|The World According to Nick|
|My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.|
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
More on Wisconsin's hypocritical nanny laws. I talked about Fireworks last week, and now I'm going to complain about Gambling Laws. I can say this much off the bat though, the State Gambling Law (PDF) is actually very clear. You can't gamble. Well, unless you are in an Indian Casino (which is allowed to provide gambling facilities through state compacts). If you own a tavern with a liquor license, then you can have no more than 5 video poker machines... because having 5 means you are not gambling, and 6 means you are? Interesting, the above referenced copy of the state statute says this about video poker:
You're kidding me right? Of course, as always, you can't prevent churches from having Friday Night Bingo, so bingo is not gambling. And you can't deprive the state of the extra revenue for schools, so lotteries are not really gambling. Everything else is. In other words, your Friday Night Poker game with your buddies is illegal. Or is it? (Emphasis Added)
So does my living room count? Personally, I consider it's principal uses to be for watching TV, conversing with friends, drinking, napping, and reading, among other things. Personally, I don't consider any of my friends to be professional gamblers, but would the state disagree? And exactly how frequently would I have to have poker night for my living room to be considered a "Gambling Place"? Hell, just read the portions of the State Constitution that talk about gambling:
I won't list them all, but the Constitution lists at least 8 things that are exempt.
So to review, the state is allowed to provide gambling facilities because no legislator would ever remove a source of state income. The Indian Tribes are allowed to provide gambling facilities because they are under different jurisdictions. You can go to a dog track if you want. Did I forget to mention those? Yeah, they are allowed too. Churches and other non-profit organizations can have bingo. Even taverns are allowed to have video poker (because Video Poker isn't gambling... kind of). So, if realistically, gambling is all around, what is the overriding state concern for not allowing me to play poker in the privacy of my home? Judging by some of the links on the State website, it would be to prevent people from becoming addicted to gambling.
Of course this concern didn't stop the state from spending $4.6 million last year on "Informational Advertising", because "Promotional Advertising" is not allowed by statute:
Have you seen some of the lottery ads on television? Are you seriously telling me that those are not promotional? So that can't be it. The constitution link above provides the following annotation:
So the state's interest is to prevent organized crime? And allowing track betting prevents organized crime how? More importantly, is the state's interest in preventing organized crime enough to stop me from playing a harmless game of poker? And, does preventing gambling in the illegal forms actually work to prevent organized crime? I don't think so. So what's the real reason I'm secretly being made a criminal? I would really like to know.
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Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States
I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.
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Previous PostsEnglish and English Not Quite the Same
Random Musings on a Sunday
In Case You're Wondering Where I Stand
I Got Instapundit'd
New FCC Requirements Unconstitutional
I Can't Stand Bill O'Reilly
Are Fireworks Illegal?
No Farewell Speech?
Now Here's a Twist
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