Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Kentucky Wants to Ban Online Gambling

The Kentucky governor is asking a court to allow them to block access to online gambling sites:

Kentucky’s pro-gambling governor is looking to make sure all bets are off for more than 140 online gambling Web sites that operate in the state known for the world’s biggest horse race.

Gov. Steve Beshear said his administration has asked a Franklin County Circuit Court judge to give the state control of 141 gambling Web site domain names. Beshear said he’s looking to restrict Kentuckians’ access to Web sites with names that include some of the most popular gambling sites for U.S. players: bodoglife.com, doylesroom.com and fulltiltpoker.com.

I can’t imagine on what basis they’ve filed the case. There is no possible legal basis for the judge to grant the request. Even if you do believe that online gambling should be banned, at the very least it requires legislative action rather than judicial action.

Beshear believes Kentucky is the first in the country to attempt to block online gambling by taking over Web domain names of gambling sites.

“Unlike casinos that operate on land or on riverboats in the United States, these operations pay no tax revenues, provide no jobs and yield no tourism benefits,” Beshear said at a Monday afternoon Capitol press conference. “They are leeches on our communities.”

Well yes, you dolt, they don’t pay tax revenues. You know why? Because the government hasn’t made it explicitly legal and regulated, which would allow them to pay taxes in the US. You can’t complain about no taxes while trying to do the very thing that prevents them from paying taxes. But at least Beshear is open about the fact that he is engaging in rent-seeking:

Kentucky, home to the Kentucky Derby, already has a state lottery and allows gambling at horse tracks and bingo halls. Blocking internet gambling sites in Kentucky would “protect the signature industry,” Beshear said.

Such sites “siphon off money from regulated and legal games such as Kentucky’s thoroughbred racing industry, our lottery and charitable gaming activities,” Beshear said.

We all knew that was true, of course, but it’s nice to see him come right out and admit that he’s merely trying to protect his cronies from competition. But that isn’t the government’s job, of course, nor is it their job to tell adults what they can and can’t do with their money – especially if you’re going to encourage them to gamble in one form but outlaw it in another. And you have to love the spectacular lack of integrity in this comment from the inaptly titled Justice Secretary:

Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown said the state is asking the court to forfeit control of the domain names to Kentucky state government. Brown said if successful, the domain names would then controlled by Kentucky state government and subsequently blocked.

“There is gambling going on on the Internet and we know that that gambling is illegal in the commonwealth of Kentucky,” Brown said.

Gee, do you think anyone will notice that in one breath we talk about how online gambling takes revenue away from state lotteries and horse betting and in the next breath declare that gambling is illegal? Yeah, I think we’ll notice.