Online Gaming On Congressional Hit List

93 comments

I'm not into online gambling myself but I haven't seen this getting coverage anywhere yet Congress approves Internet gambling ban Reuters.com

The House of Representatives and Senate approved the measure and sent it to President George W. Bush to sign into law.

The bill, a compromise between earlier versions passed by the two chambers, would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

Democrats had accused Republicans of pushing the bill to placate its conservative base, particularly the religious right, before the November 7 congressional elections.

Comments

That link seems to be

That link seems to be broken. Here's another one. Interestingly it got through the house on a 317-93 margin.

updated

link fixed, thanks.

As long as I can play hold-em on PokerStars

I will be OK with it.

Interestingly it got through

Quote:
Interestingly it got through the house on a 317-93 margin.

The reason it got through on that margin is because it was attached to a ports security bill. Basically if you voted against it, you didn't want our ports safe. They stated that internet gambling was one of the ways terrorists funded money in the US.

As long as I can play

Quote:
As long as I can play hold-em on PokerStars

Well that is what they are stopping. They will now be able to hold credit card companies and so forth liable for funding gambling accounts. It will force your bank and credit card to not allow any transactions at all. You may not even be able to cash a check from a casino at your bank. It also allows them to target you individually by your ISP logs.

You'll still be able to find ways to do it, but they are making it very difficult to the average player.

That's awesome.

What they took out was equally interesting

The bill originally contained a provision specifying that existing wire fraud laws already apply to the internet. That got taken out.

It's not really the job of Congress to interpret existing laws - under the US separation of powers, that's the job of the courts. I'm not clear if they took the retrospective language out for that reason or for some other.

The position of the Department of Justice has been that wire fraud laws do apply to online gaming. I think most people agree with them so far as casino type games go, although I don't think that there are any definitive court cases yet. The gray area apparently has been poker, which operates a bit differently and comes from a different tradition. I haven't personally researched any of it, though, and am just repeating what I've read in news articles, so do your own research if it matters to you.

I will say this - if you are an SEO closely tied in to promoting offshore online gaming in the US (i.e., not just an affiliate, but someone who sits down with the management and helps them figure out how to get more exposure in the US) you really ought to be talking with a very good lawyer so you have good advice as to whether you face any exposure or not. The guys they grab at airports so far have all been top management, but they might get more aggressive if they have a clear statute.

This could also affect gambling affiliate programs. If a given site is illegal under US law, it's only a matter of time before US affiliate payments for that site go away - and maybe without much notice.

The other folks who will squawk long and hard about this bill will be the banks. They are charged with enforcement of this law, and it's a pretty big burden.

>That's awesome. > -

>That's awesome.
> - Jill

You know, i wasn't sure I hated you . . . until just now.

Does nothing to ban online gambling

It's a banking bill, and since hardly any US credit cards worked with online gambling accounts anyway, you have to wonder why they did it other than to cater to extremists too clueless to know the bill is basically toothless.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=akHqMtqYNtcI

It's awesome because...

...it's illegal in the US, so it doesn't make any sense for the credit card companies to be funding illegal activities.

Quote:
You know, i wasn't sure I hated you . . . until just now.

Wow, SEOBH...get a grip. It's just a discussion. Did you not get much love from your mom when you were little or something?

And you don't see the

And you don't see the hypocrisy in it? I can drive 45 minutes to the nearest casino and "legally" lose my money, but if I try it from home I'm a criminal. IMO, where I choose to gamble makes no difference.

> ..it's illegal in the

> ..it's illegal in the US,

online gambling is illegal in the US??

Then why are they trying so hard to pass laws to make it illegal?

Local Pork

AFAIK the Indian reservations where most people now gamble legally are sovereign nations (technically their own country). Depending on how the bill was structured to allow the construction of the casino the state usually gets a piece of the action. For example here's a bill that discusses a Rhode Island Casino near me. Rhode Island General Assembly Press Releases

The constitutional amendment names the Narragansett Indian Tribe as the "project developer," specifies West Warwick as the "location,"and sets the gaming tax range between "25 percent and 40 percent." Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun share 25 percent of their slot revenues with the state of Connecticut, but do not pay any taxes on table games. A Narragansett Indian Casino, however, would pay taxes on all gaming activities.

So basically they let a casino get built in another country and collect a gaming tax from it. Some of the cash and almost none of the responsibility.

It's not?

Quote:
online gambling is illegal in the US??

Isn't it? Other than the indian territories and Nevada and maybe a few other places. Or is that not correct?

if it's illegal, why hasn't

if it's illegal, why hasn't a SINGLE US CITIZEN BEEN CHARGED FOR IT? (let alone prosecuted)?

And again, if it was illegal, why would 'they' be
a) scrambling to try to find "loophole" ways to stop it
b) trying to get bills passed in the House and Senate to call it illegal

'they' in this case, is equal parts extreme-Right, and the huge-insanely-rich Las Vegas casino lobby. I think it has about zero to do with morals or ethics, and 100% to do with money and politics.

What I don't get is the inconsitency. Gambling online is the devil!!! Oh but it's fine in Nevada, state's rights and all that!! totally different there. Yes, real different. Here Senator, there's a few hundred thou for your campaign.

I forgot

about all the state lotteries too. I think gambling does fund our schools here in Mass. or something like that...

?Gambling online is not

?Gambling online is not now nor has it ever been illegal inside the US. But on the other side of the coin taking bets or wagers inside the US is illegal unless state law allows it. Like Andy said, If gambling online is illegal, why do a few folks keep trying to get laws on the books making it illegal?

I spent most of Saturday studding the new law HR-49543 Title 8, Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement.

I am not a lawyer and this is not a legal opinion or advice.

There is only one section of this new law that “may” apply to affiliates, that is in the Civil Remedies Section and it requires ISP’s to remove or block access to sites that use certain methods of payment like credit cards and wire transfers for taking wagers/bets, this part means nothing because there are no casino or sportbooks hosted inside the US anyway. However, this same section appears to require ISPs to remove or block access to sites that have hypertext links to sites that accept credit cards or wire transfers for gambling.

