Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

US Faces $100 Billion Fine For Web Gambling Ban

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-one-more-thing-we-can't-afford dept.

The Courts 522

Stony Stevenson writes with the news that the World Trade Organization is seeking billions of dollars in compensation from the United States from their ban on internet gambling. The view of the WTO is that the US has reneged on commitments to the organization. "The disputed concessions arise from Antigua's victory earlier this year when the WTO ruled that the US violated its treaty obligations by excluding online Antiguan gaming operators, while allowing domestic operators to offer various forms of online gaming. Instead of complying with the ruling, the Bush administration withdrew the sizeable gambling industry from its free trade commitments. As a result, all 151 WTO members are considering seeking compensation for the withdrawal equal to the size of the entire US land-based and online gaming market, estimated at nearly US$100 billion."

cancel ×

522 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Good! (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954453)

Good!

Look, whether or not you agree with gambling, surely any reasonable person can see that the situation as it is now is simply untenable.

Gambling is allowed in some places (Las Vegas, Atlantic Ctiy, etc.) but not in others. Worse, in yet more places some forms of gambling is allowed (Bingo, horse racing, dog racing) but not others (blackjack, poker, etc.). Worst of all, in some places, such as the place where I happen to live, some gambling is allowed in the form of lotteries, but it is completely owned and run by the state government monopoly.

And to add to the madness, we now have laws on the book that say that online gambling is okay, but only on horse racing (thanks to a strong lobby) and within state lines?

I'm not averse to some sort of regulation to ensure that online casinos aren't cheating, but this sham of acting like gambling is an issue of morality so that government can use it as an excuse for avoiding competition is ridiculous. As long as the US continues its patchwork enforcement of laws based on outdated concepts of how people should and shouldn't live, we deserve to pay what amounts to a $100 billion annual Stupid Tax.

I still think that they ought to be allowed to violate US copyrights [slashdot.org] as an appropriate punishment. When the government (i.e. you and I, incidentally) is paying the $100 billion, people won't really care. But if corporate America starts losing money, I think you'll start seeing some rather dramatic changes very quickly.

Re:Good! (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954609)

What can or can't be done within the borders of a particular
jurisdiction is up to that jurisdiction to decide.

            If someone in another country doesn't like that then tough titties.
It doesn't matter if the complaining part is us or some other country.
The fact that the US likes to butt in (and often does successfully) should
not be used as an excuse to expand this sort of stupitity.

            So you think that US gambling laws are byzantine and contradictory?
Fine, take it up with your local state or federal senator. The WTO has
NO PLACE WHATSOEVER in this issue. It's simply trying to override the
sovereignty of an independent state/nation.

              This is just confirmation that the WTO is a meaningless cabal of
mindless USA bashers with an axe to grind.

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

the_lesser_gatsby (449262) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954775)

That's fine, leave the WTO then. But while you're in it, take some responsibility for the things you've signed-up for.

Re:Good! (-1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954857)

I think it's high time we started shipping opium back to China.

We could even use the WTO to club China when they object.

Re:Good! (3, Informative)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955063)

I think it's high time we started shipping opium back to China.


Did the USA do this as well? I thought it was just the Brits. Oddly enough, the whole opium war was derived from restrictive trade practices from China. We (the Brits) wanted their tea, they would only accept silver as payment, so we sold opium to the population and would only accept silver as payment, that we then used to buy their tea.

Of course, then we just stole the tea and planted it in India anyway. I guess that would be an IP violation in today's world.

In the history of not-our-finest-hours, this episode was a real bitch.

--Ng

Re:Good! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954867)

Can I sue some countries because they will not allow pork imports? Can I import guns into some countries? Can I import pornography to some contries? How about hashish or cocaine?
Every one of those things is banned in some countries because of a morality issue. How is gambling any different?

Re:Good! (3, Insightful)

bentcd (690786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954785)

So you think that US gambling laws are byzantine and contradictory? Fine, take it up with your local state or federal senator. The WTO has NO PLACE WHATSOEVER in this issue. It's simply trying to override the sovereignty of an independent state/nation.
When the WTO is trying to override US sovereignty, it is only after the sovereign US said to the WTO "yeah, sure, we'll let you override our sovereignty, no problem" and signed papers to that effect.

You are only as sovereign as your leaders permit you to be.

Re:Good! (5, Informative)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954835)

Huh ?

The WTO isn't trying to override anything - we're simply being asked to honor a commitment made under a treaty which we negotiated. Other nations that didn't want to allow cross border trade in gambling opted out of those provisions, the United States did not. The US has repeatedly argued that it was a mistake the WTO panels have ruled that the record of the treaty negotiation shows that is not the case and the US freely made the commitment. Don't tell me the government didn't have a lawyer read it before they signed.

For further clarification, the US Constitution makes it clear that international treaties ratified by congress become the law of the United States.

As for the meaningless cabal of US bashers - get a grip. We are the WTO. Without our commitment to abide by the treaties there will be no WTO. I really hate the cranks that point to organizations that the US was a key player in founding claiming that they're anti US just because they may disagree once in a while. I'm surprised nobody is claiming the Internet is anti US too.

