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U.S. House Clears Anti-Internet Gambling Bill

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the thousands-of-hopeful-moneymakers-shut-down dept.

283

matr0x_x writes "The U.S. has just moved one step closer to banning all Internet gambling sites when the US House of Representatives cleared an anti-Internet gambling bill yesterday. The bill is against a World Trade Organization ruling last August that stated the US must not block online gambling sites based overseas." From the article: " The bill, cleared by voice vote in the House Financial Services Committee, would prohibit a gambling business from accepting credit cards, checks, wire transfers and electronic funds transfers in illegal gambling transactions. Unlawful gambling, under the legislation, would include placing bets on online poker sites, for example, and any other online wager made or received in a place where such a bet is illegal under federal or state law."

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283 comments

How it's written is what matters (5, Insightful)

JehCt (879940) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933723)

There's a big difference between blocking sites, and making it illegal for those sites to use the US financial system to collect illegal wagers from within US jurisdiction. So long as the bill is written correctly, there should be no problem with WTO, and no problem with enforcement.

Re:How it's written is what matters (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933748)

It's still a stupid law though.
-nB

Re:How it's written is what matters (2, Insightful)

DagdaMor (518567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933796)

The problem is they are making Foreign based companies responsible for the Actions of US citizens. They are effectively legislating against foreign business. If the legislation was to make it illegal to gamble online in the states where it is illegal, then that would make more sense, but would be highly unpopular as it looks like it is aimed at the US Citizen. This way they can say, well its the companies that won't accept your credit card.

Re:How it's written is what matters (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933804)

Yeah I didnt exactly get this blocking thing either... hell the US doesnt block blatantly bad things like child porn...however it is illegal and can be prosecuted. I personally dont see a problem with gambling online and dont see a need for the law, but the WTO shouldnt be able to stop a debateably bad thing (whether or not it is is immaterial) Making something illegal and blocking things are different. Blocking anything is bad in my opinion, making something illegal is okay in certain extremely limited circumstances (ie child porn)

Re:How it's written is what matters (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933864)

Fifty bucks says it's doesn't pass House debate

Re:How it's written is what matters (4, Funny)

HappyDrgn (142428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933953)

Fold...

Re:How it's written is what matters (-1, Offtopic)

TheScottishGuy (701141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933965)

if i had points i'd totally mod you funny, btw bagel and keyboard do not mix, anyone know how to get cream cheese out from between the keys?

Re:How it's written is what matters (0, Offtopic)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934403)

Q-tips lots of Q-tips...

or fold a paper towel in to quarters around some kind of card and use it to scrape.

Re:How it's written is what matters (1, Informative)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934399)

All joking aside, TFA says that Barney Frank opposes it. If there has ever been a rule of thumb in congress, its if Barney Frank opposes it, it will soon be law.

Re:How it's written is what matters (5, Interesting)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933867)

For someone with more accounting/legal background...would anything keep me from opening, say a Bank of England account, funding that account via legal methods, using said account for various normal activities (ie debiting my groceries, etc) then when I want to fund a poker account using the funds from that account to do so?

I wouldn't be using the US financial system to fund the account, it would be my British (where this is legal, regulated, and presumably taxed) account, transferring money to a British online casino (pokerstars, for example). I would be using US wires to notify them to do this, but I'm not notifying them to do anything illegal (under their laws), so not running afoul of wire statutes...

Would this work? If so, I can see a huge business opportunity for overseas banking for the little guy, as opposed to the big corporation which uses a similar dodge to avoid taxes.

Re:How it's written is what matters (4, Informative)

TheScottishGuy (701141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934002)

nothing really to stop you, except the difficulty involved in actually opening a british bank account, I had to spend almost 2 years in the uk recently and the hassle involved in opening an account is insane, and that's for someone with a UK passport who can walk into the branch. I was getting an apartment at the same time and the number of times i heard "well we can't hook up electricity until you have a bank account" or "we need a utility bill to open an account" was just nuts.

Re:How it's written is what matters (1)

Narcissus (310552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934100)

Agreed.

The easiest way it seems to get a bank account in England is to come in from overseas with a work visa and jobs lined up through employment agents.

A friend of mine went there as a teacher and the employment agent set her up not only a bank account but also a company in one of those tax havens so that she didn't have to worry about income tax either.

