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Long Odds For Online Gaming Legislation In US

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the how-about-liberty-unadorned? dept.

The Internet 148

crimeandpunishment writes "The odds of Congress passing legislation to legalize and tax online gaming are probably no better than those of filling an inside straight, but some lawmakers are pushing for it anyway, hoping to lay the foundation for future passage. At a hearing Wednesday, one lawmaker cited numbers from industry analysts that Americans bet nearly $100 billion a year on the Internet, generating $5 billion for offshore operators. He said laws to prevent online gaming are no more effective than Prohibition was to alcohol."

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148 comments

First Thought (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32284924)

At first I thought they were going to tax and regulate gold farmers in WoW.

Re:First Thought (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32284948)

They should probably do that, too.

I kid! I kid!

Re:First Thought (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285106)

I don't know why you're kidding. People sell stuff in online venues for real money all the time. Those transactions should be taxed. And if barter in online goods is trackable, that can be taxed as well.

Though I'm not sure if the U.S. Treasury is set up to store a barrow full of zorkmids anywhere...

Re:First Thought (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285240)

Well, it would be nice to get the IRS to help track down the gold buyers and sellers, So that they can be removed from the game they were never meant to be a part of in the first place.

Re:First Thought (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285260)

No it shouldn't be taxed. People should only be taxed for what they use, when I buy an online good for physical money what service of the government am I using? I use paypal which is a private company to use my private credit card on a private site to get something online which go through the privately owned internet lines which I pay for out of my own pocket, to another privately owned server where I play my game.

Pay for what you use, the government doesn't even enter into the equation except for a very, very, very, small amount. Such exchanges should never be taxed. The government should be a service provider, nothing more. If you don't use the service for a transaction you don't have to pay. Taxing such things is like adding shipping and handling to them, they don't need it so it shouldn't be paid.

Re:First Thought (2, Informative)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285330)

You're privately owned internet lines are actually owned or leased by a public utility.

Re:First Thought (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285950)

Oh and I get free internet access? I pay money to use the internet, charge the ISP for use of public lines but until I get free internet, or own an ISP, such a tax doesn't make sense because I paid for it once, why should I pay for it again?

Re:First Thought (2, Insightful)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286430)

So the government can spend more money, duh.

Re:First Thought (1)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285350)

No it shouldn't be taxed. People should only be taxed for what they use, when I buy an online good for physical money what service of the government am I using? I use paypal which is a private company to use my private credit card on a private site to get something online which go through the privately owned internet lines which I pay for out of my own pocket, to another privately owned server where I play my game. Pay for what you use, the government doesn't even enter into the equation except for a very, very, very, small amount. Such exchanges should never be taxed. The government should be a service provider, nothing more. If you don't use the service for a transaction you don't have to pay. Taxing such things is like adding shipping and handling to them, they don't need it so it shouldn't be paid.

use taxes inherently punish the poor, for whom the taxes are a much larger percentage of their comparatively smaller income.

Re:First Thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285600)

Rhetoric. A good use tax doesn't include food items.

Re:First Thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32287406)

Rhetoric. "No true Scotsman".

Re:First Thought (2, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285626)

Yes you should. By that argument my income should not be taxed.

Re:First Thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285954)

You forget that it was the Civil War which caused a change to the constitution to allow income tax in the first place

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

and you are correct. your income should NOT be taxed.

Re:First Thought (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285980)

In all honesty, no your income should not be taxed. But by paying income/property taxes you fund a lot of things. Myself I would be in favor of a flat fee for defense that is paid per household and then paying only for what you use. Such a tax is the only fair tax and is fiscally responsible.

Re:First Thought (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286054)

Myself I would be in favor of a flat fee for defense that is paid per household

Are you in favor of social safety nets for people whose income isn't enough to cover rent, food, heat, and defense?

Re:First Thought (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286294)

It depends. First off, I would be in favor of elimination those imperialistic and harmful wars such as the "war on terror" and the "war on drugs" and focusing on defense not "lets go out and attack a country or fund tyrants because we don't like a policy". Defense is quite cheap for the time being because we have the technology already developed. So the fee would be very low, as in a hundred dollars or less per year. Now, this would be per household (as in reality it costs no more to defend a house of 1 as it does a family of 8).

Secondly, you have to ask why are they poor? Yeah, a few people really are unlucky, other people on the other hand completely deserve what they got. When working as a store clerk for a while while in university, I got to see the "poor", many of them would come dressed up nicely, buy booze with cash and then spend their food stamps buying their food. Those people? I have no sympathy for. Now, there were some people who were simply victims of bad circumstances, people who honestly wanted to work but couldn't and needed help to keep fed. However, welfare is inefficient and is prone to abuse. The government needs to help private charities by allowing for reduced regulations and otherwise supporting them.

Thirdly, are these people living beyond their means? Are they living in the cheapest area possible? If not, then, again, I have no sympathy for them just as I don't have sympathy that everyone can't afford a Ferrari, you live within your means.

So, do I support social safety nets? Yes. Do I think we need to do a through evaluation to why people are poor and then determine if they are worthy of public funds? Absolutely. Do I think that the government should be secondary to private charity? Yes.

Excuses for not living in the cheapest area (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286584)

Are they living in the cheapest area possible?

No, and they might have good excuses:

  • The cheapest area possible might have high unemployment.
  • The cheapest area might be in another country that doesn't want any poor foreigners on its soil.
  • It costs a significant chunk of change to travel hundreds of miles or hundreds of kilometers to a cheaper area.

Re:First Thought (1)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287660)

Defense is quite cheap for the time being because we have the technology already developed

And that technology will become obsolete faster than a speeding bullet once you stop funding it.

Three services you may not have thought of (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286080)

when I buy an online good for physical money what service of the government am I using?

National defense of the land on which the makers of this online good live.

