back to article Experts testify in Congress on behalf of internet gambling industry

Supporters of a regulated internet gambling environment testified before Congress yesterday, offering evidence that many of the alleged social ills associated with the industry are already being adequately addressed in jurisdictions that offer regulated gaming environments. "It was made clear at today's hearing that online …

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  1. Ole Juul

    Whatever works

    "We owe it to people who have experienced problems with Internet gambling in the past to introduce a regulated environment where the proper protection can be provided to the vulnerable."

    Yes, we should give those suckers an oportunity to win back their losses! I just love the kind of logic that comes out when there's talk of dubious ways to make money.

    Does anyone know how this story connects with the Antigua situation?

  2. Chris

    No we don't

    "We owe it to people who have experienced problems with Internet gambling in the past to introduce a regulated environment where the proper protection can be provided to the vulnerable."

    No, we don't. We don't OWE it to anyone. I have seen plenty of people who are too stupid to look before crossing the street and/or cross where there is no crosswalk. Many people are injured or killed every year because of this. Does that mean that we owe it to those people to regulate street-crossing and crosswalks (perhaps have a fence along both sides of the street, and regulated gates at the crosswalks)? No. It means people have to get a little bit smarter. Don't get me wrong. I think regulation is definitely the way to go for Internet gambling. But we don't owe it to anyone to protect them from themselves.

    I find it amusing that the government thinks that by making Internet gambling illegal, people will stop gambling. It didn't work with alcohol during the Prohibition, and it isn't working with drug use. This is just another way to make criminals out of law-abiding people. People who want nothing more than to live their lives the way they want, without hurting anyone. Is that such a crime?

  3. Vic Sub

    What about the cheaters?

    Nowhere in these excerpts have I seen any mention of how the oline gambling establishments would combat the cheating techniques that are used online. It is a simple matter to join a game with two or more accounts and see more cards than a player should or use bots to fleece the other players.

    In a brick&mortar casino, signaling (playing with a partner) is hard to get away with and bots won't be as much of a problem until an Arnold-looking cyborg walks in and demands a seat at the table.

    (Card counting computers would be useless online since no physical deck is used or shuffled"

    Obviously those testifying are more concerned with keeping the cookie-jar open than protecting the players from "fraudulent activity". Much less from themselves.

    I'll have tag on my toe before I believe these copmanies are trying desperately to find ways to prevent compulsive gamblers from giving them their money.

    -Vic

  4. Steven Knox

    Potential

    "As Lawrence Lessig has made clear, the internet provides potentially a more, rather than a less, regulated environment, since the digital information packets that constitute the internet can be tracked indefinitely."

    ...and HTML had the potential to allow for honest, scientific sharing of data, and blogging had the potential to revolutionize political discussion and reporting, and Wikipedia had the potential to become a vastly more useful tool than any encyclopedia, and DNA has the potential to free as many innocents as it convicts criminals and e-voting has the potential to eliminate election fraud...

    There's a lot of potential in this world, but technology never lives up to its potential; there are too many ways we can screw it up. I agree that opponents of online gambling exaggerate the negative aspects of it, but the correct response is not to exaggerate the positive aspects: that just makes you look as stupid as they are. Worse, you're validating their misperceptions by addressing them as serious issues.

    The fact of the matter is that online gambling will in the long run turn out as reputable and no more reputable than brick-and-mortar gambling -- because intelligent regulators can create physical analogues of any digital controls and vice versa (and intelligent crooks can find digital chinks as easily as physical ones.) Your sentence "After all, what makes age verification for gambling different than age verification for pornography?" brings up an excellent illustration. Currently physical age verification can work much better than online age verification (Most physical vendors at least ask for an ID from people who don't appear old enough; how many "adult-only" sites can you get into just by saying "Yes, I am old enough"?) However, current technology could be used to create digital identity services and link them to official databases (there's the potential) but to be effective, there would have to be a universal (or at least world-wide) system, and legal, economic, and political barriers won't let that happen any time soon.

    So don't pretend that online gambling is anything more that a digital extension of the current gambling environment. It's not; and it doesn't have to be.

  5. Ole Juul

    re: No we don't

    The quote "We owe it ..." etc. is from Jon Prideaux, the CEO of Asterion Payments. My feeling is that he is not the least concerned with the social issues, one way or the other. The bottom line here is that there is a lot of money to be made, Mr Prideaux was just trying to rustle up business. It is not a matter of wheather gambling is good or bad.

    My take on the whole thing is that now the US is being confronted by the World Trade Organisation with not sticking to the rules to which they originally agreed, they simply solve the dilemma by changing their mind on gambling. They don't have a moral position other than the one that works for them at the moment. In other words, whatever works.

  6. Dillon Pyron

    Taxes?

    How do other countries collect taxes from the winners? I suppose everyone just fesses up and says "yup, I won a bundle, here's your taxes"

  7. Dax Farrer

    @Vic

    They bar multiple accounts from the same IP address from playing at the same table.

  8. Tim Hughes

    Re: Taxes?

    Not all countries tax the winners. The profits of the operators and payment providers will be taxed in whatever jurisdiction they operate in, but in the UK I don't think there is any tax on the winnings. The punter will likely already have paid income tax on the money they are gambling with.

    If someone generates their main income from gambling/gaming, then I have no doubt that the Inland Revenue would want their slice of the pie and would take it through the existing channels for sole traders/small businesses.

  9. Rick Damiani

    @Dax

    "They bar multiple accounts from the same IP address from playing at the same table"

    So then use VNC (or something like it) to log in from a computer somewhere else.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NCPG does NOT support HR 2046

    The article is a bit misleading, as NCPG does NOT support HR 2046. NCPG neither supports nor opposes legalized gambling. Just because NCPG did not oppose HR 2046 does not mean we support it and the author should have made a clearer distinction.

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