Re:How it's written is what matters (1)

extremescholar (714216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934273)

Numbered Swiss Bank Account

Re:How it's written is what matters (1)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934010)

The article says: "By making it illegal to accept payments from people who live where federal or state law prohibits wagering..." so jurisdiction would be based on the customer, not the financial system.

Governments jealously guard their right to regulate the behavior of their citizens. Whether or not they should is a whole 'nother question, but they will.

Your idea, however clever, sounds like a whole new level of gambling, with the prize being a taxpayer-funded vacation in an orange jumpsuit, alas!

Re:How it's written is what matters (5, Informative)

joe545 (871599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934074)

British banks generally require proof of residence (council tax or utility bills) to open a UK bank account so as to make life harder for money launderers, so this method won't be as easy as you think it is. Perhaps other countries (tax havens perhaps) have more lax banking laws which would make offshore gambling accounts feasable for the masses.

Also, members of the public are not normally eligible for an account with the Bank of England as it is more of a national financial institution (like the Federal Reserve in the USA) controlling national interest rates etc rather than a normal bank.

Re:How it's written is what matters (2, Interesting)

drummer21 (960333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934206)

Unfortunately, IRS will also stick its nose into this. New regulations REQUIRE disclosure of foreign bank accounts on your tax return EACH YEAR, if various conditions are met, which I believe would probably include this scenario. Then add in the fine print from the Patriot Act and other nefarious bills passed and suddenly you've been brought in for questioning and a body cavity search just because you thought you should be allowed to played penny ante poker on-line. Gosh it's so nice to move about minding your own business in the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." "Ja, Herr Kernel, I have my identification card and travel pass right here for your inspection."

What happened to the state rights? (1)

njchick (611256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933923)

If the bill is written so that it can be enforced on the federal level, it can be enforced on the state level as well. Some states may prefer to tax gambling instead of prohibiting it. Why is a federal regulation needed?

Re:What happened to the state rights? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934134)

Because if the gambling site is not in the same state or same nation as the gambler, then it would fall under "Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States", and therefore even back when the constitution was more appropriately interpreted, under federal jurisdiction. (Section 8, Article I, US Constituion).

Re:What happened to the state rights? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934156)

There is no good federal reason to legislte it... But when has that stopped the US?

Lovely interstate commerce clause, there.

Re:What happened to the state rights? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934282)

Send me an email njchick: sweetnjguy29@yahoo.com -- Lets hook up ;-) I like the way you think.

Re:How it's written is what matters (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933973)

How is it going to be enforced? Now, say I'm a company in Timbuktoo, and I accept a US credit card as payment for a wager (which is entirely legal in Timbuktoo). How is the US going to prosecute my Timbuktoo company?

Re:How it's written is what matters (1)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934055)

>How is the US going to prosecute my Timbuktoo company?

Same as it does with any other defendant located outside the USA. It first asks the foreign gov't to hand over the defendant for trial, and then, if refused, applies pressure. The pressure varies, depending on many diplomatic factors.

When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.

Link Dead (0, Offtopic)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933743)

...after one comment. :/

Well... (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933745)

I bet this passes

The way I see it (5, Insightful)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933754)

When the US doesn't directly profit from the gambling (national lottery, Las Vegas economy, etc.) they try to get rid of it stating it is "immoral".

Re:The way I see it (3, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933981)

Funny site.. quoted from the end..
Lots of Linux users want to play Linux casino games but simply do not know where to play. With the Linux Online Casino (888) you can play Linux slots, Linux blackjack, Linux Black Jack, Linux video poker and other Linux casino games. We are commited to Linux online poker players who want to play Linux Internet poker. We provide the best no download linux poker software. The sites listed on this page are the best places to play online poker for Mac where people can receive generous Linux poker bonuses!

Way too many uses of the word Linux, and the find/replaced screwed up once and left Mac in there.

Re:The way I see it (1)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934234)

It is done for SEO: higher keyword density equals higher search results. The Mac keyword was put in their intentially (a lot of people looking to play poker on Linux search for Mac poker since Mac users have to use the same browser based java applets) but I just removed it since apparently some people think it is out of place (understandably).

