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U.S. House to Vote on Anti-Online Gambling Act 334

SonicSpike writes to mention that the House is set to vote on an act designed to choke off the U.S. money flow to internet gambling. Though illegal here in the states, overseas operators are getting a good deal of business from individuals with U.S. bank accounts and credit cards. From the article: "The legislation would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to these sites. It also allows law enforcement officials to force Internet service providers to remove links to the websites. Many major credit card companies already refuse to process such payments. Opponents of the bill, including online gambling sites and a new group representing U.S. poker players, noted the growing popularity of Internet gambling and predicted that people would continue to sidestep laws."
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U.S. House to Vote on Anti-Online Gambling Act

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  • by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @09:59AM (#15697592)
    They will just find a way to tax it.
    • by pimpimpim ( 811140 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:04AM (#15697623)
      Actually in germany and the netherlands (almost) all mortar-brick gambling houses, and several lotteries as well, are state owned, and a lot of money of the poor souls that get addicted to this flows directly towards the state. As they have to get their money somewhere, and are not earning enough, they're likely to get their money in a criminal way. In effect, all this leads to state-controlled white washing of criminal money.

      Don't know how it's in the US, but I don't wonder countries are against online gambling: not because of your health, or to prevent fraud, but because of all the money they'll lose their grip on.

      • People who loose too much get on a do-not-gamble-list in Germany. Every Casino has to check the list, an losses of persons on that list are null (meaning the looser does not have to pay).
      • Don't know how it's in the US, but I don't wonder countries are against online gambling: not because of your health, or to prevent fraud, but because of all the money they'll lose their grip on.

        In the US itself, it's not a Federal matter. Gambling is left up to the States although on land such as Reservations it is pretty much open since it's not against Federal law. Different States have different laws concerning gambling. In some States gambling in all forms except the State lottery is illegal (heck, th

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:16AM (#15697714)
      The power elite will impose whatever policy brings in more revenue for government. It's really that simple. Government is run as a business, and like any business, more revenue is always viewed as a good thing. The objective for the power elite is to maximize revenue and "market share" (control over the people), and that is exactly why every year there are thousands more laws on the books than the year before, and exactly why all governments tend to expand, and never reduce, their powers throughout their existence.

      Take prohibition for example: sure, they could tax drugs and "allow" us our god-given right to voluntary association, but prohibition rakes in billions per year for government, and provides them with orders of magnitude more power than regulation and taxing, which can be leveraged for even more profit. Therefore, prohibition is here to stay, at least as long as big government is here to stay.

      They will literally sit down and discuss how to maximize revenue and market share, like any business would, and the answer will be determined exactly that way. Don't you love being ruled by other human beings?
      • Government is run as a business,
        No, it isn't. If it were, it wouldn't act like a teenager with an unlimited credit card. I don't know of many businesses that could run very long with a deficit such as that of the U.S. Government.

        Don't even get me started on that Ponzi scheme known as Social Security.

    • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:17AM (#15697724) Homepage Journal
      Which is where the idiocy begins. You can't tax something that's illegal. Well, you can, but not many people will fess up. Right now, with the betting going on overseas, the industry is pulling money out of the US economy and adding it to other country's economies. All taxes aside, the US economy is weakening because it is illegal to gamble online in the US, but not on servers outside the US.

      IF the US were to legalize online gambling, and tariff the hell out of international gambling services, they could not only keep more of the money IN the US economy, but they could still tax the gamblers (capital gains) and the profits of the online casino.

      Instead the government has created a situation where they are attempting to dictate morals to the majority aged citizens and are shipping our US dollars overseas for no good reason.

      • You can't tax something that's illegal.

        Actually you can, in the UK at least. If the tax man finds out that you've made lots of money without declairing it, then he'll want his share of it, even if you made that money through illegal means.
        • Yeah, that's why I corrected myself and said that you can, but people aren't going to pay for it. Like in the US, some states have marijuana tax stamps. If you sell pot with out a tax stamp, the IRS can haul you in, but in order to get the stamp you need to prove you have the goods to sell, so if you show up at your local town hall with a few OZs of weed to get stamps for, you'll get arrested on the spot for possession with intent to distribute.

