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United States The Almighty Buck The Internet Your Rights Online

WTO Wants USA to Gamble Online 1287

Posted by michael
from the bingo dept.
revtom writes "The WTO has ruled that the U.S. must allow online gambling or face trade barriers. My favorite quote from the article (Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va), 'It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue.' Pot/Kettle black?"
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WTO Wants USA to Gamble Online

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  • Nothing New Here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andyrut (300890) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:34PM (#8682654) Homepage Journal
    The United States is notorious for ignoring the actions of global organizations, even ones they fought to create. If they were to receive a third grade report card they'd receive low marks in the "plays well with others" category.

    Let's see, there's the invasion of Iraq (against the wishes of the U.N.) and withdrawl from the Kyoto Protocol [vexen.co.uk] to name a couple.
    • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:5, Informative)

      by aengblom (123492) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:39PM (#8682738) Homepage
      The U.S. did not withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol... it never agreed to abide by it.
      • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:4, Informative)

        by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:47PM (#8682849)
        Nobody really agreed to abide by it, once they actually understood the thing. It sounded great at first but then nations realized it would bankrupt their manufacturing economy. And before anyone says it was a Bush thing, the senate voted, before Bush took office, 98-0 in favor of scrapping it. Clinton signed it in his final days to make himself look good, knowing he wouldn't be around for the fallout.
        • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:4, Informative)

          by alext (29323) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:08PM (#8683212)
          If by "nobody" you mean countries other than the US, Australia and Russia, then yes, "nobody" is agreeing to abide by it. Meanwhile the EU and Japan continue to have economies and not to feel too threatened by Kyoto.

          The protocol has a trigger clause in it for it to come into force - countries accounting for at least 55% of 1990 carbon dioxide emissions must be signed up. Right now there are 44%, Russia being seen as the critical guy to enlist as it would be sufficient to reach the target.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:42PM (#8682780)
      I can't wait for some Muslim country to be affected by this same ruling. Then the same hypocritical nitwits that bend over backwards to criticize the US will be besides themselves defending the 'poor third world countries losing their sovereign rights'.
      • by jhunsake (81920)
        They won't be, because the Muslims are smart enough to not join the WTO in the first place.
      • by Jim Starx (752545)
        Muslims don't claim free trade.
      • by SnowZero (92219) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:26PM (#8684282)
        Some background info for the uninitiated: Note that Islam stipulates that gambling is illegal, rather like Jewish Kosher values stipulate things such as that pork cannot be eaten. So yes, they'd be pretty pissed to be told that they have to allow gambling.

        Here's an example: [iio.org]
        The position of Islam on gambling is that it is prohibited, harmful and destructive to society. Gambling is addictive by nature, a practice that takes money from the poor with the perceived, yet illusive promise that they may "win" something without having to work for it. Gambling is mentioned in the Quran, Islam's revealed text, alongside drinking alcohol as an abomination, a sin, and a grave harm to mankind.


        I think this issue is an example of trade getting dangerously close to values; For example what if the WTO told us we need to lower the age for legal pornagraphy to 17, to bring it in line with some European nations? I hope the WTO forces France to allow religious symbols in school again, since their new law forbidding it will ruin the religeous headscarf, skullcap, and large cross market. No, that would be terrible, because mixing trade and values is silly.

        In the US, gambling has always been heavily regulated (my views aside, it seems to be the will of the people), and they want to keep it that way. Online gambling, just like the online pharmacies pimping everything nowadays, are extremely hard to regulate.

        So in short, this is not a good example of the US being arrogant, and they really do have a point regarding laws and tradition.
    • by spellraiser (764337) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:44PM (#8682805) Journal

      Hear, hear

      This particular quote from the story is quite interesting in this context:

      "It's appalling," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. "It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue."

      OK, so when the U.S. imposes its values on other countries, they shouldn't complain, but when others try to do it to them, it's A Bad Thing? Talk about double standards...

      The U.S. politicians (I hate it when they are equated with the U.S. itself - there is a big difference) need to learn that in order for maintain good relations with other nations, everyone must follow the same set of rules.

    • by Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:51PM (#8682919)
      Time to burn some karma.

      Global organizations, especially those dominated by third-countries (or soon to be third-world countries like France), are notorious for using the fascade of internationalism as a mask for the pursuit of their own selfish interests.

      This particular case has nothing more to do with free trade than Germany banning internet sales of Nazi memorabilia. This is a law enforcement issue. Or would you claim that any nation's drug policy prohibiting the import of cocaine is an unfair trade practice targeted at Columbia?