Re:The way I see it (4, Interesting)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934228)

IMHO, this bill has nothing to do with gambling. It has to do with controlling the flow of offshore funds and gambling is just a nice sounding excuse sorta like terrorisim and the war on drugs. The real fear of the government is that people will protect their rights because it is so easy to move money and funds offshore outside IRS controll. In the old days, the war on drugs was enough to hold most average people in check, but now with the information age they need to resort to more desperate measures.

Re:The way I see it (1)

Baseball_Fan (959550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934283)

When the US doesn't directly profit from the gambling (national lottery, Las Vegas economy, etc.) they try to get rid of it stating it is "immoral".

The state run lottery is supposed to fund education. Where does the profits from privare gambling go? I am not saying I'm for state run lottery, just that the proceeds go to something most people would like to see funded better.

For those who are addicted to gambling, I doubt they get the same high playing lotto as they do betting on college basketball games. That might be a second reason to ban internet gambling.

And if I'm going to be taxed buying a book at Amazon, why shouldn't people be taxed who want to gamble in off-shore sites?

Re:The way I see it (3, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934449)

The state run lottery is supposed to fund education. Where does the profits from privare gambling go? I am not saying I'm for state run lottery, just that the proceeds go to something most people would like to see funded better.

Well, if it was legal in the US then a percentage of the profits would be collected as income taxes, rather than being forced overseas, and could be used for government purposes such as education or blowing up things or whatever floats your boat.

Casinos generate a lot of taxes for State and Federal governments, this legislation strikes me as mis guided morality crossed with protectionism of the casinos and State lotteries.

Re:The way I see it (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934412)

What national lottery?

I'm not sure that the feds profit all that much from the dozens of casinos on Native American reservations, either. Or maybe they do...?

Once again (3, Insightful)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933759)

Our wonderful government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong.

Contact your Reps and tell them to kill this crap.

Don't bother... (3, Insightful)

C3ntaur (642283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933876)

...Unless you have tens of thousands of dollars to make a bribe ("campaign contribution"). That's how it works these days. Better to contact your favorite online casinos and let them pay the bribe for you.

Isn't this just a dumb idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933762)

Why not legalize it and tax the formerly lost revenues?

Cool (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933771)

How's that "Land Of The Free" thing working out?
What? No drugs, no hookers and no gambling?

Still at least you get excellent TV shows ... oh? What? never mind.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933912)

Yeah, other coutries appear to have invented the "Nanny State", but we sure as hell seem to be perfecting it.

Re:Cool (1)

oudzeeman (684485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934391)

I take it you haven't been to Nevada

FINALLY.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933781)

Wow... Finally some news that I haven't already read about on digg.

Tribal Gaming (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933784)

I wonder how much support (contributions/bribes) for this law come from Abramoff's tribal gaming buddies.

Bill actually clears the House Financial Services (5, Informative)

j_rhoden (214320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933786)

Not the the bill actually cleared the House Financial Services Committee, not the House as the headline says. This means that it will go before the full House for debate.

Re:Bill actually clears the House Financial Servic (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934155)

...it will go before the full House for debate.

That's where DJ and Michelle will convince the others to vote it down because of Joey's poker addiction.

Meanwhile (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933800)

The site, cbs.sportsline.com, is still up and running and is, in an indirect manner, being used to facilitate sports gambling all throughout the US. For those overseas, March is the month of the year when everyone turns a blind eye to betting on college basketball games.

Middle-Earth Bowl 2006 (5, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933805)

The legislation carves out some exceptions, including wagering on horse races, governed under another U.S. law, and fantasy sports.

Gimme 10 G's on the Shire Hobbits in the 3rd [movie].

LOL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933917)

Give this bozo some kharma!!.. ^_^ ..
Although I dunno if I'd bet my basketball money on hobbits.. O_o

There's nothing in it for them-- (5, Insightful)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933811)



If the government could find a way to track it and then TAX it this would not be an issue.

This is already done with alcohol, tobacco, and tangible items.

Because they cannot capture the technology genie in a bottle they can't effectively tax it.

And there are plenty of lobbyists working for taxable gambling interests who have issue with the wild-west of internet gambling as well.

Re:There's nothing in it for them-- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933935)

The only reason they can't tax it, is that it's illegal to run a gambling site from within the U.S. A U.S.-based site would be taxed just like any other U.S. business.

Re:There's nothing in it for them-- (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934075)

It is taxed -- as income, just like all other gambling winnings.