          It's a fail safe, if for some reason the possession case fails,
          • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @12:10PM (#15698734) Homepage Journal
            Yeah, that's why I corrected myself and said that you can, but people aren't going to pay for it. Like in the US, some states have marijuana tax stamps.

            Marijuana tax stamps were instituted by the "Marihuana Tax Act of 1937", which enacted federal statutes. I've never heard of state marijuana tax stamps.

            Can you tell me which states these are? Or at least name one? Preferrably with a citation.

            The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, under which no stamps were ever sold (There is an anecdote about someone successfully getting them once, but I don't recall it giving any detail after that) was developed under the interstate commerce clause in the constitution and had two primary purposes. One was to protect paper and plastic industries - a lot of the lobbying involved here was on the part of Charles DuPont. Did you know Henry Ford once made a prototype vehicle made almost entirely out of hemp plastic, down to body panels and structural members? The other was to demonize blacks and mexicans, who were competing with white americans for jobs during the great depression. This was a highly successful campaign that painted marijuana as a drug of the evil blacks and mexis.

            Everyone should keep in mind at all times that the war on drugs is a war on personal freedom (see: bill hicks) and that the government operates by keeping us separated from one another so we don't gang up on them.

      • Right now, with the betting going on overseas, the industry is pulling money out of the US economy and adding it to other country's economies. All taxes aside, the US economy is weakening because it is illegal to gamble online in the US, but not on servers outside the US.

        But doesn't the exact same thing happen with outsourcing - you move production or a call center to India, and you pay for Indian workers, therefore moving money from your domestic economy to foreign economy ? And yet the government does

        • That one is a toss up. You are weakening the economy as a whole because you are moving money out of the country. But at the same time, companies are saving money, which allows them to grow and increase sales in the US, which helps keep more money in motion in the US economy. Long term though, you are correct, our trade defeciet will force inflation on and the value of the dollar will drop. England had it's time on top, we had our time on top, and soon enough China will have it's time on top.

  • Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @09:59AM (#15697594)
    I guess they're just running true to form, though. They allow OTB and lotteries online, because they can tax those.
    • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:06AM (#15697637) Journal
      Lottery proceeds go to help senior citizens. OTB? Online gambling is not desired because it makes it way to easy for people who are gambaholics (or to become such). Travelling to a casino is at least a chore (unless you live close to one).

      And why not tax....both on the side of people who win and when the house wins. That is a lot of revenue. Online casinos usually fund one small group of people (it doesn't take much to own/manage an online casino).

      The gov't wants a few things
      Tax the players who win
      Tax the casino
      Ensure that it is not so easy for people to spend their lifes earnings (and money they dont have, such as credit card money) on gambling and blowing their lives away.

      remember, it is not the easiest thing in the world to legalize gambling in a state. Pennsylvania just legalized slot gambling, not even table gambling, and that was a fight and a half.
      • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Interesting)

        by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:45AM (#15697978) Journal
        Pennsylvania just legalized slot gambling, not even table gambling, and that was a fight and a half.

        While the struggle to get slot machines in Pennsylvania was, and still is, an acrimonious debate, the reason behind the debate is because of who benefits. Slots coming to PA is not to help increase revenue (though it will) nor to stop people from going to West Virginia, Delaware or New Jersey and spending their money at those gambling locations (though it will slow the exodus) nor is it to help in property tax reduction (um, yeah).

        No, the one and only reason that slots came to PA was to keep the horsetrack business alive. Without the slots the horsetracks in the state would have been dead within 5 - 10 years. Don't believe me? Then why is it that all the racetracks in the state (8 total) get to have slots licenses but only fourteen total licenses, including those at the tracks, are available for the entire Commonwealth? If the Commonwealth wanted to bring gambling to the land it would have allowed slot parlors to open anywhere that one could afford to pay the licensing and other fees. You'll never see a slot parlor in downtown Harrisburg but someone is fighting to build one just outside Gettysburg.

        Let us not forget also the current controversy of having a middleman buy the slot machines and then distribute them to the parlors instead of allowing the companies to sell directly to the parlors. Just another way for certain elected officials to get kickbacks and produce jobs for their connected friends.

