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US Gambling Law May Cause Flouting of IP Laws

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the tit-for-tat dept.

231

Red Flayer writes "Slate Magazine reports that the US's recent actions to clarify restrictions of on-line gambling may have some very important unintended consequences. Antigua has challenged the legitimacy of the US's partial restrictions under the WTO, claiming that the laws represent a free trade infringement. What is so significant about this is that Antigua would be fully justified (and I imagine, would get a lot of support from other nations) in ignoring the US's patent and trademark laws. Freetrade.org has a more in-depth analysis (albeit with a predetermined opinion on the topic). Pre-register now for your copy of Antiguasoft Vista."

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231 comments

Huh? (1)

forrestf (1028150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16875996)

I wonder why there are making such a fuss about this

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

h8macs (301553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876068)

They want less of the money leaving the country and more being spent here in the country. I think it has less to do with protecting "the public" and more about protecting particular interests in the states.

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876080)

Because:
*Both the US and Antigua are WTO members
*The US has refused to obey the WTO decisions on internet gambling
*Under WTO rules, Antigua has the right to a remedy
*Since it's unlikely that Antigua can directly extract a remedy from the US, it can extract it in other ways, such as selling US IP for its own profit.

Re:Huh? (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876180)

Under WTO rules, Antigua has the right to a remedy
I think the US might have it's own remedy. A free, all expenses paid trip to Vegas (VEGAS BABY!!). Our man, uh.. Vito will be there to pick up and give you a free ride... um, the rest is a surprise.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876490)

Posting AC to protect my identity, but the funny part is that I work in the gaming industry, and one of our biggest casino clients really does have a guy name Vito that they use to "talk" to people. The only difference is he's a very expensive lobbyist in DC, NOT the other kind of "Vito".

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Feyr (449684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876492)

the us is part of the WTO, but only obeys it when it suits them. that's nothing new and good luck doing anything about it

Re:Huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876706)

And we know that all of the other WTO members stick to the rules without fail. Only the US dumps product at reduced prices. No other country places restrictive tariffs on farm goods to keep prices high and protect their farmers. And absolutely nobody else but the US passes laws favoring local producers. Bad, bad US. Who do they think they are?

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877322)

Yea, And canada wasn't dumping government subsidised lumber in the US forcing mills to close shop in the 90's. China (or japan) wasn't dumping metals below market price in the market in the 80's and 90's causing steel mills to close either.

Nope, nobody but the US ever does stuff like that. Who would have though a country would have the nerve to artificialy inflate crop prices by not growing or producing in certain areas or just inflate the prices so the farmers could make thier mortgage and equiptment payments. I mean the nerve of the US producing all that food for export and trying to make sure thier farmers could keep thier land to continue feeding the world. I remeber being outraged when they tried to pay me not to raise pigs and I had made more money not raising pigs then my neighbor who did. Of course that only lasted a short time. But we both kept our homes and land.

I'm wondering why anyone would buy food from the US with all the bad stuff it does. I mean they should just refuse to buy this "economicly tainted food" and buy from all the other countries not doing this stuff.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876806)

I wonder why there are making such a fuss about this

The Feds did not ban Internet gambling. They banned certain wire transfers of money.

Follow the money.

KFG

Because it's their second largest industry (4, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877164)

From the second FA:

Gambling and betting services are the second-largest industry in Antigua and Barbuda, after tourism

If the U.S. effectively outlawed the second largest industry in my country but permitted it in its own, yeah, I'd be upset, too. Remember, gambling isn't illegal in the U.S. In fact, neither is online gambling. Betting on horse racing and online gambling within a state is protected under the law that was recently passed.

Antiguasoft Vista (1)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876002)

Great idea, unless you were expecting to run this somewhere that did still respect US copyright laws and agreements.

Re:Antiguasoft Vista (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876330)

Great idea, unless you were expecting to run this somewhere that did still respect US copyright laws and agreements.
Actually, I think it is not so simple. US copyright law allows you, as the owner of a legally made copy to run the s/w. Since the copy would legally made in Antigua, surely, one would have the right to use it under copyright law.

Patents might be different, since patent law forbids the importation of products that violate US patents.

Re:Antiguasoft Vista (2, Informative)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876754)

Nope, still a violation of copyright law. The US would still regard it as counterfit anywhere outside of Antigua and importation would still be illegal. Making it outside of the US is still a violation of US copyright law. On the other hand, it would be terribly difficult to police. The Antiguans would be free to set up a web site where anyone could download the latest from hollywood without fear of being shutdown. (just a fear of running out of bandwidth). Think of it as sailing out to international waters to retransmit Major League Baseball. You could be sued and or prosecuted as soon as you set foot back in the US again (or sooner if you have assets in any US jurisdiction). In short, the Antiguans could enjoy a lot of free movies and music, but that would mean very little to the rest of the world. PS, IANAL.

and torturing people violates international law... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876010)

.... but do you think the US gives a fuck about that either?