I use paypal which is a private company to use my private credit card on a private site to get

The government performs the service of forcing payment processors not to scam the droppings out of you.

something online which go through the privately owned internet lines which I pay for out of my own pocket

The government performs the service of forcing nonsubscribers to let the last mile go over their land to reach subscribers. In your reply to g0bshiTe's post, you mention the franchise fee included in your ISP bill, but I'm not entirely sure that this pays for the entire cost of the services that the government provides to your ISP.

Re:First Thought (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287222)

Yes, sure, the government doesn't enter into the equation directly. But the government is the one undersigning your money, enforcing the laws that allow such private services to operate freely, the electricity that powers all the services, and of course the whole defence side of the equation.

Now I'm not saying that transactions such as those should be taxed - if it had occurred as a straight barter or cash-for-goods in "the real world", it'd be absurd to suggest it. But just consider for a minute that the government is not so far removed as you might suppose.

Re:First Thought (2, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287624)

People should only be taxed for what they use, when I buy an online good for physical money what service of the government am I using? I use paypal which is a private company to use my private credit card on a private site to get something online which go through the privately owned internet lines which I pay for out of my own pocket, to another privately owned server where I play my game.

That's all well and good, I suppose. But when you pay money for an online good and the seller reneges on the deal to deliver, just don't come crying to the government-run courts or police, okay?

Re:First Thought (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285418)

>>>People sell stuff in online venues for real money all the time. Those transactions should be taxed

The problem is determining who does the taxing. Normally if I walk into a store, I pay tax to whichever locale I'm standing in, but if I order from a long distance state like Poland and ship it the UK, I don't have to pay tax to Poland because I'm not a Polish citizen. So the item ends-up being taxfree (unless UK taxes it directly, but that's usually not the case).

Re:First Thought (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285774)

... Those transactions should be taxed. ...

Why? What is this statement based on?

Just going through life, assuming that everything "should be taxed" is ridiculous! This thought process of feed the machine so it can take care of us, is just plain naive.

Re:First Thought (2, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285062)

They will probably just attach it to the net neutrality bill.

Re:First Thought (4, Insightful)

Enigma2175 (179646) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285264)

They will probably just attach it to the net neutrality bill.

Why would they attach it to something that was even remotely related? When they passed the current ban it was attached to the "Safe Ports Act". It's a common practice to attach unrelated amendments to popular bills (What, you don't want safe ports? You terrorist!), I'm sure they will just attach a new ban on the "Safe Children Act" or the "America, Fuck Yeah! Act".

Re:First Thought (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285084)

My first thought was why can I bet on this at intrade?

Odds aren't that bad (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285554)

The odds of Congress passing legislation... are probably no better than those of filling an inside straight.

Let's see: 4 cards out of the remaining 47. Sounds like about 8.5%. That's not exactly impossible.
Confirmed. [basicholdem.info]

Online Gambling Legislation? (2, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285658)

Five bucks says it doesn't pass! Any takers?

Re:Online Gambling Legislation? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285900)

Double Down.

Re:Online Gambling Legislation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32288214)

Excuse me sir, but have you registered your gambling activities? ;)

Large amounts of government regulations stifles small businesses. Yes, some are fantastic, but others are just simply for the good of large corporations - who can afford to jump through the hoops. Just for my computer repair business - which is rather unregulated as it comes - I had to pay approximately ~400 bucks just in registration and such to the state.

The major expense however, was not the registration fees to the government, but an archaic rule that you have to publish in a newspaper (any one that's circulated in the area that you are located) your business name, your name, your address, etc. Despite the fact that the print media is dying and giving discounts out like mad, I couldn't price shop for the life of me on the DBA printings.

The registration so in case someone wants to hunt me down \ sue me in case my company name comes and steals their television? Good. Customer protection = great.

Probability of them looking that thing up in the newspaper from now ~2 years ago? Zero. It's registered on the state site, so it's 10X easier to look it up there.

In this case? I don't know. I think off shoring your company is a shitty thing to do, but don't they do so because we've illegalized gambling here? Due to the international nature of the internet to that I say - Good Luck Regulating It.

Prohibition (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32284962)

"He said laws to prevent online gaming are no more effective than Prohibition was to alcohol." ... or to pot

Re:Prohibition (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285102)

Or maybe Al Capone 2.0

Re:Prohibition (1)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286064)

There is no way it will pass. It is critically important that our lawmakers project an appearance of conservatism, piety and wholesomeness in order to maintain a critical voting mass to get re-elected. Meanwhile they can go back to their full-time job of skirt chasing and boozing when they think nobody is looking.

Re:Prohibition (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286344)

As ineffective as:
war on drugs
war on terrorism
walls on the borders
war for peace
sex for chastity

Correction: gambling (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285072)

NewSpeak is not spoken here. The word you are looking for is gambling, not gaming. Big difference.

Re:Correction: gambling (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285152)

Gambling is gaming, but gaming is not gambling. Like the old saying 'a raisin is a plum, but a prune is not a grape'....wait, is that right?

Re:Correction: gambling (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285450)

Gambling is gaming

Not the way I do it.

Re:Correction: gambling (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285228)

NewSpeak is not spoken here. The word you are looking for is gambling, not gaming. Big difference.

Nevada Gaming Comission [wikipedia.org]

Founded in 1959. Using "Gaming" to refer to "Gambling" has been around for at least a bit of time.

And if anyone would have some input on Gambling / Gaming, Nevada would.

Re:Correction: gambling (4, Insightful)

musth (901919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285414)

Of course it has, because Nevada has every reason to sell gambling with an image of harmless fun, just like all gambling profiteers do. Just because a bulls**t locution has been around a long time doesn't make it less of a bulls**t locution.

Re:Correction: gambling (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285544)

Of course it has, because Nevada has every reason to sell gambling with an image of harmless fun, just like all gambling profiteers do. Just because a bulls**t locution has been around a long time doesn't make it less of a bulls**t locution.

Your bias is thick.

"gambling profiteers"? Anyone who is in the entertainment industry is a "profiteer", i.e. one who does it for the profit.

Laws against Gambling, Drugs, and Prostitution are artifacts of a puritanical government. Our culture should be evolved enough to trust individuals to make their own decisions.