        Oh, and as far as not allowing table gambling is concerned, you do know the reason for that, don't you? It's because a table game requires the person to concentrate on the game at hand and thus wouldn't allow them to watch the horse races. A slot machine requires no concentration and one can stop playing the machine for a moment and place bets on the races then resume playing the machine.

        I'm not against gambling. I used to go to Atlantic City and spend a few bucks. I've gambled in Vegas and would like to see the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. But what I object to is the typical PA bullshit of how the process was done and will be implemented. The Gaming Control Board is a joke. It's rules are so lax that corruption in the industry will be rampant.

        Not to mention that one of the employees of the board dangled his girlfriend [poconorecord.com] out their apartment window and dropped her [papundits.com] while they were celebrating his job appointment in the commission because both were drunk as skunks.

        Then there's the employee [pittsburghlive.com], an investigator no less, who was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, escape and public intoxication. Let us not forget the other folks of the gaming board who have also had issues including one who lied on his application and two others, attorneys in fact, who were involved in drunken brawls.

        The real fight is not whether to allow gambling in Pennsylvania. The real fight is over how much money will be skimmed off the top for political purposes. Does the word WAM ring a bell?

    • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:17AM (#15697723) Homepage
      Idiots but for another reason.

      This is a very interesting item as far as globalisation is concerned because a number of countries where gambling is a major industry have filed a WTO case against the US for restricting free trade. More specifically it is related to stopping credit card payments to entities in these countries by Visa and MasterCard. Any congress intervention before the WTO proceedings are complete is putting the US on a deliberate collision course with the WTO.

      Also, it is a classic case of double standard. Free trade which lines the pockets of an American corporation is OK. Free trade which cannot line the pockets of an American corporation and goes to other nations is not OK. And god forbid if it is against the beliefs of the taleban elders.
      • Re:Idiots (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TopShelf ( 92521 )
        Right on - instead of sticking their heads in the sand and pretending they can outlaw internet gambling, the US needs to get on board and try to take some leadership in this area. Given the huge amount of cash flow involved, I'm amazed that Congress doesn't want to tap into it rather than try banning it.
        • Re:Idiots (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Kombat ( 93720 )
          Right on - instead of sticking their heads in the sand and pretending they can outlaw internet gambling, the US needs to get on board and try to take some leadership in this area. Given the huge amount of cash flow involved, I'm amazed that Congress doesn't want to tap into it rather than try banning it.

          Just for the sake of argument, I want you to re-read the above paragraph, but replace "internet gambling" with "internet child pornography." Heck, replace it with "crack cocaine use" or "drunk driving."

          • Child pornography and crack cocaine are accepted by most countries, and more importantly, the WTO, to be illegitimate businesses (i.e. criminal), thus not deserving of free trade protections. Gambling is widely accepted as a legitimate business, thus deserving of free trade protections. Thus, disallowing child pornography or crack cocaine to be imported is accepted by others; disallowing online gambling might not be. As far as I know, gambling is still in an official gray area for the WTO. If the WTO ru
      • Free trade which lines the pockets of an American corporation is OK. Free trade which cannot line the pockets of an American corporation and goes to other nations is not OK.

        I know you meant that as a slam, but I absolutely agree with that statement. As an American, I am very concerned about trade deficits. Sure, it strengthens the economies of other nations, but it does so at the expense of the American economy.

        It's not a double standard at all, it's just seeking a balanced economic exchange.
        • Wrong - if free trade results in importing from another country, that means that consumers here benefit from lower prices. The broader population of consumers benefits more than the domestic suppliers lose, so the overall population benefits.

          By the way, if you're that concerned about trade deficits, then we should regulate and encourage online gambling development in the US. As this international industry continues to boom (as it will as India and China grow), I'd rather see some of that money flow throug
        • Except that all economic exchange is balanced! What do you think those countries are going to do with the American dollars they get from gambling? American dollars are no longer redeemable for gold (the gold standard disapeared a long time ago), which means they are going to use those dollars to purchase American goods and services, or trade those dollars to others who want to purchase American goods and services.

          "Trade" literally means trade... as in they send us stuff we want, and we send them stuff that
      • Also, it is a classic case of double standard. Free trade which lines the pockets of an American corporation is OK. Free trade which cannot line the pockets of an American corporation and goes to other nations is not OK.

