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Push To End Online Gambling Ban Gains Steam

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the letting-the-chips-fall dept.

Government 206

The Washington Post updates a story we discussed last spring about a push in the Democratic-controlled congress to legalize some forms of Internet gambling in the US. "Partly bankrolled by offshore gambling companies, the campaign has already persuaded the Obama administration to delay enforcement of a 2006 law cracking down on Internet wagers. ... The federal government, which rarely prosecutes online gambling, would net billions of dollars in tax and licensing revenue if it were legalized, proponents say. ... The outlook on Capitol Hill, however, is uncertain given a slate of unfinished business... [and] nervousness among Democrats about November midterm challenges. ... [A politically conservative poker player said] 'There's a part of the party that always believes this isn't something people should do. But I think it behooves the party to be a little more broad-minded on this issue.'"

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Legalizing it just moves it overseas (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059792)

If you make online gambling lawful, it just gives the online casinos incentive to go overseas to avoid paying any tax whatsoever.

As opposite to making them unlawful ? (3, Insightful)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059812)

... as opposite to making them unlawful ?

I do not understand, if they make it unlawful it still gives the same incentives, isn't it ?

Re:As opposite to making them unlawful ? (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060510)

... as opposite to making them unlawful ?

I do not understand, if they make it unlawful it still gives the same incentives, isn't it ?

No because the traditional way to enforce the ban on gambling has been to make all gambling debts unenforceable in court. You lose, you don't pay, the casino can't do anything.

If you legalize it, then it means the debts can be pursued in local courts, your wages garnished, your possessions seized.

Legal online gambling is a bad idea. When casino's open theft crimes go up. With the rise of indian gaming casino's we've done this experiment over and over. It's not arguable that casino's drain money out of a community in a way that is harmful. The only people who gain, are the big mecca casino's that get money from people outside of their local community.

If you legalize it on-line, it will flow over seas. Which direction will if flow? it doesn't matter. All it does is hurt most communities.

Re:As opposite to making them unlawful ? (3, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060758)

Games of chance and the lottery are a tax on people who are poor at math, and I wholeheartedly support it.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059830)

If you make online gambling lawful, it just gives the online casinos incentive to go overseas to avoid paying any tax whatsoever.

I continue to be impressed by your talents though this isn't your usual fare. This is clearly true because we all know that making online gambling illegal gives online casinos incentive to stay in the US. It's like if we legalized pot smoking in K-12 school. It would encourage students to smoke off campus due to the taxes!

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059852)

The difference being that you can't offshore your pot dealing activities due to your clients not being there. He may have a point, given that there is another location where they can a) set up large datacenters, b) get decent connectivity to the US, c) not pay taxes and d) not get their asses prosecuted.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059900)

But what makes that different to the current situation in the US? Is it illegal for US citizens (while in the US) to gamble online at sites hosted elsewhere in the world? Given the amount of spam I get for online casinos (with most of the sign-up bonuses quoted in dollars) I assumed it was not, but I'm wiling to be proved wrong.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (2)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059968)

I have no idea wether or not it's legal, not being a USian myself, but the amount of spam about a subject generally bears no relation to it's legality.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (3, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060098)

Yes, it's illegal to gamble online in the US. The primary method of enforcement is via credit card payments; the banks that issue the cards are in the US, so the law can reach them.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061000)

It is not illegal to gamble (except sports betting) online in the US on the federal level (though laws may differ in individual states). The Federal Wire Act of 1961 is the closest legislation to internet gambling, though interpretation of this law by the US Court of Appeals ruled it applies only to sports betting, not other forms of online betting. The UIGEA made it illegal (in very vague terms) for any bank or financial institution to process payments to/from a gambling site. This effectively chokes out internet gambling without making it illegal.

Lets not forget the obvious gambling you can do over the internet like buying lottery tickets or horse racing.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059930)

From the viewpoint of the government, it is still better to get a small share of the taxes than none whatsoever.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060732)

It's like if we legalized pot smoking in K-12 school.

Ironically, it's easier for a twelve year old to buy pot than it is for me to. As an adult, I could be the Secret Police ("undercover"), but not a twelve year old.

You can buy pot in any high school, but not beer. That should tell people something about their misguided drug laws, which cause the very problems they purport to solve. The same goes for gambling, prostitution, and other victimless crimes.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (3, Interesting)

wurble (1430179) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060514)

One of the problems with overseas casinos is lack of oversight. With no oversight, there's a very good chance that the casino you are logged into will cheat. After all, why not? What have they got to lose? It's not like you can report them to some authority. Heck, even online poker they can throw in a house hand that wins in addition to taking a cut of the pot officially. Nothing to stop them.