Of course, the casinos themselves are not taxed.

Re:There's nothing in it for them-- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934419)

This is just plain wrong. Most pro-online players report their income to the IRS. It is in their best interest since making many thousand dollar deposits to their bank accounts will certainly raise a flag at the IRS. This guarantees a one way ticket to a root-canal audit (a very painful procedure).

So taxation on the customer end is pretty much already covered (for non trivial amounts).

Taxation for companies is even simpler. They can demand logs of their hand database and calculate the total income with ease.

Online casinos are just as easy to tax as online banks.

Who wants to bet me this won't pass? (1)

Rhett (141440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933823)

We need to list some propositions for this on http://www.tradesports.com/ [tradesports.com] or some other similar site. In addition to the irony, I'd much rather use the value of that contract as an indicator over some news story or comment on the internet.

All forms of gambling? (5, Funny)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933828)

How does this affect the *really* big gambling sites, like NASDAQ and the NYSE?

Ohhhhhh, not *that* kind of gambling....silly me.

Re:All forms of gambling? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933966)

Gambling is a game of luck, NYSE is a game of skill. NASDAQ I guess would probably have to go though.

Re:All forms of gambling? (4, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934146)

Gambling is a game of luck

Tell that to the people who play in the big poker competitions. See what they have to say about that.

Re:All forms of gambling? (1)

Narcissus (310552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934153)

Every company that's being traded could have problems that are unforeseen. It's still a bit of a gamble.

Then, on the other hand, you have people that see horse racing as a game of skill. Yes, there's always the possibility that unforeseen circumstances will hit a horse, but it can happen on the stock exchange too.

When you know people that own mansions on the beach, buy brand new BMWs each year, spend tens of thousands of dollars with you and still have over $100,000 to play with each year, you have to begin to doubt that all gambling is 'a game of luck'.

Even then, that's not just one person: I personally know 2 or 3 people that fit that category (although I was lucky enough to be closer to horse racing from the financial side of things than most people)...

Re:All forms of gambling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934232)

It depends on which game you playing. Yes slot machines and roulette are pure luck, however Poker in particular requires a great amount of skill, both quantitative and psychological.

Trading is very similar (particularly to Poker). If there weren't some amount of luck involved, then why are price movements in products traded modeled using a "random walk" or normal distribution (unless you are Mandelbrot, but that really hasn't been used in practice)?

Re:All forms of gambling? (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934120)

How does this affect the *really* big gambling sites, like NASDAQ and the NYSE?

Hey mods... Funny? I think this deserves at least one "Insightful" point. For most of the people who play the market, there's little difference between a day on the 'DAQ and a day at the track.

Re:All forms of gambling? (1)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934193)

I guess it's not gambling when the brokers (bookies) directly profit from the gamblers (traders) by playing with the bid/ask prices (odds) ....

Wait just a damn minute...

Re:All forms of gambling? (2, Funny)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934353)

"...and the best part is, no matter whether our clients win or lose, Duke & Duke gets the commission."

"Sounds like y'all is a couple of bookies."

"I think Mr. Valentine understands perfectly."

...or words to that effect.

The funny bits (4, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933835)

Major professional sports organizations supported the legislation, including the National Football League and Major League Baseball, saying in a joint statement that sports betting "threatens the integrity of our respective sports."

Buhwahahaha!! Can you say steroids?!? Can you say overblown contracts?!? There can't be a threat to something they don't have.

A group called the Poker Players Alliance opposed the legislation as well.

The Poker Players Alliance - a stalwart group of poker-playing heroes, determined to defend truth, justice, and the right to draw to an inside straight!

Re:The funny bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933993)

Buhwahahaha!! Can you say steroids?!? Can you say overblown contracts?!?

ster-ummpff

ove-mffmmmfmmfff

DAMNIT! NO!

Re:The funny bits (2, Insightful)

jtwJGuevara (749094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934092)

This is a troll and off-topic, but what exactly do "overblown" contracts have to do with sports integrity? The first word in "professional sports" is professional. Making as much money as you can in a profession is something every human being in an open market wishes to do (excluding entreprenuership). How do you make more money in professional sports - you play well and prove that to the organization you are playing for that you are worth the dollar amount that you are asking. How exactly does this effect the integrity of the sport they are playing?

