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Online Gambling Ban in USA Is Passed
Posted at 10/31/2006 11 AM in Beginner Topics by The Greedy Gecko.
The U.S House Judiciary Committee’s approval of the legislation that would essentially ban Americans from online gambling has caused uproar within the online gambling community and beyond. The legislation will cripple the estimated US$12 billion industry by banning international gaming companies from accepting credit cards, cheques, wire and Internet transfer payments.

Banks have already been asked to block money transactions with the over 2000 online gambling businesses located off American soil. However many banks have already come forward saying these types of demands would be difficult, if not impossible, to regulate.

The bill was passed using questionable methods by piggy backing it onto a bill that was guaranteed to pass. The Safe Port Act, whose purpose it is to improve homeland security includes a section of over thirty pages relating to the banning of online gambling. The section focuses exclusively on preventing Americans from being able to transfer their own money to websites that allow any form of gambling, with the exceptions of horse racing and state lotteries.

“It is not about why this bill is in place that causes me embarrassment for my country, but rather the process of how our government allowed it to pass,” says Roger a poker player and affiliate.

Many people in the online gambling industry argue that internet gambling such as online poker is getting treated unfairly compared to legal activities such as internet betting on horse racing or fantasy sports betting.

Michael Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance says that he does not believe that simply putting the word ‘internet’ in front of poker should make the game suspect. “Poker is a skill game. You can influence events. The original cars are random, but you can influence your success or failure throughout the hand,” adds Bolcerek.

A poll by the Poker Player Alliance, a grass roots advocacy organisation of more than 110 000 poker enthusiasts, indicated that 94.7% of the people polled said that the federal government should not prevent Americans from gambling online.

Conservative economist, George F.Will gave his thoughts on the matter in the October 23 issue of Newsweek entitled “Prohibition II: Good Grief”. Will notes the rampant ‘nanny-state religious paternalism’ that drives the act and clarifies just how destructive the new act is likely to be. “Gambling is, however, as American as the Gold Rush or, for that matter, Wall Street. George Washington deplored the rampant gambling at Valley Forge, but lotteries helped fund his army as well as Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth. And Washington endorsed the lottery that helped fund construction of the city that now bears his name, and from which has come a stern – but interestingly selective - disapproval of gambling,” ends Will.

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