        This is not really a double standard. The "free trade" arguments have never been anything but a thinly veiled power grap, not an actual standard. "Free trade" is simply another weapon in US's arsenal, allowing it to harm other countries economies for its profit.

        And god forbid if it is

        • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:58AM (#15698086)
          I agree except for the statement "US".

          The US has really been overpowered/bought out by multi-national corporations who owe their allegience to no government. Our senators and congressmen almost certainly know this but the system has been set up so corporate money is now required to enter politics at any serious level.

          What is referred to as the "US" is really 270 million people being pulled along and steered by a tiny minority. They give us the illusion that we have control but where it counts, we do not and have not for at least 30 to 40 years.

    • Re:Idiots (Score:3, Informative)

      I call your bluff, and raise you a fact.

      All individual gambling income is taxed at the federal level. OTB and lotteries are done at the state level, and not at the federal level. This is simply the latest addition to a long history of federal anti-gambling bills -- not really news at all:

      http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1082.html [cornell.edu]
      http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1084.html [cornell.edu]
      http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1955.html [cornell.edu]
      http://www.unc.edu/courses/law357c/cyberprojects/f all01/Internet_Gamb [unc.edu]

  • I bet.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @09:59AM (#15697595) Homepage Journal
    I bet $1 that online gambling will not be banned.
  • Land of the Free? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:00AM (#15697601)
    Whatever happened to the land of the Free? If you want to gamble your money on-line, why shouldn't you be able to?
    • by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:07AM (#15697646) Journal
      re:"Whatever happened to the land of the Free? If you want to gamble your money on-line, why shouldn't you be able to?"

      Um - some boat people you sent our way got mixed up into our politics. The one's wearing belt buckles on their heads. Thanks for starting us out with the best and the brightest.
    • If your kid knows your credit card number, he can use it to spend all your money in online gambling. If he goes to a real casino, I'm sure he simply won't get in.
      Also, certifying online casinos is much harder, especially if they are located in another country. Consider this example: you win some amount of money and you are unable to get the money you won (a specially designed 404 page or whatever) but you'll lose real money if you lose in the game. Or stuff like a software roulette that is "intelligent", e.
    • People vote in meddling jackasses with delusions of intelligence and borderline megalomania. These are the pretty boy arseholes with rich parents who ran the major cliques back in school. Now the idiot voters have granted these lunatics the power to dictate how we have fun, who we can fuck, what happens to the money we earn, and so on and so forth.

      Walt Kelley said it best:

      Pogo [wikipedia.org]

      Replace the physical trash with ideological pollution.

      And voting out the white boys doesn't help. Here in So Cal, we have man

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )
      Yeah, what's next? Banning smoking in bars? Banning political ads? Banning inappropriate speech on campuses and in the workplace? Restrictions on selling alcohol on Sunday?

      Gambling is a special case though. It's a pure government money-grab. There are zero other factors in this. Prohibit an activity, then run it as a business for your own benefit and strong-arm the competition into shutting down. That's either government gambling or something the mafia might do. You really can't tell the difference
  • Question... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lobo ( 10944 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:01AM (#15697607) Homepage
    How are they supposed to secretly monitor these transactions of they make them illegal?
  • Haven't you ever gone to a Major League baseball game, signed up for like 5 credit cards, then immediately left to go home and max the cards out playing online poker? Conclusion ... baseball leads to gambling addictions.
  • by Tet ( 2721 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMastradyne.co.uk> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:01AM (#15697612) Homepage Journal
    What I don't understand is... why is gambling deemed such a big deal in the USA? You allow people to drink, smoke, carry guns and prostitute themselves (in some states, at least), but not to bet on certain outcomes. It just seems really bizarre to me, particularly when you allow betting on other outcomes, such as dabbling in the financial markets.

    Disclaimer: I make my income through Internet gambling. However, even before that, I just never saw the problem. Why is it so demonized over there?

    • You can buy publicly traded stocks, you can purchase insurance of various types, and you can contribute to the politician of your choice!