Please present your argument why I, as a free adult in supposedly the greatest country in the land, cannot use my money to entertain myself.

I am not victimizing anyone, I am not affecting anyone else's property, and I am not causing any harm to anyone else. You would deny me my freedom? You would deny me what is essentially a basic American ideal (the concept of property rights)?

Waiting and loving to hear your answer.

Re:Correction: gambling (2, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285692)

In practice drugs and gambling can cause people to destroy themselves. Ask any recovering addict. Though gambling and drug use is not inherently immoral, I dont see the harm in preventing people from killing themselves on heroin, or from gambling their life savings away. Now, where to draw the line? I dont know. Hence the reason is probably better for the government to stay out of it. Thus I contradict myself.

Re:Correction: gambling (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286346)

Indeed. Where does the line get drawn? Alcohol does all these things, and is the most commonly used drug out there, and yet, despite whatever good the Temperance Movement hoped to produce by prohibiting its sale and intake, it proved an absolute failure, for precisely the same reason that prohibitions on narcotics, gambling and prostitution have been dismal failures.

The only reason alcohol, and to a limited extent gambling, are more permissible than narcotics and prostitution is because of what amounts to an irrational motivation based on prejudices. Alcohol is seen, quite wrongly, as a largely harmless recreational drink (despite the clear short-term physiological and mental effects and the absolutely horrible effects of long-term heavy consumption). Gambling is somewhat lower on society's list of vices, so governments opt to allow it with one degree or another of state control, and attempts to shut down illegal gambling don't amount to enforcement of public morals so much as enforcement of a state monopoly. But yet again, an addicted gambler is an addicted gambler, regardless of whether he's punching the money into a heavily taxed slot machine or he's doing it through some online gambling site in the Grand Caymans or, heck, playing an illegal craps game in the back alley.

As to prostitution and narcotics, well, yes, they're bad. Are they worse, overall, than alcohol and gambling? All of them have the capacity to destroy lives, and certainly alcohol has to be the king of destroying lives. When we get rid of a motivation that amounts to legislating based on ick and fear factors (I mean, what other reason would you be able to buy a case of beer legally but get nailed for buying a couple of joints), it becomes awfully hard to justify these morality laws. You will never get rid of prostitution, no matter how harsh the laws. You will never get rid of narcotics use. The issue then should be not pointless and endless wars against them, but rather finding ways to accept that prostitution and narcotics and, yes, online gambling, will happen and then work to mitigate them. For the state, that usually amounts to taxation and control. Admittedly doing that online is a considerable challenge, maybe even impossible, just as impossible as it would be to stop all street walkers even with legal brothels or all back alley craps games even with legal casinos.

Re:Correction: gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32288002)

Your post reads like a troll (in the old sense of the word), but I will respond nonetheless.

You may have the freedom to gamble, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be discouraged.

Gambling gives people money in exchange for no work, just like usury. Both are inherently immoral, even though they may have their uses.

The fact that gambling is addictive and destructive for many people makes it a vice, and gives a pragmatic reason to discourage it. The Utilitarians said that your freedom ends where my nose begins. Gambling, like other vices, hits the metaphorical nose when destroyed lives bring down those around them, with bankrupt families, lost productivity, and unnecessary strain on the social safety net.

And as with the other vices, prohibition is ineffective. The approach of limiting it to designated zones like Atlantic City or Vegas is a practical solution.

But I hope we can all agree on the OP's point, and shun obfuscating newspeak like the word 'gaming'.

Re:Correction: gambling (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288282)

Gambling gives people money in exchange for no work, just like usury. Both are inherently immoral, even though they may have their uses.

So professional sports are immoral? I'm immoral because I collect dividends on some stocks? Short term unemployment benefits are immoral?

Re:Correction: gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32288648)

Sportsmen do work, and their product is entertainment. Stock in a company is ownership of the company; the money is being put to work in the business of the company. As long as the unemplyment is not willful, there is nothing immoral about it.

Gamblers, on the other hand, produce nothing.

Re:Correction: gambling (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286218)

Do they also have a "Nevada Paid Fun-time Companion Commission"?

(P.S. "Commission" has 2 m's)

No more effective than Prohibition (3, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285076)

I'm sure that depends on who you talk to. Lots of people made lots of money because of Prohibition.

Re:No more effective than Prohibition (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285162)

And lots of people are making money off of illegal online gaming.

What they're missing (because they're probably being paid to miss it) is that the systems that need to be improved to choke off the flow of money from the U.S. to the gambling operators are exactly the systems that need to be improved to choke off the flow of money from the U.S. to terrorist organizations. Legalizing online gaming will only reduce the effort to close those cashflow portals. Which will give a big boost to funding terror.

Re:No more effective than Prohibition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285194)

[citation needed]

Oh noes not the terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285798)

http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/07/13/the_six_most_feared_but_least_likely_causes_of_death.htm

Can't say I am scared of them, what I am scared of is politicians using them as an excuse to take freedoms.

Compare the risk of dieing due to terrorism with this list:
http://www.livescience.com/environment/050106_odds_of_dying.html

Lightning Strike: 1 in 83,930
Legal Execution: 1 in 58,618
Terrorism: 1 in 9.3 million

Re:No more effective than Prohibition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285166)

Er, call me out on it if I'm wrong, but I think that's what the intent of the expression was.
They're indicating that all the laws against Prohibition were a stupid waste of time and money, and all the laws that they keep passing to try to block online gambling (suspecting missing B in article) are just as much of a waste.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a hankerin' for some 'shine.

Re:No more effective than Prohibition (2, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285410)

And what I was inferring is those attempting to create legislation may well be those attempting to profit on the legislation.

Re:No more effective than Prohibition (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288366)

And what I was inferring is those attempting to create legislation may well be those attempting to profit on the legislation.

FAIL! You just said "infer" to mean "imply"! I believe there's a Weird Al song about people like you. You get 1,000 semantic-usage demerits.

