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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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  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:34PM (#8682666) Homepage
    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 randyest (589159) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:37PM (#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?
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:39PM (#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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:40PM (#8682742)
    You say that as if drunk driving, alcholism and problem gambling were not issues...

    Besides, you forgot other laws that are based on our values: you're not allowed to kill people, nor steal, nor lie under oath, adultery counts against you in the military and in divorce court, etc.

    All of those are even listed in the 10 commandments, whereas the Bible has comparatively less to say about gambling (though it does condemn drunkenness, if not drinking).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:41PM (#8682761)
    Values and morals are independent of religion. So your mockery of the separation of Church and State makes no sense (of course, the "under God" and prayers in Congress already proved this point for you =)

    Also, the reason that you're not allowed to do whatever you won't while not violating others' rights is that there are just way to many sue-happy morons out there that will mindlessly throw their money at contests or gambling and go completely broke until they are picked up by a Dateline special to sue whoever conned them out of their money (even if it happened legally).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:41PM (#8682774)
    "and the premature ending of pregnancy. These are NOT issues that should be regulated by the State, Federal, or local governments."

    I have to disagree on a point. Although abortion is heralded by those who are religious it isn't a religion only divide. There is a question of whether or not it is murder. If, as some claim, it is murder then it is quite indeed the governments place to stop it. If it is not, then it is in no way the governments place to stop it.

    The real question is whether or not an unborn fetus/child/etc. is a human being, at what point, etc.
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DR SoB (749180) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:59PM (#8683056) Journal
    "and everyone else is 3rd world?"

    Haha, you wouldn't believe how many Americans have said to me "Your a third world country". I'm Canadian..
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:00PM (#8683061)
    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'.

    Are you sure? [nizkor.org]
  • by shyster (245228) <{brackett} {at} {ufl.edu}> on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:06PM (#8683175) Homepage
    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 of the matter is that those other crimes are already crimes and punishable as such.

    Of course, some will argue that gov't is not just to protect rights, but to enforce the majority's idea of a "perfect" society. That's a different argument, though, and one that the US Constitution doesn't make.

  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by k_head (754277) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:07PM (#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.
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whittrash (693570) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:11PM (#8683246) Journal
    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 citizens. Gambling should stay in Vegas where it belongs. I don't think the WTO has a right to enforce selling gambling to the US, it is like selling alchohol to a Muslim country, it is a cultural practice and shouldn't be forced on us. For the record, I am not a Bush supporter, I am a Democrat. This WTO needs to be smarter, this isn't a winning issue for them.
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Abm0raz (668337) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:11PM (#8683257) Journal
    Just curious, where do you propose that will leave us as a citizen of the planet?

    Still #1.

    Everyone will fear us and do what we say? Do we want to bully everyone just because we believe we're right, and everyone else is 3rd world?

    That's the way of nature. The strongest survive. We're the alpha male of the world tribe. Eventually, we'll grow old and a new alpha male will arise. Until then, we get to choose whatever female of the species (metaphor for smaller countries) that we want. When other males (metaphor for other larger countries, but not as big as us) do something we don't like, we express our dominance and smack them down. It's a giant fight for territory.

    When you are #1, you don't have to bend to the will of others. When you are at the top, you have more people looking to take advantage of you than when you are part of the masses. Do you think Bill Gates really cares what I think about him? Donald Trump? Rupert Murdoch? Howard Stern? Even when they get smacked, they still flip everyone off with the proverbial middle finger. Such is life at the top.

    I'm not saying it's right or that that's the way it should be, but that it's the way it is. If they weren't that way, they wouldn't be at the top. They'd be down here with the rest of us. Same deal with the U.S.

    -Ab
  • by DanTheLewis (742271) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:15PM (#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.

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

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:33PM (#8683574) Homepage Journal
    Bottom line, we can do it because we have the power and the might. We don't need to play well with others, others need to play well with us.

    We're not the first nation to think that way. A century or so ago, one particularly keen observer of empire wrote:

    "Far-called, our navies melt away;
    On dune and headland sinks the fire:
    Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
    Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
    Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
    Lest we forget - lest we forget!"