What is shameful in my opinion is that a couple of politicos (Kyle and Frist) can attach a gambling proabition bill (side note - proabition has NEVER worked) to a completely non-related bill like port security. The anti-gambling bill would never have passed the House, not to mention the Senate on its own merit (they have tried to pass a law like this for ten years now without success), so in a back alley deal in the middle of the night on Friday? at the very last second of the session, these two politico asswipes attach this proabition bill to something totally non-related but that everyone fully supports and is set to fast track pass thru the Senate, port security. This is American politics at it worst and most corrupt.

I don’t think this is the end of this issue, the Banks and ISPs will most likely file a few law suits over this law as the burden of enforcement is put on them and they don’t get anything in return.

The house always wins.

The basic premise of gambling is the house wins. Thus, most people will lose, most of the time.

While one could argue about the merits of an economic activity that is providing a very fleeting service (the momentary thrill when thinking you might win), it becomes a very dubious proposition when you begin to factor in all the victims gambling leaves in its wake. There are all too many people who over-extend themselves, losing their homes and love ones in the process.

At least when the house is the state, state run operations act as a regressive tax system, lowering the overall tax burden on those who resist the temptation of “scratch and win”.

In the specific case of changing Little Rhody's constitution, I would argue that the last thing West Warwick needs is a Casino. The few times I've been to “Indian” casinos , I've mainly seen “senior” citizens with glazed over eyes trying to kill time. While it may function as a social aggregation center, the quality of social interaction leaves a lot to be desired. The Italians figured out a long time ago that constructing towns with a central plazza creates a natural aggregation point – without the glazed over eyes.

The BBC produced a nice 4 part series on the ins and outs of gambling – the programs are available on-line in the real player format.

Gambling is very much like tobacco stocks – very lucrative if you're willing to ignore the social damage it does.

Get a grip

Spending money to play a game is all that we are talking about here. Gambling to excess is no different than donating to a church in excess, or eating to excess, or restoring old cars to excess. People do what they like to do. Some people like to have fun playing games. Some overdo it.

Gambling is legal in 48 of the US states. Non-sports gambling online is not illegal on a Federal level in the US. The US Appeals court has already ruled that. Owning a site that offers it is illegal. And the fallout of this likely will be huge, even if it makes next to no sense.

..

?There has been gambling as long as there have been Humans, there will be gambling till there are no more Humans. All the anti-gambling arguments in the world won’t change that fact.

Humans were designed to gamble, our brains are designed to figure the odds in a split second. It used to be we all gambled with our lives everyday just to survive, now most of us just gamble with money. Of course, there are those of us that still gamble with their lives (Every time I get in my car, I figure the odds), but we ALL gamble in one way or another and we will all continue to gamble...

Ever heard the saying, “Life is a gamble”?

I also find it humorous that some people who would never ever consider walking in the front door of a Casino, keep their entire life savings in the stock market, and then try to tell me gambling is a bad thing...

The existing laws probably cover it

1) They probably don't need additional laws. The existing laws almost certainly covering using the interent for gambling. The DOJ is certainly moving full speed ahead under the existing laws. This is one part adding suspenders on top of your belt, and three parts election year politics. Don't confuse it with the main game, which is enforcing the existing ban on using the wires for gambling against internet gaming companies. Expect the DOJ initiative to continue no matter who wins the 2008 elections, because bringing down rich guys is something ambitious prosecutors love to do.

2) The states and the feds don't really have the option to outlaw Indian tribe gambling. Indian nations are sovereign nations, albeit within the US and partly controlled by the US. A Supreme Court case in the early 80s held it was within their sovereign powers to allow gambling on their reservations, and while Congress and the states can affect up to a point how it is done they can't really stop it. This case completely upended gambling regulation in the US, and ended up with tribes putting casinos everywhere.

3) There is an element of chance in everything - some physicists even see chance in the most elemental laws of the universe, leading Einstein to his famous quote that God doesn't throw dice with the universe. Chance and gambling, however, are two very different things.

4) Nor does it prove much that gambling has been around for a while. That people now and in the past gamble, hire prostitutes, murder, steal, lie and spam the search engines (ok, maybe they didn't do that last one in the past) says nothing about whether those are good things to be doing, and nothing about how and whether they ought to be regulated by society. If you've ever known anyone who had a gambling addiction, it's a very sad thing to see.

5) It's common to say that investing in the stock market is just a form of gambling, but I've always considered that a particularly naive point of view. Casinos are about gambling. The stock market is about financing businesses. That you can make or lose money in either environment does not make them equivalent. If we didn't have stock markets (and commodities markets, and options trading markets, and so on), our economy would be a lot less efficient than it is, and as a result we would on the whole be a lot poorer than we are. If we didn't have casinos, we would just have fewer casinos. Sure, cousin numbnuts can lose the mortgage payment just effectively in day trading as in playing blackjack, but when he loses it day trading he at least contributes to the liquidity of the capital markets.

All too true

Several CEO's of large internet based gambling sites are to be arrested immediately should they enter certain US states due to the CURRENT gambling laws.

Basically, these laws reflect the US government's wish to keep gambling revenue (i.e. taxation) within it's own borders. A fairly xenophobic approach has been adopted resultantly, with the end result being this examination of an all-out ban.

To my mind, as in Britain, a fairer tax system would make it a more appealling proposition for a prospective online gambling site to set up in the US, rather than, as is almost always the case, moving off-shore to protect profits, and hence removing ANY chance of the government receiving revenue. They appear to be treating the symptoms rather than the disease...

I think it's more complex than that

Gambling revenue has never been a big revenue maker for governments in the US, with the exception of Nevada. Even the state lotteries just add a pittance to the school budget. I don't think it's the tax revenues that get people worked up.

I think there is genuine concern that making gambling readily available, 24/7, will lead to substantial social costs. I'm not an anti-gambling zealot, but I think the folks worried about the social impact of internet gambling have a point.

I'm not sure that the publicly traded US gambling companies have taken a final position on this - if it's going to happen, I'm sure they want it to be clearly legal, so they can dive in. If they are kept out, I expect they want other people kept out. What I don't know is whether they view legalized online gambling as a way to expand the market or as something that threatens their dominance.

