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The Looming Battle Over Online Gambling 245

Posted by Zonk
from the wto-is-only-good-when-its-convenient dept.
Kadin2048 writes "According to an recent Ars Technica article, the US is headed on a 'collision course' with the WTO over off-shore Internet gambling, if a bill currently in the House of Representatives passes. The 'Internet Gambling Prohibition Act,' (PDF) which updates the 'Wire Act' to prohibit Internet gambling regardless of whether the servers are located in the US or outside of it, is in direct contravention of a WTO ruling. Proponents of the bill claim that it was narrowly defeated in previous incarnations due to the influence of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. However it seems as though some of Abramoff's biggest clients -- brick and mortar casinos -- are really the big winners from passage of this bill, since it does not prohibit gambling in person, only online."
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The Looming Battle Over Online Gambling

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  • by Galston (895804) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:50PM (#14745422)
    I wouldn't bet on this ending nicely at all.
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:51PM (#14745427)
    The 'Internet Gambling Prohibition Act,' (PDF) which updates the 'Wire Act' to prohibit Internet gambling regardless of whether the servers are located in the US or outside of it, is in direct contravention of a WTO ruling.

    I think this act violating some funny acronym takes a backseat to the idea of every nation's own soverignity.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jfruhlinger (470035) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:13PM (#14745636) Homepage
      Yeah, except that our elected govt. signed the treaty and now has to play by the rules we agreed to. We could always pull out ... the WTO can't make us play by their rules, but they can kick us out of the club if we don't.

      Which would be bad, since we benefit from being in the WTO in about a kajillion ways, mostly involving telling other countries how to run their economies. Or does your idea of "national sovreignty" only apply to the US?

      jf
  • Gimme a break! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gasmonso (929871) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:52PM (#14745446) Homepage

    This is sponsored by US casinos that are losing business to online ones. Instead of pushing through bs legislation, they should have to compete by making their own casinos online. Yet another example of "bought" legislation that serves only the good of corporations.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:01PM (#14745526)
      Instead of pushing through bs legislation, they should have to compete by making their own casinos online.
      Apparently, though, they can't because they're located in the US and it's already illegal for them to do it (that's what that "Wire Act" thing is). This new bill is about making it illegal to gamble at online casinos located outside the US, which only levels the playing field.

      I think the best solution, though, is just to repeal the laws against gambling here, along with all the other laws that try to protect people against themselves. If they want to do something stupid, I say we let them!
      • I agree -- as soon as we get rid of Welfare so I don't have to support all of the idiots who lose all of their money.
        • Yeah, that too. In fact, if you look at it a certain way it is one of those "laws that protect people against themselves" because it removes responsibility for their actions. In other words, people can knowingly be stupid and/or self-destructive and rely on the "safety net" of Welfare to save them. If we removed the safety net, people would have to learn to take care of themselves.
          • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jason1729 (561790)
            That won't end well.

            Go to Wikipedia and look up "French Revolution" to see some prior art for your idea.
          • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Traa (158207)
            If you remove the safety net, some people will indeed learn and take care of themselves. However a LOT of people will not take care of themselves and hurt themselves, their family and perhaps you (through crime/desease/poverty you name it). That is the nature of people.

            Now if you still think that this suits you fine, then "Welcome to America" ;-)

            Personally I am inclined to say that certain safety nets that protect people against themselves or each other builds a healthy society.
          • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:4, Informative)

            by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:36PM (#14745829) Homepage Journal
            well, as a tech employee who was out of work for 9 months, I thank god we had welfare, otherwise we would have lost everything.
            Just for your info, whiole out of work, I spent 30 hours a week minimum doing something that directly involved finding another job.

            Contrary to the republican mantra, a very small minority of welfare reciepents abuse thr system. Point in fact, most people on some sort of assistance work full time jobs.
      • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zulux (112259) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:07PM (#14745587) Homepage Journal
        If they want to do something stupid, I say we let them!

        I agree! But unfortunatly, the same people that would gamble their future away are the same types of people that won't accept responsibility for their own actions.

        I'd be all for legalizing gambeling, drugs and protitution --- if the people who engaged in such behaviour diden't keep asking for goverment handouts.

        • the same people that would gamble their future away are the same types of people that won't accept responsibility for their own actions.

