Ron Paul: Legalize Online Gambling – And Don’t Tax It!




Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

House Committee on Financial Services

Hearing on HR 2267: the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act

July 20, 2010

Ron Paul: Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing on HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. While it is out of character for me, to say the least, to support a bill that regulates private transactions, I support HR 2267 because it repeals the ban on Internet gambling. The bill does not create any new federal laws; it merely establishes a process to ensure that gambling sites can comply with existing laws, and thus offer their services to adults who wish to gamble online.

The ban on Internet gambling infringes upon two freedoms that are important to many Americans: the ability to do with their money as they see fit, and the freedom from government interference with the Internet.

The proper role of the federal government is not that of a nanny, protecting citizens from any and every potential negative consequence of their actions. Although I personally believe gambling to be a dumb waste of money, American citizens should be just as free to spend their money playing online poker as they should be able to buy a used car, enter into a mortgage, or invest in a hedge fund. Risk is inherent in any economic activity, and it is not for the government to determine which risky behaviors Americans may or may not engage in.

The Internet is a powerful tool, and any censorship of Internet activity sets a dangerous precedent. Many Americans rely on the Internet for activities as varied as watching basketball games, keeping up on international news broadcasts, or buying food and clothing. In the last few years we have seen ominous signs of the federal government’s desire to control the Internet. The ostensible reasons are to protect Americans from sex offenders, terrorists, and the evils of gambling, but once the door is open to government intrusion, there is no telling what legitimate activity, especially political activity, might fall afoul of government authorities.

The ban on Internet gambling also forces financial institutions to act as law enforcement officers. This is another pernicious trend that has accelerated in the aftermath of the Patriot Act, the deputization of private businesses to perform intrusive enforcement and surveillance functions that the federal government is unwilling to perform on its own.

Mr. Chairman, while I am willing to support HR 2267 as a means to repeal the total ban on internet gambling, I urge my colleagues to oppose any attempt to tax internet gambling. Taxing any commercial transition, including gambling, is an unwarranted expansion of the taxing power and will cripple the development of internet commerce. Furthermore, since the power to tax is the power to destroy, imposing taxes on internet gambling could simply morph into a backdoor way of banning gambling on the internet. If opponents of the internet gambling ban are serious about expanding individual liberty, they will oppose restricting the freedom of internet users to do what they want with their time and property by imposing taxes on the bill.

In conclusion, I urge my colleagues to support Chairman Frank’s HR 2267. While not perfect these bills will take a step toward liberty by restoring the right of Americans to decide for them whether or not to gamble online.

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63 Comments:

  1. ...One more reason to love the good doctor Paul. There are so many!

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  2. Well maybe tax the real profit to those that want to treat it as a professional business. This is how the tax code allows professional gamblers right now. Also would have to allow losses to be carried forward and back might be nice as this is allowed for businesses to do as well through the tax code. Audits should be fairly easy if the poker sites would be required to provide proof of transactions to the players so if they are audited they could prove income or losses. Any site worthy of playing on should have this information available already. There will always be those that cheat and abuse any system placed legally or illegally. Take for instance who made most of their money from making certain substances available to a public that wanted(s) it but that the government has made illegal. oK!

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  3. Any business is gonna have to pay SOME kind of tax (unfortunately) but there is no need for an extra SPECIAL kind of tax.

    Like many, Mr. Paul and others seem to have lumped poker into "gambling". It's understandable to make that assumption from the outside but poker has been proven to be a skill game. There will be the person that will risk even-money on a coin landing on heads on 2 of 2 flips. There will another that will risk even-money on heads 2 out of 4 flips. The ones smart enough to wager on the 2-of-4 opportunities will ultimately triumph. If you can follow that logic, you'll be able to understand where poker isn't Anyway.. that's a whole other discussion.

    Btw, The back-and-forth about liberals-this and conservatives-that is just stale my-side-is-better-than-yours b.s. When people start going there when discussing a topic, it takes away from the sincerity of the argument. Like you're just going to be a typical political that wants his side to "win". I doubt every liberal wants to support so many welfare programs as I doubt all conservatives care what other people do in their own bedrooms.