So what does legalizing it in the US get? It allows for oversight. Sure some places will break or bend the rules, but there will be risk in that for them so it's less likely. At the very least it wouldn't likely be rampant like it is with overseas online casinos. Any online casino based in the US would be regulated by local, state, and federal gambling boards. These boards would work to ensure payout percentages, and check for cheating. it'd be tougher than regulating brick and mortar casinos, but some oversight and regulation is better than none.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060630)

One of the problems with overseas casinos is lack of oversight. With no oversight, there's a very good chance that the casino you are logged into will cheat ...

LOL, yer that's right. The only way casinos can make money is by cheating ... er, have you ever been to Vegas?

lmfao!

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (2, Interesting)

wurble (1430179) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060780)

Nice straw man.

I was arguing that without any disincentive, casinos will cheat. Then you said casinos can make money without cheating. Where in my post did I say that casinos can't make money without cheating? I wasn't talking about whether or not a casino can make money without cheating, I was talking about reasons why a casino would NOT cheat. Casinos are businesses. The purpose of a business is to make money. More specifically to make as much money as possible. A simple risk benefit analysis will clearly show that if there are no repercussions for cheating, then it is in the casino's best interest to cheat. They will find the optimal balance between cheating and playing fairly to keep players playing but steal as much as they can from them.

In Vegas, it is rare for casinos to cheat because the penalty for doing so and the likelihood of being caught are both high. This risk outweighs any potential increase in revenue. So by and large, they don't cheat. The rules are fair and clearly posted for all to see.

But, if you own an online casino, why in the world would you play fair? Why wouldn't you cheat? There is no risk of being caught and no penalty if you are caught. The reward however is greatly increased income over what you already make. Money is good, more money is better. The only thing you have to worry about is word getting around that you cheat and thus driving away players. With carefully crafted cheating combined with some astroturfing and shills, you can easily avoid that.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (2, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060850)

And in vegas there is a massive industry around the process of verification of the accuracy of the odds and ensuring that the house does not stack the odds below the prescribed limits and laws about how they operate.

Re:Legalizing it just moves it overseas (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061150)

If you make online gambling lawful, it just gives the online casinos incentive to go overseas to avoid paying any tax whatsoever.

What? who said they couldn't make it legal for U.S. based companies and illegal for offshore ones?

At UK sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059798)

Bet on he US end of online gambling ban. Best odd guarenteed...
Yes (6/1)
No (2/5)

Re:At UK sites (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059838)

Bet on he US end of online gambling ban.

You betcha.

Re:At UK sites (2, Funny)

gazbo (517111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059918)

I'll put £10,000 on yes, and £50,000 on no, please.

Re:At UK sites (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060450)

I wager that this is supposed to be funny, but could a soul more well versed in betting explain why?

Re:At UK sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060530)

Yes pays 6 to 1, No pays 2 to 5.

If yes:
10K*6 - 50K = 10K
(50K is what you lost betting on No)

If No:
50K * 2/5 - 10K = 10K
(10K is what you lost betting on Yes)

Either way, you gain 10K.

Re:At UK sites (1)

takev (214836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060558)

If you don't play:
10,000 + 50,000 = 60,000

If the result is "yes":
10,000 + 10,000 * 6/1 = 70,000 (original stake + winnings)

If the result is "no":
50,000 + 50,000 * 2/5 = 70,000 (original stake + winnings)

In this case it is always good to bet, because you will always win 10,000.

Re:At UK sites (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060586)

"Funny" may be pushing it a bit. The odds he offered were 6/1 for yes, and 2/5 for no. If I bet £10 on yes and win, I get 6 times my stake in winnings, plus my stake returned for a total of £70. If I bet £50 on no and win, I get 2/5 times my stake in winnings, plus my stake returned, also for a total of £70. So if I bet on both yes and no, then I'm guaranteed to get £70 back, despite only having staked £60. Obviously this scales linearly with a higher stake.

This does (very) occasionally happen in real life - two different bookmakers set their own odds, so by betting yes with one bookie, and no with the other, you can guarantee a profit. Usually much smaller than the percentage offered here. It's known as arbitrage betting.

Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059848)

It's harder to regulate, and easier for people to get addicted and gamble away all their assets at home.

I'd much rather online gambling remain banned, and we unban brick and mortar casinos across the country. At least the latter can be regulated, brings money into the local economy, and gets people out of the house.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059866)

It's harder to regulate, and easier for people to get addicted and gamble away all their assets at home.

This seems like a self-regulating feedback loop, actually.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059874)

..and creates lots of jobs.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059894)

It's harder to regulate, and easier for people to get addicted and gamble away all their assets at home.

So, are you trying to ban etrade.com and "flipping houses"? Or is risk taking in general ok, and you just want to impose your peculiar morality about playing cards on others?

I'm not sure how its easier to get addicted to gambling at home. I can tell you don't have a spouse, house, and little kids, as god knows I can't accomplish any tasks at home anymore. Back in the bachelor apartment days, well yeah, maybe, and in addition to spare time, I also had more available cash to "gamble". D-n-D, watching sports, and MMORPGs suffer the same fate.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (0, Troll)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060128)

"So, are you trying to ban etrade.com and "flipping houses"? Or is risk taking in general ok, and you just want to impose your peculiar morality about playing cards on others?"