      Not sure why casino-game gambling is different...probably because they can't tax it.
    • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:10AM (#15697673) Journal
      A few years back I was in Alabama when they were trying to pass a lottery. One of the anti-lottery signs said, "What Would Jesus Do?" I found this sign rather telling, but also somewhat on the humorous side to an outside observer who could easily say, "He would hang there and watch. [biblegateway.com]"

      This is where you are suppose to laugh...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:44AM (#15697960)
      What I don't understand is... why is gambling deemed such a big deal in the USA?

      Because authoritarians presently rule. I'm 54, but the Bill of Rights was a pathetic, toothless joke even before I was born. We aren't the land of the free, many if not most countries are freer (Canada, right on our border, for example). It's not the home of the brave, either; at least, our politicians are all yellow, as are most of my cowardly countrymen.

      You allow people to drink

      Not in every county. For a couple of decades it was illegal everywhere. You can get arrested for walking down the street drinking a beer in most cities.


      Not certain substances (pot, crack, meth, heroin), and in my town nowhere indoors in public.

      carry guns

      Not really. Walk down a Chicago or New York street with a loaded shotgun and watch how fast the cops arrest or shoot you! Plus you can't transport a loaded gun legally, it has to be unloaded, broken down or disassembled, and can't be within the driver's reach.

      and prostitute themselves (in some states, at least)

      Only in Nevada. You can gamble in Nevada as well (slots, cards, dice, etc). Most states have some gambling; lottery, and there are riverboat casinos in many states (mine for one) where you can play poker, blackjack, roulette, slots, craps, etc; and we have horseracing and betting on it.

      but not to bet on certain outcomes.

      See "smoke". Also see "prostitution", my theory is that American casinos are pushing this law. America has the best government money can buy. I have no representation at all, the only people with representation are the corporates.

      What I'm sure a lot of foreigners don't understand about the US is that it's a HUGE country, over 6400 km wide and over 3200 km north-south, with its biggest state, Alaska, sitting on top of Canada and with Hawaii way off in the Pacific, halfway to Japan. Our Constitution limits (limited, no longer it seems) Federal power, leaving the individual states to pass their own laws. In theory, at least. There is at present no Federal law against gambling or prostitution.

      You have to remember that most US states are bigger than most European countries. It's over 600 KM from Chicago to Paducah, and Kentucky borders Illinois. And Illinois is only a medium sized state! I live in central Illinois, and the closest legal whorehouse is in Canada 300 miles away; Nevada is almost ten times as far.
    • hat I don't understand is... why is gambling deemed such a big deal in the USA? You allow people to drink, smoke, carry guns and prostitute themselves (in some states, at least), but not to bet on certain outcomes.

      FYI, gambling is legal in the US. Have you never heard of Las Vegas? Gambling is illegal in many states, although many have exceptions.

      My take on this issue is it is a clear violation of our free trade agreements. The powerful gambling lobbies in the US simply don't want to compete with offsho

    • There is, believe it or not, a sound foundation for it: simply, gambling (and other 'evils' such as alcohol) potentially leads to the degeneration of society in general. Case in point: have you been to Atlantic City lately? Is it some place YOU'D like to live? But whether or not you agree that some governing body should 'babysit' us is the question. Should the government be obligated to 'protect' Atlantic City residents from the demise of the city? Do these people really have a choice to live there?

    • Puritanical heritage. Gambling is classed with drinking as a "vice", and remember what the US did about drinking in 1919.

      Concern over the risk to society of creating gambling addicts, but that might be a rationalization for the first one.

      Historical association with organized crime (which is likely just a consequence of making gambling illegal).

      Disdain for how economically unproductive gambling is.

      The government-revenue argument is only a partial explanation, since any state that tries to start a state lotte
  • EXCEPT (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:02AM (#15697616)
    And, uh, the bill in question carves out an exception for online horse race betting - explicitly legalizing betting on horse races online. So...well, not ALL online gambling is bad, just SOME gambling.
  • no gambling (Score:5, Funny)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:04AM (#15697626)

    You guys can't gamble on the internet? [Takes long drag from joint]. I thought the USA was the land of freedom..?

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tTEApno-co.org minus caffeine> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:06AM (#15697636) Homepage
    Great. More useless legislation from our elected officials. Must be election year.
    • Great. More useless legislation from our elected officials. Must be election year.