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  4. I'm sorry but I don't buy Liberterian equals Liberal. They are two entirely different things. A liberalterian says it's your money and you are entitled to do what you want with it. A liberal says I ran out of money so give me yours.

    Anyway, if I'm not missing Paul's meaning, is why should the banks report to the government which citizen is gambling on line? In other words, why are banks supposed to be another arm of the IRS?

    Gambling is not the best thing to do but neither are smoking, drinking, etc. However, the states seem to have benefited quite well from these lottery dollars. It used to be we had a millionaire almost every week. Then the state got greedy and added a number to the mix. Now we might have a millionaire twice a year and not always within the state. Then the IRS took its share of a state's income.

    We have casinos. We have lotteries. We have racing. Then we have derivatives. I think I like my chances of on line gambling with no tax burden over bank derivatives.

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  5. I am now confused Ron. I have sent numorous emails, made calls, including today, to vote yes for HR 2267. And at one point, I even received a response in regards to this. But, yet today, you are listed on the house vote as present. But no vote was given. Can you explain this. I certainly would of at least expected a yes, or maybe a no. But Present. now I am a Confused Texas voter in your district

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  6. Posted by Dfens......................................
    Ironically though, Libertarians, oh, let’s just call them Liberals since that’s what they really are, are always happy to let a conservative put their life on the line so those very liberals can sit at home and complain about how they don’t have enough freedoms. It’s all freedom and no responsibility 24/7 for the Liberaltarians and the bills never come due because the conservative down the street already paid in blood. His own.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Hey Defens................

    You wanna take the gloves off...ok! You are f'n outta line. I served my country for 10 years; '92-'03. As did my older brother who was killed by friendly fire in '90. He was a Ron Paul supporter when no one really knew who he was. I decided to leave the Navy after seeing the writing on the wall...From '96 to '99 I did not agree with what our Government was doing, but my job wasn't actually killing, I was a jet engine tech and did final inspections to ensure our crew's safety...But when Bush and his abminastration pushed forward into Iraq after 9/11 without consulting Congress first AND after no WMD were found...I saw the writting on the wall. To stay and serve would be criminal since I no longer would be serving my country, instead I would be serving an evil empire and a system thats only goal was to invade and occupy countrys that had no organized military and were of no real threat to the U.S., and in the process bomb, shoot, starve, and kill thousands of innocent people, along with waste the lives of our own. This was by your so called conservatives!!!

    You need to appologize for your filthy statement...There are thousands of young men and women who do not share your political views that have done the biding for this corupt country and have paid the price.

    Today my company donates 15% of its annual profit to a foundation that helps soldiers, and their families, who after serving were given a clean bill of health yet suffer from PTSD and cannot get government aid.

    What have you done lately!?!?

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    • fred the protectionist

      I suggest you re-read Matthew 6. You wouldn't want to jinx yourself now.

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      • As I recall, Benedict Arnold served in the military too, that didn't make selling out America right for him then any more than it does for anyone else now.

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        • Thats ok Dfens, I understand your ignorance.
          My grandfather who served in WWII, a war that very few Americans disagree over as being "just", told me on the night before I went to boot camp, the only war worth giving yourself for is one that fights facism. ...we are not fighting facism, we are merely attempting to expand our empire at the cost of innocent lives. Paradise Lost!

          You are entitled to you opinion, however debaseing me or anyone else for having made a clear minded decisions to not particapate in slaughtering innocent unarmed civilians for the gain of power shows just how unsophisticated you are.

          I do not condem soldiers who continue to fight...they are doing what they are "programed" to do...follow orders. It is not them who I blame for the murders commited...it is the "system" that I hold accountable...a greedy filthy system that uses young men and women to do their dirty work so that they, the corperate world, may make a profit. And in return for the blood spilled we will errect another monument, while mother's womb aches.

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        • ...that about sums it up!

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      • Drop dead bigot!