Re:Good! (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955143)

I'm surprised nobody is claiming the Internet is anti US too.

Mostly because the US pretty much owns the Internet. (Who runs the root servers? Who tells ICANN/IANA what to do?)

Re:Good! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954855)

Perhaps you've heard of these things called "treaties". They're these legal documents, negotiated between sovereign states, ratified by said states and enforced by legislation within those states. The purpose of this thing called a "treaty" is to limit or enforce actions negotiated between sovereign states.

The United States is a signatory of the WTO, and is therefore bound by both international and domestic law to abide by.

Re:Good! (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954893)

Remember, countries are expected to honor signed agreements. Unless they're no longer convenient to the US, of course.

Say, how's that effort to impose DMCA style laws on the rest of the world going?

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954999)

This is just confirmation that the WTO is a meaningless cabal of mindless USA bashers with an axe to grind.
Oh brother. Like the UN, the WTO is not some bureaucracy from outer space invading our sovereignty. We, more than any other single nation, created it. 95% of the time we use these organizations to hit other nations over the head and goad them into enforcing the intellectual property laws we want, accepting our exports, etc. Then once in a blue moon the tables are turned and certain people such as yourself go berzerk.

Re:Good! (4, Insightful)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955013)

The WTO has NO PLACE WHATSOEVER in this issue. It's simply trying to override the sovereignty of an independent state/nation.
No, the WTO is trying to arbitrate a trade dispute between member states. I'm not a big fan of some of the agreements and organizations the US has signed on to (ie, NAFTA), but the WTO is in the right here. It there was a universal ban on gambling, there would be no issue, but this is no different than say, Japan allowing the Japanese to buy only Japanese cars, and banning the import or purchase of American cars, while at the same time heavily advertising Japanese imports to America. Americans would have the right to be upset. The gambling market is a market just like any other.

Re:Good! (2, Informative)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955055)

What can or can't be done within the borders of a particular jurisdiction is up to that jurisdiction to decide.

Fine and if that were our argument it would have worked. The problem is THIS [youbet.com]

Re:Good! (1)

LarrySDonald (1172757) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955137)

If the US is or isn't allowed to sign trade agreements is an issue of much internal debate I'm sure. However, they indeed did and should honor it. It's not exactly "giving up sovereignty" but rather trading bits of sovereignty with others - codifying what restrictions the parties involved are allowed to put on import/export (including services). I'm not cut and dry on if that's a good deal to make, but for the most part the US sure didn't get the short end of this particular stick in most cases. Many other nations argue within about how it's killing them that their leaders have decided not to impose restrictions above certain degrees on the US, giving up a degree of control and protection of their local markets in exchange for reciprocation and I feel there is no particular difference, that's the deal that was cut. Sorry, but "it didn't turn out as well as we thought" is no excuse for backing out on what is, in essence, a contract. If the US intends to hold the high ground, even the very select parts that didn't turn out so well needs to be honored, not just the cash cows. Or, alternatively, an attempt needs to be made to renegotiate, perhaps sacrifice some of the more beneficial parts in exchange for forfeit on the not-so-perfect parts. The gambling ban itself annoys me on a personal level, though it's not exactly effecting me as I don't gamble much (none at all recently) and if/when I do I have accounts outside the US that I'm certainly within my rights to use.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954733)

This online gambling issue has been one of many wake-up calls for me as a (former) Republican. It's one thing to be against online gambling. Fine, if you want to ban all online-gambling, because your platform includes and anti-gambling philosophy, I can live with that. But the sheer *hypocrisy* of publically being 'against' gambling, but then serving and protecting the interests of the domestic gambling industry shows that they are seriously corrupt, and are just maninupating the sheep who believe the lies that spew from their mouths.

I think it will be a very, very long time before I can vote for a Republican again, and only if the party can clean house, sweep away the corrupt Republicans that currently dominate the party, and get back to true/historic Republican philosophy of government. And I believe I am not alone among conservatives. I think 2008 will be a brutal year for the Republican party in national and state elections in many states. I also think the Republican party has become so corrupt and dysfunctional that for the first time in about 100 years, there is a real opportunity for a new, conservative third party to arise and grab the support of a lot of conservatives.

Re:Good! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954911)

Gambling laws are inherently contradictory anyways and always have been. ANY general purpose cross-border gambling operation is bound to run afoul of local laws. This really is old news and stuff like this has been happening since the BBS days.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20955135)

I think it will be a very, very long time before I can vote for a Republican again

You make it sound like cleaning out the "corrupt" and the "hypocrites" will leave anyone left. Newsflash for you buddy, this is the same party it's always been. "Hypocrites" protecting big business casino interests in the united states? Since when has Republicans being Big Business been hypocritical? I'm almost willing to bet that you're aghast at the Republicans selling off the government to the highest bidder, or in some cases, without even taking bids. Corruption? No, it's just shrinking government and privatization.

Wake up, the Republican party today is still your pappy's Good Ol' Party, maybe your problem is that you and your pappy were confused as to what Conservative meant all this time. Here's a hint: religion and morality has nothing to do with anything beyond suckering bible thumpers and soccer moms into promoting the Republican party.