      And do a little homework before you start blathering about the US withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol. The US Senate never ratified it, since liberal poster-boy Bill Clinton never submitted it. Can't withdraw from a treaty you were never agreed to.
      • I think the point, however, is that participation in things like NAFTA, GATT, WTO, etc subject ALL of the laws of the US to claims of "barrier to free trade". Any country that doesn't like one of our environmental laws can have it overridden (which has already happened with local laws passed by a popular majority in places like Oregon).

        The US has never protested these actions (usually because the third world countries originating these claims are doing so at the behest of US based multi-nationals that can
      • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:4, Interesting)

        by k_head (754277) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:07PM (#8683194)
        But he US was instrumental in creating the WTO. It has also used WTO when it suits their needs.

        In all honesty though none of this really matters. We have bombs and are willing to use them against people we don't like. What's WTO going to do? Jack shit that's what.
      • by dAzED1 (33635)
        I didn't have mod points to give you, so I placed a bet that you might have something smart to say in the future and just put you in my list.

        All sorts of drugs are legal in all sorts of countries. That doesn't mean that the WTO can make the US legalize drugs imported from those countries.

        Now...if the US allowed gambling across the board...that would be a different matter. But we don't. There are select areas (NV, indian reservations) that can do it. Other than that, gambling is an illegal activity. W

        • by gaijin99 (143693) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:36PM (#8683615) Journal
          For all who are making the pot/kettle claim - don't be absurd. France and Russia wanted Iraq the way it was because they had shady ties. Anything the US did or didn't do in the 60's is irrelevant today, 40 years later. I wasn't alive, and none of the policy makers of today had power then. And Saddam was the lesser of 2 evils back then anyway. Its easy to fault people when you have 20/20 hindsight - its harder to predict the future.
          See, I wanted to stay out of this thread, I really did. Then you said that and here I am.

          Taking your points in order here: Yup, France and Russia had financial interests in Iraq. So did the US. You might have heard of a little company called Halliburton? Some fella named Dick Cheney was in charge while Halliburton made money out of Iraq. In the '60s? Hardly, this was around 1998 or so.. Hmmm, isn't he the Vice President these days? Wanna tell me about the horrible shady deals of France and Russia again?

          Contrary to your odd belief that US support for Hussain ended 40 years ago, I would recommend that you look at recent history. During the Regan and Bush I governments the US gave quite a bit of foreign aid to Saddam's vile regime. The policy makers who did this are, in fact, the same crowd who are in power right now.

          As for historic hindsight and future prediction, I'll make a prediction: Supporting dictatorships leads to problems. We've seen this time and again. The US supports dictatorship X and then a few decades later we have to fight dictatorship X. Today the Bush government is busy proping up the evil government in Uzbekistan, they're about as bad as Saddam was. Who will we be fighting in 15 years or so? Hint: Its the evil torturing bastards that the Bush government is showering with money today!

          Am I glad that Saddam isn't the dictator of Iraq? Of course. Would I be gladder if the US government showed any signs of the simple intelligence required to notice that supporting dictatorships isn't a good policy? Yup. Wouldn't it be better if the US maybe supported democracies instead of dictatorships? You wanna explain to me why you are defending the Bush government when you know that in 15 years or so we're going to have to fight the war in Uzbekistan they're busy starting for us?

          • by dAzED1 (33635) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:54PM (#8683862) Homepage Journal
            3 things.

            1 - Did I say that the US hadn't done anything wrong? No, I said that they weren't alone in doing things wrong.

            2 - Do you know another company that had the resources to pull off the task Halliburton is doing? In sheer magnitude of the job, the list of posibilities was TINY. I think its a bit more coincidental who used to sit on what board when than your arguement suggests. Not completely coincidental, no, but more than you (and many others) suggest. BTW - I don't really know anyone who likes Cheney. Bush at least has his supporters...why he doesn't ditch Cheney and pick up someone who could win in 2008 I'll never know.

            3 - Iraq was under heavy sanctions in the 90's. France and Russia skirted those sanctions and sipped oil out..more France. And as I explained already in a recent post, Iraq did NOT need that nuclear plant france built them in the 70's. In the grand scheme of things, France has a far worse record with that area than us. Hell, the whole middle east is only a mess because of France, England, and Russia anyway. And the middle east mostly hates us because of propaganda from Russia/USSR during the cold war (and the Israel issue...which *should be* more Europe than us anyway, since it wasn't us that made Israel).

