Hey Congress, don't try to rebottle that online gaming genie

Attempts
to rebottle the Internet genie continue on Capitol Hill.


Some senators, it seems, are determined to keep junior from grabbing mom’s credit
card and betting a grand or two on the Orioles’ pennant chances.


The Rat is inclined to agree, in view of the ratlings’ fast-evolving hacker skills
and their attraction toward anything plastic with a magnetic-swipe strip. He shudders at
the thought of their emptying the family bank account to reverse-engineer some online
casino’s roulette interface.


Then again, they might double the bank balance.


If the Rat were to permit his offspring access to his credit card and Caribbean Cyber
Casinos at http://www.ccasino.com or Casino
Internationale Curacao at http://www.casino-int.com/,
he figures he would deserve whatever damage the little ones did to his credit line.


The Rat views wagering as an efficient way of teaching the mathematically illiterate
the laws of probability. He figures that as long as the legislative branch lets the states
get away with running their own numbers rackets, there isn’t much sense in
legislating any kind of control on online gambling.


In fact, the feds should consider setting up a few games of their own. The cyberrodent
knows that, given the current Hill climate, tapping new revenue streams is ideologically
incorrect. But as long as Congress is out to cut taxes, why not pick up the slack with
voluntary contributions?


Besides, there are plenty of federal activities that could be turned into gambling
events. No need to compete with the likes of Powerball. The Treasury Department could
simply accept credit-card Internet betting for ongoing stakes events and book the odds
heavily in its own favor.


In the Kenneth Starr Grand Jury Pool, for example, players would place bets on the
specific date when Monica Lewinsky’s grand jury testimony will appear in print. If
never, the whole pot goes to the house—er, government.


Alternatively, bets could be placed weekly on who will be indicted for obstruction of
justice.


What really pulls in players is interactive games. C-SPAN and the Web combined could
make for highly profitable gaming events such as Speaker Keno. C-SPAN would run an
hour of live video feed of House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) sitting above a dunk tank
controlled by a four-number release code. Viewers could log on or dial in and enter
numbers until Newt got wet; the winner would receive a percentage of the budget surplus.


Here’s another surefire money-maker: DOD Firewall Pinata. Access to Defense
Department routers would be channeled through a set of 900-number dial-up servers, and
hackers would pay by the minute as they attempted to deface the armed services’ Web
pages. The first hacker to crack a firewall each day would get a chance at winning a
Bradley Fighting Vehicle.


And why not a Power Filibuster? Lobbyists and citizens alike could go to a Web site to
play this cross between Bingo, Lotto and Whack-a-Mole.


For each payment, a player would draw an electronic game card. If numbers on the card
matched those on balls drawn by the Senate president pro tem, the lucky player would get a
chance to end floor debate by applying mild electric shocks.


The Rat feels this is the kind of Internet gaming lawmakers can get behind. After all,
the legislative process often seems like one big crap shoot. Why not turn a buck on
it? 


The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@gcn.com

inside gcn

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