Gamblers and Liberty by Wayne Root: Review

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In his new book, "The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts," Wayne Allyn Root asserts that America is a nation of gamblers and always has been.  Mr. Root, who was the 2008 Libertarian vice presidential nominee and who is now preparing to lead what he calls "a Ross Perot-like third party movement in 2012 for economic and personal freedom," discusses this in detail in Chapter 29: The End of Prohibition - Why Gamblers Will Empower the Citizen Revolution

Mr. Root starts the chapter by citing gambles that were taken in our nation's early history.  The brave Pilgrims who took great risks in leaving Europe in search of liberty in the New World, the lotteries that helped fund colonial America, and the daring exploits of George Washington, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin - who risked their fortunes in the Revolutionary War for freedom - are just a few examples of the risk-taking, gambling heritage of the American people. 

Gambling did not end with the founding of our great nation, either.  Immigrants with nothing but a strong will and unshakeable desire to succeed, entrepreneurs, and business owners all gambled that their dreams would come true, and they put all they had at risk to make it happen.  Americans are by nature risk-takers who are leaders and bold dreamers.  This willingness to gamble on success is an essential part of the character of America. 

This risk-taking legacy lives on.  During the last decade, Internet poker and gambling were a global phenomenon.  Still, despite the worldwide appeal of online gaming, 70 percent of money wagered came from Americans - this notwithstanding the fact that the Justice Department asserted that the activity is unlawful.  Americans made 376 million trips to casinos in 2007, and there are now 185,000 places to buy a lottery ticket in America versus only 14,000 McDonald's.  In fact, more money is spent on gambling in America than is spent on books, movies, videos, and DVDs combined.  The facts are clear - Americans enjoy a good gamble and are proud of it. 

Mr. Root then discusses poker. Party Gaming reported $45 billion in wagering in 2005, for almost $1 billion in revenue.  Online poker was escalating in popularity when the Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.  This action outraged poker players.  Since passage of that act, over one million Americans joined the Poker Players Alliance to speak out and demand their right to play poker on the Internet.  Mr. Root believes the power of poker players is being harnessed by the Libertarian movement, as the 10 million to 12 million Americans who play online poker and the 50 million who play in person comprise a very formidable group. 

Mr. Root notes that the proponents of a new Prohibition - a prohibition on online poker - are straight-laced, nanny state busy-bodies who are afraid to take risks.  They want to police what others do, this despite the fact that it does not affect them in any way.  He notes that there are people in the Middle East who think the same way - the Taliban. 

Mr. Root wraps up the chapter by expressing his belief that the government will fail miserably in its attempts to stop online gambling.  The American people have tried online poker and gambling and they like it.  They want their freedom and are demanding it.  It makes far more sense to license, regulate, and tax online gaming than it does to try to enforce an unpopular prohibition. 

The chapter is well-written, and Mr. Root does a fine job in explaining the phenomenon of gambling in American culture and how gambling and freedom are intertwined.  I personally believe government has attacked the very people - people who cherish freedom and liberty - who are most likely to take a strong stand.  In fact, poker players have taken a strong stand against the UIGEA and will continue to do so.  In my opinion, Mr. Root "gets it" in a way that few who have run for national office do.  I wholeheartedly recommend this chapter of the book. 

by Rich Muny, www.pokerplayersalliance.com

Amazon.com: The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts 

Wayne Allyn Root's Libertarian Presidential Candidate Website: "Root for America!"

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