      To paraphrase the song, "it's always an election year somewhere..." And even if it isn't, there will be one coming up. This is just an attempt by some politicians to look like they are doing something useful that ultimately harms only a small portion of the US population, so they don't have to risk their voter base.

  • Nanny state? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <<ten.gniflyw> <ta> <nairb>> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:06AM (#15697644) Homepage Journal

    I thought the "problem" with gambling -- like the "problems" with prostitution and street drugs -- was that casinos in your neighborhood tend to bring with them a lot of undesirable activity, e.g., the underbelly of Las Vegas. But if the casino is not in your neighborhood, why should anyone care?

  • easy workaround (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MooseTick ( 895855 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:08AM (#15697651) Homepage
    "The legislation would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to these sites"

    This will just cause the creation of middleman sites where you park funds with your credit cards and then they transfer the $$ to the online casino of your choice. Paypal would be a good candidate for this. If the govt get's on Paypal's case, then some offshore holding company will come along and for a 1-2% fee do this. The sad thing is that it will probably be owned by a casino and will drive the cost up another 1-2% just to get into a game.
    • Re:easy workaround (Score:2, Informative)

      by Valharick ( 903629 )
      They already have these. The other day I tried partypoker.com for the first time. They offer the purchase of a phone card through one site and then the credit is transferred to Party Poker via an authorization code (I had to do this after my bank denied the transaction).
    • Most credit card companies will decline direct payments to gaming sites, but sites like NETeller [neteller.com] already offer the middleman status and work with most banks. I don't know how this legislation would affect "middleman" sites like NETeller. FWIW, I use NETeller for my online poker playing and it works great... but yes, they do take a small cut when you pull money back to your checking account.
  • I can't understand why it's illegal to gamble. Everyone likes a flutter every now and again. It doesn't harm people. Admitidly there are a few sad cases of people who don't know when to stop. With the underground gambling that goes on the scene can be very ugly. If it was all above board and legal it could be properly regulated.

    Is this a hold over from Americas purtianical past? If enough people feel something should be legal why isn't it? Why crimialise the majority of adult males who have bet online, play
    • Its only illegal to gamble if the gov't isn't getting a cut (ie. lotteries) or it isn't sponsored by religious organizations (ie. bingo). Otherwise it is immoral and just plain un-American and probably supports terrorist activities.
    • It doesn't harm people. Admitidly there are a few sad cases of people who don't know when to stop.

      Just pointing out that you contradicted yourself there. Gambling *does* harme *some* people. It's also notorious for being used by organized crime. I'm not actually against gambling per se, but there needs to be a *lot* of oversight in order to keep things "clean."

    • Is this a hold over from Americas purtianical past? If enough people feel something should be legal why isn't it?

      I believe gambling laws are all controlled by the state legislatures. Gambling bills come up from time to time that will allows gambling, often limited stakes, in specific areas (Atlantic City, Blackhawk, Deadwood, etc...) When a new gambling bill comes up for a vote, at least in my state, the biggest argument against it is concern about the type of people it will bring in. Most local citi
    • No, this is a revitalization of America's puritanical present.

      I remember a recent radio spot about some research into the differences between the left and right in America. The results were offered as a sample story: Your neighbor's pet gets hit by a car and dies. The neighbor chooses to dress the animal and eat it for their family meal. In both cases, the participnts (left and right) in the study were appalled or disgusted by the practice. "conservatives (right) felt it was wrong and would support legisla
  • by Rachel Lucid ( 964267 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:16AM (#15697713) Homepage Journal
    What about the RPGs (Puzzle Pirates being the example that comes to mind first) that allow gambling within the game?

    Money can be funneled in via purchases of credits/dubloons/tokens, which can then be used in gambling on games within the meta-game. I use YPP as an example because it just recently added poker to its arsenal, although it's had multiplayer gambling for years (especially in tournaments, where you don't even have to convert the dubloons into anything to use them as prizes).

