back to article US fails to reverse online gambling ban

Unwilling to allow foreign countries into the stateside internet gambling market, the US has struck a compensation deal with the European Union, Canada, and Japan. But, as The Associated Press reports, Uncle Sam is still discussing the issue with India, Antigua and Barbuda, Macau, and Costa Rica. Last October, the US Congress …


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  1. Andy Bright

    Err you what?

    They haven't abided by international law, but instead offered to deliver any Christmas cards we happen to send to relatives in the US? What happens when they feel they've compensated the EU gambling industry sufficiently? Should we expect to have our Christmas cards returned?

    I'm thinking there might be one or two corporates doing business across the Atlantic that won't be too thrilled to hear the reliability of things like, say, postal services have now been tied to whether a future Congress still feels they owe us something for not allowing gambling on the internet.

    Maybe in 3 years we'll get strange phone calls telling us that we need to fork over a 50p surcharge to have our mail delivered. How will they know your phone number? Don't worry, the banks gave them everything they had on you last year.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    The price must be high

    for the US to go through all this obvious protectionism those American gaming companies must be paying top dollar in bribes to make it stick.

  3. John Parker
    Thumb Down

    Bad for bots

    I played a relatively significant part in coding a PokerBot operation a while back. Boy were we pissed when USA banned online gambling - no more 100,000+ people online at Party/Stars... grrrr... we even had a LobbyCruiser for those in the know ;)

  4. Edwin

    re: Err you what?

    There was a time when packages or letters (can't remember which) from the US required additional postage to be delivered in the Netherlands. Due to some screwy agreement between TNT & USPS that had a hole in it, if you received one of these bits of post, you had to pay TNT extra postage...

    Anyway - once again, the EU bends over for the USA. PNR anyone?

    I know diplomacy is all about giving & taking, but reciprocity is more fun. Several countries apply this on immigration law - Americans entering Brazil have to do the whole digitial picture/fingerprinting thing, but nobody else does ;)

    So why not ban American companies from using blue in their logos (since that's the EU colour) until this gambling ban is lifted? That should be amusing...

  5. Ian Ferguson

    re: The price must be high

    To Anonymous Coward: For 'bribes', read 'lobbying'. In any other country they'd be called bribes and made illegal, but the US political system has its own little 'democratic' rules to protect American values (ie. he with the deepest pockets)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Andy Bright

    "The agreement involves commitments to maintain our liberalized markets for [...] postal services relating to outbound international letters" -- this is not about Christmas cards send *to* the US, but *from* the US. I.e., outbound international letters need not be send by USPS, since European companies can offer international services on the US market.

  7. Micha Roon
    IT Angle

    Definitely not a trading partner

    I am astounded what the USA can do without having to suffer consequences:

    - They wreck havoc in a foreign country? No problemo

    - They don't abide by their own rules? No worries

    - They brake contracts? Who cares

    - They force their rotten food on others? That's the way to do it

    I am really looking forward to a world where the US are weak and the petrol is sold in Euros and Yuans

    But I'm sorry to having to admit that I believe there will be World war 3 before the USA let anyone beat them commercially.

  8. bambi

    What a load of bollocks

    Its just BS isnt it....

    They will be blocking non-US websites next...

  9. Daniel

    utter tosh really.

    and what's more, the big fat nancy boys can't catch a ball without wearing mommies oven gloves.

    "my handies are hurting!"

  10. Greg

    Is anyone shocked at the compensations?

    Is anyone focusing, as I am, on the word "maintain" in the compensations?

    This clearly seems to imply that to compensate for the illegal decision not to follow the treaty they signed, what the US will do is refrain from reneging on other agreements.

    they're not actually offering anything, just saying that in return from being allowed to trample the rules on that issue, they will not trample a few other rules (not all others, mind you, just those on "warehousing services, technical testing services, research and development services and postal services", they're not saying they won't fuck the world on every other topic they ever committed to).

  11. The Other Steve

    Eh ?????

    "The agreement involves commitments to maintain our liberalized markets for warehousing services, technical testing services, research and development services and postal services relating to outbound international letters,"

    Erm, apart from the obvious WTF ? (Hell, I don't know, maybe these really are multi billion pound markets), that reads to me rather like "The US promises to keep doing what it's already doing"

    Isn't that where we started from ?

    With all this bending over backwards, would it be wrong to make a joke about getting an EU Trade commissioner who *doesn't* like it up the Gary Glitter ?

    Poor taste ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...maintain our liberalized markets for warehousing services, technical testing services, research and development services..."

    So the US said "If you don't knuckle under we'll close these markets too, and they're *not* covered by the provisions of the WTO."

    And the EU just lay there and took it. Hooray for protectionism.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    The EU wouldn't dare do anything to hurt the US, since the US' biggest aircraft carrier is perfectly positioned north of France and west of Sweden ready to retaliate at their masters orders.

    (For those a little slow on the uptake, I'm talking about England)

    Coat, hat -> bomb shelter.

  14. Sillyfellow


    yes, Micha Roon got it exactly right.

    ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg

    USA only have one goal, which is to control the entire planet..

    and the way England & EU are just too happy to bend over and take it up the jacksie from uncle sam, USA are having it all their way.

    NOTE: just because i live in a country and pay their tax does NOT mean that i've given them the OK to do whatever the hell they please.

    i DO NOT agree with how governments think that we work for, and must be controlled by them.

    I have not forgotten that our Governments are supposed to work for us, the taxpayer. and yet i/we have no say whatsoever. of course they will pretend to listen and care, byt they really won't if it doesn't serve their own interests.

    if anyone does or says anything our glorious 'authorities' don't like then stand by for:

    a.) a new law to make that illegal (if not covered by the all-encomapssing anti-terrorism *caugh caugh* law).

    b.) a good tasering followed by false arrest, police brutality, mickey mouse court fulled with lies and injustice. and then guantanamo.

