Wonderful, “liberal” Washington State has begun to bring the whip down on illegal recreation. Or anything that links to illegal recreation. Or has advice on illegal recreation. Or something. It’s hard to tell:
The first casualty in the state’s war on Internet gambling is a local Web site where nobody was actually doing any gambling.
What a Bellingham man did on his site was write about online gambling. He reviewed Internet casinos. He had links to them, and ran ads by them. He fancied himself a guide to an uncharted frontier, even compiling a list of “rogue casinos” that had bilked gamblers.
All that, says the state â€” the ads, the linking, even the discussing â€” violates a new state law barring online wagering or using the Internet to transmit “gambling information.”
Is it against the law to question the rather un-juicy odds printed on the back of the Evergreen State’s nice, legal scratch tickets? (“Grand prize [usually ten grand or less] may have already been won. Overall odds of winning are 1 in [several times 1]”) Is that implicitly transmitting “gambling information”? Maybe so, that’s why I’m not questioning those odds here. In fact I encourage our readership to remember that lottery proceeds go to “education“. Be a smart player, as the lottery commercials say.
On the other hand, is it against the law for the Washington State Lottery to provide “gambling information” (and let’s be candid: they are doing just that) via the internet? No, probably not, because the intent of this law isn’t to impose any sort of hurdles on revenue collection, the intent of this law is to prevent competition for gambling dollars. Even if the state’s lawmakers weren’t smart enough to write a nice exclusion for themselves, every cop-bot out there knows that the state’s lottery website isn’t to be touched.
The petty thievery and rank protectionism of the hick leglislature in question here is so common as to be almost not worth noticing. What will really be worth paying attention to is when it’s “discovered” that preventing people from gambling online is impossible without immense amounts of intrusion. Then it’ll be your privacy versus Washington State’s need for money. Yeah.
“What then? Who d’you think’s gonna fucking walk away from that one, Wu? Huh?” — Al Swearengen, Deadwood.