Monday, November 18, 2013

Some in the casino lobby want to ban Internet gaming; a lesson in lobbyists vs. the individual

Again, it’s obvious that heavy lobbying is in place to influence Internet policy, as with a front page story in the Washington Post on Monday, November 18, 2013 by Peter Wallstein and Tom Hamburger, “Internet gambling battle heats up; 2012 mega-donor lines up lobbyists; Casino magnate wants U.S. to ban online bets”, link here.  The individual involved is Sheldon Adelson.
  
The article has the expected discussion over whether online gaming could interfere with the real-world casino business, growing in many states (including Maryland, with a facility near Baltimore).  There’s also the obvious libertarian objection to a nanny government interfering with voluntary adult behavior, even if it is potentially “self-harm”.  Somehow, I don’t quite buy the image from the movie “Casino” of a head in a vice.

The article does note that most casino companies are OK with regulated online gambling. 

The story recalls some past sequences in my own practice.  I don’t gamble, even though I visit Las Vegas sometimes (last time was May 2012).  In fact, I can recall a day in 1987 when I ran into management from work while on vacation in Las Vegas.  Big memories.
  
I used to have a lot of my Internet materials on a site called “hppub.com” which had been an acronym for “High Productivity Publishing”.  In 2005 I moved everything to “doaskdotell.com”, and let the domain go.  It got picked up by an online gaming company for a while.  I had dangling links, which I didn’t get all fixed at first, so visitors were annoyed when accidentally taken to the site.  This may have been a minor factor in a ruckus when I was substitute teaching and my content was found.  This leads to another discussion – how to tell from server logs who is likely to be visiting your site, something I had not learned to monitor in 2005.  Advertisers want webmasters to know their audience, and yet that raises certain ethical as well as technical and security questions. 
 


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