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US Outlaws Online Gambling 579

Posted by kdawson
from the you-bet-your-life dept.
imaginaryelf writes, "As reported earlier on Slashdot, in the closing hours of the US Congressional session on Friday, September 29, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (H.R.4411.RH) was attached to the Safe Port Act of 2006 H.R.4954.EAS. To the surprise of many, the bill passed both the House and the Senate, and Bush is expected to sign it into law this week. This effectively outlaws online gambling in the US, by way of making it illegal for credit-card companies to collect payments for bets. The financial markets punished the stock of online gambling companies as some prepared to pull out of the US entirely."
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US Outlaws Online Gambling

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  • hooray. (Score:4, Funny)

    by kin_korn_karn (466864) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:22PM (#16280521) Homepage
    Thank God the congress knows how to protect me from the evil casinos! Four more years!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Library Spoff (582122)
      Channel 4 news here in the UK just had a report on this. It said it was in part pressure from the US casinos that's pushed this bill. The UK is opening up to US casinos to allow them to open `Supercasinos` - we'll have to see now what happens there, should they go ahead if British companies are not allowed a level playing field?

       
    • Re:hooray. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gadgetfreak (97865) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:26PM (#16281905)
      Yep, it's funny for those of us who can think for themselves. But don't forget the people outside of Slashdot, many of whom cry because they simply cannot maintain control of their finances or their own life.
      These are the people that want the government to protect them from all the bad things, and lobby and vote accordingly. I'd be a lot more liberal if I knew people would still be responsible for their actions. But I know that's not going to be the case.

      I live in Southeastern Connecticut, home of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos. I visit both regularly, simply because of the restaurants and other offerings. I don't gamble at all. However, I constantly see the people with tattered clothes sitting at the machines, the mother with her 6 year old sleeping on the carpet next to her at 2 AM. I see the signs mounted on all the pay phones with the free # for the gambling addiction hotline... which are there only after lobbying pressured them.

      The average American owes thousands to credit card debt already. I'm not saying it's right, but I'm saying it's a prime example of how people will piss and whine to politicians about the things they don't like rather than make conservative decisions in life. The same people want schools to raise their children for them. And they want the government to protect them from themselves.

      You'd be surprised how many people will be happy that online gambling is effectively shut down. And it's probably not going to be the moral conservatives who speak the loudest in favor of it.
      • Re:hooray. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mosch (204) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:35PM (#16284139) Homepage
        Question #1: "Should the federal government prevent Americans from playing poker?"

        YES NO DON'T KNOW REFUSED
        5% 90% 4.5% 0.4%
        49 868 43 4

        Question #2: "Should the federal government prevent Americans from playing poker in Las Vegas?"

        YES NO DON'T KNOW REFUSED
        5.5% 90.7% 3.3% 0.5%
        53 874 32 5

        Question #3: "Should the federal government prevent Americans from playing poker in Casinos on Indian Reservations?"

        YES NO DON'T KNOW REFUSED
        8.3% 86.6% 4.6% 0.5%
        80 835 44 5

        Question #4: "Should the federal government prevent Americans from playing poker for charitable fundraisers?"

        YES NO DON'T KNOW REFUSED
        8.1% 86.9% 4.4% 0.6%
        78 838 42 6

        -Page 1 of 2-

        Question #5: "Should the federal government prevent Americans from playing poker on the Internet?"

        YES NO DON'T KNOW REFUSED
        18% 74.2% 7.4% 0.4%
        174 715 71 4

        Question #6: "Should the federal government prevent Americans from playing poker in the privacy of your own home?"

        YES NO DON'T KNOW REFUSED
        3% 94.7% 1.8% 0.5%
        29 913 17 5

        Question #7: "Do you believe the federal government should be managing Americans gambling behaviors on the Internet?"

        YES NO DON'T KNOW REFUSED
        26.9% 66.1% 6.4% 0.6%
        259 637 62 6
  • Circumvention (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646)
    It seems (and I've never used a gambling site before and I don't advocate breaking the law) that to get around this, all you have to do is deposit the money to a "legit" offshore intermediary who then places your bets in your stead. Unless the government wants to audit all offshore businesses for gambling, everything looks kosher and compliant with the law. What am I missing?
    • Re:Circumvention (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nizo (81281) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:27PM (#16280637) Homepage Journal
      The only drawback I can see is you might end up in an offshore prison [wikipedia.org] without access to a lawyer or any due process, since the only reason you would do this is to fund terrorist attacks, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nuzak (959558)
      > What am I missing?