Where I see greed affecting people's positions is on the part of the online gaming companies. These folks have made billions in no time flat, and stand to make billions more. They seem motivated both to oppose enforcement of the laws against them, and perhaps to demonize a bit those who are making doing business in the US a bit harder.

It could be worse for them. I think in China (a culture with a particularly strong tradition of gambling) they give folks the death penalty for running gambling houses.

...

>>>That people now and in the past gamble, hire prostitutes, murder, steal, lie and spam the search engines..."

Are you running for office as a republican?

Very politico speak of you to lump all those 'bad things' into one sentence along with gambling...

Just one more person that thinks its OK to tell other people how they should live their lives.

Maybe if we has less trying to tell other people how to live their lives and a little more tolerance we would not be living in such a fucked up world right now.

BTW - Ever see someone lose their life savings in the stock market... I have, and it aint perdy, either...

I have also seen people so addicted to day trading stocks that they have lost everything and go into debt so far they will never be able to pay it off... Gambling is Gambling.

Taking a chance with your money - baby thats gambling anyway you cut it. Naive... I thinks its Naive to be believen taking a chance with yo money is not gambling.

BTW - Frist and Klye did not try to bann online gambling for taxes or to keep money inside the US, they did it for religious reasons, its against their religion, just ask them. And of course, according to them, everyone just has to abide by their religion or go to jail.

>>>Even the state lotteries just add a pittance to the school budget.

You don't know much about this issue do you? State Lotteries are in many states the largest single source of funding for schools. In other States the Lottery procedes are ear marked for education and placed in the general fund for the State to use at it sees fit.

My State even counts on the average $2.5 Million that goes unclaimed every year in lottery winnings... its figured into the state budget.

I wish I could be a optimistic

It is not necessarily more complex to suggest that anti-internet gambling laws are there to prevent the social risk of problem gambling rather than to prevent dollars from leaving the country.

The fact is that, were internet gambling accepted (i.e. legal - or, more specifically, not illegal to provide payment services for...), there would be very little competition between US based gambling sites and those based off-shore, with little or no corporation, or gambling, taxes applicable to them. The offshore companies will always be able to out-do those based in countries (such as the US, UK et al) that have such taxation.

My point is that, rather than attempting to mitigate these problems (and I'm not talking about social problems), which they could achieve by looking into ways in which they (the government) can generate revenue from the US money going in to internet based gambling operations, they seek to make it impossible for US citizens to gamble online whatsoever: such an attempt will only take those intent on gambling online "off the radar".

Anyone who wishes to, and has a little patience, can, I'm certain, get bets placed online - the US government can not profit from this acivity in any way, shape or form. Illegal gambling costs governments money, as it is unregulated.

Look at Prohibition of the 1920's - did that stop drinking? All it achieved was to make the purveyors of alcohol unnaccountable and, therefore, untaxable, the same, I assert, is true of these measures.

>>>"Gambling revenue has

>>>"Gambling revenue has never been a big revenue maker for governments in the US, with the exception of Nevada. Even the state lotteries just add a pittance to the school budget. I don't think it's the tax revenues that get people worked up."

When you consider that

>>>"These folks have made billions in no time flat, and stand to make billions more."

Surely it would make sense for a government to wish to claim even a small %age of this money? Perhaps then they could put it toward some social good...

Awesome!?

You know, i wasn't sure I hated you . . . until just now.

Well fucking said Quad.

Awsome?

What does 'awsome' actually mean. Good or Bad? I know what it means in the UK but after bastardisation in the US I havent got a clue. Someone explain so I can make sense of the not so pleasant, or where they ironic, comments.

It's getting more and more...

...embarrassing to be an American. Oliver Stone was right.

If we are not fricking crap up that does matter, we are wasting time on shite that matters only to those with some religous or political pandering agenda (or those with shitloads of money).

As Samuel L. Jackson once said, "Seperation of church and state, muthafucka."

We have bigger fish to fry and better batters to fry them in.

SB

Embarrassing?

If its not enough me not understanding what the one single word 'awsome' means I can now honestly say I have no idea or clue at all what the last post is about. Maybe I dont speak English after all.

"Embarrassing..."

Sorry I confused you with some funky/twisted references to pop culture and U.S. history.

I also am sorry you didn't read about the recent remarks made by Stone at some show biz event.

As for your interpretation of "awesome"...you are quite dated! ;)

SB

CabbageLooking....

Awsome = Great

So she was saying that she was very happy that the government just shoved its giant tool up our collective bums.

Awesome = Inspiring dread

According to my dictionary.
I must be older than I realise.

Realise?

Dude, there is a "z" in that word.

Ahem...

Not in *proper* English, there isn't.

Actually

if you take the meaning of the word to be "inspiring dread", then I agree with Jill. Awesome news!!!

Maybe next Uncle Sam can outlaw Adsense? or SEO? they both have associated negative social costs ;-)

Either way, as long as they keep tapping my phones and increasing their budget... awesome things happening around here.

While one could argue about

Quote:
While one could argue about the merits of an economic activity that is providing a very fleeting service (the momentary thrill when thinking you might win), it becomes a very dubious proposition when you begin to factor in all the victims gambling leaves in its wake. There are all too many people who over-extend themselves, losing their homes and love ones in the process.

Why not ban luxury cars, thousand dollar bottles of champagne, and anything that could be considered a waste of money? The governments job is to protect and serve, not to tell me what to do with my money.

If the government gave two craps about people gambling, there would be no lotto, Indian casinos, jai lai, or horse tracks. It's a double standard.

Shares in gambling firms

Shares in gambling firms slump after U.S. act approved

Shares in PartyGaming slumped 59% and 888 Holdings shares gave up 45%. Shares of Sportingbet fell 66% and World Gaming was the biggest faller, with shares sliding 76%

"genuine concern"

from a politician?

you gotta be kidding...

oh, you must mean their re-election and campaign funds.

sorry for the mistake.

"The bottom line is simple. Internet gambling is illegal."

