Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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December 12th, 2011 · No Comments · Social Commentary

Last night I finally got around to watching The Long Island Serial Killer on the Discovery Channel. There have been many instances of wayward girls being lured to their deaths such as by the Craigslist Killer Phillip Markoff.

At first glance one would think, and especially after watching the aforementioned documentary, that the on-line sex trade needs to be stopped.

At first glance.

One thing that didn’t make sense to me is that, especially with the nature of the internet, everything is trackable. I’ve blogged many times about online tracking and data systems becoming more and more acute and therefore of more value in terms of ROI to business owners. So how come is it that the authorities waited four months to begin inquiries into the disappearance of Shannon Gilbert (who is now deemed to not be related to the other ten victims but is nevertheless missing)?

And therein lays the conundrum. In the end, the decisions that are made are human ones.

It’s not just sex but drugs and gambling. I remember once being told that the entertainment business was “recession proof” and that people will always, in good times and in bad, require their vices. One need look no further than The Great Depression as evidence of this fact.

I have no doubt that one day scientist will invite a way to get virtually high through the internet via some interface. The Israelis supposedly have invented something similar for the sense of smell but advanced robotics will deliver in 10 or 20 years what the corner drug dealer or U.S. can, only instantaneously.

Couldn’t the argument be made, especially in such a brutal economy that legalization would not only help track those who earn money from such industries, but that the taxes that can be realized would be able to go back into the economy and spur job growth.

I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable wagering against a website using my computer. When I play cards with my friends I prefer to at least get some booze and laughs out of the exchange before traveling home lighter. And in Vegas and Atlantic City, I don’t have the patience for sitting at a table. Yet my friends can – for hours.

In fact they love poker and Texas Hold’em so much they go to sites like in order to stay sharp. Disclaimer: I do not use this site nor advocate going to it but I did check it out and I have heard of BWIN and before. They are the world’s largest listed online gaming business. The statistics are old but the online poker revenues grew from $82.7 million in 2001 to $2.4 billion in 2005, to over 5 billion in 2010. You can find out more about here

But is it legal?

Two Congressional hearings on the future of online poker in the US were held a few weeks ago. It’s going to take a while. At the hearing the Poker Industry will be represented by Alfonse D’Amato (who wrote my law school recommendation). Other notables included Barney Frank and John Campbell, The Honorable Frank Wolf, The Honorable John Campbell, The Honorable Barney Frank, Mark Lipparelli (Chairman, Nevada Gaming Control Board) and Charles McIntyre (Executive Director New Hampshire Lottery Commission)…. I mean that’s A LOT of honorable guys right? Throw in a couple of academics and social scientists and makes sense to me right?

At the end of the day I have to resort to my innate libertarian sensibilities. Tell me how much I how, and stay out of my personal business.

And if someone is going to gamble with drugs, their body, or on a deck of cards, isn’t it all their decision as to whether or not to make that decision? Or do we as society need to step in and make “good decisions” for them. On the former I would say “Yes”. On the latter I would say “No.”

Besides….Why should the Indian Reservations have a monopoly on vice?

Before you go to, ask your virtual girlfriend first

Click before you go to, ask your virtual girlfriend first

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