While people around the world expressed their love for one another on Valentine’s Day, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal sent a hate letter to online poker players in the United States. The Republican governor penned a guest column for the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report last week, coming out strongly against internet gambling and vowing to work to stop its spread, particularly in Louisiana.
Jindal framed the argument by saying it could become a “flashpoint” in the debate about income inequality in the United States. While it is initially a bit unclear as to how online poker and income inequality have anything to do with one another, he soon shed some light on the subject, saying that “special interests” in Washington, D.C. are heading the fight to legalize and regulating online gambling. These special interests are MGM International and other brick-and-mortar gaming leaders, who recently formed the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (CCOP) in order to fight Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson’s crusade to ban online gambling.
Jindal expressed his fear of Americans being able to take advantage of modern technology, saying, “I believe that putting a casino in the pocket of practically every American will exploit society’s most vulnerable, threatening to saddle the poor and disadvantaged with spiraling debt.”
He added, “There is a big difference between having to go to a casino and having a casino come to you. Americans know that betting on an iPhone or a computer or on an iPad is fundamentally different, and much more dangerous than going to a casino where trained staff can prevent kids from playing. It is impossible to implement a responsible gambling protocol in an Internet gambling environment.”
He seemed quite confident in his stance, proudly proclaiming, “…the gambling companies and Wall Street investors who have invested in operating and running Internet gambling sites know that the vast majority of Americans believe Internet gambling is a bad idea.”
According to Jindal, online gaming executives are like The Sopranos’ Christopher Moltisanti leading J.T. Dolan into a game he can’t afford, one which will surely turn his life to ruins; they are just preying on American citizens. “…those who want to bring casinos into America’s living rooms say ‘trust us, it’s safe for kids,’ and that the ‘technology can thwart criminals and money launderers,’” he wrote. “I don’t trust them, and neither should the people of Louisiana.”
He goes on to parrot the usual line of criminal organizations using online gambling for money laundering and that the FBI’s caution that bad people “could” and “may” do bad things means the FBI said that bad people “definitely will” and “can no doubt get away with” doing bad things.
Jindal concludes by saying that the Department of Justice’s 2011 reversal on the Wire Act of 1961 was a mistake and that he will not make that same mistake. He vows to prevent legal, regulated internet gambling from finding a toehold in his state.