            Never said the US was perfect, or that we didn't have dirt on us. Just tired of everyone suggesting we're the only dirty place around, and that *france* of all places is a pure little virgin. We might be Britney, but they're Madonna :P

            • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:5, Interesting)

              by gaijin99 (143693) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:34PM (#8684354) Journal
              2 - Do you know another company that had the resources to pull off the task Halliburton is doing? In sheer magnitude of the job, the list of posibilities was TINY.
              I wasn't talking about Halliburton getting to rip us off for the rebuilding, I was talking about Halliburton's pre-war involvement in Iraq. As I said in my post, in the late 1990's Halliburton was doing quite a bit of business with Iraq. This is what you were calling "shady dealings" when France and Russia did it. The argument about Halliburton getting cost plus no bid contracts from the US government is an entirely different argument (and one that crosses party lines, I should mention that Clinton also gave huge contracts to Halliburton). I can't see why it was necessary to give one company the responsibility for everything. It would be quite simple to divide the rebuilding into smaller chunks (either geographically or by job) and use smaller companies.

              I overreacted to your post, sorry. I'm certainly not going to pretend that France is some pure nation of goodness. I just don't like it when people try and make the actions of the Bush government out to be from pure motives. I think its pretty clear that the Iraq mess was easily forseeable (as I mentioned, supporting dictators has a history of being a bad idea), and that the current Bush government is wasting resources that would be better spent hunting down Al Quida on a sideshow for oil. More to the point, you were trying to pretend that the US support for Saddam was a 1960's issue, and you know durn well it isn't.

              I'm going to completely avoid getting into a discussion of Israel. Even more than the Iraq war, Israel is a topic where people seem utterly incapiable of discussion without foaming at the mouth (he said, wiping his Iraq war foam from his mouth). Its like gun control, there *is* a middle ground that would probably satisfy arond 90% of the people, but the nutbags on both sides won't let anyone talk about it. Worse, the nutbags have remarkably effective meme plagues working to polarize the non-nutbag population.

      • by BiggsTheCat (460227) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:20PM (#8683363)
        Global organizations, especially those dominated by third-countries (or soon to be third-world countries like France), are notorious for using the fascade of internationalism as a mask for the pursuit of their own selfish interests.

        Well, yeah, and so is the U.S. The U.S. has done lots of stuff in their own self-interest under the guise of globalization through the WTO. For instance, Canada tried to ban a fuel additive that scientists believed to be a carcinogen. This ban meant that they could no longer buy gasoline from the U.S., where that chemical was added to all gas. Result: the U.S. dragged Canada into the WTO Trade Court, and won claiming that the ban was illegally favouring Canadian fuel suppliers. Canada had to pay massive fines, and would have to continue to pay fines if it banned the chemical.

        Then, a few years later, the U.S. bans Canadian beef saying that it's all "mad cow". Wake up! Canada actually has better industry controls than the U.S., and has already banned using animal-remnants (offal?) in feed. At least we actually FOUND our cases of mad cow. The U.S. is in for a little surprise if it thinks it's lilly-white on the mad cow epidemic. The evidence used to back the Canadian cattle blockade is just as good as that used to block the fuel additive.

        And that is why we have a kettle/black situation. All countries are out for their own gain, including and especially the U.S. Greed is not an acceptible defense for these actions.
      • Cocaine is a bad example. Importing Columbian cocaine would also violate the law in Columbia and several UN resolutions. Gambling obviously is not in violation of Columbian law, American law, or UN accords, but it is ostensibly a law enforcement issue. The issue at hand is placing bets across state or national border via the telecom infrastructure. That was the legal excuse for what is obviously, according to this representative, a moral objection.

        The law was originally put in place in order to give the fe
    • Oh I don't know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MooseByte (751829) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:57PM (#8683018)

      It's not like our government is trying to prevent the EU from taking action against Microsoft.

      Oh wait.

      OK. Well it's not like our government would ever force a country to accept narcotics [geocities.com] or anything.

      Oh wait.

      Damn. If we were another country we'd hate our guts too.

    • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whittrash (693570)
      I have never thought that hard core gambling was a good thing for society. The lottery isn't too bad, but Vegas style games have a powerful dark side. I used to live in St. Louis when they brought in Riverboat gambling. Soon after they made it legal, many of its loudest supporters changed their minds because the results weren't what they expected. The entire cultural scene was starved for cash because it all went to gambling. The jobs created were pathetic, and addicted gamblers replaced productive cit
    • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:5, Informative)

      by de la mettrie (27199) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:35PM (#8683607)
      For those interested in the actual case law, the report of the panel (read: the court's verdict) ought to appear on this page [wto.org] in a few hours. You should probably take a look at this basic primer [wto.org] in WTO law first to make any sense of it, though.