      Money laundering laws. The gist being that they don't care what middlemen your money goes through, it's the endpoints that count.
    • Worse Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How are they going to stop all that online stock market speculation?

      Don't try to tell me that the return on investment is guaranteed, or that business ventures aren't a gamble, because they are. 90% of businesses fail in their first year.

      Anyone want to bet that online casinos will be targeted by this law, but Wall Street will remain strangely exempt?
      • Anyone want to bet that online casinos will be targeted by this law, but Wall Street will remain strangely exempt?

        I don't know about all states, but in Ohio, the lottery is still legal, and thats definitely gambling. Maybe if some of the profits went to fund schools they wouldn't have outlawed it.

        My Sim City 4 city has been thriving with a casino for quite some time. They even erected a statue of me because they love me so!
      • Re:Worse Problem (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Xentor (600436) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:53PM (#16281247) Homepage
        I read through the text of the law (Yes, I'm very bored), and it looks like it defines wagers specifically as those that are based on chance (i.e. roulette, cards, etc) or a single competition (i.e. betting on a football game).

        It excludes things that are based on statistical returns (They're allowing stuff like fantasy football), and a few other things.

        So I don't think it covers the stock markets.
      • by Faw (33935) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:56PM (#16281297)
        Anyone want to bet that online casinos will be targeted by this law, but Wall Street will remain strangely exempt?

        Didn't you read the article? Betting online is illegal...
    • Re:Circumvention (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:55PM (#16281265)
      What am I missing?

      The fact that the NSA and IRS keep a close eye on all bank transactions between U.S. citizens and foreign banks to look for money-laundering?

      -Eric

  • by TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:23PM (#16280537)
    5 will get you 10 they won't enforce it.
    • Ah, but they will (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) *

      5 will get you 10 they won't enforce it.

      They'll have the legit online gaming community look after it for them -- the big casino companies, who have the most to gain from this. I bet you don't have to look very far to see who really was behind this. It's not about money laundering, it's about a big business keeping it's slice of the pie.

  • YRO aside, it is currently illegal is gamble in most of the United States anyway, except certain states and indian reservations. So, in this case, I don't really feel that anyone's "rights" are being trampled. All that's happening is that a loophole by which US citizens could gamble in foreign countries without leaving their houses has been closed.

    Whoop-dee-doo.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HUADPE (903765)
      Well, your rights were being trampled before, and now they closed the loophole by which you were able to secure your right to waste your money. Gambling is stupid, no doubt (you WILL lose), but you SHOULD have the right to make your own stupid decisions. Just because a government is tyrannical does not mean its people don't have rights. They are just having their rights significantly violated. The greater question here is where was the credit card lobby. They are going to lose serious money on this (1%
    • by psykocrime (61037) <mindcrime.cpphacker@co@uk> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:32PM (#16280761) Homepage Journal
      YRO aside, it is currently illegal is gamble in most of the United States anyway, except certain states and indian reservations. So, in this case, I don't really feel that anyone's "rights" are being trampled

      Rights do not depend on laws; either to grant said rights, nor can rights be revoked by law. If something is a right then it's something
      you can do without asking anybody's permission, period. You can voluntary accept the authority of some entity (maybe called "government" or something) to restrict *your* rights if *you* want to, but don't make the mistake of assuming that govt. has any inate authority to restrict anyone else's rights.

      As such, I will say that free people have a "right to gamble" and have most likely never granted the United States government - or any other government - any authority to restrict it. As far as I'm concerned, any law restricting gambling is invalid, null and void and should be ignored.

      Basically it goes back to the old saw... "We have exactly as much freedom as we are willing to demand and as we can defend."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NewWorldDan (899800)
        Exactly. But apparently credit card companies don't have a right to process your payments to the casino.