Sad News Milton Keynes dead at 94 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876020)

GNAA takes credit and Milton Freidman too

Well sure (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876030)

The U.S. banning Internet gambling is a violation of free trade agreements, but we're doing it for all the "right" reasons.

Re:Well sure (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876354)

It's also consistent with our status as an independent nation-state.

It's incredibly funny that the WTO is being used to abuse the sovereignty of the US. However, it is still an abuse of our right to run our affiars amongst ourselves the way we see fit. Next these jokers will tell Saudi Arabia that the Dutch should be free to export porn there.

It's NOT a violation of the notion of free trade to ban or restrict items from other countries that are ALREADY banned or restricted domestically.

Re:Well sure (1)

compm375 (847701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876496)

Is online gambling really that different from regular gambling? The U.S. did not ban regular gambling, so it is effectively banning something that is allowed domestically.

Re:Well sure (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876720)

Online gambling is, in fact very different. Gambling at casinos is very tightly regulated by the government. Casinos are by no means free to do what they like unlike most businesses.

Though, that said, I have to say that I personally think the real reason the government now forbids online gambling is because they don't get the tax revenue from it.

Re:Well sure (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876850)

Gambling at casinos is very tightly regulated by the government.

This is true for native reservation casinos, but I'm not sure it applies to casinos within regular land. Vegas, for example, answers mostly to the Nevada gaming commission, not the feds.

Though, that said, I have to say that I personally think the real reason the government now forbids online gambling is because they don't get the tax revenue from it.

I don't think you understand how our government works. It doesn't act in the best interests of the government, per se, but in the best interests of the individuals running it. The government is happy to give away billions in subsidies if it means they get a few hundred grand donated to the party campaign fund.

If you've been following the news maybe you've heard about the recent lobbying scandal where a lobbyist who works for many different groups including a consortium of casinos was busted for bribing members of congress. Hmmm, what could those casinos be bribing members of congress to do? What is it they might want? Maybe outlawing the competition?

Re:Well sure (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877568)

It isn't exactly that cut and dry. But I like the inuendos leading to coruption. I added just enough mysterious flaver to start a conspiracy.

But only the truley foolish will follow the conspiracy. You see, It is illegal to rig gambling in the houses faover on a federal level. State gaming commisions are chartered to support or enforce his idea. They operate with federal autority even though they are a state organizations. The nevada gaming commishion can call the FBI into play at any time and even access other federal resources wihout all the delays of paperwork or certain thing s happening to triger the ability for a federal agency to get involved.

Now, How do we regulate the inline gambling and determin if the slots are paying out anything at all? In the real world, there are agents who check the machines. Sometimes they show up unanounced and take them to be analized elswhere. On the internet? You not even sure you are playing with real people or that there isn't a ringer sitting in that will win 80% of the big pots and 40% of the smaller pots. This would know the cards being delt or the code that allows it to deal.

My friend plays(ed) online poker all the time. He always finished tournaments in the top 10. Played some for money several times and didnt' make it past the 6th or 7th round (over 100 others did). Now does this mean the tables are stacked and they just wanted his money? Or is it simply that better people play with real money then the ones using free credits on the tournement. The problem is that we have no way of knowing for sure. In real life, You can see everything going on and analyze it later. On the internet, you see what your supposed to see and that it.

So online gambling, If we can guarentee a fair game, good. If we cannot - bad. Over seas online gambling- outside our ability to even think about checking on it- shouldn't be allowed. Then we can say "buyer beware" without a bunch of "Wha..I lost my home"ers complaining they were cheated afterwards.

Re:Well sure (1)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877182)

Is online gambling really that different from regular gambling?

Yes, because an online casino may be in another country, where we have zero legal authority to regulate it. If it's domestic, then states, towns, counties, or the entire country can decide whether to allow gambling. (People can always travel to a casino, but the less convenient such travel is, the less likely people are to do it.) We can also do things like impose regulations to prohibit casino-side cheating and so on.

Now in reality, a ban on Internet gambling at foreign casinos is going to be useless (worse than useless, if it gets us in trouble with the WTO). We don't have a Great Firewall, and even if we did, we all know how ineffective China's is. And besides, making gambling inconvenient isn't going to affect people with gambling addiction - they'll go wherever they need to in order to get their fix - it'll just affect casual gamblers looking to have a night of fun. So even if this ban worked exactly as intended, I don't think it'd serve the great social good its proponents think it will.

But still, there is a valid and important distinction between the two types.

Re:Well sure (1)

MLease (652529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877472)

So even if this ban worked exactly as intended, I don't think it'd serve the great social good its proponents think it will.

I think this ban was more of a pander to the Christian Right than any effort to serve a "great social good".

-Mike

RTF article dude, you're way off base (4, Informative)

hardcorejon (31717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876880)

Next these jokers will tell Saudi Arabia that the Dutch should be free to export porn there.

The reason Antigua won was because the US laws are not consistent. US was claiming a "moral exemption" but only transactions to offshore casinos were being regulated. Antigua's argument, which the WTO agreed with, was that if you claim the moral exemption, you have to be consistent, across the board.