State Right (1)

gerf (532474) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954761)

IANAL.. The thing is, the power to regulate gambling is a State right. Thus, Nevada allows it.

If the Federal Gov't is even allowed to legislate it (i.e. sign a treaty about it) is to me, questionable.

Re:State Right (2, Interesting)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954959)

Now that's an interesting point. Since only the government of the USA can represent the states in international relations, it may well be that the USA has signed up for a treaty obligation for which it has not been granted specific power. In the old days where the gambling had to be physically located in a geographical location, this was easy to enforce. Now we have the situation where gambling crosses physical boundaries (falling within the purview of the federal government), but the power to regulate it remains with non-signatory bodies (the individual states).

Thus, could the states compel the USA to repudiate the treaty, if the USG acted outside its constitutionally limited power?

--Ng

Re:Good! (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955109)

Same in Europe - everyone argues about whether Internet gambling should be allowed/licensed/banned, but the reality is that there are already satellite channels that take bets for games like Roulette, and virtual horse-racing.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20955119)

"Gambling is allowed in some places (Las Vegas, Atlantic Ctiy, etc.) but not in others. Worse, in yet more places some forms of gambling is allowed (Bingo, horse racing, dog racing) but not others (blackjack, poker, etc.). Worst of all, in some places, such as the place where I happen to live, some gambling is allowed in the form of lotteries, but it is completely owned and run by the state government monopoly..."

So? Ah sorry, but I think you want the Dictator form of government. Here in the U.S., we still have some semblance of shared power - local standards, states rights, municipal home rule, etc. True, the Democrat/Marxist/AmericaHaters are using the U.S. court system to whittle away at these freedoms, and implement their own elite oligarchy, but thats another story.

Who wants to bet? (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954493)

US Congress in the pocket of US gaming industry association. The WTO is in the pocket of International gaming association. Good fight. Promises great action. Wanna bet who is going to win?

Re:Who wants to bet? (5, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954585)

US Congress in the pocket of US gaming industry association. The WTO is in the pocket of International gaming association. Good fight. Promises great action. Wanna bet who is going to win?

The US views the WTO as a convenient hammer to get it's ways in certain situations and as a small nuisance when it rules against them. The US hardly ever listens. And generally is a asshole to it's friends and trading partners. Thankfully it's economic influence looks to be waning due to very poor economic management.

Re:Who wants to bet? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954623)

The US gaming industry wants to have there own on line gambling sties

Re:Who wants to bet? (3, Funny)

GuyinVA (707456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954765)

I'd like to take that bet...


oh no, wait... I can't.

Let me be the first to say (3, Insightful)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954495)

The U.S. ain't goin to pay.

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

wizzard2k (979669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954525)

Indeed. I don't like to think that we're above reprimand (I'm sure a lot of people do), however I just know we have too many lawyers NOT to find a way out of this.

Re:Let me be the first to say (2, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954579)

Agreed. I'm actually expecting a "Suck my balls!" kind of statement to be made by someone in the administration.

Re:Let me be the first to say (5, Insightful)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954643)

This is the WTO we're talking about.

I bet they could come up with a way of applying very considerable pressure. Especially as the rest of the world seems to be less and less happy with the US' position.

People said the EU couldn't fine Microsoft. Well, they did. Now they say the WTO can't fine the US. I'm pretty sure they'll find a way.

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954981)

Gambling is too much of a moral sacred cow in the US. Any US
politician would be committing political suicide by giving into
this crap. All of those red states in the middle of the country
would have a field day with anyone that yielded to the WTO
on this.

Re:Let me be the first to say (4, Informative)

click2005 (921437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954683)

The Antiguans have formally requested to be allowed to suspend their obligations to the US. If this is granted, they could threaten to sell cheap DVDs & Microsoft software to recover the money. I doubt they would do that, but its more likely a threat to get them to pay.

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954721)

We couldn't even if we wanted... that kind of money is tied up in other things... Of course, we could print some of these [boingboing.net] and pay it off.

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954871)

I think Dennis Leary said it best:

Two words: Nuclear F**kin' Weapons
Okay!?
Russia, Germany, Romania - they can have all the Democracy they want.
They can have a big Democracy cake walk right through the middle of Tienamen Square and it won't make a lick of difference because we got the bombs.
Okay!?
John Wayne's not dead
He's frozen...

Re:Let me be the first to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20955071)

Doesn't make a difference to anyone if they pay or not. The dollar is worth fuck all at the moment.

Re:Let me be the first to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20955127)

Correction: If the power elite can figure out a way to profit off this -- and make no mistake, that won't be a problem -- then they will gladly fork over your money.

I think you've forgotten the simple business model of government: (1) You take money from some people, by force; (2) You distribute some of it to other people; (3) You keep a cut for yourself.

Boil all the details down and the essence of government becomes clear. It doesn't matter what they spend tax money on; what matters is that they keep on spending it, keep on taking it, and keep adding to the list of reasons for spending and taking.

Somehow ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954505)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice comes to mind. Much like patent trolling.

CC.