They are not the same, Equities are investments, I don't know of any gambling site that pays dividends, do you?

"flipping houses" is more in line with gambling but that's the fault of the house flippers, buying a place to live is what buying housing is supposed to be for, the house can be used in myriad of different useful ways. But allowing legalized gambling with what are essentially criminals what exactly does that add to society?

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060156)

You seem to be suggesting that anyone who takes a bet must by definition be a criminal.
,br> Is your local convenience store run by criminals?

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060292)

They are not the same, Equities are investments, I don't know of any gambling site that pays dividends, do you?

Do you know of any futures contracts that pay dividends? Or 1999 style dot coms that paid dividends?

Financial futures markets are legal gambling...

Speculation is gambling by another name.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060654)

The difference between the Finance sector and Casinos is that in the Finance sector it is more common for "professionals" to gamble with OTHER people's money. If they win, they get a big bonus. If they lose small, they still get paid. If they lose big, at worst they have to change jobs. If everyone loses big, they get a bail out (and might still get bonuses).

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

Nevyn (5505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060932)

"So, are you trying to ban etrade.com and "flipping houses"? Or is risk taking in general ok, and you just want to impose your peculiar morality about playing cards on others?"

They are not the same, Equities are investments, I don't know of any gambling site that pays dividends, do you?

Talk to the people who bought Bank of America stock at $40+. See if they think there is any "gambling" (or more commonly called risk in this context) in equities. Might want to ask them how their wonderful dividends are doing too.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060964)

So buying a stock that doesn't pay a dividend is gambling, but buying one that does isn't?

What about buying a stock that pays a dividend with the intention to sell it in the near future without ever holding it on a dividend date?

Those activities should be made illegal I take it?

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (0, Troll)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060158)

So, are you trying to ban etrade.com and "flipping houses"? Or is risk taking in general ok, and you just want to impose your peculiar morality about playing cards on others?

Kind of a straw man, eh? A key feature of gambling against the house is that, over the long run, the house will always take its cut. The more you play, the more you lose. Not all risk-taking involving money is like that - you can make tons of money in the stock market, for example, if you do it right.

It seems like poker, played against other RL opponents, would be outside the bounds of this, although there's no guarantee that you won't be stuck at a table with a bunch of other people colluding to take your money (or one person playing several seats).

I also had more available cash to "gamble"

A fairly common event in the lives of addicted gamblers is to gamble cash that you don't have available. Since you'd be bankrolling yourself with credit cards rather than really shady loans, you also don't have the demotivating factor of Vinnie showing up to break your kneecaps when you don't pay up.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060314)

A key feature of gambling against the house is that, over the long run, the house will always take its cut.

Aka sales commission

http://www.flipkart.com/customers-yachts-schwed-fred-jr/0471770892-1xw3frp8bb [flipkart.com]

"The title refers to a story about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts of the bankers and brokers. Naively, he asked where all the customers' yachts were? Of course, none of the customers could afford yachts, even though they dutifully followed the advice of their bankers and brokers."

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (0, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060346)

you also don't have the demotivating factor of Vinnie showing up to break your kneecaps when you don't pay up.

Yeah, but at least Vinnie can't get Uncle Sam to bail him out when he makes a series of stupid decisions and runs his business into the ground.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1, Troll)

BadBlood (134525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060390)

It seems like poker, played against other RL opponents, would be outside the bounds of this, although there's no guarantee that you won't be stuck at a table with a bunch of other people colluding to take your money (or one person playing several seats).

No guarantee, but there are plenty of safeguards. The two biggest online poker sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt, each take colluding very seriously and if a player suspects something, they are encouraged to report it. With respect to one person playing several seats, there are also ways to detect and prevent that too. The above two risks you mention are very minimal and not really something to worry about at all.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060272)

So, are you trying to ban etrade.com and "flipping houses"? Or is risk taking in general ok, and you just want to impose your peculiar morality about playing cards on others?

This is a tempting philosophical generalization, but there is a critical difference between gambling and your other examples of risk-taking. Trading securities has an element of supporting the work of the company involved: you are supporting constructive industry, whether you end up with a gain or a loss on your "bet" in the market. Flipping houses has an element of physical maintenance on the property: it's hard to earn any profit without at least trimming the bushes, and many flippers put significantly more elbow grease into the property so it will command a higher price. In the case of betting on whether you get three Queens in a random selection of cards, there is no constructive aspect. It is for this reason that many of the ancient religions forbid the activity, and as we all know, ancient religions still hold particular sway over the majority of mankind.

