Senatorial Candidate Opposes Prohibition of Online Gambling

3 June 2003

Benjamin Jankowski, a 2004 candidate for one of Arizona's two seats in the U.S. Senate, stresses that Internet freedoms are a huge part of his agenda.

The Internet, he says, is a learning tool, and restrictions of any kind could limit its growth. Online gambling is no exception. Jankowski sees online gaming as a valid form of leisure that he and many Americans enjoy and contends that the government should not prohibit it. Instead, he says, citizens should be allowed to use their money as they wish, and the online gaming industry should develop accordingly, without government restrictions.

"The government is trying to be God," Jankowski explained in a recent interview with "They're trying to tell people what to do with their lives today. I'm totally against that. I'm for freedom of choice; it's one of our constitutional rights."

Jankowski, also a proponent of traditional gambling and casinos, argues that "online casinos are good entertainment for disabled and impaired people who can't get out to regular gambling," he said. "This is their only way of doing their thing.

He added, "I wish the government would let people do what they want to do for themselves and not interfere in their home lifestyle. The government has more important things to do than worry about a minor thing like the Internet.

"I have my Web site set up and they're not charging me anything. If they take that away from us, we won't know anything except what we hear on the news, and a lot of that is propaganda."

Jankowski is running for the seat currently held by John McCain, who served as a U.S. representative in 1983-1987 and has was elected to the Senate office in 1987. He received 68.8 percent of the votes in his last election in 1998. While McCain hasn't played an integral role in moving I-gaming related legislation, he has spearheaded a federal effort to prohibit wagering on amateur sports.

Arizona's other Senate seat is held by Republican Jon Kyl, who has been at the forefront of the I-gaming prohibition movement for the past seven years.

The upcoming Senatorial election will be Jankowski's first attempt at a federal office. He ran for Arizona state Congress in 1998, getting 44 percent of the popular vote despite having a budget of less than $6,000. He ran for State Congress again in 2000 and gained 33 percent of the vote while spending only $1,250.