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Friday, January 13, 2006

Abramoff: Government Oversight of Gaming Is the Problem

The Abramoff scandal may lead to additional findings of conflicts of interest. Matt Towery advises that the money trail may lead to more discovery of the corruption of public officials beyond the headlined offenses of Tom Delay and other famous national politicians.

But shouldn't we consider the cause of this lobbying and influence salesmanship?

The only reason politicians receive such bribes and lobbying is because of their influence on competition in the gaming industry. Because government is so intertwined with the regulation of this business, it stands to reason that special interests will pursue the support of lawmakers. What laws are we talking about? If the business is legal, then why cannot anyone seeking to make a buck in it be allowed to do so---assuming they can get the requisite financing for capital and operation expenses.

The problem is that any time government can restrict competition, it will be a valuable asset to the entrepreneurs. Removing government from the process is a big order given local zoning oversight, employment regulation and general consumer protection. But cannot the free market provide the information to all parties that protects the public without the attendant graft?

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