Re:No more effective than Prohibition (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285546)

If you talk to anyone who is involved in running gambling sites, they will loudly protest against the current ban. Not because the ban is making them shitloads of money, but because legalized gambling would make them even more money. The US market is already huge and expected to explode when gambling becomes legal. And it will be, the companies have more than enough money to force lobby that decision through.

What this means is that the gambling ban *is effective*. Less Americans gamble than they would otherwise. Why else spend money lobbying to change legislation?

Why not? (-1, Offtopic)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285078)

I think it's a great idea to tax online gaming, just stop gaming online and then the problem goes away or if you want to keep gaming pay for it. Either way doesn't bother me because I don't do online gaming. So I think this is a great idea.

Re:Why not? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287518)

I think people on slashdot need to learn how to use the -1 mod. This post is completely on topic and completely relevant. It's not my fault people are addicted to online gaming.

Your money is not yours (5, Insightful)

exigentsky (771810) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285140)

I find it strange that there is a discussion about this issue at all. What people do with their money as long as they aren't hurting others is their business. The government has no right to snoop around and play Big Brother.

Moreover, it gets even more ridiculous due to the sheer hypocrisy of it all. The government is just fine with lotteries or land-based gaming interests (with powerful lobbies) but suddenly when it's online everything changes. They want a piece of the pie but are too stupid to know how and so they try to destroy everything.

The whole thing is completely absurd and incoherent - especially when it comes to poker. Poker is not even gambling, it's a game of skill. It's not chess but the skill element is still undeniable - as players who've won millions of dollars over millions of hands have proven. It could almost be considered a branch of applied mathematics for some forms that are almost solved like limit holdem. Yes, luck plays a big role in any hand but once you get to a reasonable sample size like 100k hands or more it's negligible. I play poker in my spare time and I think it's an interesting challenge that also helps me better understand myself. The variance and multitude of situations will help you become more disciplined, aware when you're not at peak performance and help you deal with failure better. Poker players constantly face failure even when they are ahead but good players don't let it affect them and play the same logical, disciplined game - weighing the odds and understanding their opponents. Online poker is still legal but the thought of the government intruding into one of my hobbies disgusts me.

Re:Your money is not yours (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285354)

1. "Big Brother" is a false analogy here. Government does have the right to regulate any business transaction whatsoever. There's no "snooping" needed. You're required by the law to license your business, report your business activities, and pay taxes on it.

2. Gambling by individuals is still illegal in most jurisdictions in the U.S. Making it available over the internet will just allow people to break those laws.

3. Poker is only slightly gambling. If you can show that everyone at the table has those "100k hands" in their experience, then I'll agree they're playing on skill alone (some good, some fish). But until someone knows their own abilities, it's purely gambling.

4. Online poker and gambling are wide open to cheating, either by the server operators or by teams of players.

5. Your being disgusted is not a forceful argument for failing to regulate a business, especially business this susceptible to crime and the exploitation of addiction (go ahead, make an analogy to alcohol and bars; i'll point out that bars are required by law to stop serving you when you're visibly intoxicated, which typically takes only a few drinks and costs only a few dozen dollars; the numbers are piddling compared to the depths of trouble you can get yourself into in one night of online martingaling).

Re:Your money is not yours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285752)

3. Poker is only slightly gambling. If you can show that everyone at the table has those "100k hands" in their experience, then I'll agree they're playing on skill alone (some good, some fish). But until someone knows their own abilities, it's purely gambling.

I played professionally as an online poker player for about 4 years. I finally got a "real" job as a SW engineer, but still play about 15 hours a week.

It's never gambling...It's always skill. One of the most difficult concepts to understand in poker is that the amount of money you win or lose is not the correct way to "keep score". If you keep score as "always making the correct play", then it's very easy to see as a skill game. The "correct play" can vary vastly on the amount of information you have pertaining to the hand (the skill level pertains to how well you can analyze that information). The best play doesn't always immediately win money(in fact, I've had a losing winrate over 100k hands samples several times over my career. That means approximately a 100 hours of play with a losing hourly rate while playing 16 tables), but then again winning money isn't an accurate way of keeping score. It's quite frustrating and may seem like gambling to the novice, but after you put in several thousand hours at poker, you forget about losing days/weeks/months. You intuitively know you're playing correctly (even if the cards fall badly), and inevitably all things will (hopefully) even out.

Poker is one cruel game.

Re:Your money is not yours (1)

musth (901919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286240)

What you're essentially saying, in a very roundabout way, is that poker has a sizable luck element and also a skill element, and experience at poker can weight skill somewhat over a novice playing poker. That's *not* an argument that being an experienced player while betting with money at poker magically transforms it into not-gambling, but merely that putting a lot of time into it can bend the curve somewhat.

There are a LOT of types of gambling which involve some element of skill, and almost every non-gambling game of chance is also like this....only the really boring games are *pure* chance. You're really not saying much.

In my opinion, the marketed poker fetishism which overtook American society in the 00's (all the stupid B-cable "championships", etc.) has made room for a lot of popular apologetics for the game, with devotees trying to lift it into some ethereal category of not-really-gambling. The fact that you're willing to spend thousands of hours at the game and justify losing money at it speaks very strongly to addiction, not intelligent choice.

Re:Your money is not yours (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285784)

3. Poker is only slightly gambling. If you can show that everyone at the table has those "100k hands" in their experience, then I'll agree they're playing on skill alone (some good, some fish). But until someone knows their own abilities, it's purely gambling.

4. Online poker and gambling are wide open to cheating, either by the server operators or by teams of players.

Item 3: Huh? It's gambling until you're good at it? What type of weird justification is that?!? Is hitting a fast ball gambling until I put in 1,000 hours in the batting cage, or is it a game of skill always? You can't arbitrarily define some cutoff...

Item 4 sounds like a reason why the government should step in. Lots and lots (hundreds of billions) of dollars are going to be used in online poker. If people have to go to shady overseas operators, that just makes sense that the government should help out. Some online gambling sites operate from real jurisdictions with real rules and enforcement of fairness which means that it is not wide open to cheating.

