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Online Gambling Not Banned Yet 237

Posted by samzenpus
from the bet-while-you-can dept.
For the moment, the rush to legislate the ban on online gambling has been slowed. Senator John Warner, (R) from Virginia, has refused to allow a ban on online gambling to be tacked onto an upcoming defense bill. Opponents of online gambling were hoping to tack their measure on to a "must pass" bill but will apparently be forced to delay. Congress recesses in one week, giving only a few days left if this measure is to be passed before the November 7th elections.
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Online Gambling Not Banned Yet

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  • by ak3ldama (554026)
    i wish they would give up or just legalize it. online gambling really isn't a problem, just like online sales of goods isn't a problem to walmart or best buy.
    • Re:lame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JavaBrain (920722) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:16PM (#16223317)
      My understanding is that online gambling can never be fair, since multiple PC's can be used to play networked games at the same table (in poker, for example) sharing their cards with each other and improving their odds over the "honest" players.

      So yes I think that is a problem.
      • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

        by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:18PM (#16223337) Homepage Journal
        The players are adequately warned. They know the risks and they still want to play. It's not for the government to make their decision for them.
        • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@ ... COWom minus city> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:40AM (#16228209) Homepage Journal
          It's not for the government to make their decision for them.

          Not to mention, WTF does it have to do with a defense bill?

          Nothing related to Congress and our current govn't offends me more than the unchallenged ability to "tack on" legislation for topic X that has piss-all to do with the main topic of the bill at hand.

          Congressman A: Here's a bill allocating $50m for breast cancer research!

          Congressman B: Great! I'd like to add a rider that allocates $10m in federal funding for building a bridge somewhere in my state - oh, and my brother-in-law like totally has a construction company!

      • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:20PM (#16223367)
        And when thats discovered, accounts get banned. In real casinos, people play as teams and communicate with each other through codes or just by avoiding each other and splitting profits later. Its no more risky online.
      • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:26PM (#16223409)
        But won't you think of the children?!??!!?

        MY GOD, WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!??!?!?!

        Please, nanny government, please make my decisions for me because I'm a complete and utter retard and can't make them on my own.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LocalH (28506)
          /. needs a (+1, Sarcasm) mod. It looks foolish to call the parent "insightful".
        • by mustafap (452510)
          >Please, nanny government, please make my decisions for me because I'm a complete and utter retard and can't make them on my own.

          Well, the people voted the government in. I guess that just confirms your point.
      • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

        by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @10:01PM (#16223663) Homepage Journal
        I doubt the proposed ban of online gambling has anything to do with bots. I'm sure it has more to do with collecting money. It's very hard (or impossible) to tax.
        • by Jason1729 (561790)
          I'm sure it has more to do with collecting money. It's very hard (or impossible) to tax.

          So? When I buy things overseas like electronics parts It's not taxed because it's very hard (or impossible) to tax it.
          • Items transported overseas often have tarrifs. So the government still gets their cut even though you don't see a tax. Besides, the US economy would collapse as it stands now if the government were to ban all international trade.
            • by Firehed (942385)
              Apparently your senders aren't familiar with "gift". No tariff on $0.

              Well, sure, it's illegal, but so is speeding - that hardly stops people.
              • by Jason1729 (561790)
                When I order from ledshoppe.com or qualitychinagoods.com there's no hidden tarrifs or any taxes.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by senatorpjt (709879)
          Honestly, in all seriousness here, I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that Jesus didn't play poker.
      • Re:lame (Score:4, Informative)

        by 50sQuiff (1007025) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:00PM (#16233231)
        It is a problem, but it is not an inherent flaw in the online poker concept. I work for a major online poker company and we employ a variety of methods to prevent such behaviour, the most important of which is manual review and retrospective analysis.

        While on the one hand it is easier to pass information between colluding players in online poker than it is in brick & mortar rooms, it is much more difficult to avoid eventual detection online.

        If you suspect you are being cheated in a cardroom or casino you have no recourse. Whereas on our site we will investigate using a fully peer-reviewed system, and then penalise the guilty and compensate the victims.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      online gambling really isn't a problem, just like online sales of goods isn't a problem to walmart or best buy.