        This law does, however, bring up a point that I think needs to be addressed by a constitutional amendment: All bills should be reasonably related to a single subject. Also, politicians that tack an amendment like this on to an unrelated bill should be publicly tarred, feathered, and barred from office for life.
    • by Alchemar (720449)
      How many of those states have goverment lotteries, church run bingos, or allow internet transactions for the Stock market? If only a select few (goverment, certain religions, and the wealthy) are allowed and others are not, then somebodies rights are being trampled.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tet (2721)
      YRO aside, it is currently illegal is gamble in most of the United States anyway

      Rubbish. It's currently illegal to gamble on certain outcomes (sports, card games, etc.), while being legal to gamble on other outcomes (share prices, for example). It's a completely arbitrary distinction, that has no logical rationale. Either you believe that gambling is immoral and should be banned or you don't. To selectively allow some types of gambling while banning others is just bizarre.

      Disclaimer: I make my income fr

    • It wasn't so much a loophole as a gray area, because there wasn't a specific law covering it. All we had was the Federal Wire Act, which said that placing sports bets by phone was illegal. Hence the recent high-profile arrests of the heads of Internet sports books, at least one of which I know had a toll-free phone number set up in the U.S. to do exactly that (take sports bets by phone). Now Internet gambling isn't a gray area.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mspohr (589790)
      Actually, gambling is legal in most states (ever heard of your state lottery?... many states also allow casinos) althought it is highly regulated.

      The issue is that online gambling is not regulated by the US or US states and is in competition with US companies.

      I think this legislation has much more to do with competition than morality...

      Ever hear of a lobbyist named Abramoff? He bought and sold politicians to protect his gambling clients... he got caught but our corrupt politicians are continuing th

    • by BattleTroll (561035) <battletroll2002@yahoo.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:51PM (#16281211)
      According to http://www.polocenter.com/travel/lotteriesus.htm [polocenter.com] there are currently 37 states that allow gambling. They call it a 'lottery' but it's really just a glorified numbers racket. That doesn't stop the states from operating them, now does it?

      If the federal government is in the business of outlawing gambling, they should do it across the board. Otherwise, they should stick to matters within their charter - national defense, negotiating international treaties, and protecting interstate commerce.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mitreya (579078)

        They call it a 'lottery' but it's really just a glorified numbers racket. That doesn't stop the states from operating them, now does it?

        Oh, it's a lot more than that. Casino's shave 1-2% from what goes through their system (not sure exactly how much, but certainly relatively little). Lotteries take something closer 50% of the cash that goes through them and generally encourage the less wealthy to participate...
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:24PM (#16280563)
    "The financial markets punished the stock of online gambling companies as some prepared to pull out of the US entirely."

    I bet they did. Shit, someone's knocking at my door.
  • Sour Grapes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheWoozle (984500) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:24PM (#16280567)
    Congress is just upset that they can't effectively tax online gambling because most of the companies are offshore. It's a case of sour grapes - if we can't tax it, you can't do it!
    • by Tiger4 (840741)
      But they could if they wanted to.

      Just tell the (US) credit card companies they can't do business with a casino unless the transaction is clearly marked GAMBLING in the charges statement. Then tell them to produce a statement every year in January totalling anything that is marked that way, a lot like a 1099-G. The Govt will assess X% witholding on the transactions, through the CC company, and the gambler has to file for it or forfeit the money. If the CC company doesn't comply, they get hit with 10x pena
      • It is exactly this type of argument that shows congress didn't outlaw it because they can't tax it (because they could); they outlawed it because of God.
    • Re:Sour Grapes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Blob Pet (86206) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:35PM (#16280821) Homepage
      Actually, many of the U.S.-based casinos have been advocating for regulated online gambling which would allow for the US government to tax the industry. Companies like MGM would like to open up gambling sites but can't. Even UK-based companies have stated that they'd be more than willing to pay taxes to operate legally in the US.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Politburo (640618)
      Several of the large companies operate out of the UK. In fact, the executives of these companies are BEGGING the Congress to regulate the industry (regulate != shutdown). Who ever heard of an industry that's willing to pay taxes? But that was all tossed away by those "moral" GOPists.
    • by Stalyn (662)
      Why not pass a law that all online gambling companies wanting to do business in the US must have a headquarters located within US borders and therefore taxable?

      If it was just about taxes they wouldn't be banning all online gambling, just the kind they can't tax.
    • Re:Sour Grapes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tired_Blood (582679) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:43PM (#16282159)
      I disagree. Congress already has an effective manner to tax all forms of gambling, in that even though the IRS wouldn't be able to collect from the casino, individuals would still have to report their winnings to them on the 1040. The IRS will still collect, just not as much.