Quote:
"The bottom line is simple. Internet gambling is illegal." - Bill Frist, US Senate Majority Leader

It was always illegal, this law makes it easier to stop it. It would be a monumental undertaking to track and prosecute every individual gambling online so this new legislation puts the responsibility on the businesses involved (i.e. credit card companies) which ironically is not a very Republican thing to do.

Lumping it in with the port security bill was probably more of an attempt to get non-religious Republicans onside rather than the "social conscience" Democrats who would be more likely to vote for it anyway.

GWBush is due to sign it into law in two weeks.

Can anyone point me to the

Can anyone point me to the full text of the bill ?

"The bottom line is simple.

"The bottom line is simple. Internet gambling is illegal." - Bill Frist, US Senate Majority Leader

The bottom line is simpler than that, they aren't making any money off this billion$ industry. The funds quickly make their way to tax havens in Costa Rica and Gibralta etc. Internet gambling isn't going away, they just have to figure how to keep the money in the country - IMHO we'll see US licensed casinos coming online once they resolve this issue.

US businesses who bring back money into the country don't seem to have these obstacles - take the US backed project taking place in the Millennium Dome (going to be the largest casino in the UK). It's a global market out there though and I'm sure the US wants a piece of it.

It's very common to attach bills to unrelated bills

At the end of the Congressional term, it's very common for the US Congress to attach bills to unrelated pieces of legislation.

Congressman still have to vote for or against it - that vote comes at the moment when Congressmen vote about whether it should be attached.

What the attachment does is shortcut some of the quasi-technical requirements about number of hearings, number of times it has to be presented before Congress, etc., because all of that has been done with the other bill. You get one real up or down vote, and get on with other business.

The reason they attach it to stuff like the ports bill, which will absolutely get passed, is that that prevents it from killing the bill it is attached to. They had tried earlier to attach it to various defense bills, but Senator Warner told them he would not tolerate additional stuff being added to defense bills (he chairs the defense committee).

Bush would have signed it however it came up. His base is for it, and he basically doesn't veto stuff in any event.

Gambling in the US

I'm not particularly on either side of this issue, but some background for those of you across the pond who might be interested in how this all works in the US.

Gambling traditionally has been viewed as a vice in the US - along with stuff like prostitution, smoking marijuana, etc. Along with those other vices, it has always existed, and generally is ignored by the police in any given town so long as it didn't get too visible or lead to too many derivative problems. It was there, but it was a niche activity - you had numbers runners in the ghettoes, you had high stakes poker games in private clubs or hotels, you had floating crap games that changed location every week or two, you even had some illegal casinos on the highways outside of town, but you had to be admitted to a subculture to really know how to find it.

In the US federal structure, it basically has been regulated by state and local governments. A state has to say that it is ok in a given state; the municipality then has to say that it's ok in that municipality as well.

For a long time, the only state that allowed legal casino style gambling was Nevada. That was basically a throwback to the days of the wild west, where the local saloon typically included a little gambling activity. Interestingly enough, Nevada also is the only state to allow legalized prostitution, although only a few municipalities in the state take them up on that.

In the 50s, the mob noticed that gambling was legal in Nevada, and so the cultural curiosity we know as Las Vegas was born. Bugsy Siegel, the guy who started it all, didn't live to see it (he got shot up in his living room in LA because his bosses thought he was skimming money from the construction costs, which he probably wasn't), but it was a huge success.

Over the years, the state of Nevada and the feds have worked hard to squeeze the mob out of Las Vegas. They will tell you they have succeeded. Maybe they have. In any event, the really big casinos you will now see along the strip are owned by publicly traded corporations, and are intensely regulated and monitored.

In the 70s or 80s, someone in Atlantic City thought an east coast Las Vegas might work to revive what was then a very tatty resort(I highly recommend the Louis Malle movie with Burt Lancaster and a young Susan Sarandon for a view of what it was like back then), and they worked to get gambling legalized in New Jersey.

After that, a few states allowed "riverboat" gambling. The idea was sold as something like an 1850's sidewheeler going down the Mississippi, with a couple of card tables, and seemed like no big deal. A few states allowed it, such as Illinois, and the resulting building-like barges (barely able to move ten feet from the dock, in most cases) generated tons of money in states like Illinois if they were located close enough to urban centers. While quite a bit bigger than the vision that was sold, they were still fairly small operations by Las Vegas standards, although big enough to make tons of money for the owners (I know some of the political insiders who got cut in on some of the Illinois boats, and they have made tens of millions apiece.)

About the same time, some states started running lotteries to raise money. As noted, these are pretty regressive; my daughter refers to them as a tax on people who are bad at math.

That was pretty much it, except for a few horse racing tracks open seasonally in horse breeding states, some dog racing and jai alai in Florida, and a bit of bingo at the Roman Catholic church on Wednesday night, along with the aforementioned subculture of illegal activity.

Then the Supreme Court in 1987 ruled that as sovereign states, Indians could run casinos. (It's not as simple as that, because the legal relationship of indian tribes in the US is really complicated, but the net result was that Congress passed a law in 1988 responding to the Supreme Court decision, which allowed tribes which had compacts with the state governments where their reservations were located to operate casinos. Because there are US Constitutional, Indian treaty, federal law, state law, and state constitutional aspects to the law, it's been a lawyer's bonanza.)

The Supreme Court decision, and state and federal laws basically driven by that decision, meant that you suddenly had big, flashy, legal casinos in lots of places where you had not had gambling before. Because Indian tribes exist in a legal zone somewhat outside the normal legal zones, there was a widespread belief that organized crime - along with the big, legitimate gaming companies - was muscling in to take a part of the gaming profits from the tribe casinos.

This was a significant social change for the US, and it happened, as things happen when the Supreme Court takes things into its own hands, without a lot of public debate or public buy in on the underlying premise that a local casino would be a good thing.

This was all still unsettled, with people on both sides of the issue bitching and moaning, when along came internet gaming. This further upset the anti-gaming people, and undoubtedly caused the same concerns with the brick-and-mortar gaming companies that Amazon caused for owners of mall bookstores.