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  7. The reason you don't have free gambling in a functional society is because nothing positive is affirmed by winning at gambling. If someone makes bread better than anyone else and becomes rich baking bread, then society as a whole benefits from the breadmaker becoming wealthy. He has a demonstrated talet that benefits us all. If someone wins at the lottery or any other game of chance, nothing good is affirmed. Societ as a whole does not benefit. Even the individual winner often does not benefit. Many who win the lottery end up in lives of misery. That's not generally the case when people win at capitalism. If you want to bet, bet on the stock market. Betting in a casino where no one wins but organized crime is shameful. But why should this be any different from any other Libertarian policy?

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    • fred the protectionist

      I'd be for legalized gambling if everyone was forced to graduate high school with AP Calculus classes taken and passed.

      Gambling is cruel, and people who promote gambling to the ignorant are cruel and evil. You're like the person who rapes a mentally retarded person.

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      • Oh man, well, looks like Texas will be a 'net exporter' should it come to education as a basis, this was in the Houston Chron last week:

        "Texas is one of the least highly educated states in the country, ranking 40th in the nation for the number of people ages 25 to 34 who hold at least a college associate degree, according to a study released Thursday by the College Board.

        The board, which administers the SAT and AP tests, also found less than one-third, or 27 percent, of Texans of that age group have a postsecondary degree, far below the 41 percent national average."

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      • Agreed Comrade Fred - we are too dumb to spend our own money. If only the government would make a list of products safe enough for our consumption.

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    • Dfens,
      "...bet on the stock market." WOW!!! Were you just born yesterday?!?!?

      I can agree that when someone uses their skills and talents, be it making bread, carpenrty, etc. everyone bennefits, but I do not agree that the world would fall apart because gambleing restrictions were lifted. If someone who wins big at the lottery, or rolls big at craps takes his winnings and becomes a hermit, or wastes it away on materialistic crap, thats their right to do so.

      Next we need to get rid of inheritance and estate tax. Talk about shameless organized crime!!!

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      • What's really important is that you be able to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it and to hell with your country. That's a perfect Libertarian attitude. You should vote for Ron Paul.

        Those of us who are real capitalist, who love America, are glad there's a group for you to identify with so we can see you coming and shun you as you well deserve.

        This is nothing but another Libertarian circus to keep your attention off the fact that the Chinese will soon be able to buy and sell our country due to Ron Paul voting them permanent status as a Most Favored Nation in trade.

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        • First of all you have no idea who I am, no more so than I know you. We disagree, but that has nothing to do with the passion and love I have for my country.

          Why the desire to control everyone? Why are you so hell bent on making sure everyone lines up and marches to the beat of your drum? If you feel your standards are sound than all that matters is that you live by them. Seriously, what difference is it to you how someone spends or blows there money; be it gambleing, drugs, prostitution, the stock market...Oh wait, the latter is the only way for you to bennefit. Now that is selfish! Me?I've got a job and I work to make money...I own a nice home, own property that I lease out, pay my bills on time, I generously donate annually to two charities ( one is a national foundation, the other a local) and I pay my taxes, even though it goes towards things I don't believe in like political bashes, a war on drugs, illegal wars, overseas military occupation, etc. So after that if I want to drop a couple grand on a craps table a couple times a month, 100 bucks for a cheap whore on a friday night, or a couple hundred on an 8ball for the night, I will...and I do it as a conscience minded responsable adult without a second thought.

          You know if you are so sincerly concerned for the finachle wellbeing of others you should be apposed to credit card companies targeting college students. Funny how they will approve a 19 year old student, with no credit history, a $10k limit at 15-18% intrest and astonomical late charges. Sure he is not FORCED to activate the shinny new card, but come on. Now there is a shameless organized scam.

          Oh and one last thing; Yes I will vote for Ron Paul, even if I have to write him in. As will many of my friends, coworkers and family. All together I alone personally know 37 people who are commited to supporting Ron Paul. Sure I know some that do not agree with Ron Paul, but they also didn't/don't agree with McCain,or Obama. This grass roots organization is growing at a high rate ;more and more people of all ages and from all walks of life are getting on board and are ready to ralley for Ron Paul in 2012. For me 2008 was just a staging area...It allowed Ron Paul to spark the flame with the millions of people that have felt paralized and hopless for far to long. The only thing that would have made things come full circle is if Howard Zinn or Hunter S. Thompson were alive, Zinn as V.P. and Dr. Gonzo as Secratary of State.

