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smellsofgummybears
04-16-2011, 10:45 AM
aka another day in the Land of the Free

But 48 hours ago, any American could point their browser at www.pokerstars.com (amongst other websites) and within minutes be playing poker at stakes from pennies to porsches

Not anymore (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8455641/Poker-company-bosses-charged-with-violating-US-anti-internet-gambling-laws.html). Visit that website and one learns that the domain has been seized by the FBI. Players from civilised countries that value personal freedom can still play (in the case of pokerstars, by visting www.pokerstars.eu)

In a self congratulatory press release (http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/April11/scheinbergetalindictmentpr.pdf) by some scumbag pseudo-politicians at the DOJ, we learn that:

These defendants, knowing full well that their business
with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stack
the deck. They lied to banks about the true nature of their
business. Then, some of the defendants found banks willing to
flout the law for a fee. The defendants bet the house that they
could continue their scheme, and they lost."

Well, maybe. But that makes not a jot of difference to the real issue here - a toxic combination of protectionism and puritanism once again stifles life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Never trust a woman named Janice. I learned that when I was a lot younger.

Oh, and fuck the US for thinking it's police of the world, again. Most of the people charged have not set foot in the US since the poker boom. These sites were offshore and frankly none of your business.

Chefguy
04-16-2011, 10:50 AM
If they're doing illegal business with U.S. banks, how is it NOT our business?

smellsofgummybears
04-16-2011, 10:55 AM
If they're doing illegal business with U.S. banks, how is it NOT our business?

Ignore that part, it is a total abstraction from the real issue. They want you to be discussing that.

Anyone can see that this is really about internet poker. Let's discuss that.

Vinyl Turnip
04-16-2011, 10:57 AM
Cheer up. There's always Three-card Monte.

Ferret Herder
04-16-2011, 10:59 AM
Anyone can see that this is really about internet poker. Let's discuss that.
In that case, there's already a thread on it in the Game Room (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=604837).

FoieGrasIsEvil
04-16-2011, 11:00 AM
If they're doing illegal business with U.S. banks, how is it NOT our business?

Yeah, but why does it have to be illegal? Because taxes don't get paid on the money? I don't think the USA is overly oppressive like the OP seems to imply but if I want to gamble my money (or not, they do have free poker too) on the internet why can't I? Why is it any business of the government?

smellsofgummybears
04-16-2011, 11:02 AM
In that case, there's already a thread on it in the Game Room (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=604837).

:smack:

Procrustus
04-16-2011, 11:05 AM
It's illegal because a bunch of assholes in Congress made it illegal. I have no interest in playing internet poker, but I'm with the OP on this one. First they came for the on line poker players, and I didn't speak up because I'm not an on line poker player......

MOIDALIZE
04-16-2011, 11:12 AM
Good. The vast majority of the players on these sites are degenerate losers. It's WoW with a little cachet.

What I want to know is what took the government so long? That credit card payment law has been on the books for years.

smellsofgummybears
04-16-2011, 11:24 AM
Good. The vast majority of the players on these sites are degenerate losers. It's WoW with a little cachet.

What I want to know is what took the government so long? That credit card payment law has been on the books for years.

So are the vast majority of people on the internet. And are you picking on degenerate losers because the cool kids would beat you up, or what?

The Tao's Revenge
04-16-2011, 11:57 AM
Good. The vast majority of the players on these sites are degenerate losers. It's WoW with a little cachet.

What I want to know is what took the government so long? That credit card payment law has been on the books for years.

So things should be banned because (people who are in your opinion) degenerate losers enjoy them?

Do you want WoW banned? It doesn't even have the cachet, after all.

Happy Fun Ball
04-16-2011, 11:59 AM
It's not the fault of the DOJ, it's the fault of congress and, most likely, lobbyists representing the casinos.

Simplicio
04-16-2011, 12:00 PM
Seems silly to blame the DOJ. Its not their fault online poker is illegal in the States. Blame Congress and campaign to get the laws changed.

I don't have any problem with online poker being legalized, but given that it is illegal, I don't think the DOJ should turn the other way while banks take proceedes from illegal activity. Especially the "flout the law for a fee", banks shouldn't be allowed to help launder money, even if the activity that generated the money was largely harmless.

smellsofgummybears
04-16-2011, 12:05 PM
Seems silly to blame the DOJ. Its not their fault online poker is illegal in the States. Blame Congress and campaign to get the laws changed.