Suck on that, cockfags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954511)

I'm sick of the current US administration thinking it's the world police and moral authority for everyone... and US citizens should be the first in the street carrying banners and sidearms. Can you imagine if the entire world were governed by the people in the Kansas educational system? The current administration is just a watered down version of Kansas.
 

Let's make a deal. (2, Insightful)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954537)

Can we just apologize for banning online gambling, and promise to put it back? I would be happy to do that.

Obligatory Family Guy Quote (4, Funny)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954541)

WTO 1: Gentlemen, I propose we send a message to the US by fining them infinity billion dollars!
WTO 2: That's the spirit, Bob! But I think a real number might be more effective.

Hmmmm.... (5, Insightful)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954547)

Ever wonder why the US is or at least used to be so very careful about treaties and treaty obligations? Here's a great example.

Congress passes a law to protect US citizens from unscrupulous gambling operations that are not subject to the same kind of regulations that Casinos in the U.S. must meet -- and the world responds via the WTO by trying to extort $100 Billion dollars from the U.S. -- which means taking money from every citizen and company in the U.S. that pays taxes to support offshore companies right to not live up to regulations that make it more difficult to cheat the gamblers out of all their money -- and each of us will pay for that whether we as individuals or companies gamble or not.

Though not hopeful, I think the U.S. in this case should tell the WTO to go pound rocks.

Re:Hmmmm.... (4, Insightful)

787style (816008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954637)

Quit letting the government be my parent! There were plenty of legitimate casino and poker room organizations that were negatively affected by this. Party Poker, a public traded company lost billions in market value literally overnight when the U.S. passed this law banning the funding of online gambling accounts. While there are a few shady operatives out there, the gambling industry as a whole self monitors it self rather well. There are enough people out there monitoring the payout amounts of each site trying to squeeze the maximum EV out of there bets that shady operators are weeed out through supply and demand.

Congress wasn't trying to protect it's citizens. It was trying to protect domestic corporations and tax revenue.

Re:Hmmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20955171)

Saying this in the most respectful voice possible care to back up that assertion with some links to facts, etc.? I seem to recall that most of the debate had to do with fraud protection, etc. but then I wasn't focused on the debate or the money politics behind it very much at all, being a non-gambler and tying to Google is sorta difficult given that I don't know the applicable regulatory #'s, etc.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

Kintar1900 (901219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954659)

Congress passes a law to protect US citizens from unscrupulous gambling operations that are not subject to the same kind of regulations that Casinos in the U.S. must meet

You really think that's the reason those laws were passed? Wow. Makes me wonder what other laws look like through those rose-colored glasses of yours...

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954875)

Perhaps I should have said unregulated instead of unscrupulous. BTW, I grew up in Nevada during the days between the almost pure mafia control and to where things are now, so my *cough* rose colored glasses aren't exactly naive ones. I have also watched the US gambling interests lie, cheat, and steal their way into new communities, so I don't support them either. But fundamentally, I have the right to decide to gamble or not gamble, but my post is about being forced to pay for gambling via my taxes if the US ends up paying any kind of penalty at all because of how a treaty has been used against the U.S. in spite of the idea that nations govern themselves within their own jurisdictions.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955115)

Perhaps I should have said unregulated instead of unscrupulous.
If this were the case, they would have provided a regulatory framework. There were plenty of firms that would have loved to have signed up. You don't have to cheat to make a lot of money as a gambling company.

I heard some of the congressional debate on this. Lot's of senators/reps going on and on about how internet gambling is way more addictive and people lose their house/job/family because it's so accessible. There may have been a lot of behind the scenes lobbying power, but up front most of the argument I heard was about keeping people from legitimately gambling away their lives.

Re:Hmmmm.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954689)

Er, no.

Gaming in the UK is also heavily regulated to ensure people aren't cheated out of their money. So why were UK executives of a UK online betting company arrested by the US when their plane passed through a US dependency's airport?

The US prohibits gambling on religious grounds, not because of corruption worries.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

787style (816008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954971)

No, we prohibit gambling based on economic grounds, not religious. The lobbying organizations were not religious in nature, they were corporate. Notice the loopholes for horse racing and state lotteries.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955117)

No. Even where gambling is permitted pervasively (namely Nevada) there
are pretty draconian regulations intended to make sure that no funny
business is going on. You are not allowed to hire or deal with certain
people and games of chance actually need to be games of chance.

Those big corporate "100Billion dollar land based casinos" can lose
their ability to do business by having the wrong people in their
establishment. Some of the more interesting data mining technology
currently in existence is driven by this problem.

Re:Hmmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954693)

You think the US is going to do anything BUT tell the WTO to go pound rocks? The US is in the WTO only so far as it protects their interests. Anything which goes against their interests they'll just ignore, becuase there's nothing the other countries will do about it.

The only way to get the US to comply with WTO beyond those provisions they agree with is to kick them out if they won't play ball. They won't pay fines. So tell them if they don't pay the fine, or comply, then they'll be kicked out, and all the benefits like protecting their copyrights and patents overseas go with it. Economic sanctions are the only effective means of bargaining available to the WTO for any country which chooses to ignore the rules.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954701)

Ever wonder why the US is or at least used to be so very careful about treaties and treaty obligations? Here's a great example.

