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Really, Beshear? Is that your final answer?

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Just read Mike’s piece on KY Gov. Beshear’s demand that international gambling sites block access to Kentucky users or forfeit their domain names. I’ve liked Beshear mostly, he took down a real crook of a predecessor in the last election and backed casinos amid a firestorm of opposition to raising much needed revenue—objections have been either speciously moralistic (lotto and horse racing are okay but slots are sinful) or based on illogical scare tactics. But this move is not just weird, it’s disturbing.

Granted, online poker sites are illegal in the US; here in the Land of the Free we’re only allowed to gamble via state-approved venues. And granted, these gambling sites are suspect—just read last week one got in trouble for spying on players’ poker hands and rigging the games.

In short, I ain’t risking my money in these joints.

But Beshear is demanding jurisdiction over sites already policed by ICANN and operated in foreign countries? Really? That’s the first thing that doesn’t make any sense at all.

The other thing is his defense of it. Without giving any support or data whatsoever, he says these “illegal sites” deprive KY of “millions of dollars in revenue.” Um, what? The only gambling revenue the state gets is via state lotto taxes and taxes on earnings from horse races. Is the state thinking of imposing a backroom poker tax? How much of the money we weren’t getting anyway are we losing, Beshear?

He also says it undermines the horseracing industry, I’m guessing by betting on horse races outside the horse tracks, which is just more government hypocrisy. Once again, I’m granted the liberty to go to a state-approved place to gamble, so long as the government gets its cut. Let me put that another way: I’m allowed to exercise my freedom to do with my money as I choose, so long as I choose to do it in a certain way and the state benefits from it—otherwise its illegal and immoral.

I hate gambling. Just sayin’.

The worst part was when he brought the kids into it and said online gambling posed “a unique threat…particularly to our youth.” There doesn’t seem to be one shred of data to support that.

This strikes me as serious political posturing. Beshear’s efforts to get casinos approved has been stalled by the moralistic and/or illogical in the General Assembly—if he can appear tough on unregulated gambling maybe they’ll soften up on the regulated kind.

Really, Beshear? Is that your final answer?
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