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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gail Collins, "Candy Crush and Mr. Christie": Is Internet Gambling Worse Than the Stock Market?

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Candy Crush and Mr. Christie" (, Gail Collins, founder of the Bonbon School of op-ed writing, acknowledges an addiction to "Candy Crush Saga." (Why am I not surprised?) Collins then segues to a denunciation of Chris Christie's legalization of Internet gambling in New Jersey. Collins writes:

"The whole idea of Internet gambling is enough to make you question the potential of Chris Christie for national office. There is no possible way the country could be improved by giving people a greatly expanded freedom to gamble for money in their pajamas. Some day in the near future, you may look back nostalgically on the time when your grandfather did not have a slot machine connection in his bedroom."

Christie's position regarding Internet gambling "is enough to make you question the potential of Chris Christie for national office"? Or is it the fact that Christie is a Republican enough to make Collins question his potential for national office?

In any event, I am not familiar with "Candy Crush Saga" and fortunately have no interest in gambling, Internet or otherwise, which is indeed a destructive addiction.

On the other hand, we have witnessed the legalization of hedge fund manipulation of the stock market, in large part owing to the 2007 cancellation of the Uptick Rule (see:

You are going to lose money by engaging in Internet gambling in your pajamas? With time, this is almost a statistical certainty.

Are you also going to lose money by "investing" in the stock market while wearing pajamas? Perhaps the odds are not quite as bad as Internet gambling, but share prices are being manipulated by hedge funds at the expense of small investors, and persons "investing" in the stock market can easily be crushed by such hedge fund activity.

In the case of Internet gambling, the money lost by gamblers bolsters tax revenues. In the case of the stock market, the money lost by small investors lines the pockets of hedge funds.

Which is worse? You decide.

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