      I thought the problem was about the addiction factor and accessibility. But one could of course argue if the alternative legal forms are much better. However, where I live, there have reportedly been more cases of addiction since online gambling entered the scene. And that's a cost for society to manage if such addictions start implying criminal activity.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:12PM (#16223265) Homepage Journal
    Surely that's a big bloody hole in the legislative system.. why don't they patch it?

    It's just crazy.

    • by Cylix (55374) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:17PM (#16223325) Homepage Journal
      It's a feature, not a bug!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I wish that were a joke.

        The truth is, legislators WANT the ability to completely change the nature of bills. On the one hand, they can add pork/junk to "important" bills; on the other hand, if they add something that a rival (other party) finds objectionable to a bill that otherwise follows the other party's line (e.g. an anti-abortion rider on a medicare funding bill), they can say that any (democrat/republican) that voted against such a bill is "soft on crime/lying about priorities/etc" and people buy it
        • by Firehed (942385)
          I just wish that was obvious. Nobody seems to realize that a line-veto would fix half the problems of the country, but all of the asshole politicians don't want it specifically so they can keep pushing their agendas in the way you noted. Don't get me wrong, not *all* politicians are assholes - come to mention it, you really only hear about the ones that aren't - like this guy - because they did something that was actually for the good of the people, even if it meant voting against something that should ot
    • by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:31PM (#16223463)
      It's meant to be a balance issue, so that a minority party can theoretically attach things they want to bills the majority "must pass." In reality, its gets used for this kind of moralistic bullshit, and for sneaky atrocity like attaching "Dump Nuclear Waste in Lake Michigan" to bills entitled "People Shouldn't Molest Babies."

      Ultimately, I'd argue that its an ineffective band-aid on the cancerous sore that is our winner-take-all legislative system. We desperately need to have proportional represention. Like, you know, every free nation on Earth. But the powers that be are too entrenched in the two party system.

      • Well, that's what this "moralistic bullshit" is: it's a minority party attaching things to a "must pass" bill. It's just not an organized party. They know that the bill couldn't pass on its own, so they attach it to a bill that's certain to. How is that different from any other minority agendum attached to such a bill?
      • by jackbird (721605) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @10:44PM (#16223939)
        Right, because in proportional systems, fringe parties never hold the mainstream hostage when it's time to form a government or elect a PM.
      • I agree with you; I think our political system is in desperate need of reform, and not just a few simple Band-Aids.

        However, with the current two-party structure, riders do serve a semi-legitimate, or at least useful, purpose: they provide a way for a minority to torpedo a bill that really shouldn't get passed, preventing a "tyranny of the majority." It doesn't prevent a 'tyranny of the super-majority,' because riders can be defeated through parliamentary procedure, but that's democracy for you.

        It's importan
        • by LocalH (28506)
          but that's democracy for you.
          No, it's not.
          • Um, "tyranny of the super-majority" was meant to be ironic; that is democratic: if enough people want something badly enough, any democratic system must give it to them. In the current U.S. system, it could happen via Constitutional amendments followed by legislation.

            Certainly one could create a system that would be a limited democracy, where there was no way, even if all but one person in the country wanted something done, that it could happen -- a Constitutional Republic where the Constitution was fixed a
        • by Cadallin (863437)
          As I originally posted, that's exactly what it is suppoosed to do. My point was it is a lousy method of accomplishing that goal. I'd argue that proportional representation is a much better method. Two party systems suck almost as bad as one party state, but the fact that our system could be worse doesn't make it good, or even acceptable.
      • by alexo (9335)

        We desperately need to have proportional representation. Like, you know, every free nation on Earth.

        I knew it, Canada is not "free".

    • by Aeron65432 (805385) <agiamba.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:38PM (#16223515) Homepage
      Actually, they attempted to watch it once with the Line Item Veto Act [wikipedia.org] which gave the President authority to go through a bill and veto individual parts, part of the "Balanced Budget Act of 1997". The idea was to get pork barrel spending and these kind of riders out of important legislation. Ie- Bush could hypothetically have vetoed the online-gambling ban even if it was in a military appropriations bill. It was struck down in Federal court as unconstitutional.