      The case is actually pretty straightforward, I guess - in the course of GATS negotiations, the U.S. has voluntarily opened its entertainment services sector to foreign competition (check the U.S. schedule of commitments, page 71 [wto.org]) and forgot to schedule an exemption for gambling services.

      This is somewhat understandable, I guess - after all, the 1994 Uruguay Round negotiations have not been called "the most complex negotiations in all history" for nothing. But now the U.S. will have to stand by its word.

      A hint to the incensed U.S. Congressman: The WTO Agreements have caused significant changes in public policy all over the world, often in furtherance of U.S. interests (for example, the EU can't prohibit [wto.org], according to a Panel ruling, the import of U.S. meat treated with growth hormones). Don't cry foul when you're forced to open up your economy under the same rules you promoted and signed.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:34PM (#8682666)
    It's really funny to me that we have this "separation" of Church and State yet we have to worry about "values"? Blue Laws, gambling restrictions, anti-abortion, etc, are all issues stemming from *religious* beliefs whether those in office say they are or not.

    If we are talking about banning paying for your gambling via the net w/credit cards that's one thing (protecting people and companies from the fortunes lost via this method of payment) but if we are seriously worried about GROWN PEOPLE becoming corrupt by the evils that await them through alcohol and gambling we seriously need to rethink what the fuck is going on in our country.

    As an adult you should be allowed to choose what happens to you. I wasn't aware that I needed people in Washington telling me what is and is not good for me... Especially when it comes to gambling, the purchase of adult beverages, and the premature ending of pregnancy. These are NOT issues that should be regulated by the State, Federal, or local governments.

    So the rest of us are going to pay a price due to WTO trade sanctions because our government would rather play Parents than government. I don't think that this is the way to go.
    • by Rura Penthe (154319) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:38PM (#8682722)
      I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but don't you think any body of laws represents a moral code? Every law legislates morality in some form or another. Killing a man, stealing what he earned, etc are all wrong because we believe them to be morally reprehensible and thus created laws to punish those who do it. Does the belief that gambling is a vice have to be predicated on religion in everyone's mind? It clearly has roots there, but not everyone who opposes its legalization is religious.
      • Washington *SHOULD* have a group of people of varying backgrounds, religions, belief systems, and values... It should lead to a great deal of positive discussion about what should and should not be acceptable.

        Problem is... We have a two party majority and those two parties have chosen their "values". We no longer have this diverse group. We have this party and ITS belief system.

        Gambling, alcohol, and abortion are not inherently evil and should not be treated as if they are because of relgious backed b
      • Not morals (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DreadSpoon (653424) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:46PM (#8682846) Journal
        Those aren't codified in law for moral reasons. They're law to ensure we continue functioning as society, which *is* what government is supposed to do. You can't kill a man because if you could kill at a whim, society would tear itself apart. Likewise, if anything you have could be taken from you, things would fall apart. It's not "killing is evil," it's "we can't allow killing and continue to be a functioning, growing society."
        • Re:Not morals (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Tackhead (54550) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:59PM (#8683057)
          > Those aren't codified in law for moral reasons. They're law to ensure we continue functioning as society, which *is* what government is supposed to do. You can't kill a man because if you could kill at a whim, society would tear itself apart. Likewise, if anything you have could be taken from you, things would fall apart.

          If "things would fall apart" in a society in which "anything you have can be taken from you", please explain why everything from asset forfeiture to eminent domain and the IRS haven't resulted in complete social collapse?

          Meantime, because we aren't allowed to kill at a whim, I still get 50+ spams a day.

          I'm beginning to think these law things are overrated :)

      • I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but don't you think any body of laws represents a moral code? Every law legislates morality in some form or another.

        Not necessarily. There are other ways look at it. One other way to view the situation is one of your rights vs. my rights.

        One could decide the murder is wrong because you're interfering with my "right" to life.

        You could try and say that our "rights" are really just a moral code, but I don't really believe that. I think moral codes have certai
      • Every law legislates morality in some form or another. Killing a man, stealing what he earned, etc are all wrong because we believe them to be morally reprehensible and thus created laws to punish those who do it.

        Morals do not enter into it. It is all about FREEDOM. You can't kill a man or steal his possessions because your right to swing your fist ends at another man's nose. It is about ensuring that everyone has this freedom, not on moral grounds, but on basic, common sense. If you are allowed to kill s
      • Killing a man, stealing what he earned, etc are all wrong because we believe them to be morally reprehensible and thus created laws to punish those who do it.

        The humanitarian point of view would be those actions are wrong because they deprive others of rights.