      However, I see this as mostly about competition with brick&mortar 'destinations'.

      Without a monopoly on gambling, where would Las Vegas be? Without Las Vegas, where would Nevada be?

      I feel that this business model monopoly is the real reason. If you could gamble from home, you would be less motivated to visit such locations, and that would hurt other industries. The money made from the tax on actual gambling (from both casinos & patrons), while significant, is a fraction of what would be lost overall if these destinations were to lose their monopoly status. At a minimum, you'd need to also account for the sales tax lost on gas/travel, lodging & dining when doing the comparison.

      And finally, include the number of voters that are employed by these industries. That number is the real currency in politics.

      Anyway, there's more to this than just reduced gaming-tax revenue.

      (Sorry if this post is oddly written - I blame it on the caffeine)
  • by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:25PM (#16280593)
    According to the bill's title, the act was already illegal and all it is doing is enforcing it. If that's the case, why was a bill needed? Shouldn't it have been law enforcement's problem?
    • by Petersko (564140) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:39PM (#16280903)
      Since the bill will make it illegal for credit card companies and other financial institutions to be involved in such transactions, it seems to be a refinement of target. Formerly the individual could be targeted, but that would be expensive and ineffective. Ten thousand charges could be brought forth without impacting the number of violations significantly.

      If you shut down the payment options, you will greatly reduce the number of violators. It's an effective way of achieving their goal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Marillion (33728)

      why was a bill needed?

      Because elections are six weeks away.

      Social conservatives are a fickle electorate. In order to ensure they turn out, Republican strategists toss stuff like this out there to appeal to them.

  • by bryz (730558) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:27PM (#16280631) Homepage
    The Way I understand it is, you put in some money and play with that. Will they now block being able to get your money back out. And with online casinos looking to close their US operations will they just take the money in these accounts with them?
    • The same thing that happens if bookies try to do it. If you place a bet on a game and win, then the guy says he never heard of you when you show up at his place to collect, what are you going to do? Call the cops?
  • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:28PM (#16280655)
    Why couldn't our nation have been started by someone cool instead of a bunch of lame Protestants.
    • by xombo (628858)
      Historically incorrect, not politically incorrect.

      America was started because of unjust Taxation without representation on the colonies that were started by privateers with charters to incorporate from England.
    • by CreatureComfort (741652) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:53PM (#16281243)

      Actually, most of the 'founding fathers' who formed our original government and signed the Constitution were Deists [sullivan-county.com]. Even the ones who were Protestant would have vilified the current group that calls themselves conservatives. You can point your outrage at much more recent [slate.com] revisionism.

    • by dr_dank (472072) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:51PM (#16282303) Homepage Journal
      Why couldn't our nation have been started by someone cool instead of a bunch of lame Protestants.

      The liberal media would have you believe that Christopher Columbus was the first to settle America, but that honor really belongs to The Fonz. He edged out Grover Washington to be our first president, but declined once he found out that he couldn't have all three Hooper Triplets as his first ladies.

      Fun Fact: The indian greeting "how" is derived from The Fonz's "heyyyyyyy".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Surt (22457)
      Why couldn't our nation have been started by someone cool instead of a bunch of lame Protestants.

      It wasn't. Polio really took hold years later. Nearly all of the founders of this country could walk just fine.
  • by Facekhan (445017) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:28PM (#16280659)
    A brick and mortar casino gaming license wouldn't be quite as lucrative a give away to the wealthy and well connected if they had to compete with online casinos that anyone can set up overseas. Lets face it, a legal casino in an area where gambling of most forms is illegal is basically an ATM machine with flashing lights.

    In my state the hypocrisy is reaching new heights as the GOP governor continues to try to allow slot machines at horse tracks while it is still technically illegal to play poker among friends.
    • Last time I visited Vegas, I actually found a slot machine with a built in ATM. No shitting you.
  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:29PM (#16280687) Journal

    Does this mean they're going to take down eBay and PayPal?

    I certainly feel like I'm gambling whenever I do business there?

    How about Ameritrade? Stocks are certainly gambling

    • The bill has specific exemptions for "accepted" forms of American gambling. Such as the stock market. And fantasy sports leagues.
  • it's so sad... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:29PM (#16280701) Journal
    the the legislature of my country is so incompetant, to get something they want passed, they have to tack it on to something completely irrelevant.
  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:30PM (#16280725)
    How on earth is it legit to tack a completely unrelated bill to another and pass them both under the same vote? Am I the only one who sees how unbelievably insane that is?