If Saudi Arabia only allowed porn from Saudi websites but made Dutch porn illegal, you might have an argument. But if SA decides to ban all porn, the WTO is OK with that too.

Read the fricking article next time. Someone with such a low slashdot ID as you should know better.

Obligatory (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877172)

Read the fricking article next time. Someone with such a low slashdot ID as you should know better.
You must be new here.

Re:Well sure (2, Informative)

demeteloaf (865003) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876934)

That's what the issue is... according to TFA, that's the argument the US is trying to use: "We have a right to protect the morality of our citizens."

What Antigua is saying, however, is that online gambling is NOT restricted in the US (i.e. betting on horse races, state lotteries, etc. are all legal) and that to ban online gambling by foreign countries while still allowing local companies the right to let people bet online is an unfair restriction of trade. I tend to agree with Antigua, and the WTO has as well.

Re:Well sure (4, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876968)

It's also consistent with our status as an independent nation-state.

It's incredibly funny that the WTO is being used to abuse the sovereignty of the US. However, it is still an abuse of our right to run our affiars amongst ourselves the way we see fit. Next these jokers will tell Saudi Arabia that the Dutch should be free to export porn there.

It's NOT a violation of the notion of free trade to ban or restrict items from other countries that are ALREADY banned or restricted domestically.


The US already uses the WTO to blugeon other nations. They tend to ignore any incovenient rulings against them though. But they freely use it to threaaten others. See the soft wood lumber deal with canada.

Re:Well sure (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877132)


It's NOT a violation of the notion of free trade to ban or restrict items from other countries that are ALREADY banned or restricted domestically.


Indeed it isn't - nor would it be a WTO violation. The problem, as I understand the WTO argument, is that the US _does_ allow online gambling but only for US companies. That breaks WTO rules just like if the US banned the sale of non-US oranges - the US is still free to ban the sale of oranges altogether.

Note also that WTO doesn't affect sovereignty - it's a mutual agreement thing, and it doesn't have any enforcement as such. The US is actually free to break WTO rules, however if it does then the vicitms are entitled to charge the US back with levys etc. (withing the rules). The US could then retaliate further if it wanted - but things tend to stop at that point because global trade war is not in any of the WTO players' interest, so they work it out.

The interesting thing here is that Antigua is so small it can't recover its damages from the US in the usual fashion, so it is asking for the novel relief of being granted the right to copy US-produced IP without paying the usual royalties. Since global enforcement of copyright relies on similar mutual agreement to WTO (might even come under WTO?), this might even work.

free trade (4, Insightful)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877560)

It's also consistent with our status as an independent nation-state.

So India would be consistent in banning US agricultural products then? Maybe you didn't know or don't recall but the WTO trade talks during the summer fell apart because the US and EU refused to stop subsidizing their agribusinesses. Because of this refusal India walked out. Indian farmers can't compete with US or EU farmers who get paid billions of dollars and Euros and then are able to sale food cheaper than it costs to grow. Indian farmers are committing suicide by the thousands because they can't compete in such a lopsided market. Basically the same is happening in Mexico because of NAFTA. Big UG agrobusinesses are able to export corn to Mexico below prices Mexican farmers can grow corn thus causing Mexicans to "illegally immigrate" to the US.

It's incredibly funny that the WTO is being used to abuse the sovereignty of the US.

And Bush violated Iraq's national sovereignty by invading Iraq and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Also it's trying to vilate many other countries sovereignty by trying to force them to accept US exports while restricting their exports to the US.

It's NOT a violation of the notion of free trade to ban or restrict items from other countries that are ALREADY banned or restricted domestically.

Not all gambling it banned, only some is.

Falcon

Re:Well sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876356)

Obviously it was cutting into state Lottery and Indian gaming revenues... it's not that our congresscritters have an moral objection to gambling addicts pissing away all their money, it IS that our congresscritters have an objection to all the profits off of gambling addicts going overseas, where they don't result in Jack Abramoff-style "contributions"!

Re:Well sure (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876394)

But the problem is that the US hasn't banned internet gambling. It has only banned some internet gambling, including all internet gambling outside the USA. If all internet gambling were banned, the US could cry 'moral grounds' and the problem would go away. But since they aren't, and instead only allow US-based internet gambling...

Re:Well sure (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876556)

Also, keep in mind that Nevada just approved mobile gaming, which means on your cellphone. Arguing that internet gambling and gambling in a casino are different is a legitimate argument. Arguing that mobile gambling and internet gambling (normally we'd call all this "Gaming" but I realize that this is slashdot so I'm altering my terminology) are substantially different is laughable to say the least.

Re:Well sure (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876906)

The fact that the USA allows casinos is irrelevent. Read the article, the problem is that the US allows in-state, horse-racing, and gambling sites based on Native American reservations to operated unimpeded. So, the US allows internet gambling right now. You just have to base it in the USA. That's a clear violation of trade treaties.