Re:Your money is not yours (1)

Deosyne (92713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285812)

Good points. I guess as long as there is a possibility of any kind of harm taking place to any undefined fraction of the population then any possible activity that might theoretically be related to that harm should be strictly regulated or prohibited by the government. Thank you for showing me the light.

Re:Your money is not yours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32286692)

It's not hypothetical harm, and you'd be dense to not know that. Or maybe you do know it, and are wilfully discounting it. Either way your sarcasm has null content.

Re:Your money is not yours (4, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286634)

For #3, It's no more gambling for a bad/new player than for a good/seasoned player. The fact that they're bad at poker doesn't change what poker is unless we're getting into a "cat in the box" thing here where actions/observation determine the outcome.

For #4, I think Full Tilt is onto something with their new Rush Poker. They'll never come right out and say that this new method greatly reduces the possibility of cheating because that would acknowledge the fact that cheating among players is very possible in standard games. But, in Rush Poker, each table is created on the fly from a pool of players for each new hand. So there's no way to get several of your buddies seated at the same table unless you happen to randomly be seated together but then you won't have time to do anything about it because you're only there for one hand then you're moved to a completely new table with a new group of players. It has kind of a "crack heads on meth drinking Red Bull" feel because it moves so fast but it definitely cuts down on the potential for cheating among players.

As for cheating on the server side, I'm all for regulation. Bring those servers onto US soil with independent oversight and auditing.

Yes, people could still get to offshore sites and try to avoid taxes, no problem. But, if iTunes has shown us anything, it's that people are willing to pay a premium price for a product that's trusted and easy to use.

Online poker should be a freakin' DREAM for the government. There's no hiding your activity. Every deposit is logged. Every transfer is logged. Every withdrawal is logged. It should be the easiest thing in the world to tax accurately and efficiently. Way easier than the bajillion card rooms scattered all over the country. And it should be easy to spot and flag problem "gamblers". As I just said, everything is logged. Mine the data and use it to reach out to those people.

Re:Your money is not yours (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288256)

Rush poker is completely pointless. The order of blinds is based on how long it has been since you have been blinded (if you sit and think about your hands, you will be blinded much less often, because it is based on number of hands, not time). Meanwhile, the gameplay in rush poker is much, much more of an all-in or fold every hand mentality. You are playing lottery, not poker, and the level of skill is the roughly the same an indian poker (hold a card on your forehead without looking at it and bet whether or not its higher than your opponents).

There are several types of hands in poker - a few you fold immediately, a few you play no matter what, and then the majority are hands you gamble with. You decide based on how others are playing, how they react to your actions over time, how they adjust for chip stack sizes, how they react after a big hand win or lose), whether they carry emotion based on a specific type of play, whether they are affected by alcohol/food/length of time at the table, and so many, many other issues. It is rarely about cards. At an 8 person table, when 1 player doesn't know what they are doing and throws money around like an idiot on any cards, the other 7 players are excited; they are going to get paid. When 6 players do it, I leave the table because that is pretty much the same thing as 6 people at the same table colluding. They don't need to see each others cards to make my marginal hands worthless, they just bet me out by either never folding or always folding. If player A bets, player B raises, and player C acts after me and goes all in if Im still in the hand, the types of hands I can play drops dramatically and my presence at the table means a lot less, as do my cards.

Try this experiment in a live cash no limit texas holdem game (despite its modern popularity, its the only card game where you routinely find newcomers or players who never get beyond the basic concepts yet still play for money) with 2 people who know each other in an 8-10 handed table: Sit as far apart as you can to each other and neither of you look at your cards. Every nth hand (3 or 4 is best) excluding blinds (play blinds like you normally play hands), have player A raise to 4 or 5 times the blinds and have player B go all in unless someone else already has. If your opponents are good but not great (in my experience, about 80% of regular poker players), over time you will eke out a small profit, picking up pots as often as your opponents yet taking down the blinds a considerable portion of the time enough to outweigh the times you run into play no matter what hands. If your opponents are not good, you will get callers with things like suited connectors and ATC. Bear in mind that against semi-pro/professional players, you will lose because they will figure out what you are doing and you will not be adjusting to their game.

Now try the same thing online (you will have to put something on your screen so that you don't see the cards). 1000-1 that within an hour, several players will accuse you of cheating or of being a complete moron. Within a month, your IP address will be banned (because your betting pattern and the fact that you only play when you are across from someone will give you away, and you will not have a way to prove that you aren't looking at each other's cards). Meanwhile, you will not have made any money. Too many bad players online. That isn't to say that one cannot make money consistently playing poker online. Its just a different game. There is much less information, you play orders of magnitude more hands, individual decisions mean less and thus provide less information, so post flop play becomes much more important while the leverage you can apply with the exact same actions is diminished. Its great for learning as you get to see more types of playing styles more often, but you also never really play anyone great because you won't recognize what they are doing the first couple hundred times.

Bear in mind that playing reactively to another player isn't against the rules (no more so than playing based on position or chip stack). The vast majority of poker is about your opponent's cards, not yours. Any pattern based play that your opponents can figure out is bad for you. Any false pattern you can get your opponents to pick up on is good for you.

Re:Your money is not yours (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285490)

The government is just fine with lotteries

Because THEY are making the profit. Here in NC, alcohol is considered so evil, that only The State is allowed to sell it. In both cases, it is a scam for politicians to insure that the government makes the money instead of private businesses (ie: socialism), and it is easy to get the votes from people who are against gambling and alcohol, because "at least the state is making sure people aren't abusing it", which should send you into a laughing fit.

Here in NC, the justification for the lotto was that it became the "Education Lottery" (ie: think of the children). This way they can give "extra money" to schools. Of course, general funding goes down as it supplanted by the lotto money, so the net result is that the money really goes to the general fund, but unfortunately, most people just don't understand this shell game even if you explain it. "Well, its a good thing we gots the lottery! They cut the budget and the lotto money will make up the difference! Think of dah chilren!"