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        • Grass roots? Smells like a$$troturf to me, bought and paid for by organized crime and the Communist Chinese. You clearly earned your 30 pieces of silver this week.

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        • Hey Dfens,

          Why won't you actually discuss the issue? Your reply indicates that you do not have the knowledge or skills to answer my question intellegently. It's as though you are some kind of PR person...You know where to stand, you know what to say, but you have no idea why. I have a feeling you were raised to believe, follow and not question authority. To think for yourself is radical and leads to anarchy. You defenetly reak of the 'ol ideology; "This is how it is, there is no sense in wasteing time talking about how things should be." I bet you also buy into "we need nuclear weapons to prevent war." and my all time favorite..."Law and order equate to absolute justice."

          But seriously, I don't think you have anything to worry about...2012 is the end of the world! You win!! Ho ho ha ha!!!

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  8. What is the difference between gambling online and the lotery, it is gambling and can ruin families lives. There is no movement to take away powerball!! so all you crying about it, start picketing your local convenience store, or pick a more sane stance.

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    • fred the protectionist

      There is opposition to the powerball.

      Powerball is a "Big Government" program, gee I figured you Libertariono's would be against "Big Government".

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  9. The right to gamble is an issue of personal freedom, to do with your money as you see fit. Legalizing murder cannot be equated to legalizing gambling, because one infringes on another person's liberties while the other does not.

    Whoever suggested that is a total moron.

    Feel free to express your opinion, but don't declare it aloud to the masses as fact if you are unwilling to study the science of that which you teach.

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    • fred the protectionist

      Destroying families with gambling "infringes on another's liberty", unless you think the family should be replaced by (ta ta ta ta) THE STATE.

      See, Libertarian is so extreme, it wraps around to Communism.

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    • WOOPS I ment to give a thumbs down!!!

      You don't wannna gamble, smoke pot, have an abortion, listen to loud obnoxious music, engage in permiscuous sex...then don't, but your standards, and idealisms do not aply to me.
      My life, My Body, My money, My choice...And I sing it aloud from the mountain tops!!!

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      • fred the protectionist

        "My life, My Body, My money, My choice" Jeffrey Dahmer.

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      • So that makes you a Creepy Libertarian?

        "My life, My Body, My money, My choice" says the 13 year old.

        "Why should I have to go all the way to Thailand to have s*x with a child prostitute?" says Machine.

        http://www.leftycartoons.com/the-24-types-of-libertarian/

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    • Garret says "The right to gamble is an issue of personal freedom"

      Well, so is buying a house or taking on debt, noone forces you to do that. So, Garret, it'll all be a Libertarian Utopia until the bookies (read: 'banksters') take all your dumb money, leading Libertarians to whine about how 'the bookies are destroying America and we need to take our country back!'...

      Thereby absolving their personal responsibility and idiocy, foisting their hatred upon the government, all the while conveniently forgetting it was their impetus for the initial deregulation and their little utopian dream was 'ruined' by a 'masonic/jew/catholic/jesuit' etc...

      Reality is complicated, better learn to deal with it, else y'all become a blight on history, again.

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  10. Free sex, free drugs, free gambling, free trade, open borders; down with government, power to the people, man! It's all working out so well why would we ever want to go back to the kind of government we had in the '50s and '60s?

    You liberal freaks! You won't be happy until you've completely destroyed this country. Why don't you get the hell out?

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    • fred the protectionist

      Yeah let's legalize murder while were at it, hey you can't legislate morality you know.

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      • Haven't you heard??? murder is legal!! You just need to be on the Government payroll!!!

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        • And if your a bank. So far they've already managed to assassinate several of our presidents who would have taken away their power to control our economy / political system, and they've gotten away with it every time.

