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Push To End Online Gambling Ban Gains Steam 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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Push To End Online Gambling Ban Gains Steam

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:12AM (#31059792)

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

  • by BlueTrin ( 683373 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:17AM (#31059812) Homepage Journal
    ... as opposite to making them unlawful ?

    I do not understand, if they make it unlawful it still gives the same incentives, isn't it ?
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:25AM (#31059848) Homepage

    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.

  • stock market (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duckintheface ( 710137 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:33AM (#31059884)
    We already have internet gambling. I gu
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:35AM (#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 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.

  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:39AM (#31059924)

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

  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:42AM (#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.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:49AM (#31059980) Homepage Journal

    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:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrisG23 ( 812077 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:58AM (#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.)

  • by RaigetheFury ( 1000827 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:59AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:03AM (#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...

  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:20AM (#31060232) Homepage Journal

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

    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 [] for gambling with massive bets that are large enough to move the markets themselves, plus crony gambling insiders [] being shuffled into and out of the official currency creation/interest setting and so called "regulation" part of that scene.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:25AM (#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.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:29AM (#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 []

    "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."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:33AM (#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?

  • by drumcat ( 1659893 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:34AM (#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.
  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:58AM (#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.

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:16AM (#31060654) Journal
    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).
  • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:26AM (#31060758)

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

  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:49AM (#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?

  • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:03PM (#31061132) Journal

    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.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:32PM (#31061504)
    Electronic gambling is a lot worse than the more traditional methods, even if the game is the same. It's not a coincidence that casinos are trying to switch to electronics wherever possible. They want to speed up the process as much as possible because over the long term, the house always wins, and the more hands a player can play, the quicker and larger the profits are. On top of that without the tactile handing over of chips players lose out on the feed back of how much their really wagering making it feel a lot more like play money than money that could be used for things like rent or food.
  • by the_one(2) ( 1117139 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:42PM (#31061638)

    Wow.... you obviously haven't done the math on that statement. Very large tax on people who are poor on math -> people with nothing to lose -> crime -> tax on everybody + general suckyness....

  • by Zephyn ( 415698 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:57PM (#31062492)

    "So, who's funding the anti-internet gambling side and WHY?"

    The brick and mortar casinos. If people have the convenience of being able to go across the living room to gamble for actual cash, they're not going to arrange trips across the country to do so.

    It's no coincidence that the prohibition excludes fantasy sports, online lotteries, and horse racing. The brick and mortars have had those forms of remote wagering available for some time. If this was purely a morality and citizen protection issue, why the exceptions?

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:38PM (#31063056)

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

    Thank you for proving that while many laws are passed for absolutely terrible reasons, there are always -worse- motivations that our lawmakers didn't go with.

    Taxes go to the government, where they're at least supposed to be spent on social welfare programs, defense, infrastructure, etc. Online casino revenue will go either to more annoying ads and spam for online casinos or directly into the pockets of it's shareholders. If your motivation is to punish people who are bad at math, at least we could do something useful with that money if it were an -actual- tax.

    And why abuse people who are bad at math? If you gamble away all that you have, that hurts your family. You lose your house, that hurts your neighbors. It's really just elitism that makes you say that isn't it? That's pretty sad.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.