This is an issue that, for whatever reason, a lot of people in America care about, and that nothing like a consensus has been reached. A lot of them especially don't like that things are changing without people having a chance to sign off on it. The way it has happened, driven by the courts and technology, they find themselves in a situation where one day there is no legal gambling and not so much illegal gambling, and the next day there's a lot of gambling all over the place. In the US, at least, people expect the political process to play a role before things like this happen.

As a result, this issue is far from settled in the US. Federal jurisdiction over gambling is limited - you have to have a link to interstate commerce under the US constitution, and the current justices are more serious about that than their predecessors were. The applicable federal law bans the use of the "wires" (traditionally telegraph and telephone) for gambling operations. As far as I know, there's no court case on whether "wires" for gambling purposes includes the internet, but the smart money pretty much figures "wires" will include the internet. Beyond that, state laws apply - the guy recently snagged in JFK was arrested under Louisiana law, which apparently is particularly strict. He's back home in England now because New York refused to extradite him to Louisiana, but the result could have been different with a different governor or in a different state.

If you work directly with the gaming companies, watch your rear. Right now they are bringing cases only when they grab a top exec at the airport; all the same, in the BetOnSports case now pending from the arrest last summer, the executives of a direct marketing company that promoted the online gaming are also facing criminal charges. There is nothing to stop the government from proceeding against other marketing adjuncts (e.g., SEO consultants) if they want, even if they can't get the big fish. I doubt they will go after rank and file affiliates (although no guarantee there), but there is a good chance they will eventually go after any affiliate programs with a US presence, and cut off any payments.

Before folks on either side start jumping on me, please understand that I'm not exercised about this issue. I play poker with friends once a month, albeit for low stakes (won $75 last time out), and will drop a few dollars playing something when I go to pubcon, but it's not my favorite pasttime. I'm also willing to recognize that it does often carry with it social costs. Last but not least, I think it's reasonable, in a democracy, for there to be a debate about how it is handled. In other words, I'm not trying to be a spokesman for either side, but just to lay out some background for what it's worth (and to help me put off real work.)

The full text of the law is

The full text of the law is http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/h/h4954.pdf

but if anyone has undertaken a detailed summary and could point to a link I'd be grateful.

Thanks

OK I've read it and it looks

OK I've read it and it looks scary but there are enough big enough loopholes to drive a convoy through it all.

I personally think today is a good day to buy gaming company stocks and shares as I can't ever see them being this low again

More than 75% of

More than 75% of Partygaming's revenues derive from the US.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5397920.stm

This is huge for me (and many others on here I'm sure).

On a side note, what a

On a side note, what a hassle for banks and credit card companies.

The bill ... would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

How are they supposed to know at all times which of their clientele have online gambling sites?

Words often have more than

Words often have more than one definition.

Call me crazy...

?To who ever it was that said, what Frist and Kyle did, attaching a completely non-related bill to a bill that no one wants to be seen voting against, like the Port Security Bill, was common practice. Let me tell you, it is only the common practice of scummy corrupt politicians, that are pushing their own agenda and not pushing the agendas of the people that voted them into office. That is why this attachment had to happen in a ‘back alley deal’ and was not put to a vote on the open floor of the House or Senate.

On a different note; I think Jason hit the nail on the head.

>>>"OK I've read it and it looks scary but there are enough big enough loopholes to drive a convoy through it all."

?Something like this is a slap in the face to Democracy and Personal Freedom, but it opens up vast new opportunities for making money with online gambling.

?Last reports I saw placed the online gamblers, or people that have gambled online inside the US at just over 35 Million. That is a lot of people and a lot of money to just leave hanging...

StephenBauer

Not 'dated', nor 'funky' (very sixties) just not American. We still speak English in this part of the world, shame you don’t.

Idiot doing more idiot thing

This administration and government has proven over the years that they are....well.....100% incompetent. This scumbag maneuver has less to do with protecting Americans and more to do with trying to rile up the ultra-conservative religious right who they've lost because of this incompetence. When all else fails, just take some rights away from the less religous bunch, right?

The most ironic thing with this whole bill is the fact it doesn't touch horse racing, lotto, or indian reservations. Apparently the $50 bet on a horse isn't considered gambling? The sheer hypocrisy of the bill is mind boggling. It's like saying you can't smoke in public restaurants unless it's Marlboro.

Nonetheless, the issue is rights. My government should be there to protect me from enemies inside and outside of the country. They should provide services like roads and schools. They should not be telling me how I can and can't spend my money from the comfort of my own home. My government should not be passing their moral judgements on me. Especially when their moral compass is not exactly working.

Interesting analysis here

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 Analyzed

© Copyright 2006, all rights reserved worldwide. GAMBLING AND THE LAW® is a registered trademark of Professor I Nelson Rose, www.GAMBLINGANDTHELAW.com.

These two paragraphs will be particularly interesting for folks here:

"The greatest danger here would seem to be with affiliates. Any American operator can be easily grabbed. This includes sites that don’t directly take bets, but do refer visitors to gaming sites. If the affiliate is paid for those referrals by receiving a share of the money wagered or lost, it would not be difficult to charge the affiliate with violating this law, under the theory of aiding and abetting. Being a knowing accomplice and sharing in the proceeds of a crime make the aider and abettor guilty of the crime itself. The federal government could also charge the affiliate with conspiracy to violate this new Act.

"The other danger lies with search engines. Although California-based Google does not take paid ads, punching in “sports bet” brings ups many links to real-money sites. This new Act expressly allows a federal court to order the removal of “a hypertext link to an online site” that is violating the prohibition on money transfers. But what prosecutor would want to be ridiculed internationally for trying to prevent Google from showing links?"

I don't really see rank-and-file affiliates getting sent to prison for the five years provided under the law, even if the good professor is theoretically correct. They are just too far down the food chain. (But your mileage may vary, I make no guarantees, you pays your money and you takes your chances, etc., etc., etc.). OTOH, if I had a gambling affiliate site that has done well in the past, I would sell it fast if I could.

