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For the most part, I agree with the author of that article. But a couple of things made me laugh..."...gambling shouldn't be prohibited, but that it must be regulated—both to protect gamblers from themselves and to protect nongamblers from the externalities of gambling."Yeah, because regulation will stop all of us degenerates from blowing all our money. And who did I ask for this protection from myself, anyway?"Following this model, gambling would be basically legal. But state and local authorities would decide where it could and could not take place. They would make sure it isn't crooked..."Hmmm, a state regulated activity where the house has the mathematical advantage isn't crooked? And they can throw you out if you find some way to beat that advatnage? Who are they kidding?Overall, not a bad article.

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Back when this issue still hadn't been voted on in the House I sent Melissa Hart (my districts Congressperson) a letter expressing my feelings on this bill and how it's taking away another liberty we should be allowed to enjoy as adults. Here's the reply I got..."<Congresswoman Melissa Hart" <pa04ima.pub@mail.house.gov> wrote:Dear Friend: Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 4411, Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. As a former member of the Judiciary and more importantly as your representative in Congress, I appreciate your input on this issue. Throughout my years as a member of the United States House of Representatives and as an advocate for freedom, I have fought to uphold the rights and liberties contained in the United States Constitution. We can certainly agree on the importance of protecting the personal freedoms guaranteed under this important document. In 1996, a bipartisan commission, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC), was created to conduct a comprehensive legal and factual study of the social and economic impacts of gambling. Some of the specific items that the NGISC studied was the relationship between gambling and levels of crime, and of existing enforcement and regulatory practices that are intended to address any such relationship; pathological or problem gambling, including its impact on individuals, families, businesses, social institutions, and the economy; impacts of gambling on individuals, families, businesses, social institutions, and the economy generally, including the role of advertising in promoting gambling and the impact of gambling in depressed economic areas; interstate and international effects of gambling by electronic means, including the use of interactive technologies and the Internet. H.R. 4411 addresses the problems of Internet gambling by clarifying the Wire Act of 1961, cutting off the flow of money to Internet, seeking injuctions against persons who facilitate illegal Internet gambling, and advancing international cooperation. Recently, with bipartisan support, the House passed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 by a vote of 317 - 93. Currently, this legislation awaits action in the Senate. Again, thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention on this pertinent issue. As always, please contact my office if I can be of further assistance on this or any other federal matter. In addition, I encourage you to visit my webpage at www.hart.house.gov for an update on my work in Congress. Very truly yours, Melissa Hart Member of Congress MH:kp So I followed up with this. I wonder if I'll get any kind fo reply at all? If I do, I'll post it here for anyone who cares. I really want to know what her reasoning is on this, not just her position.Dear Mrs. Hart, While I appreciate the reply to my original e-mail, I have to say that I am pretty disappointed with the content. Here's why... First off, your message does not clearly state your position on the matter other than to say "H.R. 4411 addresses the problems of Internet gambling..." and "the House passed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 by a vote of 317 - 93". I'm assuming this means that you are in favor of this bill and supported it with your vote? My issue with this bill stands as it did in my original e-mail. Can you please explain to me why the government feels it needs to hold my hand when I make decisions about how to spend my money? No offense to you personally, but looking at how incredibly poorly our government controls our tax dollars, I think I can do a better job on my own, thank you. I've yet to build up trillions of dollars of debt, so I must be doing something right. I think it's extremely hypocritical of our government to pursue a bill that seeks to stop gambling (from within my own home) on the basis of a study that tries to link gambling to crime, the effects on people, social institutions, etc. How about the lottery tickets that are sold in every convenience store in America? Who's stopping those potential "addicts" from spending their entire paycheck on those? Nobody. I wonder why that is? And how about the legal casinos all around the country? And better yet, the Indian casinos that are turning up everywhere you look? From our little corner of PA, any one of us could be at a legal casino within 3 hours by car. But the government wants to tell me that I can't sit at home at my computer and play some poker with my own money? For the most part, people use computers in 2 places, work and home. My employer has their own rules about