You might be able to tell that I'm not keen on the hocus-pocus of the church. Hey, I sell a bumper sticker that says "if electricity comes from electrons, what does morality come from?" Yet at times, I do think that some of the shamans, some of the time, actually were trying to keep most of their flock's creative urges aimed at constructive endeavors instead of destructive and wasteful ones.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1, Troll)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060590)

Trading securities has an element of supporting the work of the company involved: you are supporting constructive industry, whether you end up with a gain or a loss on your "bet" in the market.

I suggest you research financial futures trading, commodity futures trading, currency futures trading, all of which are legal and no different than betting on whom gets three queens, and re-evaluate your position. Also if a company is not issuing stock, but is paying its $0.5M/yr exchange fee, its not necessarily constructively making money, not all that different from selling bonds or taking out a commercial loan and paying interest, could be constructive but not necessarily, nor is it the only way to raise money for constructive purposes.

Hey, I sell a bumper sticker that says "if electricity comes from electrons, what does morality come from?"

I like that. Google shows you're not alone. We can have nearly identical beliefs yet given dramatically different input data, get opposite conclusions. That's not indicative of a philosophical difference as you originally claim.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059920)

It's harder to regulate, and easier for people to get addicted and gamble away all their assets at home.

They're going to lose it one way or another. If they're true gambling addicts, they'd have no problems either road-tripping it out to a reservation casino or flying out to Vegas. In any case, their own ruination is their own business - it's not the G-man's business to step in and say they can't.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (4, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059924)

Mmmm. The same can be said about all e-commerce. Or all e-anything, pretty much. Do you want to ban the internet ?

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (5, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059964)

1) Online gambling is no more difficult to regulate than brick-and-mortar casinos. If it were, you wouldn't have sports books and race tracks across the country taking wagers from people who are not onsite. Allowing the same thing to happen from someone's home is just a difference of degree, not of kind.

2) By making it legal, you make it possible to enforce monitoring of behaviors. Since players in the US would have to provide their SSNs for tax purposes, a central database of players could be maintained by the government (it would pretty much have to exist, again for tax purposes). That same database could be used to spot problem gamblers and steer them towards help. (Note that I personally am against this idea, but recognize it's inevitability.)

3) There is no third point.

4) I second the call for unbanning gambling in more areas. I live in North Texas, and the police in most of the towns here spend way, way too much time raiding private poker rooms, when they should be focusing on crimes with actual victims (if you voluntarily take part in something, by definition you cannot be a victim).

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060038)

when they should be focusing on crimes with actual victims (if you voluntarily take part in something, by definition you cannot be a victim)

Two problems:

1) Best contemplate "malpractice" and "restaurant/grocery food safety laws" before making a victim definition. Also unless you were forced at gunpoint to drive, a drunk driver could not be responsible for your death because you were voluntarily driving.

2) The problem in your situation is the cops confusing "private poker rooms" as being the evil to be eradicated, being unable to punish the "private poker room" itself, so they just lash out at whomever is nearby, such as the people in attendance. Its similar to the gun control problem, where some morons think the problem is the inanimate object itself so they lash out at the innocent people nearby it, such as the law abiding citizen whom purchased the object (gun). Classic "to save the village we had to destroy the village" thinking.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (3, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061132)

Did you volunteer for your doctor to cut off the wrong leg? No.

Did you voluntarily eat contaminated food (hint: you can't volunteer for something you didn't know existed)? No.

Did you ask that drunk driver to smash into your car at 80 mph? Of course not.

You really need to think about what the word "volunteer" means before trying to say I'm using it incorrectly.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060816)

(if you voluntarily take part in something, by definition you cannot be a victim).

That's an absurd statement. If I voluntarily play a game of poker in some guy's garage, and he cheats, am I not a victim? If I buy stock in a company that falsified their bookkeeping, am I not a victim? If you voluntarily take part in a game that's called "You Are Guaranteed To Lose Your Money. And We Really Mean That. You Will Not Win." then maybe you would be correct, but that is never the case. By your logic if I voluntarily went outside and got murdered I wouldn't be a victim, because everyone knows there is some small chance that you can get murdered whenever you go outside.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061094)

You can't voluntarily take part in fraud. Which renders all of your examples moot.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059980)

It's harder to regulate

Why should gambling be regulated at all? Cheating is fraud, that's already illegal. With illegal gambling, fraud is harder to prosecute, since the victim is also breaking the law.

and easier for people to get addicted and gamble away all their assets at home

It's not up to government to keep you from eating too much, drinking too much, or gambling too much. It should not be government's role to protect you from yourself, government's role should protect you from ME. You would like them to outlaw McDonald's because too many people can't help but shove so much junk food down their gullets that they become unhealthily obese? I supppose you want to outlaw World of Warcraft because some people screw their lives up with that? Outlaw alcohol because some people are alcoholics?

If you have a problem with gambling, that's a personal problem, not a public problem and is non of my or government's business.

and gets people out of the house

Dude, this is slashdot. Most of us don't even come out of the basement. HIBT?

