Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
banks, online gambling

Why Should Banks Be Responsible For Stopping Internet Gambling?

from the always-looking-for-the-easy-way-out dept

As the federal government continues its quixotic quest to stamp out online gambling for no clear reason (other than, you know, to protect our ports), it's now putting the responsibility on banks to block online gambling. Why banks? That's not entirely clear, but banks may now be responsible for making sure that individuals can't transfer money to various online gambling operations. All this for an activity that doesn't appear to create any additional problem gamblers. There are those who say it's all because the federal government wants to tax online casinos, but that doesn't ring true either -- since they're shutting them down rather than taxing them. Many online casinos would love to be taxed if they could legally do business in the US. Instead, it seems to just be that some politicians claim not to like online gambling for moral reasons -- though they were careful to carve out exceptions for wholesome online gambling like horse races and state lotteries.

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  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 2 Oct 2007 @ 6:39pm

    Why should banks be responsible to combat money laundering?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alex F, 2 Oct 2007 @ 7:05pm

    The government's jihad against online gambling is pretty simple. MGM, Harrah's, and Indian tribes have been significantly threatened by the huge success of offshore gaming sites, especially because they *completely* missed out on the online gaming market.

    So the stupid, unable to compete American casino industry quite naturally ordered their lobbyists to screw over all those foreign operators and muscle UIGEA through Congress in the dead of night, in a port security bill.

    This wasn't about social conservative moralism hijacking a ports bill. It was a pure market grab at gunpoint by the casino industry.

    In case you want to shit on the scumbags responsible for this, Jon Kyl (R-AZ) did most of the heavy lifting, and also elbowed Gonzales to abandon silly little DoJ projects like the Warron Terra and instead have the DOJ accuse NETeller and other electronic intermediaries of laundering money for terrorists, because, uh, the gaming industry said so..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2007 @ 8:11pm

    AlexF is right on; but the so called "moral" issue is a handy sales tool also.

    We believe in being a free country in theory; but not in practice.

    Whenever some group wants to get its way, they throw "freedom for all" out the window.

    They knock Iran, the Taliban and dictatorships; but wouldn't mind it happening here - as long as they could run the show.

    What a bunch of selfish, ignorant, un-American hypocites!

    I love the Constitution and the ideals on which this country was founded - the real ideals, not the BS about them that is being peddled today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SteelBeach, 2 Oct 2007 @ 10:57pm

    Who cares?


    The only ones that really care about this are the folks too stupid to realize online gambling is just an easier way to give someone else their money.

    I feel that idiots have the right to not only be idiots, but to spend their money anyway and anywhere they see fit.

    What my real question is:
    How is the US government making money off this ban? Those morons in particular never do anything they don't profit from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mkam, 3 Oct 2007 @ 5:08am

      Re: Who cares?

      What my real question is:
      How is the US government making money off this ban?

      I thought that Alex F made this concept pretty clear, but following the money is not that hard. All of the big Casinos and Indian Tribe Casinos were upset that people may stay home to gamble instead of going to them and staying in their hotels, eating their food, etc. So they lobbied (read: paid or threatened to not pay anymore the politicians) to slip this into a port security bill that no one who valued their career as a politician could vote against. (no one wants the be the candidate that wants less secure ports) So following the money is really only a 2 step process.

      I personally hate the moral argument against gambling when the carve out exceptions for state lotteries and interstate horse gambling. Hypocritical to the extreme.


      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Brian, 3 Oct 2007 @ 8:32am

      Re: Who cares?

      Before you folks start throwing me heat, I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I don't support the gambling ban or the constant use of "terror" to support personal/business agendas, but there do need to be some limits on how people spend their money. IS it okay to pay for naked pictures of your five year old (or teenage for that matter)daughter? Is it okay to "spend" it by donating to charities that fund the training/operation of terror cells? You see my point? There has to be some limit somewhere. And no, I don't know where it is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 3 Oct 2007 @ 6:02am

    Re # 5 & # 2

    You guys hit the nail on the head.
    I agree.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 3 Oct 2007 @ 8:10am

    One question here. The govt. doesn't tax Internet goods purchased unless you have a physical location in the state of the buyer. The tax is also local, not national. How would you square taxing the winnings of users and ensuring that state tax is also collected?

    If they do that, would they then have to tax other companies that sell goods via the Internet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Boost, 3 Oct 2007 @ 9:54am

    Stomp it all out

    On a completely moral POV, I'm all for stomping out all gambling businesses. It seems like the people that really can afford to go gambling at these places know their limits, but the people who can't afford to lose a cent are the people who continually go to 'the boat'. States like to use these as a profitable 'sin' tax, but why not just increase the taxes on the people that can afford a quarter percent increase in their taxes (and no...not businesses)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2007 @ 6:10pm

      Re: Stomp it all out

      "On a completely moral POV"

      On a completely moral point of view - stay the hell out of my "moral" choices, and I'll stay out of yours.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 3 Oct 2007 @ 10:02am

    Brian, have any naked pictures of your wife? No? Want to buy some? (That is a joke)

    Actually, Internet payment systems are a great way to fund illegal activity, and yes, terrorism. Banks are required to submit activity reports to the government if it looks like the transaction may be violating money laundering activities. They do this now. Criminals and terrorists have used casino's to launder money.

    Internet gambling would make an already hard job much harder, so there is some validity in the claim that Internet gambling helps criminals (mostly drug money) and terrorists.

    Horse racing and lotteries are different, because you know where the money goes, with Internet gambling, you don't.

    Before you talk about paypal (who have money laundering experts on staff) and eBay (who also have money laundering experts on staff) the government looks at that also.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    A G, 3 Oct 2007 @ 11:25pm

    US at odds with WTO

    It won't be too long before the US allows online gambling (and is way in the back) because they've lost in the WTO.

    Sanctions aren't far behind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 4 Oct 2007 @ 6:35am

    AG, I have to disagree with you. If it does become legal, the major gambling powers will go into this quickly. I would imagine they already have the network and the technical details ready so all they have to do is turn a switch.

    I would also imagine that they will link their current customer info with the online site, so VIP's in person will be VIP's online.

    You will lose your money, but you will lose your money to the same people you are losing it to today in person.

    Here is a question, if today an 16 year old is caught gambling in a casino, they get hammered and the casino is in trouble. Will the same apply to online gambling sites? If players are caught cheating, they are actually violating state laws. How do you deal with electronic aids online that are actually against the law in person? Poker? You put 5 friends at a poker table that are talking to each other on phones working together, how do you combat that? It is easier in person, I don't see how you could do it online.

    Horseracing is easy because you know that one of the bettors (who can take your money) isn't on the phone talking to the jockey. Poker? Who knows.

    To all that say this won't happen, get real. At a 10 seat table, even with the good cards, how many people would stay in a hand seeing 5 people in front of you betting tons of money?

    Not to get into the details of gambling, but online brings a host of problems that you just don't see in a physical setting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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