      Amusingly enough, the first senator to complain was Mr. Robert Byrd [wikipedia.org] who is notorious for being one of the worst for pork barrel spending [wikipedia.org]

      • by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @10:05PM (#16223689) Journal
        what we really need is a single subject law, so any bill may only refer to one subject, any passed with multiple subjects would be considered void and must pass again as single parts
        • ...who gets to decide what is outside the subject?

          Congress right?

          Next idea please.
          • by compm375 (847701)
            Congress already can pass laws that are illegal. That is what checks and balances are for.
          • by Lehk228 (705449)
            a court case, the point is that a law could be challenged under the new law then thrown out by the courts as improperly passed

            not perfect, but a hell of a lot better than being allowed to add the "rape babies legalization act" to the "continue paying our soldiers act" then screaming at the opposition for wanting to rip off our soldiers
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by RexRhino (769423)
          I would support a single subject law, but only if they tacked on the space funding legislation I want.
        • by jfengel (409917)
          In some parliamentary systems, there is a motion to split a measure. By some vote (often a simple majority) the bill can be split into two bills. It's less a matter of law as of parliamentary procedure. Neither the US House nor Senate Rules of Order permit the motion to sever.

          They do have a complex array of amendment procedures which could, in theory, be used for similar purposes. But the Congressional Rules of Order make floor votes to amend difficult. The work is supposed to be done in committees, and the
    • by Pichu0102 (916292) <pichu0102@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:54PM (#16223631) Homepage Journal
      Even better, tack something onto another must pass bill that says no riders whatsoever.
      Then wait for the people in Congress to take a while scratching their heads about that one.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:57PM (#16223639)
      I've always thought that American legislators were bored... I mean, if you're just going to vote on stuff, pass laws... BORING. So they decided to spice it up. Put in a few rules to turn the whole thing into a strategy game.
  • walking the line (Score:4, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:13PM (#16223277) Homepage
    For the moment, the rush to legislate the ban on online gambling has been slowed. Senator John Warner, (R) from Virginia, has refused to allow the banning of online gambling to be tacked on to an upcoming defense bill.

    What I don't "get" is that if they do eventually ban online gambling, what is the legal status of games like Second Life, which allow gambling in-world (in Linden Dollars, which you can then convert to US Dollars)? How will it even be possible to police that sort of thing given the open-ended nature of the game?
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:14PM (#16223297) Journal
    I play poker, but I'm not using my own money. I bankrolled money from a freeroll. Now I am freerolling my way up the stakes ladder. If they ban online gambling, I'll have to get a Swiss Bank account or something.
  • . . .because someone, somewhere might just be enjoying themselves, and certain portions of the population don't happen to approve of that kind of fun. . .
    • Many do, they just want it to take place somewhere they can take their cut.
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        If that were the case they'd be introducing new tax laws. No, this is a "my mother lost a fortune betting online, it must be banned!" reaction.

        • by Denyer (717613)
          How much would you want to bet (pun intended) that a move to limit online gambling isn't sponsored by brick-and-mortar casinos?
          • Initially I thought the same thing. But it turns out attendance at live poker in casinos as at an all time high. Plus a lot more people are entering live tournaments after they get into gambling online. The big online gamblings sites let you win entry to live tournaments and often have meetups at casinos. I think casinos already see the benefit to their bottom line.
    • Reminds me of a quote I found quite funny.

      A Puritan is someone who is deathly afraid that someone, somewhere, is having fun.
  • by Footix (972079) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:20PM (#16223363)
    ...I'll lay you 2-to-1 odds it doesn't pass.
    • by Xiroth (917768)
      Well, I'll offer 100-to-1 odds that it passes.

      Of course, I run a legal establishment here - if the law changes, I will of course obey it and will no longer be able to honor any wagers laid.
  • by netbuzz (955038) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:28PM (#16223431) Homepage
    There are more important issues out there, but few frost my behind as much as this one: I mean the opponents of online gambling are almost invariably the same blowhards who wrap themselves around the flag and lecture the rest of the world about what it means to be free. If we cannot decide for ourselves how to dispose of our disposable income, then in no way, shape or form can we be described as free. All forms of gambling should be legal, regulated and taxed. Use a slice of the tax revenue to help problem gamblers. Leave the rest of us alone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smaddox (928261)
      Actually, I believe the proponnents of this bill are "offline" casinos and horse racing tracks. I seriously doubt the true supporters of this bill support it for moral reasons. It is most definately a financial reason.