They are not arguing that internet gambling and casino gambling are the same thing. No need: the USA has legal internet gambling sites that they are protecting, in direct violation of trade treaties that the USA has signed.

Re:Well sure (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877078)

Read the article, the problem is that the US allows in-state, horse-racing, and gambling sites based on Native American reservations to operated unimpeded. So, the US allows internet gambling right now. You just have to base it in the USA. That's a clear violation of trade treaties.

I realize what you're saying. I'm quite aware of what the US allows in the way of gaming - I work in a Tribal casino in northern California. The US might allow internet gambling, but no state allows it.

They are not arguing that internet gambling and casino gambling are the same thing. No need: the USA has legal internet gambling sites that they are protecting, in direct violation of trade treaties that the USA has signed.

Show me one.

No state permits internet gaming, not even Nevada, which as I previously stated only just started to allow mobile gaming.

Re:Well sure (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876504)

Well? They are. There is genuine desire from the US to protect its citizens.

Of course, for much the same reasons, a lot of countries wish to violate US patents on drugs.

Perhaps these treaties shuld be renogtiated so that they take into account all factors affecting quality of life in the world rather than just financial interests.

From what I understand, (1)

IconBasedIdea (838710) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876046)

If it takes a trade issue to bring down the anti-gaming laws, so be it. http://www.antiguawto.com/ [antiguawto.com]

Re:From what I understand, (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876994)

Conversely, if it takes a gambling issue to end "Free Trade", so be it. Any real economist will tell you TANSTAAFL. If people would quit worshiping at the altar of Free Trade, we might actually collect sufficient fees at ports of entry to inspect more than 2 percent of all the cargo that comes in to this country. And no, I'm not talking about terrorists either. Anybody ever add up the economic impact of Chestnut blight, fruit flies, zebra mussels and all the other trade-borne pests? These things never appear on the balance sheet of any Free Trade advocate. We can ammortize that cost slowly, with just enough tarrif to fund a worthwhile inspection and regulation of import/export, or we can shift that cost away from the import/export companies towards the general population, and pay the unpredictable costs of ecological disasters. I prefer the former, but nobody cares, and nobody will listen.

Money laundering and Terrorism? (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876078)

FTFA if piracy is indeed a breeding ground for money laundering and terrorist operations...

Huh, I wasn't aware that piracy was actually used as a legitimate front for laundering money - and since it isn't a legitimate business, why not just nab the money launderers on IP infringement charges? I'm also suprised that terrorists are the ones making money by selling infringing media to support their attacks on the western world - it seems that most of the cash in piracy is the simple loss of revenue through supression of sales of new material.

Sounds like a full helping of FUD.

Re:Money laundering and Terrorism? (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876232)

Hey, how about putting that quote in its context?
FTA:
Two drawbacks of retaliating through intellectual property rights may give pause to Antigua and Barbuda. First, if piracy is indeed a breeding ground for money laundering and terrorist operations, then encouraging the development of a safe haven for intellectual property rights violators may not be in Antigua and Barbuda's interests. Second, Antigua and Barbuda may decide that suspending its obligation to protect the intellectual property rights of American companies is not in its trading interests.
Maybe you misunderstand -- the US can't nab the launderers on IP charges if they are in Antigua, short of invading.

it seems that most of the cash in piracy is the simple loss of revenue through supression of sales of new material.
No, most of the cash in piracy is from selling bootlegged material. What you are describing is potential losses by the IP holders.

Those who ignore history... (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877542)

Maybe you misunderstand -- the US can't nab the launderers on IP charges if they are in Antigua, short of invading.


And your point is...?

Re:Money laundering and Terrorism? (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877590)

Don't be so quick to jump on him for misunderstanding piracy. If you haven't been outside of America, it's easy to imagine that nobody is making money from piracy. Most Americans are unaware that in many countries there are mainstream stores that stock bootleg dvds and cds. This is a profitable enterprise and if US IP laws were respected in those countries, IP holders would go after these profits.

the right? (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876086)

Does our government have any constitutional right to outlaw gambling? And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?

The same can be said of prostitution and many other illegal things.

Really, our government should be protecting our rights, however trivial, unless there is an obvious, and scientifically-supported public health/safety reason to do otherwise.

Re:the right? (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876230)

And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?

      "A lottery is but a tax on fools" - Unknown.

Re:the right? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876542)

"A lottery is but a tax on fools"

And it's a good thing. It's a segment of the population that is most heavily served by industry, costs the country the most money, and is most heavily represented in government. Fools should be taxed!

Re:the right? (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876588)

The lottery is no different from any other gambling. There are odds, you know the odds, there is money, you spend the money. The people you give the money to thank you. Someone will definitely win a chunk of that money, but it probably won't be you. Gaming in a casino gives you better odds to win something - the lottery however offers larger payouts than casinos do. Typically you won't find any way to win more than one million at a time in a casino although I guess some of the guaranteed multi-site promotions are running higher than that.