          They can't assassinate every person in the United States though, so its about time we all took away their power and killed them instead, and do it legally as well. Try and execute them for their treason against this country, along with the politicians who have been complicit with them in violation of their oaths of office, and seize their assets and return them to the people from which they have been stolen.

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        • fred the protectionist

          Yeah, those crafty Jews.

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        • Freddy, finally you said something intellegent...Though to be far; it's not just jews, don't forget the Catholics.

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        • fred the protectionist

          And I bet you Atheists just come out smelling clean once you demonize all them religions.

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        • Who said I was an Atheist!?!? Though I am definetly not a Bible thumping, soap box preaching, Christian enthusiast.

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    • ...50's and 60's government?!?!? Gee Wally...No thank you! Our obligation is not to the Government...Our obligation is to the principles our country stands for; Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Obedience to government is the sign of a totalitarian state...Something our Declaration of Independence clearly stated against and gave us (The People) power to abolish if ever deemed necessary.
      I don't want to trade one ounce of my freedom, compromise the first 10 amendments, nor allow any branch of our government an inch beyond the Law of the Land (the U.S. Constitution), in trade for a false sense of security, or greesy swine bigotry...Such actions and ideas are underminding of our foundation, and merely serve a corupt government...not the people.

      YES, POWER TO THE PEOPLE...not the government.

      What kind of country do you want to live in???

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      • fred the protectionist

        Libertarians need to be kicked out of my Republican Party.

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        • Awe, you're cute when you rant...Run along now and go play with your "puppets".

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        • fred the protectionist

          Free Traitor. "Traitor", cause you engage in sedition. "Free", because you pass your treason around so freely.

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        • "LIBERTARIANS NEED TO BE KICKED OUT OF MY REPUBLICAN PARTY"
          We don’t give a damn about Republican/Democrat – What we really care about IS our country, liberty and freedom. You can have that damn party of YOURS.

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        • fred the protectionist

          I know you don't give a damn about no Party, cause you destroyed the Republican Party. If you gave a damn about it, you wouldn't have destroyed it.

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        • Awe were those big bad freedom fighters mean to your party!?!?
          Once again just too cute...Hang in there little guy!!!

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        • fred the protectionist

          Libertarians are a liability to the Republican Party, not an asset, they need to be exorcised from the Republican Party, or else the Socialists will dominate the government for generations to come.

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        • There's that corporate elitis rhetoric!

          Ron Paul is one of about 9 or 10 true conservatives left to date within Washington, there are a few others that share similar conservative virtues, however they flip flop and flounder to much when it comes to overseas military presence and engaging in wars, and withdrawing our current foreign and economic policies from the middle east and being non-interventionist. There more like Ron Paul Lite! Not stern enough.

          During the 2008 Primaries Ron Paul brought alot of good ideas to the table and educated millions on the importance of upholding the U.S. Constitution and what happens when we don't...Where you are right about him being a "danger" to the Republican party, is that he both exposed and made mince meat out of just how non-conservative the party is and the other Republican canidates are.

          Now I would like for Ron Paul to be our Country's President come 2012 but just to have him running in the primaries (if he does) as a Republican gives me hope that he will raise more awareness and set a higher standard for the Republican party and other canidates to live up to.

          I want nothing more than for our government to get back to the Law of the land...Living by and answering to the U.S. Constitution. If John McCain, Romney, Huckbee, etc., were that type of Republican... by God I'd vote for one of them.

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        • Maybe if you cared about our country more, and were more interested in protecting Liberty, and upheld the U.S.Constitution as the Law of the Land, and were true to the very virtues stated within the Declaration of Independence...Maybe you would not have allowed either party (Democrat or Republican) to shred the very fabric that once made our country something to be proud of, respected for, and an insperation to the rest of the world.

          Left,Right; it really doesn't matter...A truely great leader would follow the will of the people and never trump the Law of the Land.

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        • fred the protectionist

          "Ron Paul is one of about 9 or 10 true conservatives..."

          Ron Paul is a Liberal. Libertarians are Liberal, not Conservative.