The worse abuse is that part of the justification was "well, people are going to gamble anyway, we are just providing an outlet". Then wtf do you need to advertise? Why do you need to drum up new business, if your goals are so honorable and only to take care of existing demand? Again, it is a socialistic way to control something popular and take the profit, where it can be divided up by special interests as pay back for the money that lobbyists invested in our elected officials.

Re:Your money is not yours (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286188)

Poker with your friends might be a game of skill. Poker with 4 other people who could all be in the same room together over the internet is not a game of skill, it's a sucker's bet.

Re:Your money is not yours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32286982)

It's mainly a fraud concern. The machines in casinos are required to be "fair" (the randomization element is random enough according to some standard, settings for weighted win/loss ratios are restricted to a certain range and monitored to make sure it's being honored, etc). The accounts of the casinos are also subject to audits. This is all because the casino stands to gain a LOT of profit under the table if they were allowed to nudge the odds a bit and lie about it.

Obviously that's impossible to do when both the hardware and the corporate records are outside of the country. And if you think it's impossible for cheating to happen in online poker, you haven't really thought hard about it. If games are arranged by the server, the server controls who gets placed where, and the server also controls who gets what card. So an unscrupulous company could be monitoring games or players with certain characteristics and arrange their own human or bot players to be placed advantageously - and then some combination of advantages or penalties could be applied to subtly assure that the house gets not just its fees, but also takes the pot. (Remember, it's all on the server, so company players or bots could be allowed to see everyone else's cards, or be given slightly better cards, or customers get slightly worse cards). But server's in some other country, so the server can't be raided and the company can't be compelled to open their records. To a modestly clever criminal, that's a huge opportunity for cheating, for laundering other money ("lose" it gambling in rigged matches on the company server!), running illegal tax shelters, and so on.

These aren't fairy tales, they're the sort of thing the mob used to like to do with gambling in the not so distant past. It's the same thing, just on the internet.

Re:Your money is not yours (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288314)

So because there's a good chance of fraud on "server's in some other country" and they can't be raided or audited, the solution is to force all of the operators to be outside the country. Rather than say, allowing gambling on servers based in the US that are audited and regulated by the US?

That seems just a little backwards.

Punish the problems created by the vice (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285160)

The problem with vice is that liberals don't want to punish people for acting out and conservatives don't want to give people the choice to even take the vice (and often then, like liberals, don't punish the person for harming others). For example, the fastest way to make people shape up in their use of intoxicants is to pass a law that says "no state of intoxication brought on by willing consumption or or exposure to intoxicating substances shall be a mitigating factor in the assessment of guilt for any felony offense or be used as a basis for reducing the sentence upon conviction." Likewise, if compulsive gamblers knew that the state government would send them to prison under a modern "debtor's prison" that applies only to those people who are in unmanagable debt because of vice consumption would think twice.

Re:Punish the problems created by the vice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285484)

While I totally agree about punishing the actions that are actually harmful to society, a debtor's prison would likely have little effect on the decisions compulsive gamblers make. Many have no problems simply taking money wherever they can get it to fuel their habits.

Food for thought: if a gambler uses stolen money at a casino, how difficult should it be to claw some or all of that money back and give it to the original owner? If that seems unfair to the casino... what happens to individuals if they buy or otherwise obtain something that is later discovered to be stolen?

Re:Punish the problems created by the vice (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285756)

Likewise, if compulsive gamblers knew that the state government would send them to prison under a modern "debtor's prison" that applies only to those people who are in unmanagable debt because of vice consumption would think twice.

People who are addicted to gambling aren't going to think twice because the government might send them to prison.

If they don't think twice knowing that a guy named Vito is going to break their legs for not paying the debts from the game they lost last week, no threat from the government is going to make them think twice.

I know someone whose compulsive gambling cost him a home, a marriage, a family, a job, friends, multiple severe beatings and he was still looking for a game. It was only when he got locked up and then released directly to a treatment center that he got any help. He got locked up just before the Super Bowl a few years ago and called his friends from jail trying to get someone to place a bet for him. I agree that that people should be able to do what they want with their money as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Someone gambling out of control very quickly starts to hurt everyone around him.

I've never met anyone who gambled online who didn't have a problem with it, but I'm not saying that there are not such people. If it's legalized (and I don't take a position one way or the other on whether it should be legalized) it should be heavily taxed and a significant portion of the taxes collected should go to gambling addiction treatment.

You want to gamble? Go play cards with your friends. At least that's a zero sum game and there's no "house" taking 15 percent off the top. Gambling online with a virtual "deck of cards" seems kind of stupid and desperate to me. If you get off on the rush of high-stakes games, find a like-minded individual and play simultaneous Russian Roulette. Have a friendly game of "cut for high card".

Re:Punish the problems created by the vice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32285942)

I've never met anyone who gambled online who didn't have a problem with it

Yes, you have. You just didn't know it because the subject never came up.

Re:Punish the problems created by the vice (1)

Blindman (36862) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285868)

I was with you up until "debtor's prison." First, there may be some constitutional issues with debtor's prison. In addition, debtor's prisons are primarily for the benefit of lenders, and I don't see why people that lend to gamblers should be treated better than people than lend to figurine collectors. In addition, there is probably something that everybody buys that some other person things is a bad idea, so there really isn't a good way to objectively assess what is and is not "vice consumption."

Sometimes you have to accept that you can't stop stupid people from acting stupid, its what they do.

Re:Punish the problems created by the vice (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286132)

For example, the fastest way to make people shape up in their use of intoxicants is to pass a law that says "no state of intoxication brought on by willing consumption or or exposure to intoxicating substances shall be a mitigating factor in the assessment of guilt for any felony offense or be used as a basis for reducing the sentence upon conviction.

While I agree that "Hey, I was shitfaced at the time!" should never be a valid excuse, I think you are overestimating the ability of intoxicated people to make rational decisions about their own behavior!

