Well, it took awhile, but the federal government has "invaded" Las Vegas and has intimidated all the casinos into repealing a regulation -- one that has made Vegas a great place for those who like to gamble relatively large sums of money -- in the name of fighting terrorism. I'm talking about Regulation 6A.
Under Regulation 6A, Nevada state casinos were required to track cash transactions of as little as $3,000 or more and report anyone whose cash transactions exceed $10,000 to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
With the federal change, however, casinos with $1 million and over in annual gross gaming revenue will be subject to the same federal reporting requirements as casinos with $10 million and over in annual gaming revenue, the reporting threshold under Regulation 6A.
With the threshold lowered, that information could be accessed by many more people now than before and may even be accessed by the public. And this opens such information up for all types of potential abuse.
And what may be even more troubling is that the Nevada gaming officials didn't put up much of a fight at all, taking less than 10 minutes to eliminate the state's money laundering regulation and acknowledging that the feds had taken over the tracking of large cash transactions from the state.
In the second and final public hearing concerning the elimination of the regulation, nobody spoke against the action. Only representatives of a few small casinos even attended the hearing.
It's appropriate we take this action, but it's also important to note that Regulation 6A has been very valuable and served the state well for a long period of time, said Gaming Commission chairman Pete Bernhard of the 21-year-old rule.
I feel obligated to add a few personal remarks on behalf of, well, EVERYBODY except the federal government!
Although this is very highly unlikely to ever affect me directly (most freelance sportswriters can't afford to wager that kind of money!), this seems very "Orwellian" to me.
First of all, who came up with those small amounts? I might be willing to believe that terrorists could potentially use Vegas as a means of laundering money around $50,000 or more, but not the amounts in concern.
I will close by just pointing out what probably seems obvious to most people with a brain: This has NOTHING AT ALL to do with thwarting terrorism! Just as with everything else concerning the Patriot Act, this has everything to do with control. This is yet another example of handing a lot of information to very few people. And in these days where now more than ever information is power, those who control the flow of information control all the power.
Just as in my previous article regarding the U.S. government and its concern with offshore gambling, it's the same thing ... only instead of "terrorism," they use "morals" as an excuse for getting involved. The bill H.R. 4411 passed recently in the name of "loose morals" associated with offshore gambling, yet state-sanctioned gambling here in the U.S. was excluded from the bill!
States are rapidly losing an alarming amount of power to the federal government in this country. Nevada could have battled this, but state officials knew that if the states do anything that the federal government doesn't like, even if the people decided on something through democratic processes such as initiatives during elections, the feds have "squeezed" the states to get their way by taking away crucial federal funding such as highway and school funds that the states are very dependent on. This has already happened to many states on many occasions that have dared to go against certain parts of the Patriot Act.
So much for those "small government conservative Republicans" and "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!"