allow individuals to exercise personal responsibility, and could result in a massive influx of revenue that could be leveraged into tax reductions. Moreover, politicians who support overturning the ban can demonstrate to voters that they are living up to campaign promises and staying true to the ideals that got them into office.”
Minton can be reached for comment at 202-331-2251