This has not prevented some states from getting creative. In New Hampshire, Governor John Lynch has a new policy. To help bridge the gap between solvency and insolvency, he's proposing to legalize online gambling. The detail of the plan is to be announced soon, but it's already controversial. Ignoring the problems created by the federal law clamp-down on the transfer of funds for gambling purposes, the Governor has been caught in a classic flip-flop. Not so long ago, the lawmakers who represent the real-world casino interests proposed a bill to licence some 17,000 slots and table games. The recession was not yet in its full glory and the hole in the budget was not today's gaping chasm. The Governor decided to veto the bill.
He gave two reasons. The first a simple calculation that there were already a significant number of machines in the state and licensing more was unlikely to produce a real increase in revenue. It would only share out the same money among more machines. But it's the second reason that has landed him in trouble. He said the bill would lead to an increase in gambling. Whether he was concerned at the rising level of addiction, the risk of more young people being tempted into gambling or he had some moral objections is not clear. The bill died. The new proposal to legalize online gambling is likely to make gambling more accessible. If people have to travel to specific locations, their behavior can be more closely monitored and controlled. The age of players can be verified. Operators can stop someone when they have obviously lost too much. Allowing gambling from PCs, lap and palm top machines, and Blackberrys is opening the flood gates. Playing online slots, people can burn through a lot of money very quickly without anyone to stop them. The Governor can't have it both ways. If proliferating gambling is a bad thing, legalizing online gambling is a bad thing. While he decides how to answer, we can all have fun playing slots wherever we find them.