Congress passes a law to protect US citizens from unscrupulous gambling operations that are not subject to the same kind of regulations that Casinos in the U.S. must meet -- and the world responds via the WTO by trying to extort $100 Billion dollars from the U.S. -- which means taking money from every citizen and company in the U.S. that pays taxes to support offshore companies right to not live up to regulations that make it more difficult to cheat the gamblers out of all their money -- and each of us will pay for that whether we as individuals or companies gamble or not.


They didn't pass the law to protect the US population. They passed the laws to protect gambling corporations interest. The US Gov. are all for cheating American out of their money, but they only want companies who make campaign contributions to do so.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954731)

This doesn't have anything to do with the US trying to hold offshore gambling companies to the same high standards that US casinos obey. It's more about the current US government trying to ban internet gambling, period, an incredibly stupid move that shuts the US out of one of the more dynamic, growing industries worldwide. By engaging actively, the US could actually develop a decent export industry (attracting foreign gamblers to US online casinos) out of it and help with our overall balance of trade, but other issues have pushed those concerns aside.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954745)

Of course they could also have just setup a licensing system for online casinos in the US, so that US gamblers would play there - and the US would get it's tax revenue.

But of course the existing casino's would then be annoyed and they made all those donations...

Re:Hmmmm.... (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954753)

Congress passes a law to protect US citizens from unscrupulous gambling operations that are not subject to the same kind of regulations that Casinos in the U.S. must meet -- and the world responds via the WTO by trying to extort $100 Billion dollars from the U.S. -- which means taking money from every citizen and company in the U.S. that pays taxes to support offshore companies right to not live up to regulations that make it more difficult to cheat the gamblers out of all their money -- and each of us will pay for that whether we as individuals or companies gamble or not.
By that logic, do you think that the US should ban products coming from China since unscrupulous manufacturing operations are not subject to the same kinds of labor standards that employers in the US must meet? That way, at least you knew you'd be buying from honest, reputable Hecho-in-Americano companies whether you shop at Walmart or not.
 

Re:Hmmmm.... (2, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954821)

By that logic, do you think that the US should ban products coming from China since unscrupulous manufacturing operations are not subject to the same kinds of labor standards that employers in the US must meet? That way, at least you knew you'd be buying from honest, reputable Hecho-in-Americano companies whether you shop at Walmart or not.
The US no longer has the manufacturing capacity to pick up the slack. If they banned all Chinese products today, there would be another great depression as the cost for everything goes up and inflation hits double maybe triple digits. China may also then cash in their US debt they have been buying making it worse.

Re:Hmmmm.... (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955077)

China may also then cash in their US debt they have been buying making it worse.

That is not the big issue. They are holding our bonds, and we don't have the Gold standard. So we just print them as many dollars as we want and give it to them. They know it too. So they won't cash the bonds, but they might start a war.

In the last war, almost all historians agree, Germany was defeated mainly by the huge industrial output of USA. In the next Sino-US war, just see who has the industrial capacity to out produce weapons to foresee the winner.

Re:Hmmmm.... (4, Informative)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955039)

Actually having been to the PRC I do think that the US should ban a hell of a lot of imports from China, using the same anti-sweatshop regulations that worked on US companies that do import business in the Philippines, etc. have had to comply with. The fact is, the Chinese military is so entrenched in many areas out of the sight of western eyse that many of the so called "made in China" items are basically produced by slave labor, which in my mind would be no better than it would have been to buy "made in Germany" items when the Nazi party was in control.

I'm not a Bush fan much at all, but I do think he got it right when he said essentially that respect for human rights are a fundamental aspect of freedom, and that U.S. policy needs to be dictated thereby. Trouble is, I don't think that the US or other corporations are interested in human rights -- they'd rather have economic slavery and virtual indentured servitude instead.

Re:Hmmmm.... (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954791)

IANAL however my understanding is that international law and treaties trumps domestic laws every time. Congress had no business passing a law that went against an international treaty. The US first should have withdrawn from the WTO. You can't have it both ways. However the American attitude is the usual "who is going to stop us" that has been prevalent since the '90s.

The Romans thought the same, once upon a time. Keep building up that animosity, America.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954949)

ANAL however my understanding is that international law and treaties trumps domestic laws every time.

Correct - the US constitution even spells that out.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954973)

IANAL however my understanding is that international law and treaties trumps domestic laws every time.
Incorrect. A treaty or law needs to be able to be enforced to have meaning.

The US first should have withdrawn from the WTO.
Then it would become essentially EU-2, and we all can see how well the EU is working out.

However the American attitude is the usual "who is going to stop us" that has been prevalent since the '90s.
Exactly. Who is going to stop us?

The Romans thought the same, once upon a time. Keep building up that animosity, America.
Most Americans couldn't give a shit if they're liked by foreigners. Hell, most of the world hates the US, and yet everyone still comes here. We're cocky assholes, and we like it that way.

Re:Hmmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954815)

"Congress passes a law to protect US citizens from unscrupulous gambling operations that are not subject to the same kind of regulations that Casinos in the U.S. must meet"

Do you think attempts to prevent Americans from accessing gaming operations outside the country was done for that reason? Really? You have got to be kidding.

