How The US Crackdown On Online Gambling Hurt Americans

from the nice-work dept

Ah, unintended consequences. This past summer, US authorities arrested David Carruthers, CEO of online betting site BetOnSports, kicking off their latest round of anti-online gambling attempts, leading Carruthers to be fired and the company to stop doing business with US players — effectively knocking out most of the company’s business. Over at The Register, attorney Burke Hansen, explains how this has ended up hurting the American customers of the site a lot more than if they were just allowed to keep gambling. He points out that BetOnSports was quite well respected in the space, and was never known to have problems paying players the money they had won. However, with the company agreeing to settle the lawsuit against it, the courts are trying to get the money out of BetOnSports’ bank accounts, which happen to be in Antigua. Antigua, of course, is in the middle of a nasty dispute with the US over (look at that!) the legality of online gambling — so Antigua officials have filed an injunction to keep the US from taking money out of BetOnSports’ Antigua bank accounts. Antigua doesn’t want all that money going to the US, especially after the US has repeatedly ignored demands of the WTO on online gambling concerning whether or not Antigua-based online casinos are legal in the US. What that all means is that American players who had money in BetOnSports accounts are unable to get it. Back before the US shut them down, of course, players could easily get their winnings out (if they had any). So, it’s only after the US stepped in, officially to “protect” these players, that those players found their money no longer available to them. Nice work.

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Comments on “How The US Crackdown On Online Gambling Hurt Americans”

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sceptic says:

Re: Re: the money paper tentacles

I love apologists. So if someone makes fun of a disabled kid, you are saying that it’s ok to make fun of him too, because you weren’t the one that started it? That’s the kind of thinking that perpetually worsens the politics of this country, every party blaming the one before it while continuing to make all the same mistakes AND adding their own. But of course, they didn’t start it, so it’s ah-o’kay.

I always find it oh so laughable how everyone blames the current administration on topics that they have absolutely no idea about.

The dispute is based on the 1995 Clinton administrations ban and its subsequesent issues before the WTO.

Try googling next time.

charlie potatoes (profile) says:

Re: Re: the money paper tentacles

you find it laughable do you? nice frame job …typical right wing neocon response. how laughable is it that your republican junta took a clinton surplus and spent us trillions of dollars into debt? republican family values and compassionate conservatism notwithstanding. forget that bush is a idiiot for a moment..every thing this administration has done has been at the expense of the middle class…you arent even fooling Bubba anymore. your tirades have worn thin at last.

Nico says:

Re: Re: Re: the money paper tentacles

you find it laughable do you? nice frame job …typical right wing neocon response. how laughable is it that your republican junta took a clinton surplus and spent us trillions of dollars into debt? republican family values and compassionate conservatism notwithstanding. forget that bush is a idiiot for a moment..every thing this administration has done has been at the expense of the middle class…you arent even fooling Bubba anymore. your tirades have worn thin at last.

Stop defending a raper who allowed ultimate fighting with no rules and unfiltered Internet porn, massive corruption with Enron, Dot Com and California bust etc. I would type Black in a search engine in 1996 and get Black Cock Sex right at the top.

There’s nothing wrong with stopping online gambling to stop the casual gambler. What’s wrong with that? Stop being all or none perverts. That’s the whole point to at least stop the mainstream. The government isn’t trying to get rid of gambling, just online gambling. How can you be for some dude in his basement wasting his life savings i don’t get it. It’s extremely addictive for the lower/middle class like ME!

Nobody Special says:

good work ?!?!

Stepping out of the debate on if online gambling should be allowed or not….

If you have stopped gamblers from getting their winnings, then you have progressed the fight to stop the gambling. Of course if you stop it completely then the activity becomes a legal past time since it is no longer gambling.

But to point to the gamblers as victims in the fight against gambling is not going to get you anywhere. The government position is that they should not have been engaged in the illegal activity in the first place. Just as the government will not buy that money and possessions seized from a drug bust causes those involved to become innocent victims. The gambler chose to participate in an illegal activity. If they lose their winnings, then it just serves them right (is the government position).

Anonymous Coward says:

Gambling, shmambling. I’ts not about the ethics, it’s about the Benjamins.

Illegal Gambling: throwing down $10 that SuperDuperFootball team will win tomorrow by 11 points.

Legal Gambling: throwing down $10 that 7 ping pong balls will land in the right order.

What’s the real difference – who gets the proceeds – the state or private investors.

Anonymous Coward says:

this current administration has no interest in common (middle class) America except to drain it of any available capital …we have wasted a fortune chasing ghosts while our Treasury has been looted by those we have elected to manage it

Fine, you got your wish, the Dems now have control, lodds are we’ll get a Dem president too. You worship them like they were Gods yet all they do is cater to the latest opinion poll. You think they have your interests at heart, they are all just as wealthy as the republicans they just work for the unions instead of big business.

Both sides are the same you dumbass. the only difference being one side can manage a business while the other will force idealistic beliefs on the other half of the country.

Sean says:

Stopping the Moderates

Let’s be honest. Regardless of the laws on the books, a percentage of Americans are still going to gamble. All the law has done is stopped the casual gambler.

And the US Government is in a tough spot. They don’t want US dollars flowing out of the country at the rate they currently are, and they can’t welcome the online gambling sites to our shores because of the threat to “America’s moral values.”