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060100)

Why should gambling be regulated at all? Cheating is fraud, that's already illegal.

Money Laundering. Oddly enough, I always lose when I play my dealer / loanshark.

Given a free and open market you don't need regulation, since the free market will clean it up. However, the whole point of gambling is working on limited and hidden information. Hence its inherently impossible to have a free market in gambling. Hence we need regulation.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060696)

Money Laundering

Without victimless crimes we wouldn't have to worry about money laundering.

Given a free and open market you don't need regulation

Tell that to the people who died of salmonella last year from the poison peanut products. The worst part there was that the regulations weren't being enforced properly. If they had been, the filthy factory would have been shut down and nobody would have gotten sick.

You're against OSHA? OSHA protects you from unscrupulous employers. Had OSHA existed in 1959 my grandfather would have lived long enough to retire. How about the EPA? Before the Clean Air Act you couldn't drive past a Monsanto plant with your windows down; the air was so bad you couldn't breathe.

Even in a free market some things still need to be regulated.

However, the whole point of gambling is working on limited and hidden information. Hence its inherently impossible to have a free market in gambling. Hence we need regulation.

Your logic is faulty, unless you're saying you need regulations to keep the house from cheating. And all businesses rely on some limited and hidden information; that's how you keep one-up on your competetion. Pepsi and Coke rely on their soda formulas being secret.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (0, Offtopic)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060190)

It's not up to government to keep you from eating too much, drinking too much

You do realize that the government taxes alcohol at a rate higher than most other products, right? It's only a matter of time before some jackass politician gets the notion that we should do the same for food that they perceive is bad for you.

The nanny state has already arrived. Some people [slashdot.org] think that we should continue to expand it [slashdot.org] and don't realize the inherent contradiction between turning to the government for help and wanting the government to stay out of our lives.

Totally wrong (-1, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060358)

government's role should protect you from ME

It is, that's why we want to ban your gambling sites. Gambling is just another way to screw with poor people, that don't need to be screwed with.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060500)

>t's not up to government to keep you from eating too much, drinking too much, or gambling too much.
Really? And do you expect me to pay for your medical care, psychological care an rehab, not to mention lost productivity and revenue by having an otherwise productive person out of circulation?

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060996)

Until I no longer have to fund health care for people who have no willpower at McDonalds, they are hurting me.

we need more sports books like the race books then (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060108)

we need more sports books like the race books then and some states now have online Horse betting.

Re:we need more sports books like the race books t (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060178)

Vegas has an exclusive on sports betting. Its actually a federal law, believe it or not.

Re:we need more sports books like the race books t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061014)

Actually it's no longer exclusive. You can now parlay NFL games in Delaware. They also had an exemption in the law and recently decided to exercise it.

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060116)

It's harder to regulate, and easier for people to get addicted and gamble away all their assets at home.

You can not legislate away stupidity. The stupid will always innovate. On the other hand, if you believe that gambling addiction is a disease... well you certainly can't legislate away disease either.

Finally if you think the way to go is banning an activity that a small portion of the populace may have a problem with, so that the larger populace as a whole who find enjoyment in the activity are locked out of said activity, please let me know when you run for office so I can go out of my way to help someone else get elected...

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060300)

Better for them to go broke online, than run up a debt with a local bookie who'll have their legs broken if they don't pay up.

-jcr

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060826)

We should also ban drinking alcohol at home. After all there's no bartender to stop serving you when you have had enough.

And we should ban trading stocks from home. Heck, they let you buy on margin something no gambling site I know about does.

And don't get me started on those currency trading sites - have you seen the margins they essentially require.

In the case of gambling it is much better that our problem gamblers end up at unregulated (by the US) online casinos run out of tax haven countries (read very easy book keeping rules). With all the revenue staying out of the country and none of it being declared to the IRS or under their jurisdiction. Or is creating a China style "Great Firewall of the United States" part of your preference?

Re:Online gambling is a bad idea. (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060954)

I agree. Internet gambling, like all gambling, is a terrible idea. Because the odds are always tilted in the house's favor, you lost the moment you type in a URL or cross the physical threshold. Gambling preys on the poor, the weak, and the stupid, and I don't like the idea of living in a society where it's not only right, but justifiable to take advantage of another man's desperation.

That said, banning gambling itself causes harm: it leads to intrusive regulation, jail sentences for otherwise-productive people, and resentment of the government. The harm caused by the ban exceeds the harm of gambling itself, and so reluctantly and grudgingly, I'm forced to oppose the ban.

That said, there are things we can do to discourage gambling without banning it outright. The tax code is part of the solution. I'd also be in favor of levying a special tax on gambling houses (physical or online), and using that money to run anti-gambling advertisements, and to fund gambling addiction programs.

Behoove? (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059854)

I'd like to come to this behooving party...