Re:Punish the problems created by the vice (1)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286488)

For example, the fastest way to make people shape up in their use of intoxicants is to pass a law that says "no state of intoxication brought on by willing consumption or or exposure to intoxicating substances shall be a mitigating factor in the assessment of guilt for any felony offense or be used as a basis for reducing the sentence upon conviction." .

I love that your solution is to pass another law....not only another law but a completely pointless and redundant one at that.

I am not aware of ANY state in the US or any COUNTRY in the world where "I drank/smoked/ate too much and was fucked up" is a viable defense. Infact I believe that certain prescription drugs can run you afoul of DUI laws despite being prescribed.

The reality is that there is no way for someone to MAKE another person do something like take responsibility and learn their limit.

No amount of law or regulation will ever change that.

Is taxation a solution....I don't particularly think so, but it does seem socially acceptable, and if taxing is what it takes to "legalize" it then so be it.

Another thought is how does Vegas and Atlantic City feel about this? They want people to come to Vegas....so yeah online gambling is a threat to their revenue streams. Just something else to consider.

Bad Title (1)

Dracker (1323355) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285188)

At first I thought it referred to gaming as in gamers, not gaming as in gambling. I am sure there are many others who made the same mistake, seeing as Slashdot has a Games section.

Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespeak (1)

musth (901919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285334)

Always use "gaming", not "gambling"! "Gaming", you see, is evocative of apple-pie harmless American fun around the kitchen table, and who could be against THAT??? Besides, your libertarian ideological masters are all about Free Enterprise, just like the Vegas corporations.

*rolls eyes*

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

Wuhao (471511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286648)

It is hardly doublespeak to use the word "gaming" to refer to the practice of gambling. Indeed, the first definition of the word "gaming" in every dictionary I check refers specifically to gambling.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gaming [wiktionary.org]

1. (gambling) The business of offering games of chance for money.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gaming [merriam-webster.com]

Main Entry: gaming
Function: noun
Date: 1501
1 : the practice of gambling

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gaming [reference.com]

gaming [gey-ming] Show IPA
–noun
1.
gambling.

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=gaming [princeton.edu]

Noun

S: (n) gambling, gaming, play (the act of playing for stakes in the hope of winning (including the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize)) "his gambling cost him a fortune"; "there was heavy play at the blackjack table"

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

musth (901919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286962)

There's an extremely accurate alternative to "gaming" for the Nevada context - it's "gambling". The fact that they don't use that word and instead use the more innocuous, politically useful term "gaming", which has a broader range of meanings, is precisely an example of doublespeak.

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32287128)

There's an extremely accurate alternative to "gaming" for the Nevada context - it's "gambling". The fact that they don't use that word and instead use the more innocuous, politically useful term "gaming", which has a broader range of meanings, is precisely an example of doublespeak.

The summary is chock-full of painful poker jokes. The title itself is a strained reference to games of chance. I'm not sure how you read it and came away thinking that the submitter was trying to coyly get you and other Slashdot readers to think that he's referring to another kind of game, but it is very clear that he'is not. He used the word "gaming" according to its true, dictionary-verifiable, historically- and presently-accepted meaning, in a way that no one here seems to have confused with, say, Starcraft.

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

musth (901919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287252)

Replacing the completely accurate "gambling" with the industry-friendly "gaming" helps limit the parameters of the discussion and influence perception. The fact that the use of "gaming" is pervasive in our culture speaks to the power of our marketing; news sources and blogs which purport to inform or provoke rational discussion over policy can certainly break these bonds by using objective, accurate terminology.

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

Wuhao (471511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287422)

Replacing the completely accurate "gambling" with the industry-friendly "gaming" helps limit the parameters of the discussion and influence perception. The fact that the use of "gaming" is pervasive in our culture speaks to the power of our marketing; news sources and blogs which purport to inform or provoke rational discussion over policy can certainly break these bonds by using objective, accurate terminology.

Gaming is objective, accurate terminology. It literally means, according to Merriam-Webster, "the practice of gambling." Going by that 1501 date, it has for centuries. You are inferring dishonesty in the submitter and the editors where there is none, and this is hardly conducive to the "rational discussion" that you're claiming that you want.

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

musth (901919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287796)

It literally means, according to Merriam-Webster, "the practice of gambling."

Exactly, and since "gambling" is unambiguous and "gaming" is not (M-W has other, substantially different meanings for "gaming"), why not avoid the extra, unnecessary level of word substitution? Answer: in our society, the preference for the word "gaming" is an intentional tactic to increase gambling's acceptance, or perhaps reflects the level of our society's existing, unhealthy preoccupation with gambling.

The same phenomenon is at play with the euphemistic term "defense industry" instead of the completely accurate "war industry" or "military industry". Up until 1947 we had a "War Department" in the US. Guess why that suddenly disappeared?

Since we're appealing to authority, Wikipedia's disambiguation page for "Gaming" refers to it as a "euphemism for gambling"; its "Gambling" page says:

"The term gaming[1] in this context typically refers to instances in which the activity has been specifically permitted by law. The two words are not mutually exclusive; i.e., a "gaming" company offers (legal) "gambling" activities to the public.[2] This distinction is not universally observed in the English-speaking world, however. For instance, in the UK, the regulator of gambling activities is called the Gambling Commission (not the Gaming Commission).[3] Also, the word gaming is frequently used to describe activities that do not involve wagering, especially online."

Thus, the US' preoccupation with "gaming" is hardly universal, a reflection of our culture. And since the point at issue in the original Slashdot blog entry is the very appropriateness of taxing gambling and legalizing it, let's at least call the as-yet-unpermitted activity by its generic, most accurate term by these standards: "gambling".