Re:The funny bits (1)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934174)

Steroids may affect the integrity of the game, but I doubt that the outcome of a football or baseball game has been decided by whether or not a player is juiced. "Overblown" contracts have no impact whatsoever on the outcome of a game. As an aside, what does it matter to you how much athletes get paid? Sports gambling, on the other hand, can (and has) had an effect on the outcome of a game. That is what is meant by the integrity of the sport. Fans want to know that their team won or lost because of talent, not because somebody tanked on purpose to pay off a gambling debt.

Re:The funny bits (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934294)

So you think all those players taking juice are mistaken in their belief that it will help them win?

Re:The funny bits (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934420)

"Fans want to know that their team won or lost because of talent, not because somebody tanked on purpose to pay off a gambling debt."

Imagine, it's game 7 of the World Series. Bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs. The count is 3-0, and the batter has been given the green light to swing baby swing. He takes 3 called strikes, and the game is over. MLB investigates the player, and it is later revealed that he was asked by OMGBBQNIPZ421 in a yahoo chat room to throw the game, else he would lose everything he owned, and be forced to move back in with his parents.

{/SARCASM}

Legistlators gambling with their jobs... (1)

facehugger666 (446459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933841)

I'm sure certain constituents aren't going to be happy. Here's to hoping the legislators who vote for this get their azzes voted out of office...

In my experience, people of every political persuasion like to gamble. Sounds like perhaps certain lobbying groups from NV and NJ made a nice contribution somewhere...

Re:Legistlators gambling with their jobs... (1)

Kagu (606216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934040)

Not true, the corporations that run the casinos in NV and NJ would love the exact opposite; to allow for gambling websites to be operated legally in the US.

Re:Legistlators gambling with their jobs... (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934188)

Gambling is way more widespread than NV and NJ these days. You've got casinos in NY, CT, MS, MO, and slot parlors in several other states (DE, SC?, likely coming to PA.. I'm sure there are some I missed).

Let me get this straight (5, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933850)

The bill, cleared by voice vote in the House Financial Services Committee, would prohibit a gambling business from accepting credit cards, checks, wire transfers and electronic funds transfers in illegal gambling transactions. Unlawful gambling, under the legislation, would include placing bets on online poker sites, for example, and any other online wager made or received in a place where such a bet is illegal under federal or state law.

So, today, its legal to do money transfers for illegal gambling?

So, today, in my state, the government is the only legal gambling outfit? (lottery)

So, its illegal for me to do business in another country according to their laws?

I don't gamble beyond retirement funds, insurance, and whatnot.

Here is interesting, and typical situations from those that "win" the lottery: http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Savinganddebt/ Savemoney/P99649.asp [msn.com]

In the end, nothing will change. Offshore gambling will be no different.

Lotto (2, Funny)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934164)


I wish we could go back to the days of mafia run numbers rackets. They usually had 80% + return when not fixed.

Current state lottos are 50% return best case and taxable as well.

And remember, that $5 NCAA tourney poool is technically illegal in most places, evildoer....

Encouraging money laundering... (5, Interesting)

tansey (238786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933880)

All this is going to do is encourage people to forgo using the direct deposit features most sites offer, opting for indirect funds deposits.

Right now, most sites offer the ability to write an e-check directly from a player's bank account to the poker site. However, virtually all sites also offer deposit via Neteller or Firepay. Since the latter method is not traceable since the 2 companies are not based in the US, players will just opt to use that method now.

So what this bill is effectively doing is encouraging people to launder how they cash in and out of poker sites. It will do nothing to stop people from actually playing.

Re:Encouraging money laundering... (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934230)

Neteller and Firepay are British, so it's not like they're in a haven.

perhaps not fully (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934359)

Officially, Neteller is based in Isle of Man [cia.gov] , which is a British crown dependency. Similarly, PartyPoker is in Gibralter [cia.gov] . Tons of sportsbooks are based in the Carribean. IANAL, but I don't have to be to see that these guys planned ahead.

Re:perhaps not fully (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934440)

They're both publicly traded companies on the London market.. somehow I doubt they're fully outside the reach of British law.

RTFA (4, Informative)

kraada (300650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933902)

Doesn't the POSTER even RTFA these days? This bill cleared the committee. In fact, there's a line in the article which states:
"The bill now moves fo the House floor for consideration."

