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Online Gambling Not Banned Yet 237

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 QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> 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.

  • 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?
  • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> 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.
  • Gotta love (Score:1, Insightful)

    by djuuss ( 854954 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:18PM (#16223339)
    .. democracy.

    Can't get a law to pass? Attach it to one that will!

    To be fair, it is indeed a last resort. This bill can't be passed because of casino owners lobbying against it, so the fact that it doesn't pass also has little to do with democracy.
    I feel this is just another example of why the US needs to take a good hard look at [] and compare it to the system theyre currently using.

    Then again, /. democracy means this post will get slapped with -1 flamebait. Yay to free speach!
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:21PM (#16223373)
    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.. because most people don't read the bills.

    Incidentally, the captcha for this is somehow apt; bumble.
  • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bravo John Warner (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aeron65432 ( 805385 ) <> 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.

  • by Pichu0102 ( 916292 ) <> 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 important when we look at legal procedure, that we don't "streamline" the system too much: sometimes, things that look like terribly stupid ideas (and probably are), are the only things holding back a torrent of terrible legislation. Riders are a double-edged sword in this way; they allow a minority to get things passed that otherwise wouldn't have enough votes -- an obviously undemocratic outcome, and prone to abuse -- but it also works as a blocking maneuver. Sometimes, it can be possible to stop a legislative juggernaut by attaching an impossible-to-pass rider.

    Removing something like this, particularly in the current atmosphere, where other safeguards like filibusters are also on the block, could potentially be disastrous. It could lead to seesaw legislation, with each successive Congress undoing the one before it and then going further in the opposite direction, without any way to stop it. In physics terms, filibusters and poison-pill riders act as drag or friction on a pendulum, which is constantly having energy put into it. Were it not for these outlets, the whole thing could easily oscillate out of control.
  • by smaddox ( 928261 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @11:22PM (#16224207)
    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).
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @11:23PM (#16224219)
    I doubt it. Go look at []

    Why does a true democracy need to brainwash its kids from an early age with the declaration of independence?

    Why does any challenge of USA being such a great democracy end up with it being compared to how much better it is than China etc.. Surely if it is so great it should be compared to some of the top democracies and not the bottom ones?

  • by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @11:24PM (#16224227) Homepage Journal

    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?

  • Re:lame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LocalH ( 28506 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:02AM (#16224481) Homepage
    /. needs a (+1, Sarcasm) mod. It looks foolish to call the parent "insightful".
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:54AM (#16226151)
    They are NOT called "criminal combatants", they are called "enemy combatants". They get that title because they blatantly violate the Geneva Convention. In order to get Geneva Convention protection, you basically need to be either wearing a uniform and clearly marked as a combatant or you need to be a civilian. The Geneva Convention was created to give rules to warfare between two states with conventional armies. The idea behind the Geneva Convention was to try and minimize the loss of civilian life and to set up rules that allow for a smooth transition back to civilian government after the war is over. You can basically boil the rules down the rules of the Geneva Convention to the following:

    1) No intentionally killing civilians.
    2) Always mark yourself as a combatant (wear a uniform) so that civilians are not confused as combatants.
    3) You must accept the surrender of uniformed combatants and you can't just execute them.
    4) When the war is over you need to free the uniformed combatants.

    The implication of these rules is that enemy spies do NOT receive Geneva Convention protection. During the Cold War when either side caught an enemy spy, they did NOT receive Geneva Convention protections. If an American spy was caught in Soviet Russia, we didn't make a stink about it if the Soviets tortured the spy, held the spy forever, or simply killed the spy. All sides agreed that spies do not get Geneva Convention status and so were not privy to receiving its benefits.

    Now, we are in a new type of war. The US doesn't fight uniformed combatants. The US fights people that fight among civilians wearing civilian clothing. Clearly, these people, like spies, are blatantly violating the Geneva Convention. They can't be identified as combatants and intentionally try and pass themselves off as civilians. Hence, they get a new title called an "enemy combatant", which means that they roughly get treated like spies.

    They don't get bill of rights protection because it is absolutely insane to even imply that in a war zone you need to read people their Miranda rights or get search warrants. Soldiers are not crime scene investigators, and crime scene investigators who can take proper evidence for a fair trial are not going to be doing their work in a war zone.

    Enemy combatants (i.e. people fighting out of uniform) occupy a gray area that there are no rules for. There is no Geneva Convention rules that describe how to treat these people. There are no rules in general with how to deal with people who fight wearing civilian clothing in general. If the UN wanted to do something useful (god forbid), they would write up a code to deal with people who fight among civilians disguised as civilians.
  • I don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by r_bertram42 ( 976855 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:57AM (#16226493) Homepage
    Why does the American government insist on being different from the rest of the world? Why do they try to be so self-righteous?

