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[FYI] Cato:"INTERNET GAMBLING Popular, Inexorable, and (Eventual


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           Cato Policy Analysis No. 336 
                                   March 8, 1999 

                               INTERNET GAMBLING 
                    Popular, Inexorable, and (Eventually) Legal 

                                          by Tom W. Bell 

                Tom W. Bell is an assistant professor at Chapman
                University School of Law and an adjunct scholar of the
                Cato Institute. He is coeditor with Solveig Singleton
             Regulators' Revenge: The Future of Telecommunications
             Deregulation (Cato Institute, 1998). 

                                        Executive Summary 

           The Internet offers new and better access to something that
           American consumers demand in spades: gambling. Lawmakers
           and prohibitionists can neither effectively stop Internet
           gambling nor justify their attempts to do so. In the long
           run it will, like so many other forms of gambling, almost
           certainly become legal. In the short run, however, Internet
           gambling faces some formidable opponents. 

           As a market activity devoted to the pursuit of happiness,
           Internet gambling draws support from neither Democrats nor
           Republicans. As an upstart competitor to entrenched
           gambling interests, both public and private, Internet
           gambling threatens some very powerful lobbies. 

           Not surprisingly, Congress has been considering bills that
           would prohibit Internet gambling. But the architecture of
           the Internet makes prohibition easy to evade and impossible
           to enforce. As an international network, moreover, the
           Internet offers instant detours around domestic bans. 

           Consumer demand and lost tax revenue will create enormous
           political pressure for legalization, which we should
           welcome if only for its beneficial policy impacts on
           network development and its consumer benefits. We should
           also welcome it for a more basic reason: as the Founders
           recognized, our rights to peaceably dispose of our property
           include the right to gamble, online or off. 

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