Not that it's impossible it will pass anyway, but please guys, get it right. It's not that hard.

You must be new here... (0, Offtopic)

moofdaddy (570503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934066)

Welcome!

This is why Congress will be changing soon.... (3, Interesting)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933955)

There is way too much puritanical bullshit going on with Congress and their attempt to bring on their desired theocracy. Problem is they are trying to do it a little too fast. Bill passes, who gives a shit? It's not like the US controls the internet and it's a token gesture. If there were an organized online gaming lobby that could pay off Congressmen this would have never seen the light of day. The US has the best government that money can buy. They are so out of touch with the mainstream (Terri Schiavo anyone?) that a major realignment is going to happen hopefully with the 2006 elections.

Like the passage of the DMCA, it's just another example of a stupid congress that tries to legislate something that it knows nothing about.

Re:This is why Congress will be changing soon.... (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934405)

A major realignment in Congress? A major realignment to what? The chances of the Green Party or the Libertarian party don't seem that good.

If you are talking about a realignment to the Democrats, you will soon realize that the Democrats are as rabid nannie-state authoritarians as the Republics. If fact, placing restrictions on video games, websites, online gambling, etc., is one of those "centrist" issues that Democrats and Republicans usually join forces on.

No, the only thing that will happen next election will be the Dems and Repubs each promising to restrict more.

The Problem with internet gambling (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933977)

is that there are no lobbyists. Which proves that it can't be a legitimate business. If it were then Jack and Co. would
have been on this already. C'mon, kids it's pay to play here in the GOP USA. At least the Indians know that much.
Now we don't have a problem with you bankrupting our citizenry, just how am I gonna get re-elected?

From the summary... (4, Insightful)

dtsazza (956120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14933994)

The U.S. has just moved one step closer to banning all Internet gambling sites (my emphasis)

Really? This is another example of jurisdiction over the internet being called into question. My first though on reading the article was whether restrictions would apply to the casino, the gamblers or both. I'd imagine they'd almost certainly apply to the casinos - make it illegal for casinos based on servers in the US to accept electronic payment - but would it also be illegal for US citizens to place bets?

FTFA:

By making it illegal to accept payments from people who live where federal or state law prohibits wagering, the legislation would impact offshore gambling Web sites used by many Americans to place bets.

I don't see how this works. If a casino is outside the U.S's jurisdiction, they shouldn't be able to be held to any U.S. laws. Sure, you can outlaw this behaviour by making it illegal for a citizen to place a bet, or more likely by forbidding U.S. financial services (e.g. banks) from processing the request, but surely you can't affect those to whom U.S. laws don't apply?

Or perhaps I'm wrong, and you can - in which case, I'm worried about the precedent that would set. Is there a limit to the extent a country can create laws that affect those who are 'unaffected' by that country's laws? To a certain extent it's reasonable, but since this case involves two jurisdictions, with the casino outside the U.S.' jurisdiction and the gambler essentially going to the virtual casino to do business, it seems unreasonable. It's like the U.S. making it illegal for Mexican casinos to allow Americans to gamble there...

Re:From the summary... (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934459)

I think you're on the right track. The people complaining about the US going against the WTO on this matter (if the US actually did, which the article submitter's sensationalism makes it hard to tell without spending more time than I have reading about it right now) need to realize that, as well. The US is not, as far as I can tell, trying to legislate foreign behavior. It has the power to legislate behavior that crosses the national boundaries or involves internal "interstate" commerce, but that's about it. And the WTO has no real power to tell the US not to. That's the beauty of being a sovereign nation.

Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14933996)

It looks like my bet that this would pass is going to pay off.

Im No Law Expert... (2, Informative)

beedle (884951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934005)

I can see how the US government has the lawful ability to effectively block online gambling sites within the US. However I am not really sure about how they plan to prosecute these online gambling companies in a court of law in the US if they are based in another country. Im sure some countries might bend over for the US and extradite the offending company officials to the US to face prosecution, but I just cant help but think that there are alot of countries out there that would just as soon give the big middle finger to the US instead.

Point being since the only world authority (WTO) has already passed a ruling that went against this new bill then there are effectively no international governing bodies that are willing to enforce this law. What is the US supposed to do, start barging into other countries and telling them to abide by US laws?