Re:Behoove? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059902)

It might behoove you to crack open a dictionary once in a while.

Re:Behoove? (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060014)

But I think it behooves the party to be a little more broad-minded on this issue

You need some more coffee, there's nothing whatever wrong with tha sentence, except maybe the dash between "broad" and "minded".

I'm broad-minded; my mind is always on broads.

Gains steam, eh? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059880)

Sounds like a bunch of hot air to me (probably with the goal of making the eventual legalization seem like an inevitability rather than the results of bribery).

stock market (3, Insightful)

duckintheface (710137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059884)

We already have internet gambling. I gu

Re:stock market (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059966)

We already have internet gambling. I gu

Well, I can't argue with that.

Two serious problem areas with defining internet gambling:

1) Yahoo, etc, used to have online gaming for various games of chance. If you let people select their opponents, I have no idea how you prevent people from playing for money. Example is a bunch of coworkers figure out how to play each other and settle up the cash later. I have been involved in this general class of activity, more than a decade ago. Major hint: If your screen name is obviously a dude people leave you alone, and if your screen name is obviously a female then people will never leave you alone (constant invites to join game, requests for pics, etc).

2) What about intrade.com? Instead of betting on who has a pair of kings or whatever, you bet on futures contracts for "will avatar (aka dances with smurfs) win an oscar"? This is another area of online gambling I've been involved in. Not much different than financial futures trading, which is legal.

3) I have no idea how to prevent collusion and back channel communication in online gambling. Playing partner-type games online for free my wife and I got several angry accusations about this, because our screen names made it obvious we lived together. We didn't cheat, because why cheat in a "free" game, but everyone else sure thought we did. Of course the real cheaters would not do something that obvious. Even in non-partner games it can be an immense strategic gain to share "secret" data.

foreign corporations (-1, Offtopic)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059928)

Partly bankrolled by offshore gambling companies, the campaign has already persuaded the Obama administration to delay enforcement of a 2006 law cracking down on Internet wagers

But President Obama said in his State of the Union speech that political influence from foreign corporations was a bad thing. And yet his own administration is open to their influence, after all? Was he just lying in his speech? 'Cause I would be shocked, shocked!, to find out that was the case.

MOD UP! Not offtopic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060486)

This bothers me too, even though most of these offshore companies are probably owned by Americans.

Why? (2, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059938)

I mean generally, yes, we don't need judges wasting their time with this shit, but this is no time to be legalizing what is essentially a formalized 419 scheme.

If it's online, you're basically guaranteed to lose, because the house can rig the game so easily it's not even funny. In a real casino they at least have to maintain the appearance that you have a chance of winning something.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060034)

If its in real life you're basically guaranteed to lose because its gambling and everybody knows they don't pay out more than they take in. Shut up, grow up, let people do what they want with their money. If they don't know gambling is for fun and not a way to make money then how long do you expect them to hang on to their money anyway?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060066)

You have obviously not done any gambling online. A large percentage, perhaps even the majority of online gambling, is poker. When you go to an online poker site, you are not playing against the house/online gambling site. You are playing against other players, and the gambling site gets its money by charging a fee, a percentage of the buy in in a tournament or a percentage of the pot.

Of course there is no 100% guarantee that the online gambling site is not putting an employee that can see the cards in on a table, but that would really net them so little money in comparison to hosting 100's or even thousands of tables simultaneously, and getting their little fee from each of them. Not the mention the damage to their reputation if it were discovered (there is great competition amongst online poker sites.)

Re:Why? (0, Offtopic)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060200)

One person could conceivably handle dozens of bots simultaneously, providing clearly human smack-talk so that everyone thinks the bot is just another guy.

As for the actual game, if the bot has perfect information, playing it is trivial. I don't know why you think you'd need a real person.

Re:Why? (1)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060338)

It is actually a little bit more complicated than that. I learned and played no limit holdem online for about two months, and the dynamics of the game are really intense, really deep, and really complicated. A bot that won every winning hand it was dealt would be easily spotted. Maybe not by the players that aren't that good, but those players generally play at the low stakes table, thus defeating the bot's earnings potential. It is undoubtedly in the interest of the poker site operators to find and eliminate all cheaters, and maintain their good reputation and cash flow, which comes from having people logged in, playing games, as much as possible. If poker site X is cheating, then I will go to poker site Y, which is no different except their table graphics are a little different, and the buttons to bet fold or call are in different spots on my screen.

Of course, at the present time, only a limited number of online poker sites offer accounts to people residing in the US, presumably because of the laws the US has in place. Meaning if you sign up for an account with one, you cannot cash out to a US bank account. You would have to have a foreign bank account or work with a friend, and then we get into the issue of money laundering and even bigger crimes and punishments.

Re:Why? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061030)

Obviously you don't want the bot to win 100% of the time, but making it win at a much higher than average rate is child's play. And the point is you won't be able to distinguish between a bot and a good player if there was a person doing some orchestration.

