[A] month before a major election, the Republicans have allied themselves with a scattering of voters who are upset by online gambling and have outraged the millions who love it. [T]he outraged millions are disproportionately ... Republicans and Reagan Democrats.FWIW, 888.com (Pacific Poker) e-mailed me this weekend; they're pulling out of the US. Rumor is that Neteller's going to pull out in nine months, but I haven't confirmed that yet. (Edit: Confirmed; Neteller will comply with the act.)
In the short term, this law all by itself could add a few more Democratic Congressional seats in the fall elections. We are talking about a lot of people (an estimated 23 million Americans gamble online) who are angry enough to vote on the basis of this one issue, and they blame Republicans.
In the long term, something more ominous is at work. If a free society is to work, the vast majority of citizens must reflexively obey the law not because they fear punishment, but because they accept that the rule of law makes society possible.
...Thus society is weakened every time a law is passed that large numbers of reasonable, responsible citizens think is stupid. Such laws invite good citizens to choose knowingly to break the law, confident that they are doing nothing morally wrong.
[T]he federal government once again has acted in a way that will fail to achieve its objective while alienating large numbers of citizens who see themselves as having done nothing wrong. The libertarian part of me is heartened by this, hoping that a new political coalition will start to return government to its proper functions. But the civic-minded part of me is apprehensive. Reflexive loyalty to the rule of law is an indispensable cultural asset. The more honest citizens who take for granted that they are breaking the law, the more their loyalty to the law, and to the government that creates it, is eroded.
Full Tilt and PokerStars are still going strong. Good for them.