Re:the right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876612)

Except for the people who win. They get upgraded to luck-as-shit-fool.

Re:the right? (5, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876260)

Does our government have any constitutional right to outlaw gambling?

Probably not, but it's amazing what the Supreme Court has let Congress get away with under the coloring of the interstate commerce clause. (Congress is constitutionally authorized to regulate interstate commerce, so they throw some fiction about same into almost every bill they think might be a little dodgy. Works, too, except where they're trying to do something explicitly forbidden to them by the constitution.)

Re:the right? (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876424)

Probably not, but it's amazing what the Supreme Court has let Congress get away with under the coloring of the interstate commerce clause.
When the Supremes allows Congress to make regulations affecting food grown by a farmer on his own land and eaten in his own house, they gutted the limitations on the federal government's power. Look also at the recent decision about CA's medicinal marijuana law -- essentially what they said was that the Feds could control it because they have a legitimate interest in so doing -- do they understand the concept of a circular argument?

Re:the right? (1)

wwahammy (765566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877278)

To be fair that wasn't really what they said. They said that the government has a legitimate interest in regulating interstate commerce, in this case the drug trade. The court said that the "market" for marijuana isn't limited to one state and therefore to allow a state to legalize it for any reason would affect that interstate marijuana market. Its not a circular argument; its just a huge stretch of logic. Or as some might say, dumb.

Re:the right? (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876366)

And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?
Well, that's exactly the point of Antigua's claim. The US allows some gambling -- they even allow some online gambling; therefore, banning all offshore gambling amounts to unfair trade restrictions.

As to Constitutional right, since when has that mattered?

Re:the right? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876606)

Actually, we don't allow online gambling. We allow mobile gambling in Nevada - at least, I think that finally passed - but you are not permitted to run an online gambling site from within the US. Mobile gambling is different only in that you are required (legally) to show up and sign up, so the idea is that it's kept within the state that way. From there you are free to play video keno on your cellphone in the bathroom.

Re:the right? (1)

cens0r (655208) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877572)

Actually you can gamble online for horse racing. Also, the law that really bans internet gambling was the wire act which would technically allow you to set up an online casino in one state and only accept bets from people in that state.

Re:the right? (1)

jcarkeys (925469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876386)

Does our government have any constitutional right to outlaw gambling? And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?

The United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Actually, they kind've do. I think there's an easier case to make that online gambling is interstate/foreign commerce than it would be to use the interstate commerce clause to strike down segregation --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Atlanta_Mo tel_v._United_States [wikipedia.org].

Re:the right? (4, Insightful)

TheDukePatio (621176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876478)

The US Government didn't outlaw gambling. They outlawed the method of monetary transfer to gaming sites. While it's a very fine difference, it is a difference nonetheless. They couldn't outlaw gambling because it's a state decided issue (i.e. Nevada & Jersey). The law's intended consequence was to *effectively* ban on-line gambling because US citizens have no way to get funds to/from those sites. They knew they couldn't outlaw gambling so they took away the foundation, the money.

One of the main problems with the way US laws are passed is the ability to slip things like this in to a larger bill that noone would dare vote 'no' on since it would be political suicide and very few politicians have the balls to stand up on issues like this.

Sen. Jones: "Don't re-elect Sen. Smith. He voted 'no' on the bill that would outlaw killing babies"
Sen. Smith: "I voted no because someone slipped in an unrelated ammendment banning sending money to gambling sites"
Sen. Jones: "But you still voted 'no' to outlawing killing babies! Sen. Smith thinks that babies should be killed on sight!"

While the above example is extreme, it represents the mentality of politicians in Washington DC with regard to things like this. It's also the amount of swagger that the PACs have in US government. What ever happened to voting on common sense and doing what's right for a change.

Re:the right? (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876732)

Thank you. Someone mod parent up. The current discussion is not about a "ban on internet gambling" rather banning sites that users use to fund their online accounts. For those not in the know, think PayPal.

Basically your state still tells you whether its legal or not to gamble online (sorry Washington). THIS bill tells the BANKS that they can't fund online gambling sites.

Re:the right? (1)

daveo0331 (469843) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877374)

Paypal banned online gambling transfers a long time ago. The credit card companies don't allow it either, because of too many chargebacks. So how do people get money to online poker sites? The money transfer services are themselves located offshore -- for example Neteller, the most popular one, is located in Canada. So you transfer money from your bank account to Neteller, then from Neteller to the poker site. There is talk of banning transfers between US banks and companies like Neteller, but the banks are very opposed to this because the way the ACH [wikipedia.org] system is set up would make it very difficult/expensive to differentiate between allowed and not-allowed transactions.

