opinion

Could Porn Be Next?

Stephen Yagielowicz
XBIZ News recently reported on H.R. 4411, a new piece of legislation working its way through Washington that contains, among other things, a prohibition against Internet gambling transactions processed by U.S.-based financial institutions, or those that do business within the United States.

While most adult webmasters are not involved in promoting online gaming sites, the rhetoric and “justification” for this legislation may seem familiar. According to the bill’s sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, (R-Tenn.), “Gambling is a serious addiction that undermines the family, dashes dreams and frays the fabric of society.”

One only need substitute the word “Pornography” for the word “Gambling” in the Senator’s statement to begin having an ominous feeling of déjà vu, as it’s exactly the type of claim that we’ve previously heard from the anti-porn lobby.

While those that like to fool themselves as to the importance of adult entertainment transactions to the credit card industry may wallow in a state of denial over the possibility that VISA or MasterCard could be forced to depart the marketplace, I’d only point to the departure of American Express from the adult market several years ago; not over a point of law, but over a point of politics and public pressure.

Although the passing of this bill into law could temporarily cripple the online gaming industry to one extent or another, I doubt that it would eliminate it; the service being so in demand – and so profitable – that alternative means to process American transactions could (and would) be found. Of course, this will only add fuel to the fire of opponent’s ire, proving that online gaming is a criminal enterprise, as evidenced by its circumvention of the law.

Regardless of how this all plays out, it’s a situation that bears watching – and one that leaves many adult webmasters wondering, “Could porn be next?”

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