    PS: terrorism does not exist. there are no terrorists.

    this whole palava was planned and executed by our own authorities to keep us scared and to have an excuse to pass whatever laws and do whatever they want. with impunity... also presents them with an easy way to label and then get rid of anyone who would disagree with them.

  15. archie lukas

    Second Life

    That will miff off the second life gambling addicts

    mind you, we don't miss them.....

  16. Kibble

    @ Sillyfellow

    Sounds absolutely feudal, doesn't it? Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.


  17. Ysean
    Thumb Down

    Oh really?

    It seems all of the non-US readers of the reg think we have some large internet/phone gambling economy. In honesty, we don't. (Not a legal one anyway.) Our government bans online gambling for ANYTHING other than off-track horse betting. And honestly, you pretty much have to go to an off-track betting house for that as well. It isn't as large a market as you would think. Our "limited" physical gambling industry is much much much larger. Casinos are starting up everywhere. (Just about any decent sized body of water or on American Indian lands which are considered sovereign.) Physical casinos have attempted to create online gambling branches in the past in the US and all have been shut down under pressure of the US government. So, it's not so much this concept of "screw the rest of the world" you guys love to think the US is all about as it is about "screw online gambling." Our gov't tends to think that it is easier to launder illicit funds via online gambling facilities than it is physical facilities.

    I for one and excitedly awaiting the change in regime from this current White House. We are getting it up the rear violently more than *most* of the rest of the world is. Hell, we can't even get a HS graduate to comprehend anything at a 7th grade level in the past few years. (7th year out of 12 years)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buying from the US?

    "The agreement involves commitments to maintain our liberalized markets for [...] postal services relating to outbound international letters"

    As the dollar collapses, it becomes more tempting to buy goods from the USA. What a nuisance it would be to pay for something, have it despatched, but not have it arrive because the US postal services noticed what it was and threw it away in a corner. Is that what they are trying to tell us?

  19. Curtis W. Rendon

    Still no issue

    I see no reason to have on-line gambling. There isn't anyway to assure that the 'house' isn't cheating you, so why be an idiot?

  20. Greg

    @Yseam, Curtis

    >So, it's not so much this concept of "screw the rest of the world" you guys love to think the US is all about as it is about "screw online gambling."

    I really loved your measured, rational post.

    And I would tend to agree with you.

    However, the point is not what the US want. It is that they have signed the WTO treaty and are legally bound by its terms. Those terms include respecting WTO rulings. The ruling was, repeatedly, that the US were not compliant and should either accept online gambling from other countries websites, or close a number of outlets (either virtual or physical).

    The US should simply not have a choice. they legally don't, at least. And still they sit on the treaties, and that's the problem.

    And also, the US never made any argument about laundering. Their argument is that it is addictive and all, and the problem is they never had a case allowing all those physical casinos while forbidding online ones (that is, except the fact physical casinos are paying taxes in the US while the others don't).


    >I see no reason to have on-line gambling. There isn't anyway to assure that the 'house' isn't cheating you, so why be an idiot?

    Do you have a way to assure that in a physical casino, slot machines aren't "cheating you"? No, you don't.

    That exactly as idiotic, then, to gamble in a physical casino (oh, and it would even work for roulette and all, given the technology that could be used by the casino to rig even that) as in a virtual one.

    Nowadays slot machines aren't even mechanical anymore, they're just pieces of software choosing the combination that will come out. Can't see the software? Can't know if it's rigged. Same as online casinos (and software from both physical slot machines and virtual casinos ARE inspected, inspection which you may or may not trust but then it's about trusting authorities or not, not abuot being idiot or not)

  21. Spleen

    @Curtis, Greg

    All casino gambling is rigged with or without mechanical/software jiggery-pokery. If you bet on black in roulette you get double your money back if you win but your odds of winning are slightly less than half (because of the green square(s)). The same applies to all the squares - the payouts are based on the green squares not existing - so over a long period of time you inevitably lose. Same applies to all games in which the 'house' is involved, especially betting on races and the like.

    Everyone knows this, of course, even the stupidest gamblers know it deep down. Gambling is a game and the difference between your stake and your expected payout is just the price of playing. Only a stupid casino owner would actually rig his games and expose himself to legal liability when there are perfectly legal ways of making a profit on casino games over time.

  22. Greg

    @Curtis: Exactly

    I fully agree with your latest post.

    But then why did you initially say that there was no need for ONLINE gambling?

    And why did you say there was no way to ENSURE the house was not cheating (implying quite clearly that it was not necessarily cheating you but just might, which is the opposite of your new definition of rigging).

    I could have understood a post saying gambling in whatever form was not rational and ended up making you lose money, but that was not at all what you were saying.

    Perhaps you just didn't put it the way you wanted.

    By the way, gambling can very well actually be a rational thing to do, it mainly depends on your utility curve. Do you prefer your current level of capital, or would you rather have a 1 chance in 101.000 (very small "house fee") to gain 100.000 of whatever your currency and the rest to lose 1?

    I know I would rather take my chance, since that 1 lost changes nothing, while in the very remote (and statistically, for a purely risk-neutral economic agent with a linear utility curve, not worth the cost of trying) chance to win would change my life.

    Hence it is strategically a winning proposition to bet.

    Then the point is, if you repeat this many times, you indeed end up losing a significant amount that will impair your life.

    But that's just because losing 50.000 dollars when it's all you have has much more than 50.000 times the consequences of losing one dollar.

    There is a clear rationale behind gambling, and it's non-linearity.

    (I agree that for most gamblers, and for all addict gamblers, this is however not the reasoning that is done)

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