Re:the right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876864)

Even that is a mischaracterization. This bill was simply a way to put some enforcement into an activity which was already illegal. The people involved with the gambling sites doing business in the US already faced arrest. (Personally, I think nabbing a few in gunny sacks from their beds in the dead of night would have sent a pretty good message too. Don't respect our laws? Then your's don't exist, so die in a hole.) This even at that doesn't stop them from illegally plying their trade on our telecommunications infrastructure. A person can very simply open an account with a foreign bank, and continue as they like. Many things are regulated in the us. The fact that someone can't decide to start an incinerator up in their back yard and start hauling in medical waste is something I like. But to that end, I occasionally have to make concessions to the unreasonable whims of the mob. My mission, if I choose to accept it, is to vote, and if necessary campaign, or run for office to correct these injustices.

With the world being what it is, it's not hard to see why the Romans were such fans of brutal imperialism.

Re:the right? (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876564)

Does our government have any constitutional right to outlaw gambling? And even if they do, doesn't the lottery exhibit gross hypocrisy?

No they don't have any right. This is simply the result of successful lobbying by the casinos. Since when does it matter if it is unconstitutional?

The same can be said of prostitution and many other illegal things.

You chose a bad example. Prostitution is not illegal in the US. Most states have made it illegal, but that is a different topic.

Really, our government should be protecting our rights, however trivial, unless there is an obvious, and scientifically-supported public health/safety reason to do otherwise.

Yeah, if only here was a method we could use to elect people that would do that. Unfortunately, the majority of people no longer value freedom. This includes both democrats and republicans. Most people think it is perfectly fine to pass laws that take away the rights of others if other people are doing things they disapprove of. The last time I pointed out freedom for individuals to make choices I was told "you're afraid of the democratic process." Freedom is dead as cultural value. It lives on only for a tiny minority and as a buzzword for corrupt politicians trying to pass another law to remove more of it.

Re:the right? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876686)

Article I of the Constution: Congress has the right "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;" Perhaps you don't consider gambling to be commerce?


As far as "prostitution and many other things", Congress does have the right to pass laws to protect the "health and welfare" of citizens. (I'm too lazy to find a citation for this.)

While you are correct that Congress is not given any powers to legislate morality, they are given OTHER powers which may be misapplied to moral issues, e.g. the recent Supreme Court decision that the Federal Government may prohibit growing of Marijuana for personal use on the basis of the Interstate Commerce clause. This interpretation appears to suggest that ANYTHING that can be bought or sold across state lines (including sex?!?) may be regulated by the Feds... guess what -- ANYTHING can be bought or sold, to the Feds now have the right to regulation EVERYTHING! Yep, somebody somewhere can buy a blowjob, so the Feds can now make them illegal!

george carlin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876876)

fucking is legal
selling is legal
so why is selling fucking illegal?

In Louisiana, *gambling* is illegal. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876954)

In Louisiana, *gambling* is illegal. It would be unconstitutional to permit it in this state.

We have *gaming* instead.

(Yep, they changed the name of what you do at casinos or in the lottery, and since you're only *gaming*, not *gambling*, it's perfectly legal.)

Another Rogue Terrorist State? (3, Interesting)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876088)

You realize - if Antigua or anyone else - claims we are violating Free Trade and goes ahead with ignoring IP, we will have no choice but to assign them to the axis of evil and then invade.

Actually the article was interesting. I wondered what kind of mess the recent online gambling act would create. Oh, and I read, too, that it doesn't anywhere prohibit US firms from creating gambling sites aimed at foreign markets.

Interesting world, we live in here with the interweb...

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (3, Funny)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876314)

They were able to accomplish this by installing a series of one-way valves in the Interweb's tubes.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (-1, Troll)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876422)

You realize - if Antigua or anyone else - claims we are violating Free Trade and goes ahead with ignoring IP, we will have no choice but to assign them to the axis of evil and then invade.

Hah! The USA couldn't invade my *ass* let alone Antigua!

The Yanks don't have enough military manpower to invade anyone or anything; all they have is a strategic arsenal with which they can bomb the hell out of anyone or anywhere, but invasion is pretty much out of the question.

If you doubt me, look at Iraq; I'd hardly call that a (successful) invasion.

Ok so the US forces have taken some ground but they can hardly be said to be *holding* that ground.

And you can't invade without both taking *and* holding ground... and for that you need infantry. And the USA does not have anywhere near enough infantry.

Even if they mobilised every American who was *fit* for military service. Which, by the way, is a tiny *tiny* proportion of the US population. Less than 1%.

Oh I hope the USA does try to 'invade' Iran, North Korea *and* Syria. All at the same time. Oh please oh please oh please! Paper tiger get all burnt up and used in the latrine for wiping asses.

It'd make great TV. ;)

yeah yeah troll, flamebait *whatever* but you *know* its the truth!