Re:Why? (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060096)

If it's online, you're basically guaranteed to lose, because the house can rig the game so easily it's not even funny.

I guess auditing their code would be impossible, after all, they certainly don't do that for banks and casinos..

Re:Why? (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060278)

Why would the house, online or otherwise, bother rigging a game that is already in their favor in the first place? That would be rigging it twice. If anything, an online casino should be able to give you better odds (still bad odds though) because they don't have to pay for a building, dealers, etc.

March of The Plebs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059956)

I think I can pick up something visual. It's a news broadcast using a system I think they once called video.
Television was the colloquial term. Put it on the screen. Right. Today police rounded up still another group of dissidents. Authorities are unable to explain these fresh outbreaks of treasonable disobedience
by well-treated, well-protected, intelligent slaves. Now turning to the world of sports and bringing you the taped results
of the arena games last night. The first heat involved amateurs. They're petty thieves from city prison. Conducted, however, with traditional weapons, it provided some amusement

What would las vegas look online? (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059970)

woudl the online version of vegas look like a one big Amusement park how vegas looks on the outside, where people loose a lot of money or like a lot of web 1.0 pages where it is all bout blinking lights, different colors and greens.

Lobbyists? What lobbyists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060002)

I was under the impression that with Obama in the White House that Lobbyists had disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Re:Lobbyists? What lobbyists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060240)

Unfortunately, the conservatives are ensuring that that is not the case.

Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (5, Insightful)

RaigetheFury (1000827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060088)

I'm not a democrat or a republican so lets clear that political nonsense up right now. I'm so sick and tired of having to protect people from themselves when it's something that THEY can control. Sure some people may need help but it shouldn't be the governments job to prevent this.

If someone doesn't do research on something they put money into... well... that's their loss. If they are STUPID enough to think that gambling will eventually pay off then they deserve to lose everything they bet. That's why it's called gambling.

There HAS to be a point where responsibility is the burden of the risk taker. "I didn't know" or "I'm addicted" just won't cut it. You pay the price for the decisions you make in life.

This isn't like insider trading, or drug testing. You know exactly what you are getting into simply via the title of what you're doing. I'm so sick and tired of hearing people complain about gambling addiction and then blaming the Casino's or online companies. NOONE forced you to bet the money, you did it.

I do not want this great country to start managing my life choices. If I want to be an idiot and gamble away something I can't afford... then that's MY responsibility.

If you want to have a chance at monitoring things like this then you need to set ground rules that CAN be enforced.

1) Anything over $10,000 must be claimed (just like current customs rules) and taxes applied. If caught not doing so, the penalty is severe (20% of amount brought in) + jailtime/community service

2) Gambling income is considered just like typical earnings. You have to pay appropriate taxes on income. Some people are good enough to make this profitable. Why stop them if they are willing to pay taxes on it.

There is ZERO need to regulate this. People go to Vegas for the experience. There is a world of difference between betting $1000 online and sitting at a table with a crowd around you as you bed $1000 and win. I'd know.

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060160)

He would know..

Stop protecting people from being scammed!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060326)

"'m not a democrat or a republican" yeah, I bet you don't have any principles at all.
"That's why it's called gambling" - Nope, wrong there.
"There HAS to be a point where responsibility is the burden of the risk taker" - wrong again.
"You know exactly what you are getting into..." - Nope, not necessarily.
"If you want to have a chance at monitoring things like this then you need to set ground rules that CAN be enforced" - Jeesus! I agree completely.
"There is a world of difference between betting $1000 online and sitting at a table with a crowd around you as you bed $1000 and win. I'd know." - ah, there we have it. A gambling addict speaks.

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060336)

Let's call a spade a spade here. The people who run the business of government have no interest in protecting you, from yourself or otherwise. What they are interested in is money, and prohibition is big money. Whether gambling, prostitution, or drugs, the reason for prohibition is money. Prohibition pulls billions of dollars through the business of government every year, and requires powers that are leveraged to pull in even more revenue, all the while setting a precedent for the next expansion of power and revenue.

At the top of the power pyramid, as long as the money passes through your hands, you win. "Protecting people from themseleves" is nothing but a smokescreen, designed to distract you from the real goal which is simply money. As long as you believe they "had good intentions", you won't have reason to accuse them of doing wrong.

You're not in the business of government, are you?

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060356)

NOONE forced you to bet the money, you did it.

Dude, Peter Noone is SO going to sue you for slander!

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060388)

I'm not a democrat or a republican so lets clear that political nonsense up right now. I'm so sick and tired of having to protect people from themselves when it's something that THEY can control. Sure some people may need help but it shouldn't be the governments job to prevent this.

It's similar to saying that every person would be able to control what they're eating, if everything were printed on the label. However, as we already see today, you can put processed crap into food, put it on the label, and people will still buy and eat it, if it's cheap.