I think SEO consultants working closely with gambling companies are at a lot more risk. They are higher up the food chain and more directly involved; there also is precedent in the one pending case. I also think US based affiliate programs for offshore gambling programs are toast. But I could be wrong.

I think this administration is out to get me

Just what am I supposed to do with betongaymarriage.com now!?!?

Definitions

Awe: A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.
Awesome: 1. Inspiring awe. 2. (informal) Excellent.

Oxford Concise English Dictionary 1999

I don't often get a chance to be *quite* that pedantic, so give me a moment to soak that up ... Right, all done.

No No No No

Youre wrong.
It means 'great' or didnt you know.
Hell whats that crap book you mention anyway.
I prefer to get my info from comics, much more up to date and in tune with the yoof 'culture'.

Criminals?

Am I glad that when I bought one of the 'millionairesclub' websites I changed the content almost right away or I might be doing a little pokey on my next US hols. Does just a few days of casino ads count or should I go to Mexico instead?
Cant really see what all this squawking is about. It appears to be illegal and always has been. Bending the rules and hoping for the best is not exactly a defence to criminal charges.
It may be inconsistent but who can blame the US government for wanting to keep all their dollars at home instead of in the Bahamas or Gibraltar funding foreign multi-millionaires.

Whatever trips your ego.

Schmoogie!

SB

It may be inconsistent but

Quote:
It may be inconsistent but who can blame the US government for wanting to keep all their dollars at home instead of in the Bahamas or Gibraltar funding foreign multi-millionaires.

If they wanted to keep the dollars at home, they'd legalize it in the states and earn billions in tax revenue. The government unfortunately is too stupid and too corrupt to allow that.

on a point of information

Quote:
They should not be telling me how I can and can't spend my money from the comfort of my own home. My government should not be passing their moral judgements on me.

Unfortunately MrTurner you live in a country where a majority of the people disagree with you.

Quote:
The government unfortunately is too stupid and too corrupt to allow that.

This law is fundamentally un-Republican. Instead of pandering to lobbyists (Jack Abramoff helped to successfully defeat this bill in 2000) the congress has (for better or for worse - I'm not making any judgements as I'm not American) decided to forsake the potential tax revenue for principle. This may be stupid but it's not corrupt.

Tagging it into the other bill was an attempt to ensure that corruption couldn't derail it again.

This law is fundamentally

Quote:
This law is fundamentally un-Republican. Instead of pandering to lobbyists (Jack Abramoff helped to successfully defeat this bill in 2000) the congress has (for better or for worse - I'm not making any judgements as I'm not American) decided to forsake the potential tax revenue for principle. This may be stupid but it's not corrupt.

I understand that you have a perception of Republicans, but in America, Republicans don't stand for what they used to. Republicans were typically conservative, liked small government, and protected the constitutional rights of citizens. They are now the complete opposite, and arguably one of the most corrupt in our nation's history.

Attaching it to a ports security bill had nothing to do with it staying away from corruption, it had to do with being corrupt and knowing the bill could not pass on its own merits. A majority of this country wants online gambling legalized, and Republicans knew that alone, it would cause a huge negative backlash toward their party. The did this at the last minute and snuck it into a ports security bill because they knew it would get much less publicity, as well as force Democrats to vote for it and not make it an issue in the upcoming election.

As for your statement on principle, I ask what principle? They still allow lottery, horse racing, and indian reservations. What about the principles of that? I do not agree with their beliefs on this issue, but I would respect it more if it was across the board. More lives have been lost in this country due to alcohol, cigarettes, fatty foods, religion, and sex, yet our society is still allowed to put their money toward that at any time.

You're going to have a hard time convincing someone that Bill Frist did anything to avoid corruption. This is a party that had a child sex predator amongst them in congress and they hid it from the public and other young boys who came in contact with him. Principle is the last thing these people have.

decided to forsake the

decided to forsake the potential tax revenue for principle

The principal of consolidating the gaming market to older establishments (which have probably made/will continue to make large campaign contributions).

Tagging it into the other bill was an attempt to ensure that corruption couldn't derail it again.

This line (perhaps falsely) leads one to believe that there was no corruption associated with the move.

The principal of

Quote:
The principal of consolidating the gaming market to older establishments (which have probably made/will continue to make large campaign contributions).

I'd say the religious forces in the Republican party had more of a say in this than anti-competitive ones.

Quote:
This line (perhaps falsely) leads one to believe that there was no corruption associated with the move.

We are of course talking about relative degrees of propreity. Obviously the bill should have been given a vote on its own merits and this was a sneaky maneouver.

>>>"Jack Abramoff helped to

>>>"Jack Abramoff helped to successfully defeat this bill in 2000"

Incorrect - it was a completly different Bill that Jack Abramoff bribed people (Republicans) to vote against.

>>>Tagging it into the other bill was an attempt to ensure that corruption couldn't derail it again.

Wow - you really don't have a clue about American Politics do you?

I would like you to explain how you think an open vote on the floor of the House and Senate are more corrupt than a back alley deal in the middle of the night?

FYI- NONE repeat NONE of the US Senators that approved this Bill read the part of the bill about online gambling. Why? Because those corrupt asswipes Frist and Kyle snuck the bill in the backdoor in the middle of the night on their last night in power. They knew if a few of the Senators got wind of what they were doing it would have been stopped.

Frist and Kyle back doored the system, just like their good long time buddy Congressman Foley (Republican-Florida) is back dooring all the sixteen year old boys he can get his perverted hands on...

A lof ot moral outrage

Boy, is there a lot of moral outrage expressed in this thread. It almost feels like the folks at the IHateYou forums ranting about blackhat spammers.

just why was this bill passed?

Quote:
I would like you to explain how you think an open vote on the floor of the House and Senate are more corrupt than a back alley deal in the middle of the night?

I only meant that an open vote in which people were bribed is more corrupt than sneaking a controversial bill in with a popular one. Of course it was a scummy thing to do by the Republicans. A straightforward vote would have been preferable but by no means a guarantee that this bill would have been defeated.