    Granted, the dubloons in YPP are meant for purchases of items such as clothing and swords, but they COULD still be used for gambling...
  • by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:16AM (#15697717) Homepage Journal
    Whenever any aspect of computer science or telecommunications faces any form of government regulation, there are always those who cry out, "People will find a way around it!" The majority of people, however, want to work within the law or are just too lazy to circumvent it. Remember, many Internet gamblers are not even interested in spending the energy to go to a real casino. Although there are surely many exceptions, Internet gamers are largely casual gamblers and will not want to risk violating the law for a hand of Texas Hold'em.
  • If the efforts of the US government to get rid of Internet gambling go half as well as their efforts to stop all the other illegal stuff that goes on in this big, unregulated, worldwide network.. *struggles to keep a straight face*
  • Why wouldn't the players just put money in PayPal then, transfer it for "credits" at the Casino/Poker Site and then transfer the money back to PayPal (thier winnings). Then their banks would only be working with PayPal.
    I am sure all of these Poker Sites would be willing to sign up (if not already) with PayPal if it was the only way to get the American players involved.
  • Setting up some company outside the US to do the money transfer to/from the people who're not allowed to play online.

    I can already see the $$$s roll in...
  • The Church does not want anyone moving in on their high stakes Bingo action.
    • This, although meant to be a joke, actually has some merit. When NY passed their "no smoking indoors" bill a few years back the loopholes started. The law was put in place to prohibit smoking in Bars, Restaurants, Clubs, etc. It was there to sheild the employees who work in those places and have to inhale all the second hand smoke.
      Well Bingo took a huge hit, if you have never been to a bingo parlor they are usually so smoke filled you could barely see the board. Bingo being run by most Churchs and Schools w
  • I have been playing poker online for quite awhile now. I am NOT a gambler. I do NOT like to play blackjack or other games where I do not have an advantage. I have made quite a bit of money by playing poker online, as have many others. In fact, many players have quit their regular jobs, because they can make enough money playing online poker.

    To some of you, when I say "I'm not a gamber", you must think that I'm nuts. Google Chris Ferguson: he only plays poker tournaments. He's not a gambler. He's much
  • If the major credit card companies are already not allowing direct payments to online gambling sites, how does the government know how much gambling is going on? Are they using illegal and unconstitutional means to monitor peoples' internet use?
  • I predict that we start seeing ads for foreign banks popping up in places like Sports Illustrated.
  • by Sound of Silence ( 988166 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:37AM (#15697900) Homepage
    When offshore gambling sites first popped up 10+ years ago, the quick and easy way to deposit money into them was via credit card. Around 6-7 years ago, most credit card companies started denying payments to any "gaming website". While they claimed they were taking the moral high ground, the real reason is having to deal with chargebacks. Since it is against the law to collect on any gambling debt in the US, you had people running up their credit card bill at gambling sites, then protesting the charge and the card companies did not have a legal leg to stand on -- they certainly couldn't take anyone to court claiming they were owed this money that they knew was being used for gambling. When the card companies started denying payments, people started using middleman payment processors. The processor of choice was Paypal. Fees were high, but often times you could get the sportsbook to pick up the fees if you made a deposit. In 2002, when EBay bought Paypal, they decided they wanted to stop handling any grey area business since they were a large company and didn't want the legal liability. This meant dropping payment processing for most porn sites and gambilng sites. The irony of this was that Paypal made its name in the industry (and its fortune) off of gambling and porn sites, but was now ditching them now that they had achieved a higher status. When this happened, Neteller -- an offshore payment processing company -- was the one who got the biggest boost in business. With even higher fees, they essentially did what Paypal was doing (though with much less regulation and customer service). After a few years many people found they could no longer do credit card deposits to Neteller, so most have resorted to actually making direct bank deposits from their bank to Neteller. Neteller is still around today and is still what most people use to make sportsbook deposits. Western Union is also a company many people use, but people have found more and more they are asking a lot of questions on who exactly you are sending the money to -- obviously the government is putting the heat on them as well. Over the years many other small payment processing companies have popped up... All of course unregulated, but with the lack of viable options for getting money into offshore books, people have taken the chance.
  • by meburke ( 736645 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:39AM (#15697921)
    I have no confidence in the ability of the politicians to make an informed, logical decision. I also have no hope that any ordinary, reasonable person can actually influence a politician. (Of course, I live in Texas. One look at our Representatives, and you can see why I gave up hope.

