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Poker: The Summit

If America gave a rat’s ass what the world thought, we’d use the metric system.

The online poker ban is stupid. It had the effect of devastating a few British companies and the Brits aren’t taking it lying down. There will be a summit:

Britain’s culture secretary on Friday compared the U.S. crackdown on online gambling to the failed alcohol ban of the Prohibition as she prepared to host an international summit on Internet gambling next week.

Tessa Jowell warned that the U.S. ban on Internet gambling would make unregulated offshore sites the “modern equivalent of speakeasies,” illegal bars that opened in 1920s America when alcohol was banned.

U.S. Congress caught the gambling industry by surprise earlier this month when it added to an unrelated bill a provision that would make it illegal for banks and credit-card companies to settle payments for online gambling sites. President Bush signed the law Oct. 14.

The decision closed off the most lucrative region in a market worth $15.5 billion this year in “spend” value – the amount gambling companies win from their clients, or the amount gamblers lose.

First of all, Britain has a culture secretary? Well, it’s broken. Hope you kept a receipt.

As I said, it’s a stupid law and I agree with (shiver) British culture secretary. But I don’t really see the US government giving much of a damn about an international gambling summit.

3 Responses to “Poker: The Summit”

  1. Metulj Says:

    My best friend, who runs a big poker game here in Bloombergia and is the best card player I have ever met, says the ban probably has more to do with preventing cash outflows to foreign countries than anything else. I have a bank account with money in it in a foreign country that has a Visa card attached to it. The IRS is absolutely beside themselves about this and want to know how much is in the account (less than 250 Euros). Why? It isn’t illegal. My accountant told them to suck eggs and the amount we declared is accurate (it is). They want documentation to come from the bank and the bank is tell them to suck eggs as well. Anyhoodles the point is this: It ain’t about ‘gambling,’ it’s about stupid americans losing lots of untaxed, difficult to trace money to foreigners by virtue of playing a game we invented. Hey. That’s pretty symbolic, no?

  2. SayUncle Says:

    I have a bank account with money in it in a foreign country that has a Visa card attached to it.

    Probably a good idea. US banks are required to give the IRS details of any ‘unusual’ transactions. ‘unusual’, like ‘illegal gambling’, being undefined. It’s like they don’t trust us and want to nanny us.

    But that’s just my paranoid libertarian side talking.

    In other news, we need to have a blogger poker tourny.

  3. rich Says:

    Actually, they may have to care. Antigua has already sued the US for the earlier Wire Act which was also supposed to make internet gambling illegal and won.

    So far the US has ignored the ruling, which gives Antigua the right to take punitive actions against the US, like refusing to honor US copyright laws. Watch the RIAA and the rest scream bloody murder when their overseas sales plummet because US copyrights are no longer honored overseas. If the UK and other countries that host international gambling/poker sites follow suit, the US could lose billions in revenue.

    This story ain’t over by a long shot.