      If it was for moral reasons, why would they target online gambling as apposed to - say - all gambling? (It could be a secondary goal I suppose, but still unlikely IMHO).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zerocool^ (112121)

      Furthermore, it shows a complete ineptitude as to how the internets work.

      "Hey there, Du-Rail. I got's me an IDEAR. Let's ban them online Casinos."

      "Sounds good, Tex! Them's dens of heathens anyway."

      Gentlemen, your internet tubes also connect to places like... Belarus and Sao Paulo. These places give less than a shit about horse porn - what makes you think they'd care about online gambling?

      *sigh*
  • by rts008 (812749) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:29PM (#16223437) Journal
    How do we stop this insane practise of piling one bill on top of another as it passes through the gauntlet?
    This practise has probably more to do with the sad state we are in than any other- this even bypasses/surpasses pork barrel crap shuffled through.

    Let the original bill stand (or fall) on it's own- quit this backscratchin',feel good,get re-elected bullshit end. If not, we fial and stay where we are.
    • by Peyna (14792)
      Easy. Pass a law/constitutional amendment which states that all amendments to a bill must be germane to that bill.
    • by Marnhinn (310256) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @11:19PM (#16224185) Homepage Journal
      To answer some of your questions... (I work somewhere on the Hill).

      Senators or at least the few that I know or have come in contact with, usually have some sort of philosophy that they follow. This philosophy or set of beliefs serves as a guide on how they will vote. Occasionally you will get someone that is easily influenced by newspapers or political lobbies, but that is in all actuallity, not as common as most people think (which is why when it happens it's big news). There are very strict rules about what kind of gifts politicians and their staff (Senate Staff is limited to 50$ for gifts at receptions) can accept and what they can't.

      For the most part, legislation is not written by Senators (Rep's may write their own). Usually there is a Legislative Assistant(s) or Legislative Director in the office that will write the actual bill or ammendment. The Senator will then review it, and if he / she approves it - it will be submitted to where ever it needs to go (usually a committee of sorts). Often they are attached to other bills, since the legislative process is very slow (and attaching it to something may speed it up).

      Now, as it is election time, many people that are up for re-election are submitting all sorts of things. However, they aren't trying that hard to have them get passed (thankfully - or I'd have no free time), just submitting them so they can claim to have done some work on a certain issue that they may feel their constituents care about (or more likely matches their ideas). Lame Duck session in December, is when the outgoing folks actually sit down and try to get this crap passed.

      So you can assume, that this bill was introduced by someone that believes gambling is wrong. It has nothing to do with the mail that they get, the phone calls people make or the faxes that come in. They don't even see most of those - interns and other staff handle them (although a few Senators actually read a sampling of handwritten mail each week). The politician usually gets a report each week of what mail came in, what issues were popular and what was the stance of the mail (for or against). Usually batch letters (meaning large bunches of faxes / letters / postcards that are all the same ) are not included in that count (cause people often send them in without actually reading them or knowing much about the issue, and mail from someone other then a constituent (meaning outside the politicians district - exceptions being the VA and Natural Resources Committees) or someone that did not put a real mailing address (like the people that always sign with their email address) is ignored. In the event that the politican does not have an opinion on something yet, this mail report will serve to influence their opinion in addition to the research and hearings that they or their staff will conduct. However, their opinion is usually in line with their established philosophy. Long story short, this ammendment was simply so someone could satisfy a mark on their philosophy checklist (most likely), and that is why it was rejected by the Senator (who dislikes this sort of stuff) and not because of some lobbying group.

      The best way to stop these things, is to either write large amounts of handwritten mail to your senator / rep (not other peoples), or simply vote them out during elections time. Problem is -- most people aren't informed enough to actually know what's going on (or at least that is what I see from DC). It's easiest to contact your Senator / Rep at a state office also (if they have some), since most of them spend weekends and when session is out at home.
      • by rts008 (812749)
        Thanks for the informative reply.
        I guess I have some writing to do, as this stuff really bothers me.

        Thanks again for taking the time for a reasonable explaination.
  • Bravo John Warner (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aeron65432 (805385) <agiamba.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:31PM (#16223455) Homepage
    Honestly, the more and more I watch this man's moves, the more impressed I am.