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

Wuhao (471511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32287926)

You have misunderstood your Wikipedia excerpt. What the excerpt is saying is that in some areas, "gaming" is distinct from gambling in that "gaming" is something which is legally-approved. That is to say, "gambling" may or may not be legal, but "gaming" is. The article suggests that this distinction is not universally recognized, and I agree with that -- I sure as hell never thought of the word "gaming" as suggesting legality one way or another. The example provided for the UK shows that "gambling" may also refer to legal activity as well. This does not in any way suggest that they do not recognize "gaming" as a synonym, nor does the article suggest that it does. Indeed, the UK has a number of legal recognitions of "gaming" as referring to gambling -- for example, in 1960, the "Betting and Gaming" act legalized Bingo in the United Kingdom. This helped weaken a move away from gaming in the UK -- for example, parliament's Gaming Act of 1845 held that wagers were not enforceable contracts.

So, yes, the UK does use "gaming" in the same sense, and that sense goes back for literally hundreds of years. While "gambling" can be used in place (and since we usually discuss "gaming" in the sense of video games, I actually think that's appropriate here), it is by no means incorrect or unreasonably pro-industry to use the word "gaming." It literally means, according to the dictionary, "the practice of gambling." It has been used in this context for centuries. That is why people continue to use it. Because that's what the word means, has meant for a very long time, and that is the word which is used most frequently by people who discuss it regularly.

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

musth (901919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288224)

Because that's what the word means, has meant for a very long time, and that is the word which is used most frequently by people who discuss it regularly.

Isn't it interesting that people who deal with the negative consequences of gambling talk about "gambling addiction" and "gambling treatment", not "gaming addiction" (which would be obviously Orwellian)? On the other hand, "gaming" tends to be used by proponents of gambling and by governments (who are often industry-friendly) who want to get in on the action in one way or another.

You are consistently missing my main point, which is that language is frequently used to manipulate, especially by powerful interests, and the speaker and the intended audience must be considered when evaluating why, and that "gambling" is the most objective, neutral, accurate term for this activity across all audiences, and in particular when considering public policy.

The most recent UK legislation around gambling is called the Gambling Act of 2005, and the UK now has the Gambling Commission, which supersedes the previous "Gaming"-named entities. They now attempt to draw a distinction between gambling that revolves around something like a traditional game (like poker), which they call "gaming", and other kinds of gambling not revolving around gamelike things, such as raw betting and lotteries. I'll grant that may be useful as a technical distinction, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the UK sees the wisdom in regulating all these activities under a "gambling" umbrella and plainly naming it.

Re:Ah, the editors are on board with the doublespe (1)

Wuhao (471511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288470)

I understand the point you are trying to make -- the issue is that this is not an appropriate example of a case where a word is hijacked. They are using the term correctly, as defined by the dictionary, and in a way that is consistent with not only modern usage but also historical usage dating back literally hundreds of years. You are attempting to shame them into complying with your political agenda by using only words that you deem appropriate, with what appears to be the aim of separating gambling from other forms of gaming to make it easier to push an anti-gambling agenda. If anyone's being Orwellian here, it's you.

"Sure we'll let you gamble..." (2, Interesting)

RJBeery (956252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285470)

"...if we get a cut!" I've never understood this logic. Either we have the ethical/moral/legal right to gamble online or we do not, but the debate should not include whether the government sees revenue from the activity. The only justification for this is if all of the tax proceeds went towards Gambler's Anonymous or something.

Re:"Sure we'll let you gamble..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32286210)

Well the government wanting "a cut" is valid to the extent that you agree with taxation in general. It's not exactly fair to everyone else who pays taxes if there is a subset of businesses and individuals who are making money but not being taxed.

But as far as I'm concerned online gambling should just be treated like any other commercial transaction. If the entity I'm sending money to happens to be overseas, then that transaction shouldn't be subject to taxation. (The business isn't using local resources, so it shouldn't have to pay local taxes.) However if I manage to make a profit from my online gambling/gaming, that should be taxed within my home tax jurisdiction in the normal way.

Anything beyond these established rules of taxation is indeed just a money-grab.

Re:"Sure we'll let you gamble..." (1)

RJBeery (956252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288348)

Agreed, it comes down to whether one believes that the government has a right to intrude upon every possible financial transaction that takes place between people.

Think about this: if Uncle Sam wants a cut of my winnings why can I not write off my losses?

"No more effective than Prohibition" (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285640)

Just like the war on drugs, war on terror, censorship...

He's wrong about Prohibition (1)

wilder_card (774631) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285794)

It was _way_ more effective than prohibiting online gambling. Or online prostitution, porn, file trading, yadda, yadda, yadda. Give up already.

Online prostitution?!? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286164)

How much bandwidth do you need to ship a prostitute through the 'net???

Re:Online prostitution?!? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288616)

More than I have... At least, that's what she said in the chat room...

Good, this means we will get to arrest some people (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285848)

Send them to jail, before we legalize it.

Nice.

Why can't we have sports books like race book that (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32285926)

Why can't we have sports books like race book that are in place?

Just let them take bets on all sports and that will cut down on the on line gaming.

also how about all that free IP that argentina has?

Don't legalize it (1)

Mister_Stoopid (1222674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32286272)

My online poker margin is already pretty thin, if the government starts taking a rake I might go from long-term winner to loser :(

Re:Don't legalize it (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288406)

Not possible. Taxes are on profit.

You could go from small winner to practically breaking even, and you may have to change the type of game you play (to higher stakes or to a better long term winning strategy), but government is not going to rake the pot. They are going to rake the cash out. This is true of tournment play as well, as you can deduct your gambling losses up to your gambling winnings (ie if you enter $1000 worth of tournaments and lose, no deduction, but if you enter $1000 worth of tournaments and win a total of $1500, you only get taxed on the $500 profit).

"Fixed that for you" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32286310)

"The odds of Congress passing legislation to legalize and tax online gaming are probably no better than those of filling an inside straight, but some lawmakers are pushing for it anyway, hoping to lay the foundation for future passage. At a hearing Wednesday, one lawmaker cited numbers from industry analysts that Americans bet nearly $100 billion a year on the Internet, generating $5 billion for offshore operators. He said laws to prevent online gaming are no more effective than Prohibition is to cannabis."

Or I could just say ... (2, Informative)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32288394)

... I was buying put options on the Lakers, or hedging my poker hand and call it good.
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