        Gambling, or prostitution, or drug use does not violate anybody else's rights. Therefore, you should be free to do as you wish. There are arguments to be made that these vices contribute to other crimes that do violate others' rights, but the fact

    • by Anml4ixoye (264762) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:46PM (#8682831) Homepage
      I wasn't aware that I needed people in Washington telling me what is and is not good for me

      My wife and I have had discussions about this, especially in relation to Gay marriages and how the gov't wants to ban them. We don't agree with the gov't banning gay marriages (and we are "Christians" ), but I can clearly see why they would want to.

      Think about it from this perspective. You are a "good Christian" in a high position of power who sees the country "going to hell in a handbasket" because of all the "immoral things" going on. You feel it is your place to enact laws to stop these "evils" from "infecting" the county.

      So you do. And because there are lots of other lawmakers like you, they go along with it. And who would, when it is put in the context that *you* are going to the great lake of fire for going against a law that says it's bad to have gay marriages, etc, etc. In fact, if you are going against it, you must be ready to be destroyed like all of those other immoral sinners from Sodom & Gomorrah.

      As an adult you should be allowed to choose what happens to you.

      Which is the whole point behind free will. If you are gay, and you get married to your partner, then go for it. If my wife or daughter has to have an abortion to save her life, yes it would hurt us terribly, but that should be our choice to make.

      So basically, right on brother. If we are willing to impose our values on the rest of the world, we should be prepared to have their values imposed on us.

      • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:08PM (#8683205)
        > Think about it from this perspective. You are a "good Christian" in a high position of power who sees the country "going to hell in a handbasket" because of all the "immoral things" going on. You feel it is your place to enact laws to stop these "evils" from "infecting" the country.

        I'd understand that point of view a lot more if a legislator - just one - would stand in front of a podium and say "I believe homosexuality is wrong. Just like J. Edgar Hoover, however, I also happen to be a flaming cock-sucker. I believe we need a law to prevent gay marriage because without such a law, I might divorce my wife and get married to my gay lover."

        Or Tipper Gore standing in front of a podium saying "I heard some rap music on the radio last weekend, and it made me want to go out, get stoned, fuck around, and kill the pigs! I'm asking Congress for a law against violent/sexual/drug lyrics because I'm afraid of what I might do without a law to protect me from the music I hear on the radio."

        Or John Ashcroft standing in front of the statue of blind Justice, saying "I like the b00bies on that statue back there, and I also like Janet's b00bie. B00bies make my dick hard! I believe we need a law that mandates standards of decency because I can't fight the terrorists when I'm walking around with a hardon 24/7 because of all the b00bies."

        Just give me one example where a do-gooder has ever proposed a law to protect themselves. It's always someone else they're trying to protect, isn't it?

        • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:12PM (#8684759)
          Just give me one example where a do-gooder has ever proposed a law to protect themselves. It's always someone else they're trying to protect, isn't it?

          I really don't get your point. I mean, your argument sounds really good and convincing...But what is it you're actually saying? They're called "representatives" for a reason--it's their job to propose laws entirely for the benefit of other people.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing for or against censorship, legislating morality, etc. It's just that your argument seems rather silly. Just try applying it to other issues. Take prison rape, for instance. Does a legislator actually have to be afraid s/he will end up in prison before you'll allow them to change the system to make it less likely? Do you have to be black to be concerned about civil rights? Do you have to be a parent to protect children from child pornographers? Do you have to be victim to do the right thing?

          If you disagree with them about the definition of the "right thing", fine, argue on those grounds. But it seems to me that you're criticizing them on a standard you wouldn't apply to anyone else.
    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:47PM (#8682848)
      I'm an atheist and this story still troubles me. There are nonreligious reasons you don't want gambling going on. It causes all sorts of problems. Usually these are offset by the additional revenue that gambling brings into an area, so casinos are tolerated. But that isn't the case here since the casinos are based in remote Pacific islands, and presumably those economies will be the only ones to benefit.

      The U.S. knew what it was getting into when it signed GATT. We figured the screwing was going to be one-way, as if people in the Third World are too stupid to take advantage of us in return. It hasn't exactly turned out that way.

  • Pot/Kettle Black (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mishehu (712452) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:35PM (#8682670)
    Absolutely, the US does this all the time to other countries as well as other countries doing it to the US.
  • by Throtex (708974) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:35PM (#8682675)
    ...our indian casinos to India.
  • Non-issue (Score:5, Funny)

    by El (94934) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:35PM (#8682679)
    Anybody running Windows & IE is already gambling every time they go online!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:36PM (#8682687)
    they are able to hit the monkey.
  • But they DO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzy12345 (745891) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:37PM (#8682700)
    Online gambling? No problem, just ask for a "brokerage account."