          Can you cite the scientific literature that substantiates this claim, please?
        • I'd be all for legalizing gambeling, drugs and protitution --- if the people who engaged in such behaviour diden't keep asking for goverment handouts.

          This is precisely why not allowing internet gambling inside the US is stupid. The money leaves the country immediately. It's not even possible to tax the shit out of it to pay for any public welfare necessity caused by gambling.

          On the other hand, legalizing some drugs (it's already the war on some drugs regardless) would cut down the costs of the lega

        • I agree completely with everything you said.
        • Some pretty broad generalizations there.

          Are you suggesting that only people who gamble, do drugs, or hire prostitutes ask for government handouts? Or that they do so disproportinately?

          If you can show a causal linkage between gambling and asking for government handouts that isn't there for other high-risk havior (skydiving, say, or day trading), you'll have a better argument. Otherwise, the whole "we need to limit everyone's freedom because the only people who use the freedom to do X are a burden on societ

        • Two wrongs don't make a right.

          The government doesn't have the right to restrict trade - as they do with the prohibitions of gambling, drugs, prostitution and just about everything else.

          But the government also doesn't have the right to restrict your livlihood by taxing you to support others.

          Repealing either of these is an improvement over the status quo. Fixing either wrong would be progress.

          But ironically, the people who want one, want the other, and they use each to support thier arguments for the other.
      • even if that stupid act harms someone not immediatly involved?

      • man, if the representitves can be bought as easily as the original poster states, why can't they change the law to allow online gambling in the US? They would make more money.
      • by tlambert (566799) on Friday February 17, 2006 @07:14PM (#14746075)
        They can't repeal the laws here.

        If they did, then they'd have to actually address the issue of which state the transaction on the Internet takes place in: the buyers state, or the sellers state.

        They don't want to do that, because in doing so, they either have declare the transaction takes place in the buyers state - and limit online gaming to people in physical locations where it's legal to gamble - or the sellers state - and render illegal all those state laws regarding "use tax".

        They can't limit it to the buyers state, because if they do that, there's no way to tax it or prove what state the buyer is actually in at the time of the transaction, because there's no geotracking information associated with Internet connectivity.

        They can't limit it to the sellers state, because if they do that, there's no way that an online seller is going to be able to collect the tax on behalf of 50 states, Midway, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, and they effectively squelch a large part of the economy.

        Sowhat the Wire Act enables them to do is to stick their collective heads in the sand and pretend that there's nothing to see here, and that people who buy things on the Internet are paying their local used tax, and that sellers in the same state as the shipping address are collecting and forwarding the state sales tax to the state they are located in.

        This basically lets them ignore the whole problem that derives from having non-uniform state tax laws for a little while longer.

        From the point of view of someone who occaasionally makes purchaes over the Internet, I have to say that I actually approve of this tack; I'd hate to have to provide strong identification couple with strong locality information, just to access the Internet, "just in case" I decided to try to buy something online.

        -- Terry
    • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:03PM (#14745540) Homepage Journal
      "Instead of pushing through bs legislation, they should have to compete by making their own casinos online."

      I agree....if they could/would bring their casinos online, especially the major ones in Vegas and Atlantic City...they could really pull in US gamblers I'd think.

      Since they are overseen quite well by their city's gaming boards, people could feel more comfortable that they were 'honest' games online.

      I'd certainly feel more comfortable playing online Texas Hold'em with say, Harrah's online, than some place offshore....if I were so inclined to do something like that.

      • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jafiwam (310805)
        Actually, one of my major reasons for NOT gambling online is the offshore nature of the servers.

        If it were some American casino online, I might do it. Just because if they get hacked/defraud me there would be at least SOME recourse.

        Whereas I will never ever go to Vegas to gamble in person because well... that would be admitting I want to. I would spend $5 here and there online, but don't want to go to Vegas for it.

        So they'd win if they could do online versions legally in the US.