Dan says:

Re: Chance vs. skill

Argh – it cut off my quote/post

Anyway the point is that a lottery is a game of chance – everyone on the planet has an equal chance of winning it. Sports betting is a game of skill and more akin to pump-and-dump stock fraud. The suckers (excuse me: “bettors”) have no clue the game is stacked against them. Also no clue that the mafia that beat them on their bet is the same one that stole their car while it was parked on the street.

Fitting, I suppose.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Chance vs. skill

Your point is a good one. Gambling should be all or nothing. However, the laws don’t even make that much sense. For instance, in SOME “Indian” casinos, it is illegal to play specific card games (“Vegas-style” Blackjack and Poker) and other randomized games (Craps and Roulette). In others it is fine.

I believe that the large casino interests in Vegas and other “established” gambling towns are the key opponents to online gambling. Why drive or fly to Vegas if you can do whatever gambling you want at home?

Anonymous Coward #3 says:

Middle Class Getting Stepped On

There are Bureau of Labor statistics to prove it too.
Look them up, as I am too lazy to provide you with a link.
I simply KNOW that they are there as I have seen them from several sources (one is Rolling Stone Magazine, and I know they are biased to Democrats, but the point is that the Bureau of Labor is not)
The lines between middle and lower class continue to cease to exist, while the differences between the lower/middle and upper continue to exponentially grow.
For Example, for awhile, the CEO of GM back when it was the largest employer made approx. 30X what the average of his workers did.
The CEO of Walmart currently makes approx. 300X what his employees do.

I do happen to agree with that article, America is currently heading to where Latin America is for the most part:
A state of existence where those in power have all the money, make all the rules, and those without the money/power will permanently be stuck in a lower class existence because it will be near impossible to obtain any power.

And I also believe that the Democrats are only very very marginally less evil than the Republicans.
We need a 3rd non-corrupt party to come to power, and now, or it will be too late.

Sad, isn’t it?

Bob Weiss (profile) says:

Who will protect us from the protectors?

Is there anything that the government does well? Let’s see…. Uh, how about roads. Nope. Military? Maybe. Wars – not lately. Taxation – pretty good at that, unless you were hoping for a simple system that makes sense and treats all payers fairly – Ooops – gotta go negative there too.

People who think that some new law or government regulation is going to “save” them or “solve a problem” are not looking at the current results.

Anonymous Coward says:

remember, before the law, the gambling was fine. once the gov’t stepped in, THAT’s when they lost their money. it’s not because they gambled with the site, it’s because the gov’t took it away from them. BOS was ready to pay, but the US gov’t won’t let them. so BOS had no choice but to not pay the US customers.

it’s akin to playing in vegal and winning 64k of chips, only to have the gov’t say casions are illegal. so you have 64k of chips, but no place to trade in.

see, the point of gambling is the actual game. not the runaround of cashing in.

The infamous Joe says:


I think the point is that these people can’t get back the money they put into when it WASN’T illegal. At least, that’s what I gathered.

In that case, I can see how it’s unjust. Just like if you bought $100 worth of scratch tickets, won some loot, and the next day they made scratch tickets illegal, and said you had to suck it up, you weren’t getting a refund OR your winnings.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong.

sultan knish (user link) says:

So the Antiguan government freezes the money

but the US government is to blame?

Way to put the responsibility on the responsible party. The US government is intervening to stop illegal gambling. I realize you’re bent on shilling for the online gambling industry, despite the fact that they’re a hop and a skip away from organized crime and responsible for a ton of the spam out there (which you supposedly oppose)

but honesty requires holding the Antiguan government responsible.

Anonymous Coward says:

you’re right, online is a hop/skip/jump away from the “mafia” aka Las Vegas.

online gambling wasn’t completly illegal. however they stepped in, and caused this bid debacle. they should have said, online casinos have xxx time to pay out. and those online gamblers, have until that time to withdraw their money. if not, poof it’s gone.

and from waht i gather, yes there are shady online sites (programmed to not payout, or payout to paid employes, i.e. ppl who’s job is to sit in pokerrooms and win every other hand) but BoS was a reputable online establishment. payouts were fair and ontime. and it’s funny, once the go’vt steps in the legit places have the most trouple while the shaddiest of places are open. i’m sure i can find some asian site that’ll take direct bank depossits, and bam…my identity is stolen, and what not. good job gov’t by taking the good saway and leaving the dangerous.

Michael says:

Mike, you’re an ass.

So you disagree with the online gambling ban… fine. I do, too. But to sensationalize it by spewing out some crap about it “hurting Americans” is bullshit. It’s a court case. Assets get tied up. It happens.

IT DID NOT HAPPEN BECAUSE OUR GOVERNMENT IS WRONG OR IMMORAL. It happened because court cases are complicated and messy.

You can’t prove that banning online gambling is wrong by pointing to the side effects of a court case.

Anonymous Coward says:


hey Michael, you’re an ass too.

Mike’s point was that although the ban on OL gambling would help “save” and “protect” americans from the dangers of OL gambling, it has done the opposite. the law makers knew what was up. they knew that by enacting the law, it would hassle americans out of money that is rightfully theirs. sensationalism? possibly, but show me a news outlet that DOESN’t sensationalize its content. do you compain to NPR, Talk Radio, ABC, CBS, CNN, Routers, AP…..

next please

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