Prevention Is Not Always Better Than The Cure
People, on a whole, are strangely bewildering things at the best of times. If you tell someone not to do something, one of their very first instincts is to go ahead and do the one thing you explicitly told them not to do. It’s a part of us, that something special that makes the human race so interesting, so adventurous and so eager to test the limits of what we know. If we didn’t have this instinct, we’d probably still be sitting in a cave somewhere eating mushrooms. Terry Pratchett wrote in his book, the Thief of Time, “Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH,’ the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”
This indescribable human instinct is why it has always amazed me when a Government, the US Government in this instance, is so quick to ban certain things outright instead of taking the time to properly understand how peoples minds work and, for that matter, the consequences of the ban.
Let us, for a moment, take a look at one of the biggest mistakes in the country’s history, the prohibition era, which was when the Government outlawed all alcohol. Now as good as their intentions might have been and while there have been many instances where the consumption of alcohol has been horribly detrimental to a person, friends and family, the bad aspects of banning alcohol greatly outweighed the good. In this instance, prohibition created an industry that was worth, on average, over $3 billion a year in illegal, untaxed income for those involved. In fact, some of the biggest names in organized crime came from the prohibition era, names that include the likes of: Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, Arnold Rothstein and even Enoch “Nucky” Thompson who has been made famous by the hit HBO series, “Boardwalk Empire”.
While the government of the time thought that banning alcohol was a good idea due to intoxication and addiction, they failed to factor in the other consequences of their actions. After they banned all alcohol, more people started drinking it with pre-prohibition stats suggesting that 60% of the population consumed alcohol whereas around 80% of the country that was consuming alcohol before the end of prohibition in 1933. When they banned alcohol and ceased to control the manufacture and import of liquor they effectively handed over a billion-dollar industry to the organized crime syndicates who were quick to take advantage. But, unlike the government, were not too picky on who they sold liquor to or, for that matter, the quality of the alcohol that was being sold. Apart from the illegal importing from countries such as France and Ireland, the majority of liquor was being manufactured locally in illegal distilleries, a substance that became known as moonshine. Not only were the alcohol levels dangerously high but some of the liquor was actually poisonous and many deaths resulted from the consumption of the moonshine.
These are but a few of the side-effects of prohibition and would have been easily avoided if those involved would have taken the time to properly research and understand the effects as opposed to simply saying: “right then, this stuff is bad, let’s make sure nobody has any.”
Online Casinos and Online Poker Rooms
While the Government eventually realized how bad an effect banning alcohol had on the nation they were trying to protect, you’d assume that they would’ve learnt from their mistakes and made sure that events like the Prohibition didn’t happen again. But, for some reason, they didn’t and over a decade ago, they once again made a rash decision that has done more harm than good. Instead of simply studying, controlling, regulating or even working with the many online casinos and online poker sites, they chose to ban them entirely. This ban once again led to an increase in underground activities and while all the legitimate and trustworthy gaming sites were forced to comply with the various regulations set forth by the US Government, there are many, more nefarious operators, that continue to thrive in the industry simply due to the fact that people who want to play online casino games can no longer play at the reputable sites who voluntarily removed themselves from the US market. But, simply banning online gaming has once again had a detrimental effect as people will not stop an activity they enjoy because a nanny state has said that it’s bad. They have given their reasons, everything from gambling addiction to the inability to prevent underage gambling and even going as far as to say that terrorist organizations use, operate and even fund online casinos as a way to launder money.
But, as it was for prohibition way back when, the banning of online gaming sites has been the work of a few individuals who have put their own interests ahead of the people. Casino moguls such as Sheldon Adelson, one of the biggest critics of the online casino, has made it his personal mission to ensure that nobody gets to enjoy online gaming. But, how is someone who made his fortune in the casino industry, someone that has contributed to underage gambling, someone who has contributed to gambling addiction and even someone who has had a had in indirectly assisting organized crime (loan sharks etc), able to influence the government to such as extent as to have online casinos banned. Granted, he wasn’t alone, but he has become the pseudo-poster boy of the entire movement and once again, is doing more harm to the people than good. In fact, 90% of his arguments have been disproved. Online casinos have stricter control measures than any land based ones, they have more stringent regulators and the reputable online casino sites work tirelessly to ensure the industry completely legitimate and well run.
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