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Gambling sites--is there a future?

Some sites have cropped up that promise gambling techniques without trying to annoy our friendly feds. Unfortunately, each of those companies has quickly gone away.

How many times have you logged on to your favorite gambling site to put a "friendly wager" on the Eagles to beat the Cowboys on a beautiful Sunday afternoon? If you can say you've done it on more than one occasion, you might be the person the government is trying to "protect."

For at least the last year, the federal government has been earnestly doing its best to shutter any and all gambling sites that may illegally allow you to drop some change on the outcome of a sports game or other gambling alternative. But in an effort to turn a profit and thumb its nose at the government, some sites have cropped up that promise similar gambling techniques without trying to annoy our friendly feds. Unfortunately, each of those companies has quickly gone away.

Take Betcha.com, for example. Betcha founders had the idea that people should be able to bet on sports games but the loser would not be forced to pay up. Instead, the company only asked the losers--you know, the poor saps who lose their life earnings on a hunch--to pay up. Surely the company felt it was doing the right thing and would save itself from government scrutiny. It was wrong. In no time, the government knocked on the door and (politely?) asked the company to close shop. So much for that idea.

Then, not too long ago, a story popped up on TechCrunch that told the world about Swamble. Swamble offers the same betting experience you would find with your local bookie, except this time around, you're betting yard work and other nonmonetary settlement of debt. So far, Swamble has been able to stay afloat though most people don't see the reason for gambling without some sort of financial gain and I tend to agree.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big proponent of letting the general public do what it wants within reason. Yes, I do believe that people should mod consoles if they want and I'm a firm believer that the watching eye of the government should look elsewhere than Internet gambling sites or console modding. I believe the government should go after the pedophiles who only damage the great fabric of the Internet, but leave legal gambling sites alone. I believe the government should go after the illegal pirates and malicious hackers that make our lives unsafe, but it should stay away from those people who are using hacking techniques for good reasons.

Simply put, gambling sites should be kept alive. Who is anyone to say that you can't spend your hard-earned money on anything you wish? You go to the horse track and drop some cash and you might even go to Las Vegas and drop some more. How is online gambling so different?

Doesn't anyone else see the confusion that exists in the world of online gambling? I can bet on any sports game I want if I fly to Las Vegas and stay a week, why can't I put a server in Las Vegas and run an online sports gambling site? The answer it's simple: it's business.

If the federal government saw tax dollars from each gambling enterprise, I guarantee you we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. There's always been this issue with the Internet. Companies can put servers overseas while operating in the United States and save thousands of dollars in taxes by doing it. The same holds true for gambling sites.

The Internet is a place for people of all ages to get what they want. If you want to look up today's box score, head on over to your favorite sports site and check it out. If you want the latest tech news, well I think you know where you should go. And by goodness, if you want to go online and drop $100 on the Yankees game today, then be my guest--it's your choice.

I realize the Internet needs policing and I fully understand that need, but sometimes enough is enough. I'm not a big gambler because, well, I don't like flushing money down a toilet. But if you are a gambler and you're happier doing that, then be my guest--it's your life and it's your decision. No one else's.