Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

W.T.O. Online Gambling Ruling

Its been a real hectic week. We have a huge rollout this weekend so work has been pretty stressful lately. Also some of the RAM in my laptop went bad, so it kept crashing about every five minutes. Oh, and my cable modem went out. And to top it all off, as part of the rollout I'll be flying to Kansas City and working all weekend. Fun.

But enough of my bitching. I found this article (free registration required) in the New York Times, and thought it was interesting. The World Trade Organization (W.T.O.) released an explanation as to why the U.S. should not be allowed to restrict its citizens from participating in online gambling. This is from a ruling early this year from a case between Antigua and Barbuda and the United States. Antigua and Barbuda is where many online gambling sites, as well as poker rooms are hosted. As a result of the ruling Antigua and Barbuda can impose trade sanctions on the U.S.

While I don't think the U.S. is too worried about sanctions against them, I think they are missing the boat. The article claims that the United States accounts for half of the 7.6 BILLION dollar online gambling industry. I don't think there's much that can be done to stop it, and it obviously isn't doing a great job of limiting it. Plus I think if we were to see a bunch of raids on people's homes based on their online gambling habits, we'd see a pretty big backlash against the people in charge of the crackdown. So, I think the U.S. should allow online gambling.

If land based casinos are permitted, then why not their online equivalents? My guess is that the government can't control it. Since these sites are operating outside U.S. jurisdiction, the U.S. has not control over it, and possibly more importantly can't tax it. If it were up to me, I would encourage sites to establish themselves in my country. People are going to gamble online anyway, if I get site established in my country, I would expect to be able to regulate them somewhat and derive some monetary gain through taxes. Seems like a win-win.

Maybe the islands in the Caribbean are offering a much sweeter deal so it would be impossible to lure the casinos to the states. Either that or people still see gambling as a moral issue, which is entirely possible. People can be real stubborn about imposing their moral values on others.

All I know is that when I become supreme ruler of the world, online poker will not only be legal, but strongly encouraged for everyone.



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