But why do they have to enjoy it so much? Read that quote again.

Like I said: third rate politicians.

Giraffe
04-16-2011, 12:12 PM
My question is this: what about states like California, where poker is completely legal? If I want to connect to a website to participate in an activity that is legal both where I am and where the website is, how is that a problem? Why is the government even getting involved?

The Tao's Revenge
04-16-2011, 12:15 PM
It's not the fault of the DOJ, it's the fault of congress and, most likely, lobbyists representing the casinos.

Okay the law is the law is a good point. However this appears to be a jackass law, would non-jackasses brag about doing a jackass thing as part of their job?

I say no they would not.

Vinyl Turnip
04-16-2011, 12:27 PM
Even the jackassiest laws have their die-hard fans, as we've seen time and time again on this board.

smellsofgummybears
04-16-2011, 12:30 PM
My question is this: what about states like California, where poker is completely legal? If I want to connect to a website to participate in an activity that is legal both where I am and where the website is, how is that a problem? Why is the government even getting involved?

Actually it isn't "completely legal" where the house gets involved. There's a monopoly.

Not sure if I'm allowed to link to other forums but even before this California residents were on shaky ground, technically. You will be able to find more info with google.

Simplicio
04-16-2011, 12:33 PM
But why do they have to enjoy it so much? Read that quote again.

Like I said: third rate politicians.

Eh, people who do a job enjoy it when they're successful. In general we want the DoJ to do their upmost to enforce the law, not spend a lot of time musing on the relative worth of those laws. Thats the legislatures job.




Giraffe, internet gambling is illegal in the US, which includes CA. The legality of poker isn't really relevant.

smellsofgummybears
04-16-2011, 12:35 PM
Eh, people who do a job enjoy it when they're successful. In general we want the DoJ to do their upmost to enforce the law, not spend a lot of time musing on the relative worth of those laws. Thats the legislatures job.


Giraffe, internet gambling is illegal in the US, which includes CA. The legality of poker isn't really relevant.

Disagree. One should not enjoy the parts of your job where you are unpleasant bitch.

FoieGrasIsEvil
04-16-2011, 12:44 PM
Disagree. One should not enjoy the parts of your job where you are unpleasant bitch.

You never met my wife...

:D

Giraffe
04-16-2011, 01:26 PM
Giraffe, internet gambling is illegal in the US, which includes CA. The legality of poker isn't really relevant.
I think you're completely wrong. Can you point to a law that says it is illegal for someone to play poker on the Internet in a state where playing poker in a card room is legal? Because the government hasn't had much luck making this case -- they've had to focus on the laws surrounding how money is transferred to and from these sites in order to restrict online poker.

If online poker was inherently illegal, it would have been a very simple matter to prevent any U.S. players from playing a single hand, at least from a U.S. IP address. This hasn't happened, because it's not clear that it's illegal even in states where brick and mortar poker is illegal (since the site you're playing on is located in a place where poker is legal), and certainly not in states where poker is allowed.

Cat Whisperer
04-16-2011, 01:28 PM
Jesus, I was hoping this was a zombie thread from the idiocy a couple of years ago where online poker was outlawed in the US. So, new idiocy in online poker in the US, eh?

Procrustus - exactly. I have no idea why there wasn't a huge outcry in the US when your right to play poker online was taken away. I thought you guys valued your freedoms. :confused:

Simplicio
04-16-2011, 01:37 PM
I think you're completely wrong. Can you point to a law that says it is illegal for someone to play poker on the Internet in a state where playing poker in a card room is legal? Because the government hasn't had much luck making this case -- they've had to focus on the laws surrounding how money is transferred to and from these sites in order to restrict online poker.

If online poker was inherently illegal, it would have been a very simple matter to prevent any U.S. players from playing a single hand, at least from a U.S. IP address. This hasn't happened, because it's not clear that it's illegal even in states where brick and mortar poker is illegal (since the site you're playing on is located in a place where poker is legal), and certainly not in states where poker is allowed.

Your right being a player of online poker isn't illegal, its just illegal to run the site or to use US banks to transfer the money. The people in question seemed to have been arrested for breaking the last part, they used US banks to transfer their proceeds.