        Of course, that stupid puri
    • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tweekster (949766)
      Give me a break, this legislation is stupid, but come on, do you honestly beleive a Casino is losing out to the online version... right. and apparently you have never been to vegas. The casino experience isnt about gambling.
      • The recent explosion in the popularity of poker is down to the Internet. Those people who have got into the game playing from the comfort and safety of their own home for a couple of dollars are increasingly trying out the "real thing", which can only be good for the real casinos. It's interesting to see the US choosing to go down this route when other Western countries such as the UK are doing the opposite and opening up to accommodate these operators. Online gambling is becoming increasingly legitimate
  • RE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:53PM (#14745458) Homepage
    Call me cynical.... But I think that the Bricks and mortar casinos give enough money to politicos that there is not a snowballs chance in hell that online gambling will be legal.
    Also, Online, offshore gambling is tough to tax. If the government can't tax it, they will outlaw it...
    • Re:RE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:58PM (#14745502) Journal
      Okay Mr. Cynical, what you don't seem to comprehend is that while yes, the United States can blow off the WTO, there will eventually be consequences.

      The WTO will probably pick out an important U.S. export industry and apply some trade sanctions to it.

      It works.

      The United States has backed down to the WTo before and they'll do it again. So, while "the wto-is-only-good-when-its-convenient", they also have means to enforce their will.
      • Re:RE (Score:2, Informative)

        by nero4wolfe (671100)
        Just for background, here's a few areas where the US already has had to change laws to comply with WTO rules:

        At one time, there was a push to regulate the tuna industry in the US to minimize or eliminate accidental dolphin and porpoise catches. The Mexican tuna industry protested to the WTO; the WTO ruled for them, and the US "safe tuna" laws disappeared.

        At one time, there were rules prohibiting the importation of some high-sulfur oil. Venezuala (iirc) protested to the WTO. Those rules disappeared.

    • If the government can't tax it, they will outlaw it...

      If they can't collect the tax, how is outlawing it going to have any impact?
    • by geekoid (135745)
      You don't think the big US casinos would make money off online gambling? Hell, at least they could market that there machines comply with the gaming board regulations. Which is a hell of a lot safer then some offshore casino.
  • Consolidate it all (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ThisIsForReal (897233) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:56PM (#14745476) Homepage
    Consolidate the whole world into the Extended USA. Then legalize everything: gambling, drugs, prostitutes, ripping CD's into MP3's (just kidding, that should always be illegal). Then tax the hell out of the whole thing, and reduce us all to serfs working and toiling for "the man", which is now a single ruling body over everything.

    Everybody will work towards Friday under oppression, then celebrate the weekend by gambling, doing drugs and girls, and then listening to illgotten music (just kidding about that one). Problems solved.

    Ahh, gambling. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.
  • by bherman (531936) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:56PM (#14745481) Homepage
    That was telling google et al to locate their servers offshore [com.com] to avoid China asking for information from them or asking them to filter content in their search engines......which is it????
    I hate this Congress.....they claim that it would be ok for us to do to another country, but not to our own. I guess their mothers never taught them the golden rule. "Treat others as you want to be treated"

    Screw them.
    • I guess their mothers never taught them the golden rule. "Treat others as you want to be treated".

      Screw them.

      I think their mothers taught them that. That is why they are hell bent on screwing us

    • On the other hand, their political advisers have also taught them the Golden Rule: "Who has the gold, makes the rules."

      You see, you are using ethical and moral arguments - which already puts two strikes against you in politics. Add "a desire for intelligent debate," and you can't get yourself elected dogcatcher!
  • by Tom Courtenay (638139) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:56PM (#14745483)
    Or at least, a bill has been tabled.

    http://www.ontla.on.ca/documents/Bills/38_Parliame nt/session2/b060_e.htm [ontla.on.ca]
  • solution. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blue_adept (40915) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:57PM (#14745488)
    prohibit Internet gambling regardless of whether the servers are located in the US or outside of it

    Obviously this only applies to corporations and businesses incorporated in the US. Solution? Online gambling companies will simply incorporate on whatever island their servers are hosted, and shut down their US branches.

    You don't have to be a US company to take US money.
    • You don't have to be a US company to take US money.

      Yes and no. IIRC, gambling debts are not enforceable across state lines - so someone can simply walk away from a credit card transaction (may not be that simple).

      Contrary to what the article says, a complete ban on online gambling would not violate the WTO agreements, any more than France's prohibition of Nazi merchandise be a violation of WTO regs.