Be that as it may... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954825)

It is not ok to sign an international treaty and then just ignore it, and then start striking out bits of it. When we signed it, we obligated ourselves to abide by it. If we are breaking the treaty, we should be punished.

I further maintain that it is in our interest to stop pissing off the entire world. Though we are a pretty big fish now, and can probably get away with it, it is not at all likely that we will always be so big a fish. When the boot is on the other foot it will not feel good at all.

Though I would prefer that the person who made the decision to break the treaty be more directly punished....those in power are rarely held accountable for their bad decisions. Yes, I am bitter.

The US was quite happy to use the WTO... (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954833)

...in the past when the situation was reversed. So... You can't sell your bread and eat it at the same time.

Re:Hmmmm.... (4, Informative)

DarenN (411219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954841)

You don't appear to understand the nature of the dispute. The gambling laws in Antigua (and in most of Europe) are pretty strict, and would conform to or exceed any similar laws on the American books. If the laws to protect gamblers in a country aren't strict enough for the States, I'm pretty sure that they can make an issue out of that (this is an area I'm not too clear on. Feel free to correct).

The problem is that the US allows online gambling internally, but won't allow the same thing from an external source. This is called protectionism and is a no-no under WTO rules. This is a particularly blatant example of it, too (usually it's done through subsidies or unreasonable import taxes so it's not so obvious - see sugar in Europe and wood in the US). Because it's so blatant, and because the US have been really aggressive about it (jailing people who run online gambling sites and requiring payment processors to not allow payments to online gambling firms) it has pissed a load of people off, because the US not only signed the GATS, but basically wrote it and pushed it hard. Suddenly don't like something about it and instead of trying to negotiate or giving in, they unilaterally withdrew an entire section of their economy from the treaty.

This allows all the other signatories with interests in that sector to claim damages ore recompense and if the US don't pay, the WTO can do things like suspend other countries intellectual property obligations to the US. Hint: how much of the US' current exports are IP and how's the trade balance.

The US will have to settle this, and being pig-headed won't be the long-term answer. Most likely, Bush is lining this up for the poor b*stards that are going to follow him giving the probability that the next administration will be democrat. Either that or he doesn't care.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

lightversusdark (922292) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954913)

LOL
I think that you should be careful about posting this sort of thing - in case people believe that it is in any way representative of the facts.
I'd rather post than mod you Troll or Funny, because your sentiments are not a million miles away from those being pushed by US popular media, and there is a real danger will people begin to think they are true unless nipped in the bud.

To be clear: the concept of World Trade is not compatible with protectionism.
The US has taken their ball home - not liking the impact of globalisation on a native industry, they have withdrawn said industry from their free trade commitments.
And to suggest that the EU, India - in fact every single other member of the WTO - is promoting "unscrupulous" behaviour is breathtakingly arrogant.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

kaiynne (181440) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954921)

Your argument sounds very reasonable, However, it completely ignores the fact that no one is forcing people to use offshore gambling services. If people in the US want to take the risk that these operations are more likely to cheat them out of their money then that is their choice. This is not about protecting the average gambling consumer, this is about protecting US gambling revenue...

The law was shoved through by Bill Frist (1)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954983)

and it was all about tossing a bone to the religious right.

Now that political move is coming back to bite them. Lots of solutions were on the table to mitigate the problem.

It's all about the cost of legislating morality.

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

lucky130 (267588) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955003)

The US government broke the treaty; they've got to pay the price. And, theoretically, the US government represents its citizens. So logically, punishing the US (gov't) involves punishing the citizens.

And besides, when's the last time you really got a real say in where you tax dollars went? I'm paying for Medicare and there's about a 0% chance I'll ever see that put to a use I can reap any benefits from. What about all those programs for underprivileged children? What about foreign aid to countries whose policies I don't agree with?

Seriously though, the US's decisions involving online gambling weren't cool, and even though it'll cost me money in the short-term I can always make it back gambling online :).

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

JohnyDog (129809) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955161)

Congress passes a law to protect US citizens from unscrupulous gambling operations that are not subject to the same kind of regulations that Casinos in the U.S. must meet

How is this so ? As you say, this is US law and so applies only to US companies, which are *already* subject to these regulations and standards. Last time i checked internet was full of non-US gambling sites, and this law doesn't do a shit to protect US citizens from any of them (unless such site operators are stupid enough to put their feet on US soil).

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955181)

Ever wonder why the US is or at least used to be so very careful about treaties and treaty obligations? Here's a great example.

Congress passes a law to protect US citizens from unscrupulous gambling operations that are not subject to the same kind of regulations that Casinos in the U.S. must meet -- and the world responds via the WTO by trying to extort $100 Billion dollars from the U.S. -- which means taking money from every citizen and company in the U.S. that pays taxes to support offshore companies right to not live up to regulations that make it more difficult to cheat the gamblers out of all their money -- and each of us will pay for that whether we as individuals or companies gamble or not.

Though not hopeful, I think the U.S. in this case should tell the WTO to go pound rocks.