All I'm trying to say is that they don't seem to have been motivated by money here, they're forsaking the lobbyists, they're forsaking the tax revenue and they're burdening the private sector with regulation.

There's then two conclusions: they're listening to established gambling interests or they're listening to the religious right. If it was the former then why not legalise it but position the legislation to favour big businesses rather than the relative newcomers?

If it's the latter then it seems like they're doing it for principle (no matter how misguided we may feel that principle is).

The bill was passed because

they couldn't pass a bill outlawing abortion, or any similar big ticket "family values" thing like school prayer.

The religious right has been disatisfied by the Republicans non-progress on their social agenda. So they get thrown this bone.

>>>"Boy, is there a lot of

>>>"Boy, is there a lot of moral outrage expressed in this thread. It almost feels like the folks at the IHateYou forums ranting about blackhat spammers."

?Thing of it is, this issue is important to a lot of people, not just gamblers, affiliates or casino owners...

And when it comes to Congressmen that are pedophiles, accept bribes and create laws in a manner that is not constant with our Constitution then I think everyone should have their 'moral outrage' in plain view.

Where as ranting about Blackhat SEO, whatever that is, is not really important at all.

Blackhat SEO...

... is the most important issue of our time...

All I'm trying to say is

Quote:
All I'm trying to say is that they don't seem to have been motivated by money here, they're forsaking the lobbyists, they're forsaking the tax revenue and they're burdening the private sector with regulation.

They were driven by two primary factors. Money and their own survival in congress.

Money - Don't underestimate the lobbying power of religious groups, Nevada casinos, and horse racing groups. They provide a substantial amount of money toward our government to ensure that gambling is not legalized. Remember that Jack Abramoff worked for the Indian casinos, a group that doesn't want gambling legalized as it dramatically hurts their bottom line. They are still playing to the interests of Abramoff.

Survival - The Republicans have had full control of our government for six years now and not passed a single piece of legislation that would really play to the conservative base. They didn't touch abortion, immigration, or any issue that the socially conservative base cares about. This election looks to be their end of power, and this was a last ditch effort to try and show they care. They needed some reason to get the conservatives to the polls in November, as they haven't given them anything to cheer about in 6 years. The Republicans spend their time raising money, not passing legislation.

Get over it

There's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties when it comes to how the game is played, so spare me the partisian bullshit, or at least spread it on both sides of the aisle.

I'm no analyst

Quote:
Shares in PartyGaming slumped 59% and 888 Holdings shares gave up 45%. Shares of Sportingbet fell 66% and World Gaming was the biggest faller, with shares sliding 76%

...but if I was a gambling man...now seems like a great time to buy in.

There's not a dime's worth

Quote:
There's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties when it comes to how the game is played, so spare me the partisian bullshit, or at least spread it on both sides of the aisle.

It's not partisian bullshit. I speak as a libertarian who probably has more in common with what Republicans supposedly stand for (but don't these days) than with Democrats.

There is no partisian bullshit when it comes to these issues. Republicans have all the power, they've been in complete control for 6 years now. What exactly is supposed to be spread toward Democrats? They have no power, they can't do shit. If they ever get the power and do as bad as the Republicans do, I'd hope everyone would trash them just as hard.

Naive?

Its simple....its a vote winner.
What proportion of the population do you think actually support casino style gambling for money as a legitimate passtime. All political parties would consider a ban if it could help ensure that they were elected.

clueless?

What proportion of the population do you think actually support ______ gambling for money as a legitimate passtime.

better to bet on stocks or sports or lotto, eh?

but probably over 50% of US citizens old enough to gamble have been to a casino

Misleading?

>>but probably over 50% of US citizens old enough to gamble have been to a casino….

Oh yeah...facts and figures please. What does it matter anyway? Curiosity killed the cat or hadn’t you heard?

>>old enough to gamble…

Now that’s another issue that's never been satisfactorily addressed by the industry

Do you really believe that middle America (or Europe for that matter) would be happy with a casino in their backyard and that’s exactly what’s happening on the internet; only it’s just a little bit closer usually being in the bedroom or office.

why not?

there were two casinos in Brighton and afaik there was less drinking, rowdiness and crime associated with them than with the majority of the bars.

If you're going to gamble you will gamble. Its no easier online than off. In fact it may be less easy online as you need actual cash to do it with. I don't believe online casinos give credit? whereas the bookmaker in the high street, the guys at the friday night poker game or the illegal gambling den will all allow credit of some type and with varying interest rates which may or may not include kneecapping.

Online gambling is not the problem. This is not going to solve any problems.

But there is a casino in the back yard

If you live in a big city in the US, you already have a casino more or less in your backyard. That came about because of the Supreme Court case on Indian gambling, which Congress is basically powerless to stop. Congress didn't start Indian gaming. All it could do under the Supreme Court case was regulate how it was going to proceed.

That's one reason this issue is emotionally charged with some elements of the electorate. There is a LOT more visible gaming in the US, and it's not as if people chose to have it. The Court created the tribal gaming industry, and then internet gaming arrived out of the ether.

Aside from whether gaming is socially good or bad, some people just like things better the way they used to be in the good old days (that never were, but that's a different story). Trying to get back a sense of control and to get back to the golden olden times is part of this.

The big lesson in this for me is to pay more attention to what's going on in Congress in the last days of a session, and buy stock options accordingly. Someone reading the Congressional record could have gambled a few thou on put options and made a killing. (And don't try to tell me that's gambling - it's providing information to the capital markets in a way that helps them perform more efficiently).

The quantity of gambling will vary with legality

It's a simple rule of economics that if you make something more available, and hence cheaper to acquire, you get more of it. If you put betting shops on every corner, and make internet gambling ridiculously easy, you get more gambling.

Of course, if you make gambling illegal, you don't get no gambling, you just get no legal gambling, and more illegal gambling. While legal gambling has social costs (e.g., the gambling addict who gambles away the rent payment), illegal gambling has a whole extra layer of social costs (debt collection enforcers who break your legs with baseball bats, blackmail, a well funded criminal organization capable of branching out into other activities, etc.).