    I do wish the government would force the SEC to clamp down on dodgy reporting, accounting and corporate governance.

  • by randyest (589159) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:37PM (#8682702) Homepage
    It is not clear precisely why the WTO ruled in favor of Antigua and Barbuda, because the specifics remain confidential. The ruling covers only online casinos based on the islands, but other nations could seek similar rulings.

    Isn't that odd? Why would the "specifics" remain confidential while the decision isn't? Is this typical of WTO activity, or is there some relevant info to be inferred from this?
  • what ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by terrymr (316118) <terrymr@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:37PM (#8682703)
    To be fair this ruling is about the US trying to impose our values on the rest of the world, by trying to prevent US banks & other business from dealing with online casinos which are legal in the country they are based in.
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:39PM (#8682734) Homepage Journal
    hmm, criminal?
    political?

    I suppose you could make something of it, why is it that porn site eula's (which NO one concerns themselves with) all contain language to the effect that, you must be in a region/country/community where this is legal..

    Much like the RIAA finally realized they must go after the individual. Legitimate enforcement is to have to be made against the folks doing the gambling, not the gambling sites. that's where the law is being broken.

    If I am from a state that bans gambling, and go to vegas, I'm not breaking the law. if I go to montecarlo.com, where am I? in whose jurisdiction?

  • "Imposing Views"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hi_2k (567317) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:40PM (#8682750) Journal
    This shouldn't be about wether or not gambling should be legal or not: It should be about wether or not online gambling is trustworthy. In casinos, the cards are laid out for checking after the game. You know that the casino didn't cheat. On the other hand, an online casino could set it so you win 50% of the time for bets under $5, but almost never with $100. Methods of verification/Proving legitimacy for online casinos don't exist, so they shouldn't. You could argue that they will police themselves: nobody will play if they keep losing, but building false confidence is all too easy: Look at Nigerian scams.
  • by FroMan (111520) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:40PM (#8682751) Homepage Journal
    What is the actual product in gambling? There is no trade going on here.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:40PM (#8682757) Homepage Journal
    Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va), 'It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue.'

    Perhaps he could consult with William Bennett regarding virtue and gambling.

  • by Fluidic Binary (554336) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:42PM (#8682782) Homepage
    'It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue.' Pot/Kettle black?"

    Setting the issue of morality aside this is an issue of hypocrisy incarnate.

    The United States is the big brother of the world and that is quite possibly the weakest argument I could possibly imagine. It seems to me that our governing body in the US needs massive replacement if the best persuasive arguments they can make sound like this.

    If the United States is really the leader of the free world it should really start leading by example and drop this 'do as I say not as I do' attitude. It is utter crap and my vote at the polls will reflect this.

    We use economics threats as a diplomatic tool and if we can dish it out we should be able to take it right back!

    Am I off base here?
  • by AtlanticCarbon (760109) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:43PM (#8682798)
    GATT:
    Article XX: General Exceptions
    Subject to the requirement that such measures are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where the same conditions prevail, or a disguised restriction on international trade, nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to prevent the adoption or enforcement by any contracting party of measures:

    (a) necessary to protect public morals;

    The WTO probably decided the US is discriminating since it allows gambling in a lot of similar situations. Anyways, with lotteries, Nevada, and Indian Casinos its probably hard to argue gambling is against America's public morals.

  • by amigoro (761348) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:44PM (#8682816) Homepage Journal
    'It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue.'

    Good point Sir. But hasn't the US imposed its values on other countries?

    Iraq will soon be a democracy because you didn't like dictatorships. Chile became a dictatorship because you didn't like a left-wing president.

    It's not only that, Sir. You have even violated the Intellectual Property Act [eu.int]. You tried to extradite an Australian under the similar regulations. And let's not forget the Byrd Ammendment [japantoday.com]

    Sir, your government has shown over and over again that it is nothing but nasty playground bully, and shown great contempt and disregard towards the wishes of other sovereign nations.

    But fear not, sir. Empires rise. Empires fall. The taller they stand, the harder they fall.

    Moderate this comment
    Negative: Offtopic [mithuro.com] Flamebait [mithuro.com] Troll [mithuro.com] Redundant [mithuro.com]
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  • by erobertstad (442529) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:46PM (#8682838) Homepage
    "It's appalling," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. "It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue."

    And damn right too, it's our job to force OUR values on other countrys, who ever gave the idea to the world that this was a two way street here?!