    If I want to gamble in the USA I can get on a plane, train or car and go to Las Vegas, Boloxi or some other place that allows gambling. I might meet someone new in Las Vagas, and I might hear some new ideas, but they will be limited to people who can travel to Las Vegas (mosty Americans). My community at home is still "protected" from "immoral" influences. Now they want to make it so I can't do virtual travel to accomplish the same thing I could do with physical travel. (This whole concept is beyond the intelligence of the average politician, even if they didn't have special interests to protect.) Actually, since I don't gamble, I don't have a stake in this decision other than to regret that it's another sign of Big Government chipping away at individual choice.

    And, it's an election year: Politicians have to be perceived as being upright and moral, so what better target for publicity than an "immoral" activity supported by a population too small to have any influence across other issues? (They're against Prostitution and Drunkeness also, but that doesn't keep them from getting laid and drunk.)

    The politicians are afraid of open interchange, and are heading toward deciding that we can't travel on the Information Superhighway without a passport.
  • I Hate Gambling. I Hate Gambling Spam. I hate all such business.

    But, there are Spam blockers. "Adblock+Firefox" has proven to be an excellent relief from their eye-sores. And guess what? I don't go to those sites, I don't participate and I don't get involved. As far as I can tell, and unless someone has some evidence to the contrary, I am largely unaffected by these sorts of "vices." And for anyone else who despises them as I do, how does their presense affect them?

    I find it "interesting" that legisl
    • If the really hate gambling that much, they may as well set up blockades around all Indian reservations to prevent people from going there as well.

      Hey kids, I'm going to tell you how a bill is created and how it becomes a law. First, a powerful special interest, in this case US casinos, invites some politicians and politicians aids to a free, paid vacation where they are educated on a particular topic, like the evils of internet gambling. Then, those lobbyist hired by the casinos hand over drafts of legi

  • This is a really bad omen, but for right now, this means nothing. I already have to use Central Coin as a middleman for Poker Stars. I deposit $50 in my Central Coin account, which acts as an online "credit card", with which I deposit money to Stars. Withdrawal is the reverse, and takes about 6 days from the time I withdraw it at Stars to the time it hits my bank account again. This won't affect me or most people who gamble online.

    Note: Central Coin sucks ass. Don't use them. If I could go back an
  • The Indian tribes that control casinos must have gotten hell of a deal on bulk-purchased politicians last week.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:01AM (#15698113) Journal
    The gambling companies will just add a level of indirection, and continue business as usual. Gamblers won't stop, and neither will the credit card processors.

  • by adrianbaugh ( 696007 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:11AM (#15698201) Homepage Journal
    "Opponents cited the growing popularity of online gambling." How is this relevant? Law making should not be about whether something is popular or not, but whether it's desirable or not. It's as though, when Moses came down from the mountain with his commandments, the thieves' guild had expressed opposition, noting the current popularity of theft - popularity wouldn't necessarily make it right.

    Note, I'm not coming down for or against online gambling, just making the point that its popularity is a specious argument when it comes to legislation.
  • If not, it should. It would finally put an end to annoying popups/ads (well annoying until you add them to the blocklists :) from companies like www.888.com.

    And, unlike the casinos which are generally located in foriegn countries, the advertising providers are generally US based and therefore subject to US laws.
  • by Churla ( 936633 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @11:23AM (#15698288)
    We're completely safe from this unenforcable law because to really enforce it they would need to be able to monitor... all... your net...


    Hold on, someone's at the door...
  • Dear U.S.,

    Thank you for helping boost our banking economy with your latest crazy laws.

  • Can someone say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by minion ( 162631 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @02:41PM (#15700005)
    The 18th Amendment? When will people learn you cannot control, 100%, the activities of people. You can suppress it, you can stifle it, but you cannot eradicate it. The only thing politicians do, is bring contempt from all people for these proposals.
    Do you think its the population that is against online gambling, or the states, because they're not getting a piece of the pie?
  • overlegislation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by austad ( 22163 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @04:17PM (#15700896) Homepage
    So, does there ever come a point in a society where decades or centuries of legislation finally just grinds things to a halt and the government caves in under its own weight?

    It certainly seems as if the rate at which we're passing legislation recently that this may actually happen. Have any studies on the Roman Empire been done to see if this was part of their demise?

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.