Internet gambling should be taxed, but not regulated

In response to the article "Tempering the temptation of Web casinos," of Aug. 1, I believe the Monitor missed several crucial points in the debate over Internet gambling. First and foremost, The Wire Act of 1961 has no jurisdiction over most forms of Internet gambling.

Online poker, mentioned by the Monitor as an especially popular game for college students, certainly falls out of the purview of the Wire Act.

Poker is a skill game, played against other human opponents, not against the "house" or the casino. It is not the only skill game where luck plays a significant – though still far from dominant – role.

Casinos are not preying on young college students; most college students are legal adults anyway, legally empowered to make their own decisions.

Just because some are not comfortable with this idea does not mean anyone can deny these adults these particular rights, while granting them others such as the right to vote, the right to join the armed forces, and the right to die for their country. If 18 is not old enough, then raise the minimum age to 21 or higher.

I do agree that the US government should "control and tax the industry"; this implies, however, that the online gambling and poker industries are legal (and remember, no law ever made them illegal in the first place, regardless of what the Justice Department dreams the Wire Act means).

If you believe gambling is too harmful a thing for our citizens, then you must also believe the same thing for smoking, for drinking, etc. Surely smoking kills far more people than gambling, and it is far more dangerous.

Where is the legislation to prevent financial institutions from processing payments for tobacco? Why is smoking legal?

Remember Prohibition? Remember why it was repealed?

Legislation with no legal justification to outlaw Internet gambling is just as ridiculous.
Ye Wang
Oldsmar, Fla.

Demographics of TV lab audience

Regarding the Aug. 4 article, "Before TV shows air, they must survive ... the lab": I'm thinking that, in the interest of streamlining this story, a paragraph was struck that might have described the type of people who make up these test audiences, and thus the explanation for some of the sorriest excuses for television entertainment. When I lived in Los Angeles 20 years ago, I participated in some of those test runs. This was possible because I was barely 16 years old, and being that school let out at 3:00 p.m., it was easy to get in line by 4:00 p.m. for the 4:30 p.m. start time. I stood in line with other high schoolers, unemployed persons, and adults who didn't have to be at home to usher the family through the dinner hour and homework time. If I ever wonder why my 14-year-old son is engrossed in TV more than anyone else in the house, I look only to the memory of the people who made up the test audiences.
Stephanie Reid
Sacramento, Calif.

Hemingway cats are a part of history

Regarding the Aug. 7 article, "Cage Hemingway's cats?!" These cats are a part of history and should be left alone. They are also a part of Key West. The government should just stay out of this and conduct other business of importance. The cats have been there all these years and bother no one, so why start this now? This department has way too much time on its hands. Maybe this department needs to be reviewed to see if some job cuts or transfers need to be done! Leave the cats alone!
Cindy Hale
Port Orange, Fla.

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