Oh wait....this is the US we're talking about here, of course that is what they will do. Oh well on another interesting note, doesnt it seem hypocritical to anyone that the US government can come down so hard on companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo for cooperating with the Chinese government in censoring the internet when this bill shows that they are essentially trying to do the same thing?

The bottom line is, if people want to gamble online they are going to find some way to do it, just like if the Chinese public wanted to "break" Google's filtering scheme or the Great Chinese firewall and see what the rest of the world sees on the web...rest assured they will do it.

Re:Im No Law Expert... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934098)

The US intends to do no such thing. They won't be prosecuting, they will just be blocking all financial tranasctions between the US and said online gambling companies.

Ah, the Great Land of Freedom (3, Interesting)

aphoenix (877085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934042)

The great land of freedom seems to be moving much more towards a "freedom from" instead of "freedom of". I am greatly saddened by this - what was once one of the best places to live in the world is becoming a place of limitations and loopholes. They have lost most of their credibility with the rest of the world because of their hypocritical stances; "freedoms" are claimed, but not often given, "peace" is desired, but war follows. Online gambling is becoming prohibited, but the most American city on the planet is Las Vegas, the city of excess.

This is the problem that happens when old men who are scared of anything new make decisions that affect other people. I am confident that the main problem with online gambling is that it is harder for the government to regulate than meatspace gambling. When the pie becomes virtual, it's harder for regulators to get their piece.

I'm not a proponent of online gambling (or gambling in general, though I do participate in the occasional poker tournament or hockey pool), but I think that this sort of regulation is a little ridiculous. Legislate elsewhere, O Government, where you can be beneficial to society. Why not start on the patent system? Why not figure out how to respond to natural disasters? Why not just about anything else?

The biggest problem here is that most of the politicans making decisions like this are old men that tend not to understand what they are making decisions about. The great hope for actual freedom in the USA is that, in time, the people will start to become more acclimatized to technology and will be able to make more informed decisions about the uses thereof.

jeez (2, Funny)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934067)

How am I ever going to win back my drug money, now?

Crap! If this passes... (2, Funny)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934070)

Who will pay to interrupt the Olympic closing ceremonies or buy grilled cheese sandwiches that look like Jesus??

Re:Crap! If this passes... (0, Offtopic)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934368)

Hahahahaha. You make a good point :P

Good. (2, Interesting)

Fooby (10436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934078)

It is absolutely ludicrous that an American citizen can become a billionaire running a gambling company that gets 70% of its revenues from Americans in America where this online gambling is illegal, and that this service is openly advertised all over the US media. The Partypoker founders should be extradited, charged, and their assets forfeited.

Do you think I would get away with it if I moved to Thailand and set up a website partypot.com, selling baggies of marijuana to Americans? This is no different.

You are evil, and I hope you die. (1, Troll)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934216)

No, there isn't a big difference, and both should be legal. And both were, for a long, long time.

But at long as assholes like you purport to tell ME what to do with MY life, shitty regulations like this will continue to exist.

You can go to hell. I hope you burn forever. If it were legal, I would happily pull the trigger in the name of those of us who WANT freedom. If only that's what they were actually doing in Iraq...

Fed and States are hypocrites (1)

Typingsux (65623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934102)

If your state has a lottery, it shouldn't have any say or bust people for gambling. People are getting social poker games raided by police in New York state while lotteries persist.

"More Profit for Las Vegas and Atlantic City Bill" (2, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934125)

The first step in considering any technically-oriented bill should be to post it on Slashdot, and have everyone find the ways in which it is stupid.

I'm guessing that the Internet Gambling bill is like the Internet Porn [wikipedia.org] bill. After the Internet Porn bill passed, the only porn available in the U.S. on the internet was on Playboy's web site and on the web sites of other traditional porn sellers. It was not difficult to guess that porn magazines paid congress people for the bill, which was soon overturned.

Now brick-and-mortar gambling companies and maybe the lotteries run by states apparently want to restrict "gambling" to ways in which they can profit.

There is no gambling in "gambling" or "gaming". If you play enough, you will ALWAYS lose exactly the percentage they say you will lose. "Gambling" is a tax on those who don't understand the mathematics of statistics.

Bills should be named by some other group than those who sponsor them. Maybe the Internet Gambling bill should be named the "More Profit for Las Vegas and Atlantic City Bill".