With certain goods, it's ok that the government protects the citizen.

And to be more controversial, the stock market is equivalent to gambling for the untrained person. Banks are ripping people off with their automated trading systems.

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060432)

I do not want this great country to start managing my life choices.

You're about a century late on that. This business of government trying to make us better people goes back a loooong way.

-jcr

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060552)

I don't want to be more cynical than necessary but stories like this are simply deliberate leaks from Congress to stimulate contributions from both sides of an issue. In fact keeping the status quo is clearly the outcome here. Whenever politicians see their coffers running low they talk up issues that affect those with deep pockets and just reap the resulting avalanche of money.

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060596)

You are forgetting to address potential negative externalities of gambling, where the cost is not born by the gambler or the house. If gambling creates a cost for society, it is in society's right to regulate it.

Re:Stop protecting people from themselves!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061012)

I do not want this great country to start managing my life choices. If I want to be an idiot and gamble away something I can't afford... then that's MY responsibility.

It may be your responsibility, but there is an argument that it is also the responsibility of the government to make sure that you're not neglecting your responsibilities. Perhaps child welfare laws are the proper place for this, but my own detest for all forms of gambling originate from my own experiences as a child. My father made good money, but he gambled. Being raised in this environment was often difficult. Having your father steal from your wallet, lose his car, sell your possessions, is a painful experience, but when his gambling really hurt was after I graduated high school.

Truth be told, I wasn't a great student, my grades weren't very good, but neither was I ever taught how to study, nor could I, as my parents refused to seek treatment for my severe OCD and ADHD-I, which I now recognize as learning disabilities. Whatever the case, I wasn't eligible for scholastic scholarships. Financial aid was not available to me because my parents made too much money, but that income wasn't spent wisely, was gambled, and they could not afford my school. Sure, this was their failure to be responsible, but if the government had done a better job of making them responsible, I'd have been better able to plan my own future.

I am generally NOT for government involvement in matters, but gambling is so terrible that I'm afraid that it really should be banned. At best, it is a form of taxing the futures of stupid people's children. It creates a caste system. Granted, not everyone has children, and I could see why the childless would question why this should affect them, and perhaps welfare laws themselves should cover this? Maybe, maybe not -- gambling is a cause of many suicides as well.

As an epilogue, please know that I'm doing well enough in my life. I've been able to rise above the failings of my parents.

They only want it legal so they can tax it (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060094)

And soon the gov will start making porn too, just so they can tax it I guarantee it.

Online gambling on Steam? (3, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060192)

What the Hell is Valve thinking...

Oh, what?

Nevermind...

Online gambling legal (4, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060232)

Buncha hypocrites. The whole dispute over online gaming is similar to the war on some drugs. Legal online gambling [wikipedia.org]

Some people make money, others lose a lot. Some can get quite addicted to it and go really bust, and suffer all the social ills they worry about with online poker or whatever other game.

    And we have never had any big economic meltdown from online poker or blackjack, but we sure as heck had a major problem with credit default swaps and so on "gaming", including the use of bots [blogspot.com] for gambling with massive bets that are large enough to move the markets themselves, plus crony gambling insiders [salon.com] being shuffled into and out of the official currency creation/interest setting and so called "regulation" part of that scene.

A solution (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060276)

Online gambling from American computers should only be allowed in places where that type of gambling would be allowed in person.

In many states, this means not at all.

In some states, this means race tracks, off-track betting facilities, bingo halls, casinos, and the like.

In states that allow gambling without a "house take" this means anywhere provided there is no fee to use the service, which in practice means not in people's homes.

In states that have unrestricted in-home gambling, this means basically anywhere.

I'm not sure how this would work in practice, but where there is money to be made, industry will figure out a politically feasible solution.

Re:A solution (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060646)

Online gambling from American computers should only be allowed in places where that type of gambling would be allowed in person.

IMO there should be no laws against gambling, period. If I want to waste my money on gambling, dope, and hookers why is that anybody's business but my own?

Let Vegas compete with the Cayman Islands (3, Insightful)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060340)

I think the sooner, the better. Solid competition from USA-based casinos would allow for a well-regulated, well-run environment. Even Reservation Casinos would do well. Why? Only US-based casinos could offer incentives to players to come to their hotels and restaurants. If Caesar's offered their player-points to players away from the casino, they'd be able to make money without a customer there, but then when they have some points, they can come in and take care of them. Customers will want to go, and will inherently trust domestic bookmakers more than offshore. Just ensure that all online-gambling is FEDERALLY taxed. Get something out of it, please. Tax the stupid.

Re:Let Vegas compete with the Cayman Islands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060504)

Nonsense. Vegas cannot even compete with Macau.

Steve Wynn makes 2/3 of his money there.

This ban is just giveing Antigua more free us IP a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061112)

This ban is just giving Antigua more free us IP and the WTO will not wait forever.

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