    Surely anyone voting against the bill will be blasted for not securing US ports, even when it was a vote in protest to the anti-gambling legislation.

    The way the US government goes around telling the world how to run their 'democracy' is so incredibly laughable at this point.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Pasquina (980638)
      That's how you get people to pass legislation that isn't popular - you attach rider bills to attract more votes. Some people would always vote for the "tacked on" part even if the bulk of the bill wasn't popular, while othersacceptefer the main part and simply accept the unrelated parts. I know it doesn't make sense, but if each individual idea brought before Congress was voted on its own merits, not nerely as much would make it into law.

      ...OK, so that barely makes any sense at all, but that's still how i

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Poppler (822173)
      How on earth is it legit to tack a completely unrelated bill to another and pass them both under the same vote? Am I the only one who sees how unbelievably insane that is?
      I've been thinking about this. Maybe we could pass some sort of "common sense" law, which would allow any one congressman to challenge a bill. Some third party, perhaps the judicial branch (or maybe even a jury), would make the judgement as to whether or not the bills are reasonably related.
    • by paranode (671698) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:13PM (#16281627)
      Yup it's a common scheme in Washington and it is one of the most corrupt things that needs to be fixed. Between term-limits for Congress and a new rule that says only one topic can be addressed per bill, I think we could stamp out a large part of Congressional corruption and pork spending.
    • by east coast (590680) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:24PM (#16281855)
      The way the US government goes around telling the world how to run their 'democracy' is so incredibly laughable at this point.

      "at this point"? Dude, just because you've finally opened up your eyes to see it doesn't mean it's new. This has been going on for a long time.

      Don't act like 90% of what slashdotters bitch about and pin on Bush is "new", it's just the fact that something has you pissed off and you finally are starting to see what has pissed the rest of us off for so long. What's the saying about those who forget the past? What about the ones that never knew the past?

      The unfortunate thing? by the time the Dems take back power a new generation is going to be moving in and getting pissed at the same exact antics under a new banner and they're going to be saying the same thing and voting against President X thinking that the other side wouldn't do the same thing because they were too young/naive to remember the last time the other party did the same thing. It's a piss poor cycle of events and there will never be serious reform as long as people keep seeing politics on this same level.
    • democracy simply does not work.
      - Kent Brokman
  • by Sierpinski (266120) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:31PM (#16280733)
    More than anything, this is a prime example of how members of Congress manipulate the legislation system to get a bill they want pass to ride on the coattails of a 'sure-win' bill. Then after that they basically pass the buck off to the courts (if it ever makes it that far) to overturn the law or declare it unconstitutional or whatever.

    I think its about time that Congress get off their lazy asses and start drafting their own bills for the particular agenda items they have. This sort of manipulative behavior itself should be outlawed, but find me a single member of Congress that would vote to outlaw it. In a system where checks and balances are supposed to exist, they certaintly don't here.
  • we need to figure out way to combine gambling and porn.(well, more than the cliche strip poker, which I don't want to play online...ewww..)

    Might I suggest games like "How many grams of heroin has this woman done in the last half hour" or "How many men has this 'virgin' slept with?"
  • I thought that everyone was prepared for this - is it not still legal, or at least impossible to prosecute, using your credit card to fund a third-party online payment site like Neteller, and then pointing "gaming" site to your Neteller account? The credit card company then has deniable plausability by never knowing where your Neteller money goes/comes from.
  • Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:38PM (#16280865) Homepage
    I'm frankly surprised that the credit card lobby didn't kick up a bigger fuss on this. They stand to lose millions in user fees and interest. While I think anyone that gambles on credit is a fool, the credit companies were happy to enable such behaviour.
  • by aldheorte (162967) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:39PM (#16280883)
    So, if I pay $15 a month to subscribe to a massively multiplayher game where I get some amount of starter virtual currency, and the game has as a subset of functionality a mechanism through with I can gamble my virtual currency, and a mechanism exists to transfer that virtual currency into real currency through eBay sales or some process officially allowed or even serviced by the massively multiplayer game maker, is my subscription illegal?
  • I suppose that I will have to satiate my gambling habits with options, futures and currencies.

