Protecting You From Evil Gambling Sites That We Can’t Tax

Congress is, once again, doing the Lord’s work, making sure that you don’t have access to immoral offshore gambling web sites.

US President George W. Bush this week is expected to sign a bill making it harder to place bets on the Internet, a practice which already is illegal in the United States.

Bush was expected to act quickly after Congress approved the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act making it illegal for financial institutions and credit card companies to process payments to settle Internet bets. It also created stiff penalties for online wagers.

Billions of dollars are wagered online each year and the United States is considered the biggest market.

The bill’s chief Senate sponsor was conservative Republican Jon Kyl, who, like Leach, has said he believed Internet gambling was a moral threat. He has called online betting as the Internet version of crack cocaine.

“Gambling can be highly addictive, especially when its done over an unregulated environment such as the Internet” he said this year.

You see, you are too weak to make your own choices. Especially in an “unregulated” environment. Perhaps we, the esteemed Congress, might allow you gamble from time to time, but only when we’re watching over you.

This, like every other vice law, doesn’t do anything to stop gambling. Especially since the “unregulated internet” moves a lot faster than Congress. Try to shut down one payment method, another will crop up. Just like with every vice law, from gambling, to drugs, to prostitution; if people want it, they will find a way to get it.

When it comes to a vice law, though, this is typical government behavior. They made it illegal. It didn’t stop it. So they’re going to expand their power, in order to try even harder to find the behavior, and punish it more severely. When that doesn’t work, they’ll expand their power again, expanding their reach and control over our lives, because they have to crack down on this “immoral” behavior.

But the true coup de grace? They’re protecting the family and the children…

“It is extraordinary how many American families have been touched by large losses from Internet gambling,” said US Representative Jim Leach, the bill’s main sponsor in the House, in a statement after its passage early Saturday.

Leach cited research which showed that young people who tend to spend hours of leisure time on the Internet, are particularly vulnerable.

A 2005 survey by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 26 percent of male college students gamble in online card games at least once a month, while nearly 10 percent of all college students gambled online at some point last year.

“Never has it been so easy to lose so much money so quickly at such a young age. The casino is in effect brought to the home, office and college dorm.

“Children may play without verification, and betting with a credit card can undercut a players perception of the value of cash, which too easily leads to bankruptcy and crime,” Leach said.

Ahh, it’s for the children… How can you argue with that?

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  • Stephen Macklin

    How long will it take before someone sets up an off-shore version of Pay-Pal. Deposit funds at this site from any source you choose and they will issue payment wherever you want.

    As far as a U.S. transaction goes you just made a deposit somewhere. If the source of those funds was a cash advance on your VISA, so what. The law only bars the credit card company from paying the gambling site.

    If that wont work set up an site where you purchase credits. Work out a deal with on-line gaming sites to accept those credits or a cash equivalent.

    This law is meaningless and will amount to only a momentary inconvenience to gambling sites and their customers.

  • mike

    Man, I wonder what the esteemed Representative would do if he found out I play poker once a week in real life…and I’m not 21!!!

  • Brad Warbiany

    Well, Mike, regardless of your age, the State of Iowa wouldn’t take too kindly to it.

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  • Brock

    “…26 percent of male college students gamble in online card games at least once a month, while nearly 10 percent of all college students gambled online at some point last year.

    ‘Never has it been so easy to lose so much money so quickly at such a young age.'”

    Alright, I’ll bite. How much?

    26% gamble, what percentage loses? What amount? Lifetime record? Bad beat = bad game?

  • Ric Soard

    Do politicians today have any idea what the framers intended. Reality is that they probably do, however the parents of the 10% of college students desire that government come in and fix their mistakes. So the desires of a few parents combines with the lost tax revenue (also against the intent of the framers) add up to a new morality law. Costly and unenforceable.

  • Paul

    Everything that I have read so far indicates that the U.S. will not be able to actually enforce this legislation. They already have problems with the WTO and have gotten in trouble before for trying to interfere with internet gambling. The best advice for anyone is to find out what position the poker site they are playing at is going to take and then act accordingly. If the poker sites aren’t going to prohibit us from playing, we will find a way around the legislation of these politicians who are looking to bolster their pre-election platforms and track records.

  • Brad Warbiany

    Unfortunately, Paul, the major sites I’m aware of have decided to stop accepting traffic in the US. On my personal blog, I had affiliate relationships with PartyPoker and another Casino site.

    As I posted there, both sites have decided to stop accepting traffic, wagers, etc from US customers.