You are missing the big picture.
The idea of making a treaty is that all part respect it.
If you are not going to respect it , you should not sign it.
Those treaties are pillars of the US economy. The money comes from the outside, and mostly due to regulated trade, like copyrighted, or patent protected stuff.

Treaties have the issue that you have to give something in order to take what if offered.

Of course the US could try protecting their economy only through military force, and not treaties, but it's not a sensible thing to do. That seems to be your way of seeing the issue. Anyway, they are going that way already, making all treaties optional for the US, let's see how it goes.

I am just happy that my country refused an FTA with the US, because I could see that kind of thing happening. The US forces you to comply with their odd view of "intellectual property", but doesn't feel obligated to give anything in return. In this case the issue was that they want a "F"TA that allows subsidies in the US for our main exports. Luckily our new government didn't feel forced to sign the FTA that was being negotiated. This kind of non compliance is to be expected.

Ten bucks says... (2, Funny)

mdobossy (674488) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954557)

... Ten bucks says, the US gov never pays up.

Re:Ten bucks says... (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954639)

For $100Bn, it would probably be cheaper to "bring democracy to" Antigua. They should be careful what they wish for, soon those foreign online gambling organizations will find themselves with links to Al Qaeda they never knew they had. I also hear they are seeking to build nuclear weapons.

In before "troll" mod.

My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute (4, Funny)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954567)

They were originally going to fine the US $1 million, but were informed that this was not much money at all.

And (3, Insightful)

Archades54 (925582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954597)

Who enforces this fine?

Re:And (3, Informative)

bentcd (690786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954925)

Who enforces this fine?
As I understand it, WTO sanctions can typically be enforced by member nations putting in place tariffs on goods imported from the sanctioned member. That is, Belgium might demand a 50% additional tariff on foodstuffs imported from the US in order to fill up "its" part of the fine. (I have no idea if Belgium is involved or not.)

Re:And (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954961)

Who enforces this fine?


All the affected countries. It's done the same way that other international trade disputes are solved: countries start putting extra import duties on products exported from the USA, the final result will be increased unemployment in the US.

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20955079)

Blackwater contractors

If I were a betting man... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954605)

...I'd say that any members of the WTO who file suit will be identified as enemy combatants and wind up in Gitmo.

The world couldn't stop the US from invading Iraq based on non-existent WMD; who thinks that the US gov't would pay any foreign-levied fine of $100B?

Re:If I were a betting man... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955123)

Nope. But the world can in fact severely hamper the USA's ability to do business. And yes, if you take that scenario all the way the end result might indeed involve clattering(or god forbid, usage) of weapons. I wonder if any of the countries that make sure the american fleet of cars, ships, trucks etc. keep running by providing fuel are in this group of countries.

After IwoJima comes a new place to raise the flag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954669)

In just a few weeks all the wise Antiguan people will say: "I for one welcome our new M-16A4 wielding american overlords!"

As Ronald Reagen said America never apologizes! I also heard there are some nutmeg trees growing on Antigua and those are just as essential to making eggnog, as oil is essential to our car-based culture. We have to secure the free world's strategic resources! The WTO is free to choose sides as it sees fit, of course.

My dick! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20954737)

I can't fit it up my ass!
-Cory Doctorow

So tell me... (0)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954767)

China gets away with banning what they don't like. Why does the U.S. get fined eleventy billion dollars for doing the same? Maybe I'll put some Nazi memorabilia on Ebay Germany then fine them eleventy billion dollars when they ban me. BC

Re:So tell me... (4, Interesting)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954887)

It's because we didn't actually ban gambling. If the U.S. had just banned all forms of gambling, that would have been fine and the WTO would have accepted that with no problems. But instead, we banned only certain specific forms of gambling (e.g. Internet poker and casino games) while specifically allowing others (e.g. brick and mortar casinos, horse and dog racing, fantasy sports betting) and even protecting some as a governmental monopoly (state lotteries). It's the U.S.'s schizophrenic way of simultaneously banning and allowing gambling that's had the Antigua and the WTO complaining for so long.

Re:So tell me... (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955111)

China bans it internally as well as externally. Same with Germany: It doesn't matter if you are German citizen or not in that example.

The US in this case only bans it if you are not in the US. Which is exactly what the treaty the US signed with the WTO said we won't do. (Not just on gambling.) If the law applied equally to US and non-US gambling there would be no problem.

The WTO does not have a problem with any of their member nations banning something. It only has a problem when you try to shut other countries out of your markets intentionally, while keeping the local companies in them. This is the point of the WTO, and it benifits the US in many cases. It's why the USA pushed for the formation of the WTO, and for countries to sign the treaty the US violated.

The US is being stupid, and is going to pay for it. It is that simple. If the US wanted to ban online gambling, then it should ban online gambling, not just everyone else's online gambling.

This reminds me of something (1)

slackoon (997078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954793)

Dr. Evil: "That's a number. Okay then. We hold the world ransom for.....One hundred..BILLION DOLLARS!!"

In related news... (2, Informative)

Cleon (471197) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954811)

The Poker Player's Alliance is encouraging people to fly to Washington DC for two days [pokerplayersalliance.org] later this month to lobby congresscritters for legal online poker.