Giraffe
04-16-2011, 01:56 PM
Your right being a player of online poker isn't illegal, its just illegal to run the site or to use US banks to transfer the money. The people in question seemed to have been arrested for breaking the last part, they used US banks to transfer their proceeds.
You're almost there. It's not illegal to run the site, it's illegal to run it in the U.S.

So now we're left with the retarded law restricting how U.S. banks can transfer money to poker sites (which was designed to try to stop online poker without actually criminalizing it). The sites in question may have broken that law, but that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't a legal way to transfer money to poker sites from the U.S., e.g. from U.S. banks to non-U.S. banks, then from there to the poker site.

Does that justify the Fed's seizure of the sites U.S. domains? I'd argue no. If Goldman Sachs is found to have possibly violated SEC laws governing how they trade derivatives, the Feds don't freeze all customer accounts and padlock the doors to the building while they resolve it.

The whole thing is a pointless shell game because the government can't or won't outlaw online poker directly. The only effect is to annoy a bunch of people who aren't doing anything wrong.

Ograbme
04-16-2011, 02:00 PM
Only two gambling puns in the press release? I expect better from my civil servants.

Implicit
04-16-2011, 02:40 PM
Jesus, I was hoping this was a zombie thread from the idiocy a couple of years ago where online poker was outlawed in the US. So, new idiocy in online poker in the US, eh?

Procrustus - exactly. I have no idea why there wasn't a huge outcry in the US when your right to play poker online was taken away. I thought you guys valued your freedoms. :confused:
It isn't new idiocy, it is the DOJ enforcing the stupid law that was made in 2006, which effectively outlawed online poker in the US. That law barred the transfer of funds to online gambling sites from any US financial institution (including banks, Visa, Mastercard, Netteller, etc.). The offshore poker companies named in this indictment flaunted that law and allowed US players to continue to deposit money, using third party banks or online money transfer companies.

Cat Whisperer
04-16-2011, 04:29 PM
Ah, enforcement of the old idiocy. Gotcha. :)

thirdname
04-16-2011, 04:37 PM
The whole idea of online gambling seems crazy to me. How can you trust them? It seems like it would be really easy to alter cards dealt, dice rolls etc to give an advantage to the house or a player colluding with the house, or to give a player info about what cards other players are holding.

Joey P
04-16-2011, 04:44 PM
The whole idea of online gambling seems crazy to me. How can you trust them? It seems like it would be really easy to alter cards dealt, dice rolls etc to give an advantage to the house or a player colluding with the house, or to give a player info about what cards other players are holding.

Do that too often and people will stop using your site. If you get caught, you'll probably (I assume) find yourself in all kinds of trouble. Do online poker sites report to any kind of gaming commission that makes sure they're on the level?
It seems to me you're fear is no different then playing video poker. Of course, I assume most video poker machines are checked for fairness by a gaming commission to make sure the owner/operator isn't cheating.

gaffa
04-16-2011, 04:46 PM
The whole idea of online gambling seems crazy to me. How can you trust them? It seems like it would be really easy to alter cards dealt, dice rolls etc to give an advantage to the house or a player colluding with the house, or to give a player info about what cards other players are holding.
Exactly. The lesson here is that the people running these sites thought they could pull one over on the US government, and induced banks to engage in criminal activity. You think they are going to treat Joe Schmoe fairly?

Of course, I assume most video poker machines are checked for fairness by a gaming commission to make sure the owner/operator isn't cheating.
Every machine in every place where gambling is legal is regulated and monitored. Random web sites? Not at all.

My sister lost her house because her now ex husband gambled it all away on Internet poker. Fuck on-line poker sites. Fuck them right in the ear.

Simplicio
04-16-2011, 04:54 PM
The whole thing is a pointless shell game because the government can't or won't outlaw online poker directly. The only effect is to annoy a bunch of people who aren't doing anything wrong.

Well, people are going to jail for breaking the law. So some people are obviously more then annoyed, and while I disagree with the law, I don't think I'd say that the people that broke it (or the banks that knowingly aided them) weren't doing anything wrong.