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876486)

Hah! The USA couldn't invade my *ass* let alone Antigua! See abu ghraib before you bite off more than you can chew. As for invading an island roughly twice the size of DC. Please well just drop some MOAB and then declare victory.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (2, Insightful)

Uthic (931553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876570)

I'll bite. This troll was amusing. You presume a lot there. It's akin to a teacher looking at a mistake a student has made and then pronouncing that student is utterly incapable of solving that problem ever again. The US has enough infantry to invade Antigua, of all places. And what nation can invade three nations and wage war against them currently ? Pretty high bar to set.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (1)

impleri (982548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877044)

FWIW, Nazi Germany did a pretty good job of a multi-front war.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (1)

elphins.son (1021355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877502)

You mean they did a pretty good job of LOSING a multi-front war. The initial push on each front went well, but IIRC once the initial push was slowed, they never regained their momentum.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (0, Troll)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877352)

And what nation can invade three nations and wage war against them currently ?

What nation *thinks* it can? The USA of course! Go USA!

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (0, Flamebait)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877120)

Ever read the US Constitution? The "right to bear arms" makes every gun owner part of the US militia. They can be pressed into service by the government at any time. Fit or not, that's 300 million soldiers at a moments notice. Don't mess with Texas.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (1, Troll)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877320)

Watching those militia men run (or, rather, waddle) across a battlefield would be quite a sight.

Thats why I said it'd be great TV.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (2, Insightful)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877302)

Of course its a dreadful troll, but...he has one thing right. You don't own a piece of earth until you have one of your guys with a rifle standing on it. You can inflict damage up to the limits of your arsenal; nuke it into a sheet of glass if you like; but without the guy and his rifle you don't own it.

General Shinseki told Rumsfeld he needed N guys with rifles to hold Iraq. Rumsfeld said you'll do it with N/3. Guess who was right?

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (0, Offtopic)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877424)

Yes, it was a dreadful troll and for that I am truly sorry (stifles a giggle).

I just try to draw attention to the paper-tiger nature of US military might at every opportunity and this seemed like as good as any :)

The CIA world fact book has figures for 'fit for military service' for many nations. It used to have those figures for the USA. Those figures were, retroactively, changed to 'NA' post 9/11/2001.

Prior to that a little time on the spreadsheet revealed that the USA could not field as many troops *fit* for military service, as (eg) the United frickin Kingdom!

No other nation on Earth had as low a proportion of *fit* for service to total gross population count.

So yeah the USA has some heavily armed militia, but they can't run for fuck (especially not carrying a decent amount of ammo and equipment). They wouldn't make great 'minute men' or infantry.

Re:Another Rogue Terrorist State? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876640)

Oh, and I read, too, that it doesn't anywhere prohibit US firms from creating gambling sites aimed at foreign markets.

That's because the law already prohibits operating a game of chance within the borders of the various states besides Nevada. Nevada prohibits running an online gaming operation, though they do allow the subtly-different "mobile gaming" IIRC.

The US drug laws may cause flouting of IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876098)

US government hypocritical. News at 11.

why ban (0)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876122)

Just make it illegal to use credit to gamble with. If you don't have positive funds you can't gamble. Seems pretty cut & dry to me. This way the law part would be enforced against companies instead of individuals. Let the companies use the resources to enforce it and the gov just needs to enforce the companies.

This would prevent alot of bankrupcy claims and save a responsible tax payer alot of money in the long run.

The freaking Juice man! (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876346)

You obviously have NO IDEA how gambling works. If people can't go in debt then the juice doesn't start, without the juice we'll have to rely on the elderly and convention junkies to support the industry and that'll never do. You think the whole thing is limited to the strip? Wake up and smell the baseball bat.

Re:The freaking Juice man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877518)

Could you explain what 'the juice' is to those of us who aren't chronic gamblers?

Great firewall of U.S. next? (5, Insightful)

Hankenstein (107201) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876138)


        Yes, it is a stretch, however, anybody else see any similarities between the U.S. forbidding offshore gambling and China forbidding everything *we* think is good?

No similarities (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876252)

US government officials must pledge to protect a document that limits their powers to legislate these very issues. So the US government is acting in a much more criminal manor than the Chinese government.

take North Korea's lead (-1, Flamebait)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876210)

With the sort of logic and understanding that comes out of Washington, I would not be surprised if some idiot recommended that the US should take North Korea's lead and cut our entire country off from the internet. No firewall, no filtering, no laws, nothing. Problem "solved."

Antiguasoft Vista! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876342)

"Pre-register now for your copy of Antiguasoft Vista"

Link please.

The whole internet gambling thing is easily solved (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876380)

If you don't like online casinos, stay away from them. There, problem completely solved (except for the nagging problem of online casino spam...).

Copyright, not patent (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876464)

Antigua would be fully justified in ignoring the US's patent and trademark laws.

[...]

Pre-register now for your copy of Antiguasoft Vista.

Antiguasoft Vista would be copyright infringement as well as being trademark and possibly patent infringement. Are they able to ignore copyright laws too?

*ALL* IP laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876526)

Protection of US IP in Antigua is only via treaty (in this case through WTO membership). Antigua would be free to ignore any and all US laws as a way of obtaining its remedy against the US.

Re:Copyright, not patent (1)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876760)

Antiguasoft Vista would be copyright infringement as well as being trademark and possibly patent infringement. Are they able to ignore copyright laws too?

