Massachusetts governor proposes jail time for online gamblers

In a bill to allow three brick-and-mortar casinos in the Bay State, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has proposed two-year jail terms and a $25,000 fine for folks caught gambling online. Congressman Barney Frank, who wants federal legislation to regulate online gambling, asks, "Why is gambling in a casino OK and gambling on the Internet is not?"

Gambling and porn are two of the most consistent moneymakers in the world. Porn is, for the most part, perfectly legal and can be purchased online with a credit card. Gambling, including sports betting and poker, is a little more tenuous. In the United States, most credit-card companies will not allow betting to be made on a credit card, forcing players to use overseas services such as Neteller instead. Because of the lack of regulation, if players are cheated, they have little or no recourse. Some online gambling sites are publicly traded on European stock exchanges — here in the U.S. though, the offline casino monopoly is enforced through fiat by the government. (Photo by AP/Joe Cavaretta)