    In Europe, online gambling is very much accepted, and doesn't interfere with all the land-based casinos that spread all across Europe. They make enough money as it is. is very popular in Britain, for example. And people there don't see it as an addictive thing that should be banned, but rather as a way to get some entertainment. Instead of going out to a movie and dinner, you can enjoy a quick game of blackjack or roulette, and make sure to limit yourself to $50 or whatever your budget is. If you lose it - you lose it, and that's it. It's just like spending the same money on some other form of entertainment.
  • by vague_ascetic ( 755456 ) < minus threevowels> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:35AM (#16227247) Homepage Journal

    Been a while since you spent time in Vegas?

    Las Vegas is constantly adjusting their pitches and hooks. It's how they stay profitable. They love to call new angles in their agressive marketing techniques, "Reinventing Las Vegas". What a load of hype, nothing has been truly reinvented, it's sill all about you, Loser.

    The early nineties overt push for families has been on the whole discredited, and the official Vegas spin is no long, "Please bring the kids", it instead has morphed to, "Uh, ok, If you bring the kids".

    After several years overtly seeking families as a primary source of visitors, the mid-nineties saw most major properties (Mandalay Bay Properties [formerly Circus Circus] execpted) backing away from it. After several years of market studies and analysis, Gaming Corporations realised that if you bring you kids to Vegas, both your maximum allowable gambling time, and your maximum acceptable losses in the casino are significantly reduced. I guess one needs a 4 year University degree in marketing to be able to drag out the self-evident for so long.

    Major Gaming Corporations which operate in Nevada are not opposed to internet gambling, as long as it is a free market, and they are allowed to enter into it. If lawfully enabled to do so, the corporations could scale up their net resources instantly, and almost overnight have top class enterprise gaming web site which could easily compete with pre-existing sites.

    The Vegas gaming corporations have discovered that California tribal gambling didn't turn out to be the goose neck-breaker many were predicting. It has affected Reno negatively. In Las Vegas, the tribal casinos have served to greatly broaden the base of potential visitors to the city, and at the same time operate as a trap for low-end players Vegas would be just as happy without. It seems that P.T. Barnum vastly underestimated the statical frequency, and it's more like, 'one born every second'.

    Vegas does agressiveley market conventions still, and even though the atendees, as a broad group gamble less than the average visitor, their consumption of other high profit-margin hotel offerings can sometimes exceed cash flow projections had the rooms been filled with non-business visitors.

  • by BCW2 ( 168187 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:37AM (#16227271) Journal
    Pick any major spending bill and see what gets added on, normally just before a vote and with limited debate. Any amendment that doesn't pertain to that specific bill is probably waste. It has been estimated that 3/4 of government waste occurs here. This is used as a form of blackmail of the President (party doesn't matter) If he wants his Defence, Human Services, Foriegn Aid, Farm, or whatever bill he has to sign the whole thing with tens to hundreds of waste amendments tacked on or get nothing.
    This is the reason people have tried to get the line item veto approved for the President. All Presidents want it regardless of party. There was an attempt to use one by Clinton and the Supreme court shot it down. There have been several attempt since then but it never passes Congress.
  • by Control Group ( 105494 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:20AM (#16227891) Homepage
    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 cheaper. If it means that it would take power out of the hands of those who have it, it will be, at best, an uphill battle. And uphill battles aren't won by a population that's largely apathetic to the entire political process (no matter how up in arms they might get about the executive office, that's really a very minor part of the legislative process in this country).
  • Re:lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IAmTheDave ( 746256 ) <> 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!

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @10:29AM (#16229041) Homepage
    They are innocent people until, in a court of law, they are proven otherwise. The opinion of some grunt in the field, who is relying on the opinion of some local, who is earning a financial reward for turning people in, is not and never would be considered legal reason for permanent detention, let alone torture.

    There is never any real reason to abandon the law, except the old one, some asshat wants to do things for personal motivation and finds that the law inconveniences them.

    Basically they fucked up all over the place. No effort at all was made to maintain even a semblance of justice. Some good intentions were there to start with, but it soon collapsed into mismangement from the top down. As far as the administration was concerned, the focus shifted to how to extract the most corporate profit and away from how to establish law and order. LAW and ORDER was the purpose of the whole excersize, you do not abandon LAW and ORDER and expect by some miracle that it will be achieved.

    The government does not say who people are or who they are not, they prove it in a court of law, and if the representatives of the government fuck up the legal process, than that it is the government's fault. So now a bunch of suspected terrorists will go free because the US administration placed no focus on ensuring that proper legal practices were established.

    The sheer nonsence of the idea, that because no effort was made to establish due legal process, the defence forces can do or say what ever they feel like is just grossly offensive. So the real reason for the secret military tribunals, is not for future investigative purposes, it is to hide the gross legal blundering of the military, there is no evidence because they made absolutely no effort to gather any.

    You should try to screw your head on straight, the geneva convention is there to protect people who are trying to murder other people from the laws that would normally apply. Soldiers are not considered murderers even if they technically are. Civilians who are fighting are not considered soldiers hence they can be treated by the law as murders and tried in court as such, it does not mean you abandon the law at all, it means you apply normal civilian law. Spys were subject to the law, spy were proven as spys in court and then they were punished as the court decided i.e. they were outside the protection of the Geneva convention and subject to the full weight of the law (if there was sufficient evidence to prove that they were in fact spies).

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban