Maybe The US Can Ignore Antigua, But EU Is Another Story

from the high-stakes dept

Antigua can complain all it wants about the US blocking its online gambling industry, but its threats are dulled by the fact that Antigua doesn't represent a major trading partner. So, other than setting up some sort of allofmp3.com-style music site, there's not much it can do to retaliate. But now the EU is jumping into the fray, complaining that the US' move to block online gambling sites contravenes WTO agreements. And unlike Antigua, the EU does have serious retaliatory weapons at its disposal because it's such an important trading partner. Unfortunately for online gambling enthusiasts, the EU isn't trying to get the ban overturned, but it's exploring how it can be compensated for lost business. Most likely, it will seek to slap certain US goods with high tariffs. An economist would say that retaliatory trade barriers don't make any sense and that they essentially amount to cutting off one's nose to spite their face. However, that's never stopped countries from engaging in this practice in the past. Given that the WTO is likely to side with the EU on this question (as it has with Antigua), it would appear that the US will have to pay a price for its stance.

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  1. identicon
    Tom Tinsley, 21 Jun 2007 @ 9:21am

    U.S. Regulation vs. Consumer Interest

    Online Gambling is not a moral issue for the U.S. Regulators. U.S. Citizens have access to a vast number of options where Gaming/Gambling is concerned. Very early in the initial emergance of Online Casinos, many problems developed. Fixed Games, Credit Card Theft, defaults on paying large winnings, and No System for Reporting Winnings were the major issues. On the first two, the U.S. had no recourse to protect consumers who were being ripped off. Off Shore businesses in the Gaming sector typically setup opperations in small countries where they have little or no regulation and most of all Low Taxes. Our government has a responsibility to protect U.S. Consumers. Where they do not have cooperation from a foriegn government, the only option left is to ban the activity and block it from U.S. consumers. This would not be the case if 1) Online Gambling businesses opperated in countries which enforced consumer rights & 2) Countries hosting these type of businesses would take legitimate responsibility instead of ignoring the issues in favor of collecting the tax revenue they receive.

    Ask yourself this: How would you feel if you signed up for an Online Poker Game. 100's of people joined and everyone bought $250 worth of chips. The cards just fell into your hand and you end up winning $75,000 after 18 grueling hours. When you go to cash out, you get excuses about confirming your checking account, address, Photo ID and anything else you can imagine. The money never shows up, you even loose the $250 you put in! You call the "Authorities" to report fraudulent activities. They contact the government of the country hosting the business. The government in that country responds with some statement claiming that since the company is current on their taxes, they trust them to handle the matter without any invovlment from the local authorities.

    This is one example of how online gambling became such an issue for the U.S. Government. Even when we can identify and prove who is responisble, many of the foriegn governments in these small countries, become reluctant to take any action for fear that the businesses paying them taxes will move shop to another country which will turn a blind eye. This business model was developed by organized crime, drug cartels, and recently adopted by terrorists.

    The U.S. is not trying to limit it's citizens because of a control conspiracy. This is simply a safe and conservative approach to being responsible for protecting the American Consumer.

    If you really want to play poker online and win $$. May I suggest a site like www.betzip.com ? You pay $20/Month and can participate in unlimited cash tournaments every week. Place near the top or win these tournaments, and you get paid. They were the first company to get individual states to approve the business for U.S. consumer participation. You are playing real tournaments! The monthly membership serves as the entry fee, and you can't loose your entire paycheck by participating.

    Please don't flame this post. I enjoy reading your opinions, and just thought you might want to have some better information.

    T.T.

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