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What Do Al D’Amato and Steve Levitt Have in Common?

They would both like to see the new Federal ban on Internet gambling overturned. At least D’Amato is getting paid to do something about it.

Am I the only one surprised at how easily Congress enacted the ban? One day it seemed as though Internet gambling was a quasi-legal, hugely profitable, generally accepted practice. Then, all of a sudden, Congress pulled the trigger and the CEO’s of gambling sites started getting arrested.

Where did the pressure for the ban come from? I assume some powerful combination of the casino industry, the gambling-is-immoral crowd, perhaps the state lotteries. Regardless, I am also surprised it has taken so long for a lobbyist of D’Amato’s stature to have been employed in a fight to overturn the ban. It is interesting to see how D’Amato invokes his own powerful combination of fear, economics, and even the high moral ground:

The money being spent to outlaw poker and enforce the ban, Mr. D’Amato said, could be better spent “in the battle against money laundering, trafficking in drugs, or trafficking in terrorism.”