But I think the best course is to try and change the law rather then get snipey about the wording of DoJ press releases when they do their job and enforce that law. Barney Frank has tried to pass a law legalizing online gambling every year (as well as regulate it, so that it isn't prone to the abuses thirdname fears) for the past several years. So call your congress-critter and ask them to support that bill.

jayjay
04-16-2011, 05:07 PM
Do you want WoW banned? It doesn't even have the cachet, after all.

I'm still shaking my head over WoW being full of degenerate losers...

Leaper
04-16-2011, 05:11 PM
It's not the fault of the DOJ, it's the fault of congress and, most likely, lobbyists representing the casinos.

Seems silly to blame the DOJ. Its not their fault online poker is illegal in the States. Blame Congress and campaign to get the laws changed.


That's what I thought, but I get the feeling that at least in some libertarian circles (http://www.theagitator.com/2011/04/15/obama-worse-than-bush-on-bullshit-gambling-moralizing-too/#comments), they either don't want the DOJ to be enforcing (what they think are) immoral and unconstitutional laws (or perhaps rather, "going after the REAL criminals and not wasting their time investigating online poker"), and/or they think that the non-gambling charges are trumped up so that they can shut the sites down.

Giraffe
04-16-2011, 06:13 PM
The whole idea of online gambling seems crazy to me. How can you trust them? It seems like it would be really easy to alter cards dealt, dice rolls etc to give an advantage to the house or a player colluding with the house, or to give a player info about what cards other players are holding.

I agree with you for everything but poker -- playing online slots for example strikes me as about as smart as stuffing money down a storm drain. With poker, the house has far less incentive to play anything but a straight game. The house makes the same money regardless of who wins or loses a hand, and poker players are notorious for harvesting and rigorously analyzing statistics. Even the faintest whiff of impropriety will cost the sites more than they could possibly gain by trying to squeeze a few extra bucks out of the rake.

gonzomax
04-16-2011, 06:26 PM
It's not the fault of the DOJ, it's the fault of congress and, most likely, lobbyists representing the casinos.

It was due to the power of casinos. The congressmen just work for them. But casino owners did not want the competition.
The online poker is not regulated and has had some serious cheating going on.

Darth Nader
04-16-2011, 06:41 PM
Absolute Poker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_Poker#2007_cheating_incident)

eulalia
04-16-2011, 06:57 PM
Someone has a firefox add-on (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110414/17055713898/browser-plugin-routes-around-ice-domain-seizures.shtml) to redirect to new domains from the ICE-seized ones. I suspect this would work for the poker domain seizures if they have new names.

Invisible Chimp
04-16-2011, 08:15 PM
My sister lost her house because her now ex husband gambled it all away on Internet poker. Fuck on-line poker sites. Fuck them right in the ear.

No, fuck your ex-brother-in-law.

Miller
04-16-2011, 08:41 PM
My sister lost her house because her now ex husband gambled it all away on Internet poker. Fuck on-line poker sites. Fuck them right in the ear.

Hey, what a coincidence! I won a house playing on-line poker! Yay for online poker!

gonzomax
04-16-2011, 10:59 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=3752500&page=1 Here is the story. It was only ended because some serious players saw players making enough eccentric, yet successful moves that they began to realize somebody could see their hole cards. They did all the leg work and handed it over to authorities.

gonzomax
04-16-2011, 11:06 PM
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081001/0309502425.shtml This story suggests it is more than one site and they will fold up shop and rename ,starting over.

kidchameleon
04-17-2011, 12:02 AM
The house makes the same money regardless of who wins or loses a hand

Unless one of the players is/is working for the house.

saoirse
04-17-2011, 01:29 PM
The offshore poker companies named in this indictment flaunted that law...

Nitpick: flouted.

smellsofgummybears
04-17-2011, 01:34 PM
My sister lost her house because her now ex husband gambled it all away on Internet poker. Fuck on-line poker sites. Fuck them right in the ear.

Your ex brother in law is a fuckwit. It is no one's fault but his.

bucketybuck
04-17-2011, 01:52 PM
Unless one of the players is/is working for the house.

If you want you can start an episode of the "omg online poker is rigged :eek:" debate, but lets be honest, it has been done a million times by the poker playing community, and I very much doubt you have anything to add to it.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/28/internet-poker/great-poker-rigged-debate-collected-threads-edition-255990/

http://www.billrini.com/2004/11/30/proof-that-online-poker-is-rigged/


My opinion on the OP? You all have a really fucked up country you know that? What are you scared off, that a little gambling is going to jeopardise your immortal souls?

jz78817
04-17-2011, 02:18 PM
My opinion on the OP? You all have a really fucked up country you know that? What are you scared off, that a little gambling is going to jeopardise your immortal souls?

and I'm sure yelling at a few of us on a message board is going to do so much to change that...

MOIDALIZE
04-17-2011, 02:51 PM
My opinion on the OP? You all have a really fucked up country you know that? What are you scared off, that a little gambling is going to jeopardise your immortal souls?

Funny, that's the same argument Ireland's banks made.

Cat Whisperer
04-17-2011, 02:56 PM
<snip>

My opinion on the OP? You all have a really fucked up country you know that? What are you scared off, that a little gambling is going to jeopardise your immortal souls?
Heh - I don't get it, either. You can gamble in person, but not online? Yeah, it's easier to lose more money that way, but the US is a country that is always yelling about "nanny state" - some nannying is okay, but not other nannying? There's obviously something else going on here to have prompted this inane law.

I have to agree with others, gaffa - if your brother-in-law was dedicated to being an addicted gambler, he would have found a way. My husband has been gambling with online poker sites for about six years now - I think he's pumped $50 into the sites he goes to. You can't blame online gambling for your brother-in-law's addiction any more than you can blame distilleries for alcoholism.

kidchameleon
04-17-2011, 03:14 PM
Can we blame online poker for the OP getting banned?

gaffa
04-17-2011, 06:05 PM
I have to agree with others, gaffa - if your brother-in-law was dedicated to being an addicted gambler, he would have found a way. My husband has been gambling with online poker sites for about six years now - I think he's pumped $50 into the sites he goes to. You can't blame online gambling for your brother-in-law's addiction any more than you can blame distilleries for alcoholism.
The thing about having to go to a casino is:

They are regulated by the state, so the tables and machines are fair.
You have to leave the fucking house to lose it.
The casinos will not allow you to gamble in your underwear (at least not at the $5 table - high rollers, who knows?)

On-line poker is like a 3 card Monte dealer with your credit card number.

MOIDALIZE
04-17-2011, 06:25 PM
The thing about having to go to a casino is:

They are regulated by the state, so the tables and machines are fair.
You have to leave the fucking house to lose it.
The casinos will not allow you to gamble in your underwear (at least not at the $5 table - high rollers, who knows?)

On-line poker is like a 3 card Monte dealer with your credit card number.

That's where I'm at. People might think banning online gambling is nanny-statism, and I can sort of understand that. But the reason I compared it to WoW is that I know a couple people who are WoW addicts. Genuine addicts. I gave up on a friend because that game took over his life. For a certain subset of the population, those games tickle the risk-reward centers of their brains in just the right way to keep them coming back beyond reasonable levels.

But at least with WoW you're only sacrificing your monthly fee and your time. Letting those same people gamble? They (and their families) need to be saved from themselves. I have no problem with people taking a weekend trip to Vegas or wherever and spending money they've saved at the casino. For one thing, you end up supporting an entire local economy when you have to actually leave your house to gamble, as opposed to some foreign website owner. But allowing people to use their credit cards to ring up gambling debts with some website strikes me as so cheap and cynical, no different than your average state lottery. And that's not even getting into the whole Hold 'Em subculture, and all the Phil Hellmuth clones.

Just go away, poker guy.

Bryan Ekers
04-17-2011, 07:17 PM
Funny, that's the same argument Ireland's banks made.

O'Zing!

Rand Rover
04-17-2011, 07:26 PM
They (and their families) need to be saved from themselves.

Would you (and/or gaffa) like to subject your own lives to this type of scrutiny? I'm sure we could find something you're doing in a sub-optimal manner.

The Tao's Revenge
04-17-2011, 07:29 PM
Would you (and/or gaffa) like to subject your own lives to this type of scrutiny? I'm sure we could find something you're doing in a sub-optimal manner.

God damn it all to hell I'm in here agreeing with Rand Rover.

MOIDALIZE
04-17-2011, 07:39 PM
Would you (and/or gaffa) like to subject your own lives to this type of scrutiny? I'm sure we could find something you're doing in a sub-optimal manner.