    • The fun with this is that it already illegal to have for-money online gambling in the USA. However, the companies get around it by advertising for donkeypornpoker.net (a not for money site), knowing full well that most people will go to donkeypornpoker.com, which is a "sepearate" offshore company that is a true gambling site.
    • I think, if this bill actually passes, that there will be little effective change. For example, if you see current advertisements for Absolutepoker.net (IIRC) on TV: in the small print it says "This is not a real gambling site" -- mainly because advertising offshore gambling on US TV is apparently a legal grey area. Similarly, look at Kazaa.com -- they just have a disclaimer telling Australian users they "must not download or use Kazaa".

      If they outlaw Americans' gambling online with offshore companies, t
  • by acaben (80896) * <bstanfieldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:57PM (#14745493)
    That's the real kicker in this proposed bill. They want to spend $30 Million over the next 3 years to fight gambling. Great, add that to the DOJ's war on porn, and perhaps sometime in the next 20 or 30 years we can go back to looking for Osama Bin Laden. Once all that porn and gambling is stopped. Priorities, people, prioties.

    And, even though I'm disgusted by the money they want to spend on this, I'm more disgusted that the "personal responsibility" party (repubs) and "keep your government out of my bedroom" party (dems) both think that gambling is something they have the right to regulate. Do some (dumb) people become addicted to gambling and spend their life savings? Yes, and they deserve to lose that money. Just because there are a few people unable to think logically about their actions doesn't mean we should prevent the tens of millions of people who enjoy the thrill of a weekend in Vegas or Party Poker from doing so responsibly.

    • Sadly the "keep your government out of my bedroom" party belives that any federal regulation is good regulation unless it affects a sexual act and especially if it hinders a company or corperation that they don't like. While the "personal responsibility" party has slowly become the "personal responsibility (unless your committing moral sin)" party.
    • Great, 30 million on this shit. Here's a far better idea- legalize online gambling. Tax it. Regulate it so that we can be sure the RNG is fair. Force casinos to put a small percent of profits twoards rehabilitation for those who truely have problems, and let those of us who can control their gambling have fun playing a game of poker now and then.
    • "personal responsibility" party (repubs)

      You mean the financial whores party?

      Really, you guys need to do something about your congressmen openly selling their vote to the highest bidder. It's getting really out of hand. ...not a stab at Americans, but it's definitely a breakdown in democracy when votes can be purchased by a lobby group.

      You guys need to put politicians in jail who accept bribes. Yes bribes. That's what vote buying is - a bribe.

      Not that my country (Canada) is much better...
    • just pointing out that the ramifications of gambling go far beyond the gambler.

      OTOH, I have always wanted to st up an online casino in the bahamas that cheats. Would be trivial, really.

    • I'm amazed the federal government would want to "fight gambling". If they succeeded, what would all the states do that rely on lottery income???

      This is beyond stupid, it's blatant pandering to a lobby at the expense of, oh, just about everyone else. Far better would be to legalize, legitimize, and tax online gambling and turn the US into a provider of those services instead of a consumer. In the increasingly global marketplace, an international online casino operated out of the US would, in economic term
    • Do some (dumb) people become addicted to gambling and spend their life savings? Yes, and they deserve to lose that money.

      Perfectly sensible concept...except we have a non-negotiable constraint that if you go broke, I have to feed and house you.

      rj

  • Why do Americans get so worked up about things that nobody else in the world cares about - like betting and bare breasts?
  • by BigZaphod (12942) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:02PM (#14745528) Homepage
    Personally, I think gambling is a waste of time - but that should always be the choice of the person doing the gambling. Sure, it can ruin lives and mess up families - but dammit, that's THEIR problem! I should be free to spend $2.00 online gambling every now and then if I were into that sort of thing. The more the government attempts to baby the public the weaker we become. Our society is going through a massive pussification and I just can't see it ending well.
  • by eclectro (227083)
    They can pry my online gambling from my cold, dead hands.