    *sigh*
  • by The I Shing (700142) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:46PM (#8682841) Journal
    Gambling is basically a scam. People participate willingly in the scam, often under the mistaken notion that somehow they'll get ahead of the game and strike it rich, but it's a scam nonetheless, in my book.

    Gambling sites are popular with identity thieves, and I applaud credit card companies that refuse to authorize transactions originating with offshore gambling websites.

    I'm not some neo-conservative, either. My objections to gambling websites are mathematical and ethical, not moral.

    As far as keeping them off of US soil, I guess I'm in favor of keeping the ban in place. It's not like there are hordes of consumers clamoring to blow their money on rigged online gambling. Or are there?
  • Huh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dirtside (91468) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:48PM (#8682871) Journal
    Don't want the WTO to impose laws on us? Guess we probably shouldn't have been a founding member and signed treaties saying we'd abide by their rules, which allow them to do this. Good work, U.S. government!
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:52PM (#8682926)
    If the U.S. government were so terribly concerned by gambling, it would ban the stupidity tax (aka state-run lotteries). While I personally don't understand why people gamble, it seems hypocritical for the government to both give citizens the right to gamble on a large scale (at atrocious pay-off odds) and yet prohibit online gambling.
  • by cagle_.25 (715952) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:54PM (#8682961) Journal
    The question of whether the U.S. is hypocritical is uninteresting because the answer is obviously Yes.

    The interesting trend here is for individual laws of nations to be "leveled" or "normalized" to reflect the laws of other nations only because it simplifies the economic situation to do so.

    In other words, the W.T.O. turns out to be a tool to not only resolve trade disputes but also to (attempt to) force nations to change their laws. This should make us nervous. It should also make us reflect that "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" -- II Timothy.
  • by mabu (178417) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:55PM (#8682974)
    When I used to go to Comdex in Vegas every year, I had a bunch of local friends who used to really despise this convention, the largest ever in Vegas, because apparently the "tech people" didn't gamble. Why? Because they were smart and they knew the odds.

    Gambling is basically a tax on poor, dumb people that benefits rich entities. It promotes a something-for-nothing, perverse work ethic.

    Now you might say, what about all these dot-com millionaires that are now showing up on the World Poker tour? They're not playing against the house; they're playing against the other players - there's definitely more skill and talent there than pulling the arm of a slot machine.

    Personally, I don't really care one way or another. Gambling is just another diversion. I would prefer it not in my community, nor online, but if people want to blow their money, it's their choice. I do worry sometimes about the bad message this says to society that they can "strike it rich" without really having to work hard.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:57PM (#8683005)
    The odds are bad enough against you in a casino. But to "gamble" on-line in a simulated casino game is insane. Does anyone here really believe that the deck, dice or wheel will be fair on a big bet in an on-line game?

    People who call this gambling are much like the people who confuse the shell game or the three card monty with "games of chance" or "games of skill" (they are really very expensive performances of close up magic).

    • This is why the only gambling you should ever do online is sports betting. It's unlikely that some offshore casino is going to be able to fix a major sporting event.

      Most of all, don't play online poker or anything else where you're playing against other gamblers that might cheat. Cheating is bad enough in online games where you're not playing for money; you can imagine how bad the cheating problem must be if $5 or $10 or $100 a hand is at stake.
  • by roninmagus (721889) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:59PM (#8683053)
    From Ronald Sanders:
    "The U.S. says it wants open competition," he said. "But it only wants free trade when it suits the U.S."

    Well I ask, what does one expect?

    Internationalization is good to a point, as most things are... but watching out for one's own wellbeing is #1 on the priority list.
  • by homm2 (729109) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:00PM (#8683069)
    The US is famous for not playing fair with trade. Take the story [globalexchange.org] of Vietnamese catfish, for example.

    Vietnam, a relatively poor country compared with other WTO members, is hoping to join next year. PovertyThe Catfish Farmers of America decided they weren't getting the profits they used to; Vietnam was supposedly dumping catfish on the market. Since they knew that they had no proof for any of this, they decided to claim that only American catfish could be called "catfish". Tariffs ranging from 37 to 64 percent have been slapped on Vietnamese catfish with nothing more than allegations.

    The US really claims the WTO can help poorer countries. Well, the Vietnamese are well on their way to climbing out of poverty, but this catfish story has been a huge blow to the country. The US wants it both ways; I wonder how long it will take before the US starts paying a price for crimes like this.
  • by ruebarb (114845) <colorache&hotmail,com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:07PM (#8683193)
    I'm a big poker player and have played online for the last 3 years. This year, the Poker scene has blown up to unreal proportions, in part because Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker winner, won his seat to the tourney in an online tourney.