Who needs scrutiny? That's the beauty of banning something. You don't have to worry about case-by-case evaluation. You just decide it's bad and you're done with it.

The Tao's Revenge
04-17-2011, 08:07 PM
Who needs scrutiny? That's the beauty of banning something. You don't have to worry about case-by-case evaluation. You just decide it's bad and you're done with it.

Porn is considered bad, and destructive by a vocal lobby. Should it be banned?

Rand Rover
04-17-2011, 08:51 PM
Who needs scrutiny? That's the beauty of banning something. You don't have to worry about case-by-case evaluation. You just decide it's bad and you're done with it.

This post really sounds like someone mocking your position. Maybe you are whooshing us here.

In case you aren't, what I was saying is that I'm sure we could look at your life, find something you enjoy doing, and figure out a way it's harmful to yourself or someone else. And then we could ban that thing to save you from yourself. Would that be OK with you?

digs
04-17-2011, 09:16 PM
I'm still shaking my head over WoW being full of degenerate losers...

Shaking your head, because... why? Because on a web site dedicated to fighting ignorance, it's a waste of time to bring up a "given"?

Or... oh, my gosh. Wow, I'm sorry you had to find out this way.

And here you thought you were ... "Winning!"

Giraffe
04-17-2011, 11:31 PM
Who needs scrutiny? That's the beauty of banning something. You don't have to worry about case-by-case evaluation. You just decide it's bad and you're done with it.

Alcholism hurts far more families than gambling addiction: do you think we should start up Prohibition again? If not, why not?

Bryan Ekers
04-18-2011, 01:17 AM
I'm okay with Warcraft being banned.

kidchameleon
04-18-2011, 08:28 AM
Alcholism hurts far more families than gambling addiction: do you think we should start up Prohibition again? If not, why not?

Just the crappy stuff.

shiftless
04-18-2011, 09:06 AM
I'm of two minds on this.

One of my sons spends way too much time and money at online poker so I'm secretly delighted to see that he can't do that for the time being. Talked to him over the weekend and he was going on about how he was getting outside more and how he wasn't playing poker. He failed to mention that he wasn't playing poker because he couldn't. Yes, it has only been a couple of days but I'm hoping it breaks the spell long enough for him to get a job. They should at least have periodic time-outs, like kids at the pool, for this kind of addictive behaviour.

On the other hand, I don't think the government should be butting it's nose into people's business unless it absolutely must. Most states are hostile toward gambling in general until they get to be the house, then they suddenly think it's good family entertainment, so gambling shouldn't be a moral issue.

In the end though, the government butts its nose into my business all the time over a lot less harmful things that gambling so, if the DoJ has nothing better to do with its time, I'm not unhappy to see the crackdown.

Would you (and/or gaffa) like to subject your own lives to this type of scrutiny? I'm sure we could find something you're doing in a sub-optimal manner.

I'm not comfortable talking about my sex life here. :D

Sitnam
04-18-2011, 10:06 AM
Gambling should be legal or illegal, the morality of it doesn't change with the venue.

Zeriel
04-18-2011, 10:53 AM
That's where I'm at. People might think banning online gambling is nanny-statism, and I can sort of understand that. But the reason I compared it to WoW is that I know a couple people who are WoW addicts. Genuine addicts. I gave up on a friend because that game took over his life. For a certain subset of the population, those games tickle the risk-reward centers of their brains in just the right way to keep them coming back beyond reasonable levels.

But at least with WoW you're only sacrificing your monthly fee and your time. Letting those same people gamble? They (and their families) need to be saved from themselves. I have no problem with people taking a weekend trip to Vegas or wherever and spending money they've saved at the casino. For one thing, you end up supporting an entire local economy when you have to actually leave your house to gamble, as opposed to some foreign website owner. But allowing people to use their credit cards to ring up gambling debts with some website strikes me as so cheap and cynical, no different than your average state lottery. And that's not even getting into the whole Hold 'Em subculture, and all the Phil Hellmuth clones.

Just go away, poker guy.

Point of order, here--the brick-and-mortar casinos have facilities for getting cash advances from your credit card, too. And just as many people ruin their lives--I've personally witnessed a guy get bankrupted at a blackjack table, then reach into his pocket and pull out a $100 over the protests of his (wife? girlfriend?) and lose it on a single hand with her yelling "and how are we going to afford the bus ride back to Philadelphia now?" I've personally witnessed a guy lose nearly $6000 in 30 minutes at a $5-$500 table, too, then settle in near the table sucking down free drinks while he called at least a dozen people asking them to borrow some money for the weekend.