internet use at work, and I believe most others do too. If I violate those rules, I get fired. So that leaves my home computer. Can I ask what threat I pose to society by playing a little poker or blackjack on my own computer? And if the "addiction" and "societal decay" cards are going to be played here then I ask you this... Will I still be able to have an alcoholic drink or a cigarrette after this bill passes? I mean, those are 2 of the most addicitive substances on Earth, and both of those are legal. The government seems to feel that American adults are capable of making their own decisions with regard to those. Cigarrettes will kill you outright, and they are a perfectexample of how adult Americans WILL make bad decisions with their freedom, but it is THEIR right to make that decision. And bad decisions regarding alcohol typically leads to the deaths of others due to the negligence of the user. But our government doesn't seem too concerned about us becoming addicted to either of them. I wonder why? And don't get me wrong, I certainly believe we should have the right to choose what we put in our bodies, or how we spend our money, but when the ultimate consequence is very similar, I don't see why the government believes that I can't control myself when gambling on-line. Or are they legitimately concerned with the guy who can't control himself? The poor guy who's going to lose all his money because he can't stop gambling? So because this guy can't control himself we all have to be told what to do? Interesting, seeing how if he got drunk and drove his car he could kill ME, yet there's no law to head that off, only punishment after the fact for his bad choices, as it should be. With gambling, HE is the victim of his own actions. Isn't that what "personal responsibility" is all about? Why should those of us who can control ourselves be cut off from something we enjoy, in a "free" society, simply because a few cannot? America is still "free", isn't it? Maybe I'm just misguided as to the motivations behind this bill. I'm assuming it is being pushed as the government's way of protecting society, or so they believe. Maybe this is just another case of lobbyists for the casino industry spreading their vast supply of money around to the right people on the unstated premise that on-line gambling is hurting them by making it unnecessary for people to make trips to Vegas, and Atlantic City, and New Orleans, and everywhere else there is legal gambling in this country. You guys in Congress and the Senate don't seem too concerned about the potential "social decay" surrounding those areas. I wonder why that is? I guess my ramblings here are ultimately pointless, as you've already cast your vote (whatever is was) on this issue. I guess I just felt a need to follow up with you to explain how us little guys feel about liberty and our right to pursue happiness. The government feels a need to restrict us from many activities where the only "potential" victim is ourselves. By passing a bill such as this, doesn't that equate to the government telling me what is best for me? Is that our governments role? I don't remember learning about that aspect of our government in school. I was always told that we the people ARE the government. So how are our lives getting so far out of our control? I'm certainly not looking for someone to hold my hand, and protect me from myself. Why does MY government feel that they know better than me, where they can dictate what I can and can't do when I'm not harming anyone else? In your reply below you felt it important to add this section... "Throughout my years as a member of the United States House of Representatives and as an advocate for freedom, I have fought to uphold the rights and liberties contained in the United States Constitution. We can certainly agree on the importance of protecting the personal freedoms guaranteed under this important document." Yes, I do agree that it is extremely important to protect personal freedoms guranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Could you please explain to me how this bill isn't doing just the opposite of what you've stated above? While I know you're busy (I am too) I would greatly appreciate a response from you that explains your stance on this issue. The reply you sent me does not offer this. And I'll be realistic here. I'm not asking you to address my e-mail personally. But a generic letter that actually gives me insight into why you believe this bill was a good idea is what I'm after. I believe, as someone you represent, that I have a right to know this. It may effect my decision to vote for you in the next election. I will close with this... You are my representative in Congress. As my representative I feel your position on this issue is incorrect. I do not support this bill which is why I wrote to you originally. I know this is one of those issues that is very specific and was not addressed publicly in any of your campaign literature, so maybe you weren't aware on how the people you represent felt about this issue. If nothing else, you now know how at least 1 feels. I believe you'd find many more that share the same feeling as I do, who could argue their position logically, and not just state their opinion solely on their emotions, or based on THEIR moral beliefs, and/or their ignorance of the issue. Sincerely, Stephen M. Moroney1020 Childs AvenueMonaca, PA 15061(412) 952-9319I can't wait to see if she replies!

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