    He refused to cave to the Bush administration on torture.


    Now, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, he refuses to let a trivial non-issue be tacked on along with a government spending bill. Bravo, if only more people like him could be elected to the Senate.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sideswipe76 (689578)
      WOAH! Hold on now, he rebufed the bill not because he doesn't feel the idea is right, just that it has no bussiness in a defense appropriations bill. And, it's gonna take more than a last minute show of independence to convince me he is worthy of his seat. Let's not kid ourselves -- he and the other 2 "independents" buckled after only a week; Hardly a show of iron will.
      • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @11:13PM (#16224139)
        Hold on now, he rebufed the bill not because he doesn't feel the idea is right, just that it has no bussiness in a defense appropriations bill.

        Exactly. That's why he's probably one of the best guys in there. Most of the others would be happy to turn a blind eye to riders provided it was for something they want. The whole "relative morality" debate. If what you say above is true, then we need more folk like him, regardless of their personal viewpoints.

    • by Kanasta (70274)
      actually, I was more surprised that senators had the power to refuse things to be tacked on to other bills. Because so many unrelated bills had been tacked on to surefire bills in the past, I had always assumed the people involved had no choice
  • Can someone help me out here... How exactly does one go about blocking these riders? And why doesn't it happen more often? Also, who gets to add rider's to bills? Can anyone just submit anything they want to be included with a bill?

    I know they tried to pass the line item veto in 1996 to help deal with this, but isn't there anything better we can do to stop so many tacked on clauses? I don't know if I agree with a line item veto because it could be easily abused to get rid of things central to the bill. Ho

  • So how do we tell the difference between an information market and gambling? Some would say sports betting is just a derivitive play on NFL/NBA team stocks.

    From what I can tell in Iowa, "Bookmaking" is illegal:
    "Bookmaking as used herein means the taking or receiving of any bet or wager upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed, power or endurance of human, beast, fowl or motor vehicle..."

    So apparently corprorations in Iowa are not human, best, fowl, or motor vehicle.
  • Currently, due to prior efforts by Congress and corporations to enforce some sort of "ban" online gambling, all I have to do is go to Central Coin (which purports to be facilitator for online privacy in purchases, or some such whatnot; I've never seen a merchant other than gaming sites that uses their services), deposit some money into the account (and pay some fairly small fee, roughly double ATM transaction fees) and then go to Poker Stars to withdraw that money from CC and deposit to Poker Stars. Whole
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @01:40AM (#16225065) Homepage
    I don't get it. I've worked on the board of a non-profit organization before. If somebody tried to avoid review by attaching junk to an otherwise good motion, we'd always either make a motion to split the bill into the separate issues, or just outright vote the thing down. Why do parliamentarians tolerate random crap being added to bills?
  • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:08AM (#16225217) Homepage
    Your legislative process is, frankly, mindboggling to most Europeans. It is not clear to me why it makes sense to make a single vote on issues such as: "Should we spend $500 million more on the war in Iraq and ban online gambling ?"

    To any sensible observer these would appear to be two completely separate questions, thus it'd make sense to vote on them separately, I *completely* fail to see the supposed benefits of this "rider"-system.

    You even frequently see semi-controversial stuff "attached" to the most obscure nobody-cares piece of legislation in existence, hoping that it'll get passed before somebody notices or something. Hello ? The entire *point* of a democracy is that people *should* notice the controversial issues, debate them, and then vote on them.

    Can somebody with an insigth please explain what the benefits are ? To outsiders, frankly, it just seems completely ridicolous.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Control Group (105494)
      It's not that anyone ever actually considered the process and said, "you know it would be really keen if we could attach completely unrelated topics to bills, we should make that possible." It's more a matter of nothing being set up to stop it from happening. Since there's an advantage to it in terms of personal political clout, then, it happens.

      You're right, it's ridiculous. But it's like the bracketed tax system: it doesn't matter whether another method is demonstrably and obviously more fair, just, or ch
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:50AM (#16227465)
    Disallowing an unrelated rider to be tacked on to a bill? Is this a sudden attack of conscious, or a sudden attack of campaign contributions?

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