If the US is found to be violating WTO rules with its gambling legislation and refuses to change them, Antigua is entitled to apply to the WTO for relief (i.e. punishment for the US). Generally this would take the form of tariffs on US products, but retaliation can also take the form of suspending IP protection for American goods. In this case, within the jurisdiction of Antigua, it would be open season on American IP. Software, movies and TV, along with patents (trademarks too?) would all lose protection until the US complied with WTO rules again.

This would apply exclusively to American IP, and would be totally legal under the WTO rules. It is designed to put pressure on American companies, so that they will in turn put pressure on their Congress critters.

How does this affect the Linux kernel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876644)

How does this affect the Linux Kernel? Isn't it (primarily) a US Copyrighted item, published with a license that allows people fairly free distribution requirements? Could (for example) Microsoft move their offices to Antigua, keep their IP (which is now Antiguan, not American) safe, and freely publish MS Linux?

But wait, I thought the WTO was evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16876770)

I'm confused. Let me get this straight -- The WTO is sticking up for this tiny little country, against the USA, in the name of freedom to gamble online. They're still evil right? Because they're sticking up for mega-corporations, right? I didn't get the shit kicked out of me in Seattle for no reason, right? I'm confused. Please, some of my fellow Fast Food Nation/Michael Moore/Jon Katz loving slashdotters, help me sort through this.

Re:But wait, I thought the WTO was evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877002)

Rest easy. You didn't get the shit kicked out of you in Seattle for nothing. You got the shit kicked out of you in Seattle because you are an asshole.

Full of misinformation (2, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16876910)

1) The US government clearly has the authority to make it illegal for a US citizen, inside the US to gamble, on or off the internet. Such laws already exist and have existed for MANY decades.


2) The act in question does not do that at all. Instead it makes it illegal for US credit card companies to send payments to Internet Gambling sites. Again, this is entirely legal for the US to do. It is not a free trade issue at all. In fact, it gives a HUGE advantage to non-US companies. Foreign Credit card companies are happy, they may break into the US market. If you get a European Credit Card, even when in the US, you may use your European Credit Card to pay gambling debts to Internet gambling sites, because the European Credit Card company is not subject to US laws.


3) The problem that Antigua is claiming is that the US does allow certain types of Internet gambling, and therefore under WTO agreements, it must allow all. The WTO has offered the US to either fully ban all internet gamblign of any kind, or to let all in. The US has not yet decided which to do. The WTO would be fine if the US banned everything.

4) The problem has NOTHING at all to do with the recently passed Act, the Antigua law suit was begun in 2003, the Act passed in 2006.

5) I think the idea that Antigua would violate patents and copyrights more than it already does is silly. The US has so many, many, ways, far short of violence to punish Antigua, such as cutting off ALL payments of any kind to any company based in Antigua, that it would stupid for Antigua to do this. Instead, they will do something smarter, like impose a Tax on US services.

Re:Full of misinformation (2, Interesting)

JazzyJ (1995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877268)

1) The US government clearly has the authority to make it illegal for a US citizen, inside the US to gamble, on or off the internet. Such laws already exist and have existed for MANY decades.

No, actually they don't. The federal govt. would like you to THINK they do, but the reality is the US Govt cannot do so. The laws that existed prior to what got snuck into the safe port act have to do with interstate gambling. e.g.: Me, in Missouri, placing bets on the phone to a bookie in California. They can't pass a law that makes online gambling illegal in all 50 states because they don't have the jurisdiction to enforce it anywhere except DC, guam, puerto rico, or other federal -territories-. States are sovereign in that respect.

The STATES themselves do have the authority and -do- have the laws that prohibit gambling anywhere other than what's spelled out as legal in the gaming laws within that state.

That all being said, me doing something in the privacy of my own home, between consenting adults, is fine so long as no one's constitutional rights are violated.... is our business...and not the state or the federal govt.

Re:Full of misinformation (3, Interesting)

Lanoitarus (732808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877400)

>

I don't think you understand how credit cards work, let alone this law. The law makes it illegal for any company with OPERATIONS in the US to faciliate payments between US citizens and gambling sites offshore. This does not mean just US companies. For instance, my HSBC (Which is a UK company) credit card is also prohibited from doing this. Technically, if a company with zero US presence were to give me a credit card, they would be allowed to do as they wished--- but without a US presence, how would they bill me?

that's not "free trade" (2, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877052)

"free trade infringement" - if it's being made illegal in general, then the same opportunities exist outside the US as do inside the US. Thus, "free trade."

Sortof like the Supreme Court case a couple years ago that said if a state allows wineries within the state to ship wine to indivual people, they have to allow other states to ship wine into the state to individual people.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877064)

What is so significant about this is that Antigua would be fully justified (and I imagine, would get a lot of support from other nations) in ignoring the US's patent and trademark laws.

...the US would be fully justified at forcing carriers to block access to destination IPs of offshore gambling sites and found proxies that let people get through to them. Funny how that works.
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