Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The US Finally Pulls the Plug on Online Gambling

wow - I go away for a few days and everything goes to pot.

The bill to ban online gambling has finally been put through in the US - albeit in a sneaky underhanded way - then again, what do you expect from this US government these days? So the mighty 'free world' across the pond once again works its magic and brings in a mix of prohibition, protectionism, nannying and moralistic craziness - in which its own online poker playing people don't even get a say - so much for democracy.

The bill was put through at the last minute as the Senate takes a break - and stuck onto a completely unrelated bill about Port Security. In effect, it bans the transfer of funds via financial institutions such as credit cards and banks - something the banks did voluntarily a few years ago anyway. It doesn't modernise the Wire Act whatsoever and causes legitimate companies to scurry out of the US market - leaving in their place the dubious, shady companies the bill was trying to stop in the first place as they no doubt will find a way to collect from US players

Bill Frist - who took the anti-online gambling bill on the road amidst Right-Wing Christian moral and ethical concerns (stop smirking please) and no doubt some interference from 'interested parties' (there are exemptions to the Bill which include lotteries and online horse racing amongst others). Frist himself is a potential presidential candidate in 2008. For those Republican voters out there - lucky you.

The ban obviously took its toll on the huge gaming companies listed in the UK as their shares nosedived on the announcement.

Here's some media reports:
- UK gamers hit by US online crackdown - Times Online

- Bad Luck for Online Gaming - LA Times

- Online Gaming: Good or Evil? - National Ledger