There is no difference between poker websites and going to the casinos from an addiction and life-ruining standpoint.

Mr Smashy
04-18-2011, 01:16 PM
Several issues here....

- One, it's not necessarily open and shut that online poker = gambling, wrt the UIGEA. To paraphrase Mike McDermott from Rounders, 'why do you think the same 4 guys end up at the final table in the World Series of Poker every year... are they the 4 luckiest guys in Vegas'?

- Kudos to Barney for trying to get this overturned. Hell, the Dems had complete absolute control for 2 years and he couldn't get the time of day from that bitch Pelosi. Oh well

- Gotta love the Messiah's Justice Dept - they won't prosecute a clearcut case of voter intimidation, but they go out of their way to make hundreds of thousands of Americans miserable by shutting this down. The least qualified guy in any room he walks into...

- The UIGEA wasn't a Republican or Democrat thing per se - it was one guy, that cocksucker Bill Frist, who slipped it into the Port Security bill when nobody was looking. That Port bill passed something like 409-2, and unanimously in the Senate. He did it after Harrahs bought him off w/a campaign contribution

- Yes we'll probably get our money back, after several months; at least, that's what happened to Neteller victims.

- The sites are regulated and certified, just not by Americans.

mack
04-18-2011, 01:18 PM
My opinion on the OP? You all have a really fucked up country you know that? What are you scared off, that a little gambling is going to jeopardise your immortal souls?

No, we're afraid internet gambling's going to jeopardise our cut.

Cat Whisperer
04-18-2011, 02:06 PM
<snip>

- The UIGEA wasn't a Republican or Democrat thing per se - it was one guy, that cocksucker Bill Frist, who slipped it into the Port Security bill when nobody was looking. That Port bill passed something like 409-2, and unanimously in the Senate. He did it after Harrahs bought him off w/a campaign contribution<snip>
That was my understanding, too. How that is an acceptable way to make laws, I'll never know.

"Hey, here's the law we need passed so our country can continue to function. Oh, by the way, there's a little tidbit in there about how it is now mandatory for all adults to beat children daily. Enjoy!"

Euphonious Polemic
04-18-2011, 02:20 PM
No, we're afraid internet gambling's going to jeopardise our cut.

Ding ding ding!

We have a winner people! Step right up. Pays off at 2:1.

It's all about the money; who is getting it and who is not. Internet gambling siphons profit away from the state.

teela brown
04-18-2011, 02:39 PM
I recently had cause to consult with a private detective over a relative's large unexplained debt. The detective said that in the vast majority of huge life-ruining debts he has had to investigate, online gambling was the culprit. I'll have to come down on the side of this new law. Having gambling one click away from addictive personalities who have constant access to a computer is completely wrecking lives.

Yeticus Rex
04-18-2011, 05:09 PM
Everyone here has some sort of addiction or another. Even being on this site, "Fighting Ignorance" can be addictive in itself, not to mention some post counts (not to mention Lurkaholics) give us a clue to the amount of hours spent here as well, fighting ignorance or not.

Post count over 10,000 per/year? Ban the Dope.
Compulsive Shoppers? Ban the stores.
Adrenaline Junkie? Ban extreme sports.
Twelve or more fantasy teams? Ban fantasy sports.
Lung Cancer? Ban smoking.
Huffers? Ban spray paint.
Sympathise with Dr. House? Ban painkillers.
TV on more than 6 hours a day? Ban Broadcasting.
Murderers? Ban all weapons/tools/vehicles/drugs/methods/etc.

Yeah, I know. Ridiculous.

Just because some people here have had personal and anecdotal evidence that a certain behavior has caused ruin does not prove that a certain activity should be subject to ban. Instead, the person needs to take responsibility for their addiction. Just because your furry little critter isn't being gored at this moment, doesn't give you any moral high ground to stand on, regardless of how you were affected.

How about a ban on irresponsible people......I'm all for that.

buttonjockey308
04-19-2011, 03:49 PM
No, we're afraid internet gambling's going to jeopardise our cut.

