I’m obviously in support of legalized online gambling, but some of the arguments miss the point. For example, the argument that we should legalize online gambling for additional tax revenue. New tax revenue is a benefit that we should definitely pitch, but the argument itself doesn’t hold a lot of water.
We could legalize anything in the world and tax it. Hell, we could legalize murder for contract and tax that. But even more important, the tax argument misses the point that we supposedly live in a free society.
If we legalized, regulated and taxed online gambling tomorrow, I would be ecstatic. However, we shouldn’t rely on the tax argument for legalizing online gambling. We should be arguing that we are free society composed of self-determined individuals.
We do not need the government to tell us what to do with our own money. Leave the big government stuff for other countries. The United States was formed as a free society and that model worked! The US became an economic superpower because it was mostly free of burdensome legislation and bureaucratic nonsense.
Even more important, our country was formed with the idea of freedom in our minds. Now, we have more laws on the books than anyone can count. And online gambling is just one more example of the government run amok.
Back to online gambling – yes, the tax revenue would be beneficial. Online gambling is a massive industry and the potential for tax income is in the billions of dollars per year. But the real argument is how much control we give to the government. I don’t see government as a grand conspiracy or anything like that, but the natural tendency of government is to grow larger and more controlling over time. We have to consciously fight that.
And one other thing – how much would that additional tax revenue really help? Our country collects plenty of tax revenue. I hate to resort to a cliché here, but we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.
Legalizing and taxing online gambling will not suddenly end our country’s budget problems. The only way we will ever end our budget problems is if we start electing people to office who are willing to slow down on spending and ease up on the big campaign promises.
So I still think we should use the potential tax income as a benefit to legalizing online gambling, but we shouldn’t use it as the crux of our argument. We must decide in this issue (and many others) the following:
Are we a country of free men or are we a country of peasants?