          Conservative means resistant to change, Liberal means change-machine/radical. There is nothing Conservative about Ron Paul, or the Libertarians.

          Stop abusing the English Language like a radical propagandist from the left.

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        • You poor dumb animal.
          First of all lets school you...Ron Paul is very much a conservative by definition and action. Second, you and every vanilla bean flag waving jingo sees him as radical because he holds the party you support as well as the demacrats responsable for the the mess we have brought on ourselves both here and abroad over the past 60 years by allowing every President in the 20th century to violate the U.S. Constitution, as well as constantly spend trillions of dollars on building an overseas empire, and continually bombing and invading unstable countries that do not have a military and pose us no harm...Just to set up shop and rape and pillage their land ...Those actions alone are "radical", hostle and lead to greater issues that harm us! That is what you support, not me!!

          I suport non-intervension oversea; no meddleing in the political affairs of other countries. I support a healthy intercourse of trade with soverning nations. I support civil and human rights. I support expanding and further tapping into our own energy sources; especially alternatives such as wind, wave, solar, and biofuels. I support ending the absolutly failed 35 year War on Drugs, which has done nothing to "reduce" or "stop" the supply and demand for drugs...only crowding our jails and prisons with petty users and nickle bag dealers, destroying more families in the process and creating an addiction within our government for the money any war creates. I support the notion; you get what you work for, nothing less and nothing more, just because you are a U.S. citizen does not mean you are entitled to anything beyond the equal right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and the first ten Ammendments.

          My obligation as a U.S. Citizen is not to the Government, but to uphold the principles that our country is suppose to stand for; Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. When this government denies me, you, or anyone an equal right to those virtues, it is our duty to alter or abolish the government.
          "Obedience to Government is the sign of a Toltalitarian state." Howard Zinn.

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        • fred the protectionist

          Conservative means resistant to change. Liberal means change/radical. That's all it means, propaganda-boy.

          ______________________________

          "I suport non-intervension oversea; no meddleing in the political affairs of other countries."

          Neither Liberal or Conservative. Many arch-Conservatives in history war war mongers. Many arch-Conservatives in history were isolationists.

          "I support a healthy intercourse of trade with soverning nations. "

          Liberal

          "I support civil and human rights."

          Liberal

          "I support expanding and further tapping into our own energy sources; especially alternatives such as wind, wave, solar, and biofuels."

          Liberal

          "I support ending the absolutly failed 35 year War on Drugs"

          Liberal

          "I support the notion; you get what you work for, nothing less and nothing more"

          Liberal. Many people get less then what they work for, many people get more then what they work for. It's mostly random. You're a Liberal for suggesting otherwise.

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        • Don't you dare try and twist things around!

          I said Non intervention!! You don't have to isolate America from the rest of the world to not intervein. And there is NOTHING radical about expanding and using our own energy resources, trading goods with other nations, upholding Civil Rights...And if wanting to change direction with a failed policy is radical, than staying the course is EXTREMELY radical.

          Freddy boy do me a favour, get yourself an education before trying to undermind and discredit those of use who believe in the very foundation of this country and want nothing more than to salvage the wreckage of the last 5 decades from corupt and greedy buisnessmen who weiseled their way into government just so they could slice and dice it up amongst their commie friends.

          Revolution is easier than reform.

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        • fred the protectionist

          Liberal, radical, change.

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        • Ironically though, Libertarians, oh, let's just call them Liberals since that's what they really are, are always happy to let a conservative put their life on the line so those very liberals can sit at home and complain about how they don't have enough freedoms. It's all freedom and no responsibility 24/7 for the Liberaltarians and the bills never come due because the conservative down the street already paid in blood. His own.

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  11. Dfens,
    No, a libertarian equals...One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state. Liberals want a larger government

    Ron Paul equals a minimal government that opporates by the U.S. Constitution, and the will of the people.

    So lets here your sound and intellegent ideas!

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  12. Sure, legalize drugs and gambling, the masses will need better opiates due to the 75% unemployment Ron Paul's unilateral "free trade" will provide. Move evidence Libertarian = Liberal.

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