The weirdness of gambling laws

I found this excellent essay on Slate on the inconsistencies of state and federal gaming laws. A sample:

It is technically against the law to participate in an office pool on the NCAA tournament. Betting on a friendly round of golf, chess, or billiards is also a crime. I break the law when I play poker with my buddies, though if I am ever arrested, I plan to point out that Justice Scalia does it, too. There is some ambiguity about whether it's illegal for individuals to play poker over the Internet, but executives of foreign-based Web sites who allow Americans to wager may be arrested, as was David Carruthers, the chief executive of the British company BetonSports, who was taken into custody while changing planes in Dallas on his way to Costa Rica. According to his lawyer, Carruthers now faces up to 20 years in prison on federal charges. A bill before Congress, sponsored by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, (which has over a dozen casinos, a gambling cruise ship, two dog tracks, a horse track, and a lottery), would attempt to curtail Internet gambling by creating criminal penalties for credit card and other companies that process Internet gambling transactions.


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