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The Business Press Maven's clarion call is for the business media to start bringing a working knowledge of stock market history to what they say in the public square. But I'd probably be better off just laying down for a nap. That my life's work amounts to a hill of beans wouldn't be such a big deal, but knowledge of stock market history would give business journalists a more accurate feel for the future, which would give you as an investor the best chance of turning what you read, see or hear into profits.

Which brings us to recent coverage of the online gaming industry. The fact that Congress seemed to declare online gaming off-limits to Americans a week ago is the worst sort of issue for the media to cover, because they didn't know it was coming. And what they didn't know was coming came on a weekend.

That's a double bust.

But the business media


know what's coming -- any day of the week -- from Washington legislation, and that's unintended consequences and a market that finds ways around unnatural legislation.

But there was something wrong with the coverage we saw in the wake of Congress's passage of the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act on what would become online gambling's own Black Monday -- with shares in companies like



888 Holdings

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losing more than half their value -- and afterward. Virtually all that was talked about were the terms of the restrictions, "It's a crime to use a credit card for online gaming," and the financial carnage (see those plummeting stock prices). The media also updated us on where assorted online gaming executives were in their various states of house arrest.

But what we didn't hear is what people who make money with the realization that Washington legislation is never ironclad know: How are online gamblers going to get around this? Offshore money orders? Overseas credit cards? Bookie runners who use dastardly new programming on their own computers, absorbing the risk? Dastardly new programs in your own house, and you'll blame it on the dog if caught? Swiss banks? Swiss cheese? Will World Trade Organization legislation press against this lame new bill?

The point is I don't know yet. But something is always out there when heavy-handed legislation is thrown down the gullet of a public that mostly wasn't asking for it.

One only need think back to Prohibition or notice that traffic tends to go faster than set speed limits as proof. Or think of the entire underground economy in place to avoid taxes. Or narcotics. Or back-alley abortions. Anyhow, keep your eyes open here for how people who want to gamble online find a way to do so. When the business media don't have their eyes open, there is usually opportunity in the ashes that result. A little hustle here by gamblers, and it'll be up from the ashes for online gaming.

When we first met on that dark and stormy night back in December, The Business Press Maven took your hand, looked you in the eye and said, "Isn't it crazy that the business media think so much in terms of one side winning and the other losing that they can't tell when both sides are obviously going to lose?"

I was speaking about the breathless coverage of Howard Stern's move to

Sirius Satellite Radio

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and, across the board, the business media were framing the situation the same way. Howard, with his strippers, angry dwarfs and Fart Man alter ego, was moving to satellite. Would satellite win the war? Or would terrestrial radio triumph? (Either/or.)

Neither, The Business Press Maven shouted with impunity. And more news breaking this week about tepid subscription rates for satellite radio -- while terrestrial still struggles -- shows you once again why The Business Press Maven is a walking, talking fortune cookie.

But more importantly, it proves that framing an issue in terms of one future winner and one future loser, as the business media almost reflexively do, is not always the right response. Satellite radio was throwing around all sorts of money, but actually getting the radios was new and expensive and not enough people would do it. But people would start putting iPods in their cars, which meant less demand for radio of any sort. And terrestrial radio is currently so wan and flawed that one could see it losing long-term -- satellite, iPod or not. Though, come to think of it, because it's unregulated -- is there any way to gamble over satellite radio waves?

A journalist with a background on Wall Street, Marek Fuchs has written the County Lines column for The New York Times for the past five years. He also contributes regular breaking news and feature stories to many of the paper's other sections, including Metro, National and Sports. Fuchs was the editor-in-chief of, a financial Web site twice named "Best of the Web" by Forbes Magazine. He was also a stockbroker with Shearson Lehman Brothers in Manhattan and a money manager. He is currently writing a chapter for a book coming out in early 2007 on a really embarrassing subject. He lives in a loud house with three children.