    Or until I loose all my money.
  • by cybrpnk2 (579066) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:02PM (#14745535) Homepage
    Time to join the Poker Player Alliance [pokerplayersalliance.org], which has been specifically formed to fight legislation like this. Besides, they've got a pretty neat T-shirt.
  • ...and there you go, instant legal online gambling.
  • the government should take over gambling

    just like they took over the numbers racket and created the interstate lottery system

    ironically, lottery money is used for educational purposes (or it is supposed to at least)

    look, we all know gambling is an idiot tax. so the government should stop being a moralist and just be prudent about something they are doing anyways: collecting taxes. absorbing a lucrative idiot tax should be a no-brainer

    perhaps gambling money could fund NASA or something. the stupidest of ment
  • I think it's going to be near impossible to control online gambling. We can't even control the drug trade, and these guys think they can stop online gambling? I think there's problems with gambling. People get addicted, they lose all their money, and other people suffer because of it. What happens when your wife gambles away your entire savings? Are you an idiot because you trusted her with access to the bank account?

    That makes it societies resposibility to try to prevent that harm. To do this we need
  • Over-protection (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro&gmail,com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:21PM (#14745713) Homepage Journal
    Protect me from murder.

    Protect me from rape, from robbery, from bodily assault.

    Protect me from corporations swindling me.

    Protect me from bodily damage from others.

    But, please, stop protecting me from myself. I can protect me from myself just fine without the government jumping in with a few choice words.

    If you're so concerned about those too incompetent to protect themselves from themselves, find a way to either educate them or allow them to continue down their self-destructive path without taking out others along the way.

    It's good that you care for those types. (Someone has to.) However, restricting me because a small minority can't restrict themselves is not right.

    And if you're doing this because of some moral high ground, go jump off a bridge.
    • Re:Over-protection (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pyro101 (564166)
      The problem is that when people go and lose their life's savings/house due to an addiction we have a choice of either letting them die in gutter in a puddle of their own urin or supporting them by some means whether it be private or state funded either way it hurts society. In our free nation we allow most obnoxious and destructive behavior until it begins to cost society instead of just the stupid individual. ie you can buy a large chunck of land build a bridge and jump off it but you can't go to a publi
    • It's not as black-and-white as you paint it. There's a reason gambling is restricted in this country to a few designated places and it's PRECISELY to protect you from murder, rape, bodily assault, etc. YOU might be smart enough to to gamble away your life savings, but the government is trying to protect you from those that will and then resort to desperate measures.

      And if you think it's cheaper to educate than restrict (AND assume the educating will work), you're living in some fantasy society.
      • Re:Over-protection (Score:3, Insightful)

        by radish (98371)
        It's not as black-and-white as you paint it. There's a reason gambling is restricted in this country to a few designated places and it's PRECISELY to protect you from murder, rape, bodily assault, etc. YOU might be smart enough to to gamble away your life savings, but the government is trying to protect you from those that will and then resort to desperate measures.

        Which would make perfect sense if the other countries of the world in which gambling is legal (hint: most of them) were more violent and dangero
  • by Ossifer (703813) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:21PM (#14745717)
    The WTO does not claim to impose or dismiss national controls over its populace--it only seeks to maintain a level playing field between countries--that you cannot place burdens on foreign competitors in order to protect the companies in your own country from foreign competition.

    The bill banning US citizens from using *all* net gambling sites does not violate WTO rules, as it treats all countries' sites equally.
  • I just found it amusing that I go to check Slashdot and there is a story about online gambling.
  • However it seems as though some of Abramoff's biggest clients -- brick and mortar casinos -- are really the big winners from passage of this bill, since it does not prohibit gambling in person, only online."

    As always, follow the money. I have been invloved in the casino business for many years. Believe me, never mind the casinos, its all about uncle sam getting his cut. Nothing more nothing less.
  • I understand why a government might illegalize casinos, lotteries, and betting, since it is a pernicious vice that many men are drawn into, wasting incalculable amounts of their personal savings in a futile effort to beat the house advantage. So that's fine with me. However this US law is written by the casino special interests and does not have as its end the illegalization of gambling en toto, but merely the prevention of foreign competition in the 'industry'. What outstanding hypocrisy. The world trade
    • I understand why a government might illegalize casinos, lotteries, and betting, since it is a pernicious vice that many men are drawn into, wasting incalculable amounts of their personal savings in a futile effort to beat the house advantage.