--
The movie Loose Change, 2nd Edition [google.com] claims, basically, that the U.S. government was overthrown.

Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934144)

You Americans are pathetic. There's no debate about this: the government has no right to do these things. But you just bend over and vote for more, more more. Enjoy your future.

Bout time (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934176)

We'll finally be able to send our glorious Justice Department commandos after those insurgent little old ladies playing Texas Holdum and otherwise not bothering a sole in the privacy of their own home. Without this law we would have never been able to move against the undesirable element in our society who keep to themselves, those bastards.

Once we have the bulk of the population under the regulatory oversight of the criminal justice system we'll be able to force those godless, indecent hoardes into our nice, Republican cookie-cutter mold of outward piety and ethical lip service.

Long live the Republican party! Long live the Justice Department!

What is the reasoning behind this law? (1)

Alphi1 (557250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934269)

The thing that gets me, is we need to know what the reasoning behind this law is.

If it's a "gambling is bad, and therefore illegal" type of message, they are hypocrites because of "legal" gambling already there, such as lotteries, and even things like insurance policies and trading stocks.

If it's the idea that "many gambling sites are taking money and refusing to pay winnings", then that's a different idea altogether.

Re:What is the reasoning behind this law? (1)

veddermatic (143964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934365)

The reason behind the law: "People are having fun and we aren't taxing it, so we better make it illegal."

Since Prohibition worked so well... (3, Interesting)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934279)

...this new legislation will certainly stop all that evil poker playing, won't it?

Most credit card companies quit processing direct transactions to PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, and Full Tilt in the last 12-18 months. I did find some local banks' debit cards will work on all 3 of those, but no majors like Visa and MasterCard.

And as some have pointed out, FirePay and other indirect transactions will not be affected.

The stupidity of this is that several major US casinos had on-line poker business plans in the works only to see the feds rain on their parade. If you had a choice to play online poker with a off-shore site or a "branded" U.S. site like Harrah's, which would you choose?

The casinos would almost certainly give incentives and freebies for on-line players to visit their brick and mortar (or plastic and neon, if you prefer) locations, helping local economies while raking in TAXABLE revenue from both.

This is a mostly useless law that will do little to impact on-line gaming in the U.S. (unless of course they contract the R.I.A.A. to kick in grandma's door while she's playing .5 / .10 cent No Limit on PartyPoker)

Does Gambling include E-bay? (1)

EaglesNest (524150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934335)

Every time I buy (or sell) something on E-bay I feel like I'm gambling on the true condition of the item, whether I'll even get it, and it the other party is going to conduct some sort of fraud against me. I hope this (ill-advised) bill doesn't kill online retail from small vendors and auctions.

Heck, even when I buy something online from anything but a Tier I retailer (e.g., Amazon, NewEgg), I feel like I'm gambling with my money.

When is enough enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934341)

D0wn with G!

I call Bullshit (1)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14934423)

So when China bans things that hurt their government from the internet, congress calls in Microsoft and Google to harrass them for doing buisness there.

But then when online gambling takes tax money away from the US Government, Congress immediately goes about making it illegal/impossible to access/use gambling sites on the internet.

I guess I can always mail cash to the gambling site in a large manila envelope. Until congress makes a law telling me that I'm not even allowed to mail my own money where I want to unless they get to take their Vig first.

command and control, create more chattle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14934460)

Yet another example of the feeding and foraging behaviour of the political parasites...

The salivating whores running this country, both democraps and republiCON or neoCON, will do anything to sink their fangs into regulating access to internet content and services...it's about control...plus the non-internet gaming industry, and of course the corrupt state politicos who line their pockets with kickbacks from indian and state taxed casinos all lining up to feed from the trough by profiting from restricting access to anything fun or interesting, or mind altering....

Hate all politicians equally...Love free thinkers, kids, and small furry animals...devote yourself to yourself, your family and pets...not some political party or psycopathic fascist puppets who, when they're not stategerizing on how to more efficiently cluster bomb some brown people, like to get drunk, kill birds and shoot their friends in the face...

If internet gamblers' rights to access these offshore gaming services as sovereign individuals at their own risk, unmolested by government are not protected, the domino effect will begin to accelerate....

VOIP will be next, and if the parasites have their way, anonymous posting on the internet, etc. etc....
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