    It happened to Britain, and to Spain, and Rome; it will happen to us too. Nothing lasts forever. With luck, we'll go out the way the British did, gracefully and with a certain amount of good will in the world. But if people like you have their way, it will be more like the way the Romans ended things: ever weaker, arrogant and paranoid and half-mad, harried by people who hate us, until we're a shattered wreck of remembered glory.
  • by gomel (527311) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:45PM (#8683747) Homepage Journal
    It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on ...

    you might not understand this, but issues like this provoke revolutions.
    In Iran in the seventies, the Shah decided that the country should modernize. Therefore he brought in a lot of Western experts. This resulted in two things:

    * drunk American soldiers misbehaving in a Muslim country (where alcohol is forbidden)
    * porn (american movies or advertising billboards with almost nude women)

    To the people that meant a total opposite to their cultural values. In meant anti-persianism. That is where the mullahs decided that the Shah is the national ENEMY, because he is leading the country straight into Hell. He was toppled in 1978/79.

    (I got this story from "geopolitics of islam" classes.)

    by the way, I've heard American soldiers are buying porn DVDs on Baghdad markets ...
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bendebecker (633126) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:55PM (#8683874) Journal
    9/11 would not be stopped by making the world liek us. There will always be soemoen who hates us. Bin Laden would hate us no matter what we did. What stops 9/11s isn't making people liek you but watching your back and making peopel fear you. A roman citizen could walk anywhere in the empoire and all he needed for protection was the phrase "I am a roman citizen.". Why? Not becuase ppl loved or respected Rome but becuase Rome's vengenance was so absolute and so extreme that no one would dare harm its citizens for fear of Rome's reprisals.
  • Re:"Imposing Views"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs@noSPam.ajs.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:57PM (#8683901) Homepage Journal
    the randomizer chips and other control circuitry in a slot machine must be certified by the gambling commission, if tampered with the casino has a very good chance of being shut down

    Well, yes and no. There's a great book on this topic, and if I remember to, I'll post it when I get home. Here's the deal though: companies that make slot machines set a "take" (how much the casino keeps) on the machine when they make it (and modern equipment can be re-adjusted by a central system on-site at a casino). The casino orders the machine with a goal in mind for that machine's take.

    Now in most places that have a large amount of gambling, the take has a threshold, and you are not allowed to exceed it. How likely that threshold is to be enforced is mostly a political decision. HOWEVER, in Las Vegas, there is NO LIMIT imposed on the casino's take other than advertized settings must be accurate. Thus, when in Las Vegas (if you feel compelled to throw away money, but want a decent chance of not throwing it all away), either play cards/roulette/etc or play slots with an advertised return).
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Decameron81 (628548) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:58PM (#8683924)
    "That's the way of nature. The strongest survive. We're the alpha male of the world tribe. Eventually, we'll grow old and a new alpha male will arise. Until then, we get to choose whatever female of the species (metaphor for smaller countries) that we want. When other males (metaphor for other larger countries, but not as big as us) do something we don't like, we express our dominance and smack them down. It's a giant fight for territory."


    Shame on that statement. The way of nature doesn't mean I must smack down my neighbor just because I have the power to. If all of the US citizens thought like you do, there would be far more than two towers to shed a tear for.

    Do you seriously think that if some other country finds itself in a position to nuke the US it should do so to become the strongest? The way of nature means I should care for myself and only for myself? Then why is it a crime to shoot down someone in the street because you can?

    It's not like you have to ignore your interests, but there's a big difference between following those interests and purposedly exploiting other people/countries to gain a better position.

    You get respect if you deserve respect. Threating others like your personal slaves is not the only way to retain your leadership position.

    Diego Rey

    PS: this is not against USA, but against that selfish way of reasoning
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gaijin99 (143693) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:34PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:48PM (#8684510)
    Dumb analogy. A better one is: in a boxing match, you hit the other guy a few times, then he hits you, then you whine to the referee (who happens to be your mom) that he shouldn't do that.
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G. W. Bush Junior (606245) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:48PM (#8684517) Journal
    No intention to abide by it? What secret knowledge do you have of the evil european conspiracy that the rest of us (europeans) haven't got access to?