    The Online Poker community (which is usually treated differently then the gambling community) has been very curious as to how this works, esp. since there are probably a higher percentage of poker players who are profitable as opposed to games where the house has the advantage -

    but then, we only care about the WTO when it is profitable for us to...so I doubt anything will come of this -

    RB
  • by DanTheLewis (742271) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:15PM (#8683301) Homepage Journal

    We are not very far removed from the years when we linked China's trade status to progress on human rights in China (things more important, IMHO, than online gambling: the one-child policy, Tibet, civil rights, political prisoners, ad infinitum). Congress debated giving China MFN trade status every year, and every year Democrats (basically) said to give it up and grant them permanent trade status, and every year Republicans (basically) raked China over the coals.

    It all ended when CLinton signed a bill in 2000, passed by the House and the Senate, to make trade status permanent, contingent upon their entry to the WTO. The idea was that WTO membership would make China responsible for its abuses and create other enforcement mechanisms, like tariffs and sanctions, so there would be no need to review their trade status every year. China entered the WTO in 2001.

    If the US won't abide by the WTO decision on online gambling, it will send a strong message about the WTO to nations like China, who have far more compelling reasons to resist sanctions.

  • It's Amazing.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FooGoo (98336) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:23PM (#8683412)
    How the left wing freaks protest the WTO all over the world but they support it when it takes a stand against US interests.

    Another biased presentation of a story brought to you by Michael
  • by jfruhlinger (470035) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:29PM (#8683516) Homepage
    The U.S. is not being "forced" or "imposed on" in any way here. Our democraticly elected government signed a treaty that said that we'd abide by the rules of the WTO (in fact, I think we were one of the founders). We did this because by and large we decided that we'd benefit economicly from WTO membership, and as near as I can tell, by and large we have.

    If we decide to refuse to abide by a WTO ruling, black helicopters full of WTO troops do not descend on major U.S. cities and impose curfews. Soldiers do not hold our grandmothers at riflepoint and foce them to gamble online.

    By refusing to follow the WTO's rulings, all that happens is that we get kicked out of the WTO. Presumably this will have any number of negative effects on our economy -- but I'm no expert. If you don't want to be bound by the rulings of the WTO, then go vote for someone who will pull us out of it. But don't go on about how other countries are "forcing" us to do things that we don't want to do. Sheesh.

    jf
  • The US laws should still allow US citizens to gamble but you just can't pay for it in from a US bank account or with US based credit cards.

    Forget blocking web sites, just make it hard to fund. Existing money laundering rules will pick up on any US dollar payments.

    If someone wants to gamble in foreign currency on a foreign web site then thats nothing to do with the US goverment.

  • Just plain stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:00PM (#8683956) Journal
    The moment the US allows online gambling, the island nations currently winning gambling website hosting contracts will lose those contracts to domestic competitors.

    The only thing keeping them alive is prohibition.
  • by LionMage (318500) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:53PM (#8684578) Homepage
    With all the protesting against the WTO in the United States, you'd think lawmakers here would have gotten the clue that many U.S. citizens don't like the WTO and want no part of it. I've seen nothing else that can galvanize unions and environmentalists in a common cause! Unions hate the WTO because of its impact on workers; environmentalists hate the WTO because it undermines the environmental protection laws of member nations.

    Socialists hate the WTO because it promotes corporate greed and capitalism at the expense of everything else. Many conservatives hate the WTO because it undermines national sovereignty.

    And yet lawmakers in the United States do little or nothing until the WTO tries to force the U.S. to accept Internet gambling; once that happens, you have lawmakers screaming that the U.S. should withdraw from the WTO.

    In my humble opinion, this can be summed up thusly: "Right cause. Sickeningly wrong reason."
  • Bricker Ammendment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by David Hume (200499) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:59PM (#8684646) Homepage

    This may create more support for the effort to revive the Bricker Amendment [freerepublic.com] (see also here [libertyhaven.com]). Introduced into the Senate in February, 1952, as Senate Joint Resolution 130, the Bricker Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows:
    • Section 1. A provision of a treaty which conflicts with this
      Constitution shall not be of any force or effect.

    • Section 2. A treaty shall become effective as internal law
      in the United States only through legislation which would be valid
      in the absence of treaty.

    • Section 3. Congress shall have power to regulate all executive
      and other agreements with any foreign power or international organization.
      All such agreements shall be subject to the limitations imposed
      on treaties by this article.

    • Section 4. The congress shall have power to enforce this article
      by appropriate legislation.


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