Bingo x2. This isn't about morality or even the destructive force that gambling can sometimes be, this is about dollars. The release alone alleges that there are "billions" in profits untouched by uncle Sam and the IRS. We aren't getting our cut, plain and simple.

SenorBeef
04-19-2011, 11:34 PM
I just posted this to the gameroom thread but I thought I'd repeat it here to give some perspective on the industry:

These sites make an absurd amount of money. Absolutely absurd. They collude and refuse to price compete, so the rake is roughly the same across the internet. It varies by stakes and game type, but it's not uncommon for online sites to rake $2 or $3 per hand, dealing 60+ hands per hour, with many people playing multiple tables.

I would estimate it costs those sites roughly a penny a day to run a virtual table, in terms of bandwidth and servers and such, yet that virtual table if taking $3/hand for 60 hands per hour for 24 hours can take in over $4000 in real money. Per day. A virtual table, costing almost nothing to run. These businesses are absolutely ass raping in terms of profit, it's just obscene. Their rake is half or more as much as an actual casino charges, but the casino has to pay for the table space, the dealer, floor staff, security, air conditioning, lights, drinks, etc. Yet because people can multi-table, and computerized dealing can make tables deal more hands per hour, players actually end up paying way more per hour having bits moved around on the other end of the internet than they would sitting in an actual casino getting free drinks, dealers, support staffs, etc. These sites could cut their rake by 99% and still make a huge profit, which makes them just absurd.

And people end up paying crazy amounts. Let's say an online professional plays 8 6-handed tables with a $2 max rake where the average hands/hr is 60. There is nothing at all atypical about this scenario - if anything it's a conservative estimate. Assume he wins 1/6th of the pots, and plays 40 hours per week. That person is paying $160 in real money per hour to a virtual site. $6400 per week. $332,800 per year. To a virtual poker site that's not doing much more than what yahoo games is when it runs scrabble or pictionary for free. Compare to say a World of Warcraft subscription that requires far more support/server power/bandwidth/etc where Blizzard can make a ton of profit off a $180 per year subscription. The online site in this scenario requires a $332,800 per year subscription.

That number seems so absurd that you must think I'm making it up, but plug in the numbers yourself and see what you get. Why do people pay that? Well, the good players can make money despite paying this high cost, and the bad players don't realize how much of the money they're losing is because it's being raked away instead of losing to other players. But even the winners only get their net profits after that fee is subtracted - so if someone is good enough to net $50,000 per year, they're actually making almost $400,000 a year from the game nad paying $332,800 of it to the online site. The site that moves a few bits around in cyberspace for them.

It's a big part of the reason I hate playing online, it just bothers me philosophically. I've paid tens of thousands or more of online rake and the whole thing just strikes me as absurd. It makes me feel not at all sorry for these businesses because they're a bunch of price-colluding assholes who've taken tens of thousand+ of my dollars (I mean I'm a net winner online, by far, but I've paid them absurd amounts to do it).

My concern is primarily that it's going to be bad for poker in general. I play in casinos almost exclusively but now all of the displaced online grinders are going to need a place to keep earning their money, which may mean they come into my games, and they're a hell of a lot tougher than the recreational players you aim for. And fewer people will get into poker now - there will be fewer poker shows with no online sponsors, fewer people that test the waters by learning online for small stakes and then decide to come to Vegas, etc. This is bad for the entire poker community, reducing the incoming amount of bad players and concentrating the good players.

Really Not All That Bright
04-20-2011, 08:48 AM
Who needs scrutiny? That's the beauty of banning something. You don't have to worry about case-by-case evaluation. You just decide it's bad and you're done with it.
Hey, MOIDALIZE, you're banned.

Rand Rover
04-20-2011, 08:57 AM
I thik the way around this is to turn yourself into a non-US person for purposes of opening an online poker account. I could see someone starting a service where they will create an entity you own in a non-US jurisdiction and then route your connection to the poker site through that jurisdiction. Moving money may be a little tough, and there'd be some tax reportig to do (assuming one wants to be fully on the up and up), but these problems don't seem insurmountable.

SB, your numbers above assume that max rake is paid every hand, which isn't the case. But put in some factor for percentage of max rake paid each hand and you still get to a huge rake number (ie, maybe it's $150,000 still). Also, I understand that several sites offer rakeback programs.