    The Kyoto treaty was specifically designed to hamstring the American economy. Its stated purpose, to reduce world pollution, is nothing more than a cover story.
    Com'on drop the "the rest of the world hates USA because you love freedom" routine... The American manufacturing industry might suffer if they are not able to adapt, but it's really your own fault that you haven't chosen to focus on alternative energy sources.

    The windmill and fuel cell companies in my country don't seem to think that the kyoto agreement is in any way hampering them... but maybe that's just because they don't understand capitalism.
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pinky (738) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:48PM (#8684522) Homepage
    Given that the EU now how a GDP larger than the US, I would say that the EU is now a more influential economic entity than the US. Given the might-makes-right attitude of your post I would expect the US will eventually have to cave into the trade demands of the EU from now on. That would include changing any cultural eccentricities that conflict with EU trade interests. It would greatly expedite things if the US would just stop arguing and become a team player... this is all by your logic, of course.. I, for one, do not hold this view as I find it morally irresponsible, but I could certainly see how it would appeal to citizens of the EU. I don't see why it would appeal to a US citizen, however, unless they were ill-informed about the current state of world economic affairs or possibly masochistic.

    (The above comments should be viewed as satirical)
  • Bricker Ammendment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by David Hume (200499) on Friday March 26, 2004 @05:59PM (#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.


  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bluelantern (664962) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:53PM (#8685150)
    The American news media never discusses the content of Bin Laden's or Al-Zawahiri's messages. When they say, "Unless you stop your support of Israel we will attack America until the end, praise Allah." The media only reports the half sentence "We will attack America until the end, praise Allah." The motivation of the terrorists is never given and when it is discussed it's always turned into, "They just hate Americans." There is not a word about why. All Al Qaeda's messages have to do with American support of Israel and propping up patsy governments in the region. That foreign policy discussion is one I would love this country to have...but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. For more than the last thirty years Israel has fought terrorists like Al-Qaeda and just recently the terrorists have begun to focus on the source of Israel's power, America. Is the supporting of Israel really worth the instability of America and so many countries around the world? Some may say that having this discussion gives the terrorist attacks validity/currency. I think not having the discussions only makes terrorist attacks more certain to occur.
  • This may be... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by griblik (237163) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:50PM (#8685626)
    ...why so many people dislike Americans.

    I've never met an American I didn't like (ok, that's a lie, I met one guy I thought was a total wanker, and there's always those loud-mouthed why-won't-you-accept-dollars tourists, but hey, British tourists suck too). Individually, in my experience, you're good people. Collectively, as a country...

    The US government comes across as the Microsoft of global politics. It seems like there's nothing they won't do to further the US cause. They agree to global standards, and then blow them off when it suits them.

    The hatred of MS around here is, as I reckon you all know and play along with, more than they deserve - they're 'evil'. But it doesn't kill anyone.

    US foreign policy does.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:50PM (#8686035)
    " '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?""

    In what way? Are you referring to the US imposing its values on other countries by making it a "trade issue," or perhaps the way the congresscritter is complaining about international meddling in a domestic issue while at the same time meddling in a state issue? If the "US values" this congressman from Nevada touts are so great, why doesn't he try forcing them on his own state?

    We're a federal republic for a reason. If all issues had a one-size-fits-all solution we wouldn't need states (or countries, for that matter). Or is the concept of "the majority is always right" only bad when you're not a part of the majority?

    And people wonder why Puerto Rico is skittish about statehood...
  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chuck Messenger (320443) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:08PM (#8686795)
    A couple of thoughts:

    First, "Rome" didn't really get shattered, as you're saying. The Roman empire divided into 2 halves. The Western half did gradually succumb to barbarian tribes -- in the 400's or so. The Eastern half, with its capital in Constantinople, lasted much longer. I can't remember when the Turks finally took them down -- I think around the 1200's.

    So what was your point about Rome? The Western Romans succumbed to barbarians tribes, but not the Eastern Romans. Was it because the Easterners were "nicer"? I hardly think so. There are reasons -- lots of them -- but they're more subtle than the "popular image" of the ever-more-profligate, self-indulgent, even insane (due to lead in glass, etc) Romans finally getting their just desserts!

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