      The recent growth in online gambling is primarily driven by poker, where it really is possible to win consistently because you play against the other players rather than against the house. But you're absolutely right about the hypocrisy: government should STFU about ga
  • I.e., if you are in nevada, atlantic city, in a casino anywhere, then you can log on and gamble at these sites. What you can't do is log on someplace where gambling is illegal. This is easy enough to track via IP address. You can have a list of IP's where it is legal to gamble from.

    Then the law is fair.

    Of course it is also stupid since you can still log on to a redirector service and make it look like you are coming from a place where it is legal.

    But legally, I think the WTO couldn't complain. Otherwise
  • In Soviet Russia, our new, on-line gaming overlords outlaw you!
  • With American health steadily declining (on average), as exemplified by the current rate of obesity, congestive heart failure, and adult onset diabetes - I propose we rally together and convince our congressmen to submit legislation for the banning of food in the United States.
  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Friday February 17, 2006 @07:24PM (#14746134) Journal
    This makes me wonder what the legality will be (or is) of gambling in MMORPGs and other virtual realities, particularly those like Second Life where in-game items and currency can be bought and sold with real-world money. If you make in-game gambling illegal, that seems like an unreasonable (and perhaps unconstitutional?) constraint placed on creators of games. On the other hand, if in-game gambling is legal, that's a pretty big loophole for the "evils of gambling" to get through.

    On that note, couldn't all for-pay MMORPGs be considered a form of gambling? Players pay a certain amount each month, and there's a certain chance that you'll be able to accumulate in-game items which can be sold for real-world money. There's of course an entertainment aspect to the game, but there's also an entertainment aspect for going to a casino.
  • Not to sound too paranoid, but I care a helluva lot more about the accuracy of the software than I do about if it's legal or not (same could be said for any number of vices, but I'll stick to this one). At least in the physical world, there are a lot of physical mechanisms in place to prevent being [too] taken by the house. Can the same truely be said of the online casinos?
    • At least in the physical world, there are a lot of physical mechanisms in place to prevent being [too] taken by the house. Can the same truely be said of the online casinos?

      Yes, perhaps even more so. For example, in online poker you can save the history of every hand you've played, and slice the statistics any way you want. There are players with databases of millions of hands who constantly analyze them; if there was something fishy going on they'd find it.
  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@@@gmail...com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @07:51PM (#14746284) Homepage
    "Brick and Mortar" casinos can come out ahead either way it goes.

    The big Vegas casinos will be the first to tell you, they *want* internet gambling in the United States. They can trade on the "trust" they've built with people face to face to build their on-line business. Any major customer service business has one major cost: labor. You don't pay dealers on-line, you don't comp drinks, you don't pay waitresses. Just a few admins and bandwidth costs.

    If the US outlaws internet gambling, The casinos lose slightly, but come away with a push overall. They can't move into the on-line realm like they want to, but will at least keep the face to face business.

    Personally, I would like to see on-line gambling through the major casinos. I'm hesitant to put up money with off shore organizations (why yes, I fully trust you and your Costa Rican LLC! Here's my Visa card!) You'd probably see a slight drop off in gambling related crime. For instance, I wouldn't mind dropping 20-40 bucks a week on the NFL and NHL. But since I don't live in Vegas, I'd have to deal with the local bookie. I'd be a criminal.

    The easiest way to get rid of the small time crime (loan sharking, bookmaking, etc) is to make it a large scale crime e.g. a profitable capitalist enterprise :)
  • If the US ignores the WTO over this, who would notice? They're already ignoring rulings from NAFTA/WTO (Can't remember which, I think it was NAFTA) ordering the US to stop charging illegal tarrifs on Canadian softwood lumber (and pay back the tarrifs they've already illegally collected), but the US doesn't like the ruling, so they're just going to ignore it.

    So I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the US decided to ignore the WTO. The US only follows international agreements if the US wants to.
  • The Bush Administration lost a fight over tarrifs against Canadian wood products in the WTO as well, and decided to ignore the ruling. Being as this gambling ruling will piss off both the brick-n-mortar US casinos, GOP social conservatives, and the boys at Treasury, the Administration will probably blow off the WTO on this one, as well.

    While I'll be on the Administration's side, for various reasons, it'll nevertheless show the complete and utter hypocrisy of big busines and their lapdogs in D.C. when it com

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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