I am the U.S. Presidential candidate that Ladbrokes of U.K. (the worldâ€™s largest legal bookmaker) calls the frontrunner for the Libertarian Presidential nomination. Ironically, in England (our best friend in the world and partner in the war on terror) millions of bettors (or â€œpuntersâ€� as they call them on the other side of the Atlantic) are able to legally bet their hard-earned money on my chances of winning the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination (Iâ€™m the favorite). And theyâ€™re also legally betting on my odds of winning the White House (the odds are 100 to 1 against me). Ladbrokes has even set the odds on my likelihood of attracting the most votes of any Libertarian candidate in history (Iâ€™m a prohibitive favorite). Yet here in America, it would be a crime to take that bet. But why?
Almost 40 million Americans visit Las Vegas annually- making the gambling capital of America also our tourist capital. America has legal online horseracing. Many states have legalized slot machines being installed in horse racetracks across the country. Tribal gaming is thriving from coast to coast- with gambling revenues at tribal casinos in California alone now surpassing the Vegas Strip! We have legal state lotteries- and the recent online gaming law passed by Congress actually carved out exceptions for online state lotteries. So Americans can play the lottery on their computers- with state governments playing the role of casino. Poker shows dominate the airwaves of American television. And of course, stock investors gamble billions of dollars online every day- they bet on stocks like IBM, Microsoft and MGM Mirage with the stroke of a mouse and click on a computer keypad.
These are questions that need to be asked by American voters and the mainstream American media: Why are millions of Americans now barred from playing poker in the privacy of their own homes, on their own computer, with their own money? Why is online gambling or online poker a problem? What is the difference between betting on the direction of a stock like IBM or betting on the Dallas Cowboys? Isnâ€™t poker a game of skill just like bridge, chess or fantasy football (which are both legal to play online)? Does Prohibition ever work or does it make a mockery of the law? Does this ban actually stop online gaming or merely push it all underground (where consumers, compulsive gamblers, and underage gamblers are at far higher risk)? Are we throwing away billions in new tax revenues that could be used to fund homeland security, the war on terror, education, or deficit reduction?
Is it the business of government to tell Americans what they can or cannot do in the privacy of their homes? To tell us what choices we can or cannot make for entertainment? How does any individual choosing online poker as his or her favorite form of entertainment hurt anyone else? Is it the job of government to protect us from ourselves? Is it governmentâ€™s right to choose what is (in their estimation) good or bad for individuals? Isnâ€™t that why weâ€™re supposedly fighting the war in Iraq- so the Iraqi people can enjoy freedom? So why are we losing our freedoms here at home, at the same time we fight for freedom in Iraq?
Does the same government that brought us warrantless wiretaps, unlimited corruption investigations and indictments in Congress, the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the war in Iraq, the Walter Reed Hospital scandal, the illegal U.S. Justice Dept firings, and out of control deficit spending in Washington that threatens to bankrupt our country and our childrenâ€¦does that same government have a right to lecture us on morality? Do they even know the meaning of right and wrong? Could they even spell â€œmoralityâ€� if we spotted them the first 5 letters?
This is the issue that the mainstream media is ignoring. It may decide the 2008 Presidential election. It is an issue important to as many as 30 million American gamblers and poker enthusiasts. It is not going to go away. Yet the issue is not gambling- it is FREEDOM.
I was honored to hear that on NBC television this weekend, during the broadcast of the popular show â€œPoker After Dark,â€� former World Series of Poker champion Greg â€œFossilmanâ€� Raymer publicly mentioned my candidacy for President of the United States and declared me the frontrunner for the Libertarian nomination. A feature story on my Presidential candidacy also appears this week in the popular weekly magazine â€œPoker Newsâ€� read by millions of poker players across America. That follows on the heels of the story last week on my Presidential candidacy in the Las Vegas Sun. Yet despite this barrage of positive support and publicity, I am not a one issue candidate. Far from it. The legalization of online gaming or poker is certainly not the point of my campaign. Freedom is at the heart of my longshot third party Presidential run. The federal governmentâ€™s attempts to ban online gaming (behind closed doors- with no discussion, debate or even explanation of the bill attached at the last second to a Port Security Bill) was senseless, sad and just plain stupid. It violated the rights and freedoms of millions of Americans. It throws away billions of tax dollars (while our good friends and allies England and Australia both rake in billions from legalized online gaming). Yet the real issue has nothing to do with gambling. This issue merely represents our loss of freedom, rights, individual initiative and personal responsibility. Our rights are being violated every day by Big Brother (in the form of Democrats invading our wallets and Republicans invading our bedrooms, computers and television sets). Unfortunately â€œThe Nanny Stateâ€� is alive and well.
The ban of online gaming simply represents how invasive our federal government has become- with its tentacles spread into every aspect of our lives (involving issues such as Internet freedom, warrantless wiretaps, mandatory cancer vaccines for 12 year old girls, the Terri Schiavo intrusion, expansion of seat belt laws, medicinal marijuana, FDA attempts to limit medical options such as holistic doctors, vitamins and alternative therapies- the list is endless). You see banning online gaming was just a means to justify the â€œend.â€� For government that â€œendâ€� is power. To gain power, government and politicians need control over our lives. They need to create endless laws that tell us how we can live our lives. But those attempts to expand government power violate the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is an instrument to limit the power of the federal government and keep the power in the hands of the individual. My Presidential campaign will encourage Americans to read their own Constitution and fight to take back what is rightfully theirs- FREEDOM.