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Policy: Technology

Internet gambling aids al Qaeda, Republican casino billionaire warns

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Gambling,al Qaeda,Technology,Sheldon Adelson,Government Regulation

If Congress doesn't ban Internet gambling, the terrorists win -- that's the message of the above ad by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

One guess who's funding the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling ...

Answer: Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the biggest donor for Newt Gingrich's and Mitt Romney's presidential runs.

The casino industry is split on this: Some casinos are trying to embrace online gambling. Adelson, on the other hand, is trying to outlaw his competition.

Every time you hear this sort of public-good argument for government regulation — fight the terrorists, save the polar bears, it's for the children, et cetera — ask yourself, which special interest would benefit from this regulation? You'll often find that special interest bankrolling the campaign.

The campaign to regulate corn syrup in the name of health? Funded by the sugar industry.

The Sierra Club's anti-coal campaign? Funded by the natural gas industry.

When the group Women in Government was pushing Texas to mandate the HPV vaccine, WIG was funded by Merck, which sold the vaccine.

The Committee Against Gambling Expansion, fronted by Ralph Reed, which tried to block an Indian casino — funded by Jack Abramoff, lobbyist for a competing casino.

These stories are old. Back in the Teddy Roosevelt days, the "Association for the Promotion of Purity in Food Products" advocated banning preservatives. This group was a front for Heinz Ketchup, which had figured out a (more expensive) preservative-free recipe for ketchup.

We call it Baptists and Bootleggers.

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