I dunno if the WTO's statement will help or hurt this effort, to be honest. There might be a backlash.

This is Bogus - What about other goods? (-1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954859)

The US changed its policy, and withdrew gambling from its free trade commitments The only thing wrong with this is that it should have never been on the list of commitments to begin with.

Luckily, the WTO has no army or ability to enforce its rulings, so they can GTFO.

The WTO needs no army... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955145)

the WTO has no army or ability to enforce its rulings


Would you like to see about 194,000 examples [google.com] of the true power of the WTO?

100 billion?!?! (1)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954865)

how about we give them a "gift certificate" instead, entitling the bearer to:

1 (one) free US-led invasion of the nation of their choice. the US will occupy said nation for up to 4 months or until 100 billion has been spent, whichever comes first. If the bearer so desires, the US will track down, pull from a spider hole, and try said nation's leader in a kangaroo court, and his/her subsequent execution will constitute fulfillment of this offer regardless of the occupation time elapsed.

Re:100 billion?!?! (1)

bulldog060 (992160) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954991)

2 questions: 1) would said certificate allow the bearer to invade their own country? 2) can we give it to a clinton?

Re:100 billion?!?! (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955193)

A more interesting question: would it allow an invasion of the US?

Odds? (1)

moehoward (668736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954963)


I bet you a million dollars that they'll never see a dime of that money.

You can pay me when we meet at the river boat gambling joint. I'll be there after I pick up some lottery tickets on my way back from the horse racing track.

USA is a Sovereign Nation (1)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954985)

Crap like this is why people are against "world government". The USA is a sovereign nation and we have a right to ban gambling if we choose to do so. Here we have a bunch of clowns at the WTO telling us that our laws are invalid and we MUST allow internet gambling.

Re:USA is a Sovereign Nation (1)

moehoward (668736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955179)


I think you would not disagree that gambling is a form of trade.

We allow gambling. Like, a whole lot of it too. Some states allow Internet gambling.

The government can't figure out how to make money off of Internet gambling, so under immense pressure from the gambling industry, they banned certain types of Internet gambling. This is a very clear violation of certain treaties that we have signed. So, we need to be punished. It is a pretty big no-brainer. If you don't like it, then withdraw from the WTO and unsign the treaties. Otherwise, you are a freaking moron to not be able to see the obvious here.

Well.... (1)

Llian (615902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955017)

The issue as I see it is that the US says one thing and does another, and to be blunt, the rest of the world has had a gutfull. Yes, some things the US does ARE good, but most shit they do is simply to enrich a few who dont need it.

"Oh no! Offshore casino's are going to take the money WE wanted to steal from our people!" (Maybe not steal as people give the moeny away.)

Against offshore casinos? Why not against offshore call centres? Why not against sending alot of your jobs, jobs that the US citizens should have offshore? Why? Because the rich dont complain about getting money back in their pocket and the average US citizen is too arrogant (I've spoken with about 5 IRL and thats enough to form my own biased opinion :P )to say "Hold on a minute...". Yeah its nice to have a 'powerful' country and be able to tell the world to f**k off, but don't complain when the rest of the world says f**k you, be fined $100B.

Take a number. (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955047)

We'll just add that $100 billion to the national debt. The check's in the mail ... really!

From the other side of the fence (5, Informative)

WibbleOnMars (1129233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955095)

The thing is here that the US has been very very aggressive in enforcing WTO rules when they're in its favour. It's all very well saying how terrible the WTO is in this case, but trust me, the rest of the world has been saying pretty much the same thing every time a ruling goes the other way, and the US wins fair trade in something somewhere. The fact here is that the US allows online gambling. But only if the gambling company is based in the US. The justification given is that gaming companies outside the US aren't regulated, but this is a false argument: external companies could easily be required to conform to US regulations when they operate in the US, but the US has chosen to ban them entirely. This is against the rules. Every other country in the world that allows online gambling is forced to allow US online gambling companies to operate in their country. Why should the US be any different? To put it another way, let's apply it to another industry.... let's say.... selling software online. And put the same conditions in place: Now US-based software companies are free to sell in the US, provided they conform to US law, but offshore all software companies are banned from selling in the US, on the grounds that they might not conform to US law. I work for a software house based outside the US that sells software to US-based firms. If we were banned from operating in the US, while our US-based competitors were allowed to operate there, as well as compete with us in our own country, we would be justifiably upset. This is the position that offshore gambling companies are in now. They're happy to comply with US regulation, but that just isn't enough; the US won't allow them to operate. The point is that for fair trade, the same rules must be applied to onshore and offshore companies. If the US did this, there would be no suit.

Re:From the other side of the fence (1)

WibbleOnMars (1129233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955151)

Oh, @#$! -- Slashdot ate my carriage-returns. I didn't type it like that, honest! :-(

Sounds like... (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955159)

Sounds like someone needs a little dose of American style freedom and democracy! Bomb them back into the stone age and then monitor all their phone calls.

This is a job for Decider Man!

Better Hurry! (1)

DukeLinux (644551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20955189)

They better hurry while the U.S. Dollar still has any value left. Maybe we can use gambling proceeds to pay for it......
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>