When I was a kid, growing up in the rural south, there was a similar dynamic for alcohol, which was still illegal in my home state as a relic of the prohibition era. Everytime someone wanted to legalize it, the electoral coalition formed to fight it was interesting - money from the bootleggers who brought in or made the illegal whiskey, preaching and politicking done by the Methodist and Baptist ministers. I expect some of that is going on in the anti-gambling movement.

cant agree with that

because ultimately it falls into the same camp as prostitution and drugs I guess. I would argue that legalising things makes them no more prevelant than previously just allows them to be visible and taxed.

In the Uk, for example, its not legal to drink in a pub without food until you're 18. I don't know one single person, other than those who don't drink, who waited until their birthday to go pubbing and get bladdered. All the law did was make us wear higher heels and more makeup (men too - it was the 80's....)

Yes Amsterdam is an exception to the 'no more prevelant' rule but then Brits visit Amsterdam to take advantage of things which are less comfortable at home. If the ferries stopped running there would be a pretty brisk trade in most of the UK. Legal or illegal there are certain people who will do certain things and I'm willing to bet stopping online gambling won't reduce the amount of gambling done in the US, just the amount of people who admit to doing it.

Indian Reservations

This Indian reservation stuff that keeps cropping up as justification for an internet free for all is a bit of a red herring for a large part of the US. There are many states that have none or just few. It’s a trifle inconvenient to drive several hundred miles in the middle of the night if you fancy a flutter.
http://www.cr.nps.gov/nagpra/DOCUMENTS/ResMAP.HTM

This was the real point...

not a side note.

The bill ... would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

All the other stuff is just for show. The only way you control Internet gambling is at the money flow. The ACH industry is going to feel the pain badly.

Ah, but my friend Cabbagelooking, that's not the whole story

You are thinking Indian reservations as in the desolate and isolated pieces of land where the US government put the remnants of the first nations.

When casinos hit the scene, all the sudden there were reservations in places no one know about before - downtown Detroit, downtown Los Angeles, and so on.

Here's a site that lists some, but not all, of the Indian casinos out there. There are eight in Los Angeles alone, a town not previously thought of as Indian reservation territory.

http://500nations.com/Indian_Casinos.asp

There aren't many metro areas that got missed. While there are blank areas on the map, you have to remember that the US, unlike England, includes vast areas of basically empty territory.

The internet is still more convenient, just as Amazon is more convenient than going to Borders, but there are about as many Indian casinos as there are Borders.

?After settling down a bit

?After settling down a bit and talking to some very good attorneys, I feel much better about this whole thing.

One point about the almost law. The real catch phrase here is “Unlawful Internet Gambling”, With the key word being “Unlawful”. The Banks may have a legal problem (what the lawyers call Exposure) with blocking transactions that are not illegal and there is a real legal question if some types of online gaming are illegal. The Wire Act, that outlaws wagering on phone lines only specifically make sports betting illegal.

There is also a small point that has been over looked here that WILL effect everyone that lives in the US and many many that do not.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, requires all Banks that do business inside the US have in place a system within 270 days after the law goes into effect to identify and block all transactions to and from Online Gambling Sites or their agents.

Think about this, in order for the Banks to identify payments to and from an online casino or their agents, the Banks are going to have to identify each and every financial transaction that goes through their hands and not only identify it but KNOW WHY the transaction has occurred. So in other words, when you go to pay for that new pair of shoes and you use a credit or debit card or write a check the Bank in question is going to have to KNOW WHY you are making this transaction so they can approve it or not... Every transaction...

I can see the day where a common conversation with a Bank teller will go something like this...

Bank Teller - “Mr. Smith, just why are you withdrawing $150 in Cash and exactly where and on what are you going to spend it?”

Mr. Smith - “I am going to buy some new shoes at the local Dept Store.”

Bank Teller - “But Mr. Smith I see here where you just bought a pair of shoes last month. I don’t think we can approve this transaction, you might use this cash to make an illegal wager.”

Mr. Smith - “What do you mean, you won’t approve it!”

Bank Teller - “SECURITY!”

US gamers

I don't understand why places like party poker would cut off US accounts. For people that already have $$$ in there, let us play and then use it to buy into big tournaments or withdraw on a trip to Europe or something. There'd never be the need to withdraw it to a U.S. bank. It seems like it wouldn't be illegal to play, just make transactions. Anyone know what their motivation would be for a closeout anyway....

Also, I tried to change my address on Party Poker to somewhere in Germany... but alas, I am locked in as a United States player... too bad.. if these places know anything about how US laws work, they'd know they aren't in danger.

..

>>>Anyone know what their motivation would be for a closeout anyway....

I don't know for sure, but my guess is the management at Party Poker had a knee jerk reaction to this new law.

I hope they and the others will do the right thing in the long run.

The very last thing these guys at Party Poker or any of the good Poker Rooms want is to appear to break the law. I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now...

But in truth an honest Online Poker Game (like any honest poker game anywhere) is a game of skill, not a game of chance. So the folks at Party Poker (and a lot of others) never believed they were in fact breaking any US laws by offering people from around the world, including the US a place to play poker online.

More on Poker

I wonder if guys like Lee Jones, Phil Hellmuth, etc, are in danger of getting arrested once this stuff gets signed off on. I mean, a lot of US pros sponsor the sites, have their pictures all over... I wish they would do a mass roundup, which would stir up public opinion against this legislation. The problem is, they don't have the cajones to go all the way with it, they did just what they thought they could get away with and still hope to get re-elected.

Banking on Indian Reservations

Another subject I would like to be discussed is, can Americans play online poker from Indian reservations? I guess it would be legal. I think I'm gonna go open a bank account at a reservation and do all of my transactions from there... Be an interesting court case

Looks like the affiliate programs are keeping on

It looks like the affiliate programs are staying the course, although they won't be taking on any new US customers or paying out affiliate revenues for new US customers.

Without US customers, revenues are bound to go down, probably by a fair amount, but obviously they are figuring promoting gambling to non-US gamblers from within the US violates no laws.

I guess I would be a buyer if I could get a poker or other gambling affiliate site at a cheap enough discount.

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