    Would someone please code a flash game that looks like roulette, blackjack, slots etc that was actually an interface to some brokerage for short term investments?
  • Not so bad (Score:3, Informative)

    by litewoheat (179018) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:43PM (#16281003)

    This doesn't really matter all that much. It means that US banks and credit card companies can't process the transactions. Companies like Firepay [firepay.com] are off shore banks that can accept lawful deposits from US banks and then in turn handle gambling related transactions.

    The law doesn't impose any penalties to gamblers so there's nothing illegal about taking any winnings by using the offshore banks to funnel those winnings back to a US account.

    The problem is it's just harder now for the average player to make a deposit. I think in the long run this will be better for the above average players by keeping the degenerate gamblers out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by raehl (609729)
      I think in the long run this will be better for the above average players by keeping the degenerate gamblers out.

      Erm, how is that good for above-average players? Degenerate gamblers are where we make our money!
  • by jdumps (931324) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:43PM (#16281007)
    Hello Sir, My name is Jacob, and I am a wealthy businessman from the United States. New laws by my government have removed my freedom to gamble my money online. I have $40 millions that I would like to use for to gamble, but unfortunately may not use a United States banking account. If you would send me your bank account information I will deposit this funds. I need you to transfer this funds to an online gambling site. In return, you may keep $2 million. I selected you especially for this task. Please reply quickly, my gambling habit is giving me fits!!! Sincerely, Jacob Rich U.S. Businessman Moneys! Come rollin' in!!!
  • by joe 155 (937621)
    I've been disapointed to see that the UK government hasn't been leaning on Bush more over this issue, a lot of UK based compainies lost a lot of money today (although I think that the sensible ones have been spreading the risk). The US quite rightly leant on the EU over the MS issues because MS is worth a lot to them... I would have liked to see Blair at least being active on this issue.
  • So now a company outside US cannot use credit-card companies to collect gambling money... so what?

    Really, move out of US and sell "happiness cards". The business works like this:

    1) User searches a gambling site;
    2) On a gambling site, the user has the option to buy "happiness cards", for 1 dollar + postage each;
    3) For each "happiness card" bought, the user earns 1 playing bonus;
    4) To legitimate the business, the "happiness cards" are really delivered to the user's given address.

    Suggestions for "happiness car
  • ...meanwhile, hand me the dice Baby - Daddy needs a new pair of shoes!
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:49PM (#16281175) Journal
    Its not as much gambling as it is a game. Now slots and stuff are made to take your money, but a good poker player can make a living.
  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:54PM (#16281249) Homepage
    Credit cards were already not accepted. This bill is aiming to stop banks from transfering money to online gaming services via Firepay, Neteller, etc. It requires a coding scheme for ETF transfers be put in place to "code" the purpose of each transaction. And it's sort of weird, really, given that if I send $x to Neteller, and I'm not specifying a purpose at the time - since they will hold funds - how can that be enforced? It remains to be seen whether this can effectively do anything at all other than burden the US banking system with an ineffective regulation which costs millions or billions to implement.

    Also, it wasn't a surprise that the legislation PASSED - the Port Security bill was getting passed, period. What IS surprising is that Frist managed to attach this to it. Democrats were trying hard to attach relevant amendments, like a measure to increase security of the rail transit system. These amendments were all rejected, yet Frist manages to get his "pander to the religious right" amendment attached? The mind boggles.

    Anyhow, there's a good analysis of the bill reposted here [twoplustwo.com], which includes:

    The great unknown is how far into the Internet commerce stream federal regulators are willing to go. The Act requires institutions like the Bank of America and Neteller to i.d. and block transactions to unlawful gambling sites, whatever they are. But, while the Bank of America will comply, Neteller might not, because it is not subject to U.S. regulations. Will federal regulators then prohibit U.S. banks from sending funds to Neteller? And would they then prohibit U.S. banks from sending funds to an overseas bank, which forwards the money to Neteller?

  • Yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:06PM (#16281497) Journal
    (A) IN GENERAL- The term `unlawful Internet gambling' means to place, receive, or otherwise knowingly transmit a bet or wager by any means which involves the use, at least in part, of the Internet where such bet or wager is unlawful under any applicable Federal or State law in the State or Tribal lands in which the bet or wager is initiated, received, or otherwise made.
    (B) INTRASTATE TRANSACTIONS- The term `unlawful Internet gambling' shall not include placing, receiving, or otherwise transmitting a bet or wager where--
    (i) the bet or wager is initiated and received or otherwise made exclusively within a single State;
    (ii) the bet or wager and the method by which the bet or wager is initiated and received or otherwise made is expressly authorized by and placed in accordance with the laws of such State, and the State law or regulations include--
    (I) age and location verification requirements reasonably designed to block access to minors and persons located out of such State; and
    (II) appropriate data security standards to prevent unauthorized access by any person whose age and current location has not been verified in accordance with such State's law or regulations; and
    (iii) the bet or wager does not violate any provision of the--
    (I) Interstate Horseracing Act;
    (II) Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act;
    (III) Gambling Devices Transportation Act; or
    (IV) Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
    * * *
    (E) INTERMEDIATE ROUTING- The intermediate routing of electronic data shall not determine the location or locations in which a bet or wager is initiated, received, or otherwise made.

    Whatever. You can thank the boundaries of the Interstate Commerce Clause for defanging this beast. Expect gambling sites to set up bank accounts in each of the states where online gambling is legal under state law, and direct all traffic from gamblers in a state to servers in that state. This accounts for most if not all states.

    All this law does is make internet gambling sites shell out a few (hundred) thousand dollars for server upgrades and a minor software patch. Yippee.

    • by bigtrike (904535)
      Whatever. You can thank the boundaries of the Interstate Commerce Clause for defanging this beast. Expect gambling sites to set up bank accounts in each of the states where online gambling is legal under state law, and direct all traffic from gamblers in a state to servers in that state. This accounts for most if not all states.

      The supreme court has ruled that growing marijuana for personal use and consuming it effects interstate commerce. Judges involved commented that it sets a precedent which basical
  • by ztransform (929641) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:16PM (#16281699)
    In spite of America's failings (the most obvious one about letting citizens own guns for the purpose of schoolyard shootings) I have to admire the balls Congress has in this situation. They just decimated the share value of a number of online gambling companies!

    Too often governments fear bringing corporations down to size. There are a number of unethical industries that need to be nipped on the reproductive organs and it WILL mean a loss to the economy in terms of corporate valuations. Lately banking, telecommunications, and oil firms are just taking individuals and countries for a ride. The only ones who can stop it (the Governments) are the very same ones that profit in the back pocket from the illicit activity.

    It takes a real man to lead a religion and not abuse his power. It takes a real government to lead a country and not abuse its power.
  • politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m minus language> on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:11PM (#16283751) Homepage Journal
    it's all about who wins and who loses. all of these gambling companies that lose because of this are offshore, a lot in the UK i believe. the winners are inbred social conservatives who will celebrate this with a game of bingo at the local church (laff!)

    american congresscritters are not elected by british businessmen, so the heck with them. if it were american businessmen that stood to lose because of this, it would have never passed. but as it is, american businessmen can't start these sort of businesses because of laws pushed by said inbred social conservatives to begin with... inbred social conservatives usually from areas of the country with riverboat casinos. the hypocrisy of it all. it's potectionism of outdated gambling modes: las vegas, atlantic city: they serve to lose from online gambling

    so this isn't about morality after all in the end folks, it's about business, and this whole bill is a giant stinking turd of protectionism. protecting us all right into luddite obsolescence, where british companies will profit from what american compnies should be profitting from in the first place!

    why don't we just shorcircuit this entire retarded effort by the congresscritters and just become amish. then we will be protected from the evils of electricity too. let the british profit from evil electricity insted. pffft
  • Gambling Illegal... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RexRhino (769423) on Monday October 02, 2006 @11:43PM (#16287911)
    But if you purchase a lovely T-shirt from the caymen islands for $1000 on your credit card, you get online gambling credits free with your purchase!

    Seriously, the law won't actually do anything to stop gambling, but it will acomplish two very important things:

    1. You can know that your elected representatives are "doing something" about gambling! It is very, very, very important that your elected officials are seen as "doing something" about a "problem".

    2. The laws are probably written loosly and vaugly enough to allow the government to arbitrarily punish any credit card company they want. This is good for politicians, as credit card companies have a lot of money to give to political campaigns in exchange for protection.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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